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 small flies for steelhead more, 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. 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.