Fat Dan

Winter Fishing for Steelhead

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Hi Guys:  I am new here.  I live in Pennsylvania but I also unsuccessfully hunt in the Adirondacks.  I am starting to look for some winter activities now that hunting is almost done.  I have been thinking about driving up to the Salmon River to try steelhead fishing.  Based on some of the reading that I have been doing, I came across the Oswego River as an option.  It looks like it might handle the fishing pressure better and also gives me a chance at walleye.

I have a few questions.  Can you successfully catch steelhead from shore?  What bait or lure works?  Are they safe to eat or catch and release only?  Thanks

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Where in Pa? You might pass a lot of steelhead on your way to the salmon river


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I find a duck's opinion of me is very much influenced by whether or not I have bread

-Mitch Hedberg

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Agree.......take the 90 to silver creek exit and you have Silver creek, Walnut creek, and Cattaraugus creek. Drive about 17 miles east on rt. 5 and you'll hit 18 mile. All good water that produces nice fish.

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I am all the way in the southeastern corner of the PA. Erie is about 6.5 hours from me. The Salmon River and the Oswego river are about 2 hours closer. I would stay in a hotel. Thanks

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I am all the way in the southeastern corner of the PA. Erie is about 6.5 hours from me. The Salmon River and the Oswego river are about 2 hours closer. I would stay in a hotel. Thanks

I'll let the central NY guys takeover. BY GAWD THATS@CHRISW MUSIC!!!


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I find a duck's opinion of me is very much influenced by whether or not I have bread

-Mitch Hedberg

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The salmon and the Oswego are both good for steelhead.  Oswego has a walkway in the city you can fish along.  Most places need a real long handle net, like extended long to get them in places.  It gets real crowded but weekdays are best . 

Salmon River has a lot of access sites. I am guessing with no rain or snow up here the flows are really low and that doesn't help bring the steelies in, but it does make wading easier.   I used to fish the trestle pool area a bit in Altmar  and same during the week is best.  Should be lots of places to stay.  Charlie Daniels used to stay at the "Portly Angler" and the river is right close to it.  Been several years since I've been up there and as already said ChrisW will know more about going than I do.   

Just be prepared for some cold and some searching at times to find them.  Look into the regs for legal rigs.  There is also some good tackle shops in the area. Might want to call them and get info before making that long of a trip. Fat Nancy's or All seasons come to mind.  Good luck and keep us updated if you go. 

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Hi Guys:  I am new here.  I live in Pennsylvania but I also unsuccessfully hunt in the Adirondacks.  I am starting to look for some winter activities now that hunting is almost done.  I have been thinking about driving up to the Salmon River to try steelhead fishing.  Based on some of the reading that I have been doing, I came across the Oswego River as an option.  It looks like it might handle the fishing pressure better and also gives me a chance at walleye.
I have a few questions.  Can you successfully catch steelhead from shore?  What bait or lure works?  Are they safe to eat or catch and release only?  Thanks
If you're looking to catch fish from shore (no waders) then I'd recommend Oswego hands down. They have a walkway along the entire west side of the river and some on the east side. Certain areas you will need a long net, other areas you can walk fish down to a landing spot. The fish numbers per sq ft are much much greater in Oswego than the SR. But if solitude and exploration are your thing then Oswego isn't it, the SR is. Oswego has a mix of steelies and browns right now with a fair amount of walleyes kicking around. Walleyes are behind the hotels on the east side walkway (you'll definitely need a long net) and there are decent numbers behind the powerhouse on the west side right now. Egg patterns are always a decent choice but this time of year the marabou jig bite really turns on as most of the eggs are gone. Float fishing jigs is hands down the best method and you'll get walleyes, browns and steelhead on them. White jigs are the best performers in 1/8oz and 1/16oz. If you're looking to cast for browns the end of the walkway on the west side nearest the harbor is a great choice and generally there are a good number of browns down there. Use pretty much any stickbait, spoon, crankbait, rip n rap or continue floating marabou jigs. My favorites are the Berkeley flicker shad in silver/blue but color isn't a huge deal a lot of the time. There are fish generally everywhere in Oswego, it's getting a presentation in front of them that's key. I'll often throw 4 different rod setups in the truck and bounce around to different areas of need be. You'll be somewhat limited on spots without a long handled net though. I use a 10' net and it's ideal. As far as eating the fish goes, I don't really like trout so I release all of my fish but if you like it then they're good to eat. Good luck! If you have any more questions feel free to ask. Be careful, it's addicting!! My last rod/reel combo was $650 dedicated strictly to float fishing, and I have several now if that tells you anything!

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16 hours ago, Fat Dan said:

Hi Guys:  I am new here.  I live in Pennsylvania but I also unsuccessfully hunt in the Adirondacks.  I am starting to look for some winter activities now that hunting is almost done.  I have been thinking about driving up to the Salmon River to try steelhead fishing.  Based on some of the reading that I have been doing, I came across the Oswego River as an option.  It looks like it might handle the fishing pressure better and also gives me a chance at walleye.

I have a few questions.  Can you successfully catch steelhead from shore?  What bait or lure works?  Are they safe to eat or catch and release only?  Thanks

Welcome to the forum then!! 
 

If you live in PA , you may wanna check out some good Steelie Fishing that is a bit closer , depending upon where you live , of course . Lake Erie tribe has some of the best action in the East , at least so I’ve heard . You definitely can catch em from shore too but , for as newbie , you’ll probably struggle a bit at first success-wise cuz they are rather difficult to catch . PM if you’d like and I can help you with rigging up 

 

Good luck !! 

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Thanks for all of the great info everyone.  I really appreciate it.  This weekend is the end of archery down here so I will be in the woods (probably not seeing anything).  After that, I am going to start planning in earnest.  I have a 9 year old son that likes to fish but I think I need a recon trip before I bring him, especially in the cold.  Most likely, I sucker a buddy into going with me.  

I have a lot of gear, including 9' and 8' steelhead rods (Cabela's rods so nothing near as good as a $650 rod).  I uses them for bank fishing for walleye in the Susquehanna River so they should do the job.  I have a net but it's handle is probably only 5 or 6'.  I'll either but a longer net or duct tape a pole to it.  Thanks again.

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Oh yeah ? How’s the Walleye Fishing on the Susquehanna ? I’ve heard it’s mostly a Smallmouth River . You use stick baits ? Minnows ? 

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12 minutes ago, Northcountryman said:

Oh yeah ? How’s the Walleye Fishing on the Susquehanna ? I’ve heard it’s mostly a Smallmouth River . You use stick baits ? Minnows ? 

Pretty good in the winter time, at least for eastern PA.  You guys probably have a lot more options than we have.  Western PA has good walleye fishing but where I am, we are limited to the Delaware River, the Susquehanna and a few stocked lakes. I do better in the Susquehanna than any other places here.  Some guys do well in the Delaware but I haven’t been able to figure it out yet. 
 

Yes, I use stick baits at times.  I have had my best catches on jigs.  I’m far from an expert though.  Here’s one from the Susquehanna   

8023B1D5-C2CF-4A77-A238-D4C30231737C.png

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4 minutes ago, Fat Dan said:

Pretty good in the winter time, at least for eastern PA.  You guys probably have a lot more options than we have.  Western PA has good walleye fishing but where I am, we are limited to the Delaware River, the Susquehanna and a few stocked lakes. I do better in the Susquehanna than any other places here.  Some guys do well in the Delaware but I haven’t been able to figure it out yet. 
 

Yes, I use stick baits at times.  I have had my best catches on jigs.  I’m far from an expert though.  Here’s one from the Susquehanna   

8023B1D5-C2CF-4A77-A238-D4C30231737C.png

everyone ive talked to says also just throw 3 lures in the bushes before you get there to get it out of the way cause its a snag fest.  lol.  But have seen some pics of some nice fish out of there.  Musky too 

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Nice , haven’t fished for Walleye in almost 10 years , would love to get out there again! Do you think it would be worth it to try for em using my Flyrod? I know you can get em on a streamer rig but , in the winter , your presentation is much slower, right ? Very slow retrieve in other words. 

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I’ve done ok. In the Delaware and could show you , but , you’re probably talking much further south . Did you try between Jersey and PA or further north?

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Nice , haven’t fished for Walleye in almost 10 years , would love to get out there again! Do you think it would be worth it to try for em using my Flyrod? I know you can get em on a streamer rig but , in the winter , your presentation is much slower, right ? Very slow retrieve in other words. 
Walleye can certainly be had on a streamer, Oswego is about impossible to fly fish from the wall though. Up at the dam and in the river no problem. I've seen a fair number of eyes caught at the dam given the right flow and conditions.

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Thanks for all of the great info everyone.  I really appreciate it.  This weekend is the end of archery down here so I will be in the woods (probably not seeing anything).  After that, I am going to start planning in earnest.  I have a 9 year old son that likes to fish but I think I need a recon trip before I bring him, especially in the cold.  Most likely, I sucker a buddy into going with me.  
I have a lot of gear, including 9' and 8' steelhead rods (Cabela's rods so nothing near as good as a $650 rod).  I uses them for bank fishing for walleye in the Susquehanna River so they should do the job.  I have a net but it's handle is probably only 5 or 6'.  I'll either but a longer net or duct tape a pole to it.  Thanks again.
Those rods will certainly do the trick. You don't NEED to spend a ton of money to do it but you might WANT to if the bug bites you. We mainly use centerpin (reels) to fish, if you've never heard of those reels I'd suggest you look them up on youtube. Best presentation you can get for river fishing in my opinion and very fun on top of it.

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13 minutes ago, chrisw said:

Those rods will certainly do the trick. You don't NEED to spend a ton of money to do it but you might WANT to if the bug bites you. We mainly use centerpin (reels) to fish, if you've never heard of those reels I'd suggest you look them up on youtube. Best presentation you can get for river fishing in my opinion and very fun on top of it.

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Those are the crossbow of the stream fishing world!!

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I find a duck's opinion of me is very much influenced by whether or not I have bread

-Mitch Hedberg

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FYI: the Portly Angler has been closed for years, it's now the NYS Ranger School..

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18 minutes ago, Salmon_Run said:

FYI: the Portly Angler has been closed for years, it's now the NYS Ranger School..

oh no kidding - lol.  I havent been there in a few years for sure.  I used to walk in on the far side of that bridge at 4am and salmon fish.  Good spot for a ranger school!  

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Those are the crossbow of the stream fishing world!!
Haha the "diehard" fly guys probably don't like them but that's because I'll out fish them most of the time with that technique. The biggest advantage is keeping your bait in the strikezone for a long period of time, drifting at current speed (which is really important for a natural presentation) and having a 13' rod that you can instantly pick up line with and the reel you literally just clamp your hand on to set the hook and use varying pressure to apply the brakes when you can. To me there's little better than watching a float drop solidly and a 13' rod loaded up and an angry steelie on the other end ripping line out through your hand. Those first few big head shakes reverberating up through the rod is a dopamine hit.

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32 minutes ago, The_Real_TCIII said:

Those are the crossbow of the stream fishing world!!

lol.  Strike indicator----or bobber?   

 

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3 minutes ago, chrisw said:

Haha the "diehard" fly guys probably don't like them but that's because I'll out fish them most of the time with that technique. The biggest advantage is keeping your bait in the strikezone for a long period of time, drifting at current speed (which is really important for a natural presentation) and having a 13' rod that you can instantly pick up line with and the reel you literally just clamp your hand on to set the hook and use varying pressure to apply the brakes when you can. To me there's little better than watching a float drop solidly and a 13' rod loaded up and an angry steelie on the other end ripping line out through your hand. Those first few big head shakes reverberating up through the rod is a dopamine hit.

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I was kidding, I dont know much about them aside from the guy on Bill and Mikes youtube channel using one


I find a duck's opinion of me is very much influenced by whether or not I have bread

-Mitch Hedberg

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2 hours ago, chrisw said:

Walleye can certainly be had on a streamer, Oswego is about impossible to fly fish from the wall though. Up at the dam and in the river no problem. I've seen a fair number of eyes caught at the dam given the right flow and conditions.

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What about upstream of the dam , do you think it would be feasible up there  and , in the wintertime ? 

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1 hour ago, chrisw said:

Haha the "diehard" fly guys probably don't like them but that's because I'll out fish them most of the time with that technique. The biggest advantage is keeping your bait in the strikezone for a long period of time, drifting at current speed (which is really important for a natural presentation) and having a 13' rod that you can instantly pick up line with and the reel you literally just clamp your hand on to set the hook and use varying pressure to apply the brakes when you can. To me there's little better than watching a float drop solidly and a 13' rod loaded up and an angry steelie on the other end ripping line out through your hand. Those first few big head shakes reverberating up through the rod is a dopamine hit.

Sent from my moto g(6) using Tapatalk
 

I’m a diehard Flyguy and I’ll readily admit you’re right !! I saw a guy last fall Nail in them with a Centerpin rig up , very effective ; but, I’ll stick with the flies !! 

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