Lake Erie Steelhead: Fall Fishing Forecast
Published: Friday, October 16, 2020
New York’s Lake Erie tributaries boast some of the highest angler catch rates for steelhead (rainbow trout) in the entire country, and the arrival of fall’s colors signals the beginning of the steelhead season. Favorite fishing destinations such as Cattaraugus, Eighteen Mile, and Chautauqua Creeks typically begin to cool down by late September, and frequent rain events help attract the first big runs of the fall fishing season. However, 2020 has not been a typical year by any means, including the weather. Drought conditions in western New York have persisted into October, and this may bring a slow start to the tributary steelhead season. In years like these, expect water conditions to improve once the leaves begin to fall off the trees - usually by late October - and expect fall steelhead runs to extend into December and possibly even to the holidays. Anglers looking for current water conditions can look online at the USGS water gauges for all the major Lake Erie tributaries, or visit the DEC Lake Erie Fishing Hotline for weekly updates on the steelhead fishery. Tight lines!