11-12-05 - Renee, meet PA!
Waters Fished: Trout Run, 12 Mile Creek, Cascade
Creek, Elk Creek
Fish Caught: 1/4 personally, Renee 3/5
Outing Date: 11-12-05
Weather: Breezy at times, clear skies
Air Temp: 40's, rising into 50's
Water Temp: n/a
Water Level: low & clear
Water Color: all were GIN clear except Elk, slightly stained green
with 1-2' visibility
Fish Species: Steelhead!
Pattern Fished: EGGS!
Pattern Color: Tried something different - Mister Twister Exude
Eggs in hot orange. They did work...
We drove across Indiana, through Ohio, and finally
arrived in Pennsylvania around 3:00 AM. I really, really, really
wanted to keep with tradition and take Renee straight to Trout Run.
As in all relationships, compromise is crucial, so instead, I let
her scrounge up a FREE hotel room (she wasn't even in that office
two minutes guys, so you can just stop thinking thoughts right now...).
Well, by 7:15 AM we were up and by 8:00, we pulled
up within view of Trout Run. I honestly expected "more"
of a reaction out of Renee. Maybe I just talked it up so much that
she was expecting what she saw. It was kinda like, "yeah, that's
a lot of fish...wow...lets go fishing".
I've been itching to get back over to the eastern
tribs in PA, and wanted to make sure that Renee's first location
was a bit easier to access. Renee needed her license too, so after
a stop at Poor Richard's (east) we headed just a bit west.
We arrived at 12 Mile Creek to find it relatively
crowded and running GIN CLEAR. Somehow, Renee's license wasn't valid
until 10:00 AM that day, so well...she sat while I rigged up and
dit a bit of scouting. Well, hmm, not NEARLY the number of fish
around when compared to last year. In spots that held DOZENS of
fish I was likely to find a handful...often not even one. HMMMMMMM.
While rigging up, a crafty CO pulled up and got out, ready to fish
with "full snaggin' gear" - aka. a plain-clothes undercover
Renee got out and watched for a bit while waiting
for her license to kick in. On my very first cast along a logjam,
a beautiful chrome hen rose in the water column and inhaled my bright
orange "exude" egg. WHOW - talk about a breathtaking hit.
Of course, I botched it!
We both got in upstream - Renee's license was finally
valid! After a little while chasing 4-5 steelies that kept moving
around the run, I left Renee with the camera and went back downstream.
Well, so far the Exude Eggs work! After a few drifts
I hooked up with a heafty buck at the tail of a deep pocket. I shouted
upstream multiple times but Renee just couldn't here me. Somehow,
beyond belief, I managed to work him out from the logs and eventually
beached him. Renee caught on and started coming downstream, but
I lost my grip on that slippery steelie and he managed to get back
into the logs!
Oh well, there will always be more fish. As the
morning headed towards afternoon, Renee and I made our way upstream.
There was a small pod of fish holding in a shallow tailout - huddled
around them was a group of anglers. Discouraged, we worked our way
further upstream, enjoying the scenery but really not finding anything.
After milling around a bit, we decided maybe it was time to go check
out another stream.
As we crossed, I stopped midstream and gasped.
There, only a couple feet downstream from where I was crossing,
was a LARGE buck. Beautiful red cheeks gave him away! I motioned
for Renee to come back - this was HER FISH!
Renee had 3 or 4 takes in the next 45 minutes...the
last one was a solid hookup that came up headshaking - the works
if you will. The buck slid downstream and Renee's line shot back
at her. RATS!
Once we relocated the buck in the next pool, Renee
got back at it. I noticed a 2nd, smaller steelhead holding in the
vicinity of the larger buck. Renee kept making presentation after
resentation and FINALLY hooked up again - with the LITTLE ONE!
It put up a great fight, jumping several times!
Renee slid it onto the shale bank...I got it unhooked and got my
hands around it, only to have it pop right back out like wet soap.
Well, the skunk was off, but no picture for Renee!
Four casts later, out of nowhere, Renee hooked
up again...WITH THE VERY SAME SKIPPER! What the heck?! This time,
it put up JUST AS GOOD A FIGHT as the first time around. Thankfully
we didn't make the same mistake twice - we got our PICK (quickly,
before it flopped back in the water again!)
Well, meanwhile, the big buck was still sitting
there. Renee is still learning that if you are patient and present
enough times to a fish, it WILL get agitated and strike. All told,
she had probably been working this fish for an hour and 15 minutes
now...FINALLY, a SOLID hookup and the fish exploded at the tail
end of the pool.
I coached Renee a bit on the fight, making sure
she didn't clamp down (we're only fishin' crappy 8lb. Vanish which
is more like godo 4lb line). We started looking for a place to beach
this fish (for some reason we went without a net today) - the best
spot was across stream which gave me ample time to get a bunch of
pics. As Renee made her way across, I noticed that, surprise surprise,
her little skipjack was FOLLOWING her.
When it was all said and done, there was Renee
with a "monster" PA steelie! Of course, like most all
our steel, it was released to go again. Granted, when we left to
head back downstream, a couple of anglers were already "eyeing"
it over even though they had probably just watched us catch it AND
Renee was tired and ready for a break, so she took
over camera duties while I again worked the logjam. I was determined
to leave with a fish picture in the camera.
It took a while, but I managed a nice hookup with
a fresh hen. She dove deep and threw every trick in the book at
me in an attempt to get away. Several times I had her inches away
from being beached, only to have her turn and surge for the deep
brush again. I looked around and found a calmer place to beach her
out of the current and started working her towards the tail of the
pool. The fight had gone on long enough, easily 10 minutes. I felt
she was ready, but she had one last trick. As I brought her to the
surface to slide her to shore, she turned and ran downstream, over
the logjam that formed the tail end of the deep pocket, pluging
over the waterfall and finally breaking off. @#$@#$%T#@$@#$%@%!@#$!@#$!!!
I was finally done with 12 Mile for the day. We
headed up to North East, PA, and grabbed grub at the best little
PA hole-in-the-wall I've found - the New Harvest Restaurant and
Pub. 2 dozen wings later (Renee got the butter garlic, I got the
"Gold") we were ready to fish again. But where?
I contemplated 20 mile, but when I got on the highway
I found myself heading west, not east. Shrug...guess I'm heading
west then. Renee wanted to see a bit of downtown Erie. We happened
to find our way to Cascade Creek, and got out to take a quick look.
To my surprise, this time there was ACTUALLY a steelhead in this
In the end, we ended up heading to Elk Creek. We
checked out some access points I hadn't been to before. Overall,
lots of anglers were out, many were heading back (calling it a day),
when we were just getting on the water.
We hiked downstream a few bends to find that there
were probably more anglers than fish in most spots. Finally, we
got to a tailout that was holding a few fish. The gentleman upstream
was more than happy to share the water with us (thank you!).
Renee and I each quickly hooked up with (and lost)
fish. Other than a strange looking sucker (at least not a species
I've seen before) the action was pretty slow. I suspect our mutual
angling did more to push the fish upstream, right into the drift
of the angler who was kind enough to welcome us to fish :)
As the last light faded, I found a trio of angry
bucks holding tight to an undercut. I fished right up until the
very end without seeing any more action. By the time we arrived
back at the car, it was dusk.
After hours saw us making the 2 hour drive back
west, through Cleveland to ASM's new digs on the Vermillion River.
It was great to get to spend an evening around the campfire with
Mr. and Mrs. ASM + ASM's bro, ASM Senior and one of ASM's former
coworkers. We all turned in relatively early - tomorrow we'd be
getting up early for the annual West Side Steelhead Clowns outing.