Great Lakes Steelhead

Lake Erie Steelhead

Steelhead Alley is a 200-mile stretch of Lake Erie shoreline that stretches from Buffalo NY to Sandusky Ohio.  This area has dozens of rivers and streams that drain into Lake Erie and draws anglers from around the country to pursue their steelhead.  There are also some Lake Ontario tributaries east of Buffalo that provide excellent fishing.  I have been making fall pilgrimages to this region for 15 years and am continually amazed at the fish that these rivers produce.

The waters of Steelhead Alley are diverse and accommodate a variety of fishing styles.  Some anglers like to fish large rivers with easy public access using spinning gear or a center pin float outfit.  Others prefer to hike into more private pools on smaller streams and use a fly rod.  Swinging tube flies on two-handed spey rods has also increased in popularity lately.  Regardless of fishing style, Steelhead Alley you can always find opportunities to catch fish when runs are underway.

Cities like Buffalo, Erie, and Cleveland don’t have a great reputation as outdoor recreation destinations, so I know there are people who will be skeptical about traveling here to fish.  All I can say is —  trust me.  Most rivers and streams flow through scenic rolling farmland, apple orchards and vineyards.  And I fish some slate runs and deep gorges that are truly beautiful.

You should be prepared to see quite a few other people, especially early in the fall when fishing popular runs.  But crowding is usually not a problem in this area, because 90% of the people tend to focus their efforts on 10% of the water, so you can always get away from people if you put in some effort.  And nearly everyone you meet here is friendly.

Lake Erie Chromer

I charge $150 to help plan a Steelhead Alley fishing trip.  This is an excellent value because you can get nearly a week’s worth of fishing tips and information for less than half the price of a single day of hosted fishing.  My services include recommendations on specific places to fish on different streams and what tackle to use.  And I can help you arrange lodging, in a variety of price ranges, that will provide easy access to the waters that you intend to fish.

Catt Chrome

Weather (particularly rainfall) is the most important uncontrollable variable that can impact your trip, so I will also provide you with information on where to fish during stormy periods.

In addition to my trip planning services, I also host at least one trip to Steelhead Alley every year, usually during the first week of November.  The four remaining available fishing dates for my 2017 trip are November 8 – 11.  Please contact me by phone or email to learn more about my trip planning services, or to take part in a hosted adventure.


The Lake Erie tributaries can provide you with Alaska-like fishing on some of North America’s most spectacular rivers, at a bargain price;  provided that you know when, where, and how to fish them.

John Randolph, Editor, Fly Fisherman Magazine