Fall is beginning of time to target steelhead in Pa.

HARRISBURG  — Fall rains in northwest Pennsylvania have raised water levels in Lake Erie’s tributary streams, luring anxious anglers eager for a shot at catching an elusive steelhead during their annual spawning runs.

“Labeled as ‘silver shadows,’ ‘chromers’ or ‘silver bullets,’ steelhead are some of the most respected and hard-to-find fish you will ever chase,” said Fish and Boat Commission Executive Director John Arway. “Known for their strength, acrobatics and survival, these fish provide an experience like no other. Steelhead fishing is an experience all anglers should place on their list of things to do.”

From October through April, steelhead travel from the depths of Lake Erie to spawn in nearby tributary streams. The average adult weighs 6 to 11 pounds and measures 24 inches.

The Fish Commission estimates that nearly a quarter-million steelhead fishing trips are made to the area every year, generating more than $9.5 million in economic activity for the community.

“Anglers travel to these cold waters to get the feel of the season’s first strike,” Arway added. “This hooks many for life and sends reels screaming, hearts racing and trout dancing across the water, luring anglers time and time again.”

Anglers can target steelhead on more than a dozen tributary streams with miles of public access. The commission’s interactive maps provide key information to access the areas, including GPS coordinates and parking.

Plus, the popular Walnut Creek Marina, which has been under construction, is expected to reopen at Thanksgiving. However, anglers can fish the creek along the parking lot and upstream.

For more information about fishing for steelhead, visit the PFBC’s website. For current water conditions reported by anglers, visit http://www.fisherie.com/fishing-reports.

The PFBC has been managing the steelhead fishery on Lake Erie for more than 40 years, stocking over a million juvenile steelhead each year. The agency continually works on improving access to Lake Erie tributaries through property acquisitions and easements using angler funds acquired through the Erie permit and Erie/trout/salmon combo permit. The PFBC also makes funds available for property acquisitions and easements through the Erie Access Improvement Grant Program.