Great Lakes steelhead question


Active Member
A 6wt rod is too light for two reasons: First, you may hook into a 15# steelie and second, not sure, but you may be into some combat fishing. If so, you can't let those fish run or you will have a heck of a tangled mess!
You may be correct about the size of the steelhead, but the guide said I shoudl be fine with the 6wt (lethargic fish in cold water). Also, only die-hards are out at that time of year in southern Ontario, and the guide suggested the area will be more or less deserted. We're fishing on Dec. 27th, so I'm not execting much competition so close to Christmas. Thanks for your input though.
Canada may be different but the NY side of the Lakes it is combat fishing, so many people it is ridiculous and there are no manners what so ever. Beads and Eggs are what you will use mostly. I tried to swing flies a few times when I was there and only hooked up with a King Salmon. The Steelies want the eggs. You won't be making long casts, You should mostly be high sticking. If you do use your 6 weight reel make sure your drag is decent and add additional backing. When they turn sideways in the current even in a small trib they can be 100 yds away in 30 seconds. It is a totally different experience but it will be fun, you should have double digit hook ups each day if your trip is timed right.
I am from Erie, PA. Most of the Steel Head and Sea Run Brown trout are taking Nymphs and somthing called suckerspawn. If the water is gin clear you will need to fish with light tippet 6lb florocarbon and drift from the top of the pool to the bottom. Shot about 1ft up from the fly to allow it to get into the strick zone. You can also use silver clouser or streamers if the water warms up. 9ft 8t wt. Some of those browns that follow the steel up are huge. Your six wt is a risk. I am heading your way for Thanksgiving any good streams active right now?


Proud to Be Alaskan
PS they are not steelhead, just big rainbows.

A 6wt seems a bit small. Bring enough split shot and the floater works just fine, I don't think I used a sink tip in freshwater at all this year up here in AK (used a shooting head in salt looking for halibut).
I think the point is that the great lakes isnt the same as the pacific ocean. TRUE steelhead taste the salt, Great lakes "steelhead" are just large adfluvial rainbow trout
you wouldnt call a resident trout from steelhead genetics a steelhead, would you? Same with browns in the great lakes that may have come from sea trout stocks, theyre big ass lake run browns, just like the stelhead are big ass lake run rainbow trout
I guess I just differ in opinion, if they both come from the same brood stock and are raised in hatcheries then they are the same fish to me. Their environment is just different.
resident rainbows in all the S rivers here are from the same genetics as their 20# brethren who migrate to the sea, but you dont call them steelhead. EXACT same genetics, different life strategy


Geriatric Skagit Swinger
resident rainbows in all the S rivers here are from the same genetics as their 20# brethren who migrate to the sea, but you dont call them steelhead. EXACT same genetics, different life strategy
My brother and I share the EXACT same DNA donors. His life strategy is totally different from mine...does that mean (as I have suspected all along) that he is not a human?
No. You are both Homo sapiens, jus as both PNW steelhead and GL "steelhead" are both O. mykiss. The difference is more like a college degree, you Might have experienced a different education meaning you identify yourself as an engineer while your brother might be a chemist


Proud to Be Alaskan
Steelhead do not become steelhead based on genetics, rather their size (or lack thereof) at smolting age, and the accessibility of the ocean.

In anadromidity Genetics don't matter, if they did we'd call every single stocked trout in the lower 48 steelhead because the genitics from them are McCloud river redbands, which until the shasta dam was built were in fact steelhead.

What matters is a taste of saltwater.

Do you call the lake run browns in the great lakes sea trout?