Friday, August 17, 2012

Where to go...When and Why...

The tactics used by many veteran steelhead anglers in determining the river they will fish has been learned over time and experience on the water.  In today’s world where there is so much information at the fingertips of anglers, this has become a lot more streamlined.  Before the internet days, anglers would often find the river blown out or low and clear upon their arrival, only to then begin driving to the next river to find the same conditions. 

In the web world we live in, anglers that are willing to do some leg work behind the keyboard are often better equipped to find a stream in Steelhead Alley that is more likely to be optimal without ever having to see the water in person.  Between flow gauges, weather gauges, web cams, wave reports, water temp gauges and everything else in between these tools give the new aspiring steelhead angler an advantage that others in the past may not have had.

 The annual verbal jousting on forums over this new age of data made available to anglers is always a topic within the angling community.  Whether you like it or not, this data via the web is here to stay. While the online data is helpful, it's an additional tool the steelhead angler has to make informed decisions on fishable river conditions.  It doesn’t really replace the experience and knowledge gained on the stream that ultimately leads to landing the chrome steelhead we seek.

I get asked often by new anglers what river they should fish on any given weekend.  The Steelhead Alley Angler site has to tools available in making those decisions.  This is one of the main reasons the site is here.  To centralize some of the most important tools used by anglers in making these decisions the night before a trip.  There are 4 main factors that I use when considering a river to fish.  Flows Past, Flows Present, Weather Conditions, and Time of Season.

Flows Past:

I have found that flows on the drop produce better fishing results then flows on the rise.  Using USGS stream flow gauges, you can see the pattern of flow for the past week. Using this online flow data is imperative to becoming more consistently successful when on the rivers.  

Flows Present:

Flows present tell an angler what he is going to see upon arrival to the stream in question.  With some time on the water, an angler will know what cubic feet per second is optimal for the area streams.  Using the knowledge of flows the past few days, and flows currently an angler will be able to start putting the pieces of the puzzle together on how to target and where to target fish.

Weather Conditions:

In some aspects, anglers become mini weathermen.  Trying to predict conditions based upon data available online.  If it is early fall timeframe, what time does the sun rise and will it be overcast that day.  Is rain in the forecast, what are the flows before impending rain?  Will I be fishing the mouths of rivers and if so what is the wave forecast for the Lake Erie tributaries?  What is the barometric pressure?  Is it rising, falling, or stable?  What is the weather outlook over a broad range of areas?  Can I find a window of opportunity on another stream that may be fished for a longer period of time prior to potential rain? These are just some of the thoughts that go through a steelhead anglers mind. 

Time of Season: 

Anglers use the seasonal patterns to determine locations of fish.  Fish commonly run in current during the fall and hold in pools in the winter.  Daylight is also different during the season, and also daylight savings times determine what time anglers are typically found on the water early in the morning.


Using all the above determining factors, steelhead anglers take this into consideration when making the choice on what river to fish when.  The Steelhead Alley Angler site provides many tools that you can take advantage of when you are planning a trip to the river.  Information researched via the web can never replace the experience gained from being on the water, but it surely is a tool that will help you to a more successful trip.

Until Next Time…
Fish Hard…Fish Often…

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