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11-28-03 - Trout Run is a ranging river of mud.
These hardy anglers braved the winter rain and wind just for the chance at steelies!
Elk Creek was downright dangerous.

11-28-03 - $300 Steelhead

Waters Fished: Trout Run, Elk Creek, Presque Isle Bay + many others scouted
Fish Caught: 1/12
Outing Date: 11-28-03
Weather: Extremely Rainy, Windy, overall very adverse conditions
Air Temp: somewhere in the 30's!
Water Temp: You think I bothered to take it?!
Water Color: MUD
Fish Species: Steelhead
Pattern Fished: Dragon's Tooth Spey
Pattern Color: as per pattern (purple with red, yellow and silver highlights)
Fishing Quality: Rapidly declining into nonexistant

It's Thursday, Thanksgiving Day, and I get a call from Arctic Snow Monkey.

"Hey, uh, things might not be so good, looks like the weather took a bad turn. It's been raining here all day..the PA creeks are probably not going to be fishable when you get here."

Hmm...after some quick consultation Chromeseeker and I decided "Hey, we've fished muddy streams before, in fact the Root is ALWAYS muddy...". Needless to say, around probably 2:00 Eastern we showed up weary at ASM's doorstep!

A few hours later we got the wakeup call and headed out; it was raining (still). ASM's best advice was that if the creeks were blown out we might try the lake. Since CS would definitely have to see Trout Run, I figured we might as well start there!

Sometime around dawn (it was too dark and cloudy to tell when dawn really occured) I got out and decided to brave the rain. Lake Erie looked rather calm, so I figured a pair of hip boots would probably do the job. Bundled up and ready to go, I hit the lake. Meanwhile Chromeseeker (who had decided to drive ALL NIGHT and MORNING) opted to take a nap. I told him I'd wake him up when I had my first ten steelhead.

1.5 hours later, I was drenched. The waves had kicked up, and in my exuberance at hooking steelhead after steelhead I ignored the fact that as the morning had gone by, I was taking on more and more water. 10 hookups, with one landed. As you can see from the pictures above, it was CROWDED. Everyone keeps asking me, "Man, why did you LOSE so many of your fish?". Well, for starters, most hookups I missed the hookset, it was an on/off kind of thing. By this point I had landed ONE (sorry, no picture, with all the rain and darkness I left the camera in the car). I woke CS up and told him to get his butt down in the water and FISH!

Meanwhile I changed, warmed up, and got back out more properly suited in my chest waders. At first we took the end-of-the-line position, but I quickly realized that the fish were on the move up into the stream. I braved the crowds and inserted myself back into the opening I had been fishing 30 minutes earlier. Another hookup lost, and then another on and broken off. In my efforts to keep the fish out of other people's lines I found myself clamping down hard on the line, horsing the fish, and in the process they were able to snap me off at the trilene knot! I was fishing 8lb. PLine, that stuff is tough, but not being able to put a chrome steelie on the drag has drawbacks (i.e. breakoffs!).

Well, conditions simply got worse. Throughout the day we visited every stream from Erie on west to the Ohio state line. ALL were blown out. We even visited BAC Tackle and tried the North Pier of Presque Isle Bay! We found the same 0-visibility conditions there, more rain and more wind, so after only a few casts we were back in the car.

Back at Trout Run we sat for a while and laughed our asses off while watching anglers brave the lake which now had 6 foot swells; we were taking bets on which angler was going to go for a swim first! We never settled that bet, although we did get to see one particular angler (who was trying to JUMP the waves) go ALMOST horizontal!

So overall we had a nice day of driving around looking at raging rivers (even saw a tree floating down Elk Creek!). Oh, and we figured it out; that one steelhead cost me roughly $300 (I broke my brand new St. Croix Avid on Elk Creek; the tip shattered in TWO places!). We spent the evening trying to decide what to do; forecasts looked grim (rain and snow with winds, basically making ALL water totally unfishable) so we had dinner with Mr. and Mrs. ASM and opted to try our luck in Indiana the next morning. Our drive back was all the more fun; SNOWSTORMS!


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