One of those destinations is Steelhead Alley. The “Alley” is referred to the southern
. It extends from western shore of Lake Erie to Cleveland . In recent years, it has received media attention and glowing reports from die-hard steelheaders. Buffalo
This fishery is unique in the fact that
Lake Erie is the most heavily stocked in regards to steelhead. Great Lake ’s streams boast more steelhead per mile than any other watershed in the lower 48 states and Erie included. The reason for the high numbers of fish is the aggressive stocking programs done by the three states. Both Alaska and Pennsylvania stock a fall run fish and New York stocks a spring run. Ohio
Streams along steelhead alley can range in size from
’s mighty Cattaraugus Creek and New York ’s Ohio Grand River to the many small creeks in . On average most of steelhead alley’s streams are generally small. All of the tributaries run over shale and are usually shallow and slow flowing. Nearly all of the streams have little or no groundwater sources and rely on runoff from rain and snow melt. Pennsylvania
The surrounding terrain and access greatly varies along steelhead alley. Some terrain is very remote such as
’s Twenty-Mile Creek. Other streams such as Pennsylvania ’s Rocky and Ohio both flow through suburban areas of Greater Cleveland. Chagrin Rivers ’s Ohio Grand River flows through a mixture of remote gorges, forests and suburban locations.
Steelhead alley is comprised of three states –
, Ohio and Pennsylvania . One state that is very popular is New York . The big advantage that Pennsylvania has over both Pennsylvania and Ohio is the number of fish stocked. Over the past decade, the state has led the way in number of fish stocked. New York stocks a fall run strain. Annually, the state stocks nearly over a million smolts and fingerlings. Personally, I think it’s excessive as most of their streams are so small and shallow. When the conditions are right, it’s like shooting fish in a barrel. There have been times when I’ve hooked well into 40 to 50 fish. For the angler with little time and looking for a quick fix, Pennsylvania is the place. Due to the high number of fish, there is the high number of anglers. Even during the weekday, the rivers are packed with people and finding solitude is next to impossible. This is the result of most of the streams run through private property and every year more and more land is posted. The end result is more anglers are crammed into the remaining pockets of public waters. Since I hate fishing around people, I haven’t been back to Pennsylvania since 2001 and I don’t plan on going back anytime soon. Pennsylvania
The state slogan for
is “the heart of it all” and Ohio is right in the heart of steelhead alley. Most steelheaders will agree that Ohio is considered to be one of the better states to fish. The big advantage that Ohio has over the other states is public access. The majority of stocked streams run through many sections of metro and county parks. The main branch of the Ohio runs completely through one of Rocky River ’s metro park. That gives the angler almost 13 miles of river to fish. The other rivers such as the Grand, Chagrin and Vermilion have sections of county parks within their boundaries. The only stream that is completely private is the Conneaut Creek. Cleveland stocks the Little Manistee strain and they run during the spring. Unlike Ohio , most anglers will have to walk and find fish. Yanking out fish after fish out of a small pool is out of the question in Pennsylvania . Most anglers will be lucky to catch to 10 fish in one day. If you’re willing to go the extra mile, you’ll often find yourself fishing in peace and quiet. Ohio
, I haven’t fished any of the streams. This is probably due to the fact that I’m to spoiled living here in New York . I have heard glowing reports of the Catt from several friends who have fished it. I keep telling myself that one day I’ll make the trip there. Ohio
This unique fishery has received national attention in several fishing magazines and outdoor shows. I’m blessed that I moved to place that has such a wonderful fishery. If you’re planning to make a trip to one of the
Great Lakes, give steelhead alley a try and you won’t be disappointed.