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Great Lakes Steelhead

Great Lakes Steelhead

General Info: Skamania summer steelhead were once transplanted from our beloved Columbia River Gorge (home of Big Y Fly) to the Great Lakes. A fantastic seasonal fishery was created in just a few years. Steelhead now pour into the tributaries of Great Lakes tributaries every fall. From Michigan to New York, big runs of steelhead can be found close to major metropolitan areas. The most famous area is the area called "Steelhead Alley" in Ohio. It runs along the shoreline of Lake Erie to the inlet from Lake Ontario. Another very popular spot is along the Salmon River near Pulaski, NY.
While anglers on the Pacific coast tend to swing smaller flies for steelhead, Great Lakes steelheaders most often use a nymphing setup. Swinging a fly is still fairly popular in the Great Lakes, but nymphing is the name of the game. Many anglers also fish a trout streamer either under an indicator or with a tight line. The peak time to go is in October, but fish start showing up in September and can be found as late as ice conditions will allow. There is also a spring season where fish that "wintered over" in the rivers can be found heading back towards the lake.
Preferred Gear
Rods: 7-8 wt. rods. Many prefer a 9'6" or 10' rod, but 9' rods are still the most popular
Favorites: Big Y Boss, TFO Pro III, Redington Vice, Orvis Clearwater
Reels: Large arbor, with solid drag system
Lines: Weight forward, floating. Specialty nymphing lines for steelhead are a real plus.
Favorites: Rio Elite Indicator, Scientific Anglers Mastery Anadro
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  • 145 in stock

    Agent Onyx - Solitude

    $2.79
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    A steelhead nymph that produces! Great for off color waters.  Works well as stonefly or general attractor for trout too.

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  • 69 in stock

    Agent Orange

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    Great color contrast excellent searching pattern.  Hot bead, rubber legs, flash wing case. Also useful for trout. Stoneflies are availabl...

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  • 92 in stock

    Ally Shrimp

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    An extremely popular UK and Ireland pattern.  Atlantic Salmon absolutely love this fly. Meant to imitate translucent shrimp, or crustacean like p...

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  • 73 in stock

    Barr's Copper John Steelhead Rubberleg - Umpqua

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    It turns out that steelhead love a copper john about as much as a landlocked rainbow trout, and that is a lot. This larger copper john features a h...

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  • 36 in stock

    Beadhead Lifter - Solitude

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    The Beadhead Lifter is a great little egg fly that is super fishy Used mostly as a nymph, but it swings well too Available in #6 A sweet pattern d...

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  • 48 in stock

    Beadhead R.L. Cotton Candy - Solitude

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    The BH RL Cotton Candy is a sweet little egg pattern. Great for nymphing for steelhead or egg eating trout. Pattern developed by Tom Larimer

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  • 538 in stock

    Big Ugly Stone

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    Name of the fly says it all... It's Big... It's Ugly... And it's a stone. Should fish well in any rivers stones are present, but especially well i...

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  • 328 in stock

    Bloody Muddler

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    A extremely popular steelhead fly across the US. From the upper tributaries of the Columbia to the Erie runs. Also know to be extremely effective ...

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  • 347 in stock

    Bow River Bugger

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    Created where big trout are the rule not the exception. Use where ever big trout lurk in the shadow ready to strike a meal! Part muddler, part b...

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  • 37 in stock

    Caballero

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    Originating in the Pacific Northwest for Steelhead. This older traditional styled pattern has been extremely successful for winter steelhead. Also...

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  • 80 in stock

    California Comet

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    Specialized in Northern California.  Now used up and down the west coast for steelies, sea run cutts and salmon.  Sinks quickly, attracts mightily.

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  • 555 in stock

    Candy Stone

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    Steelhead have an affinity for stones, beginning as a juvenile. Hot bead, rubber legs, flash wing case. Also useful for trout. Stoneflies are...

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  • 38 in stock

    Chicken Little - Fulling Mill

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    The Chicken Little is a classic East Coast Steelhead fly. Great on a heavily nymphing rig. Invented by Patrick Robinson of Steelhead Alley Outfi...

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  • 291 in stock

    Chilean Bugger-Beadhead

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    A more flashy version of the regular Woolly Bugger. A great attractor pattern, inciter pattern, prepare for vicious strikes, and large fish. Use f...

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