Going ‘Grand’ (the river that is)...
On the Cheap Lake Erie Steelheading
By Tom Gribble
ever experienced something that’s so simple you have said to yourself “I
should do this more often”? Fishing Ohio's Grand River is one of those
things! The Grand River has a drainage area of 685 square miles, and
is designated a wild and scenic river. The Grand River is divided by two
counties, Ashtabula and Lake County, Ohio. It has the characteristics of a
free stone stream in its upper sections. In the lower middle the Grand
River gets a little more sandy and silty. Finally, the lower Grand River
is mostly estuary water.
several ways to fish the Grand River. The quickest way to fish, and to
cover a lot of water, is by swinging flies. A more productive way to fish
the Grand is to indicator fish. And a spey rod can be ideal if you're a
practitioner of that method, due to the size of the Grand. Regardless of
technique, there are some things you must take into consideration if you
want to make your do-it-yourself outing
both enjoyable and productive.
is my trip?" "What areas do I want to fish?" Most importantly, ask
"How will the weather likely affect my plans?" The best fishing
conditions, for me, have been with overcast skies, pouring rain, or snow
squalls. Most people think they want blue bird skies, and warm
temperatures. Nice as they are for us, such conditions are not conducive
following web pages will make any steelheaders life a bit easier.
Check these sites. Study them!
www.afws.net/ (hourly rain fall amounts real-time)
www.landbigfish.com/watertemps/default.cfm (water temperatures)
www.ndbc.noaa.gov/maps/EastGL.shtml (real-time open water conditions)
www.buckeyetraffic.org (real-time road conditions, and cameras where
http://www.nws.noaa.gov/om/marine/zone/gtlakes/clemz.htm (your biggest
asset, this site covers the Great Lakes)
several area fly shops that offer guide services. It's worth
checking in with these shops for the latest in effective patterns and
steelhead conditions. Mad
River Outfitters, Folleys End
Fly Shop, Poor Richards,
Lake Erie Ultimate Angler
, TMF Fly Shop
You will need an Ohio fishing license - and it can be purchased at nearly
any regional "big box" department or sporting goods store. You can
also get your Ohio license and a lot of great information online at
River fly fishes well at 300 cubic feet per second (cf/s). You can
use a spinning rod and be quite successful with flows as high as 500 cf/s.
There are several websites out there to help you prepare for the weather.
Lake County has a great website
http://lakemetroparks.com. Ashtabula County has a few parks, but
they don't have a website set up like Lake County. I use this web site to
find out access issues -
www.riverfacts.com/states/oh.html. Finally, go out and buy a DeLorme
Gazeteer for Ohio. Don't even blink at the $20 price. You won’t regret it.
The easiest access to the
Grand River is at the
following Lake County Metro Parks: Grand River Landing, Helen Hazen Wyman
Park, Hidden Valley Park, Indian Point Park, Riverview Park, Hogback Ridge
Park, Masons Landing Park, and Harpers Field Dam. Once the steelheader
figures out when they want to go, then you need to find accommodations.
Personally, I only need three things. If you want to go on the short
you'll want these amenities: clean, dry (don’t laugh), and cheap. There
are several choices here. The link I’m including gives you a choice of
campgrounds also at
www.riverfacts.com/rivers/12518.html. If you want to be closer to the
action and, by that I mean in the midst of a plethora of steelhead
streams, I suggest Elk Creek Inn in Girard, Pennsylvania.
put you right smack in the middle of Steelhead Alley. You will be one and
half hours away from Cattaraugus Creek, within minutes of any tributaries
along the Pennsylvania shore line, and forty-five minutes from the Grand
River. Elk Creek Inn is a fisherman’s flop house. You will share a
bathroom, and a community living room. Elk Creek Inn is for the hardcore
steelheader who only needs my aforementioned, three things; a clean, dry,
cheap room. Oh yeah, and some "steelhead green" water and a good blow of
snow! See you out there!