Fly fishing on the tributaries of Lake Erie

On a trip to the USA earlier this year I decided to visit the Niagara Falls in the State of New York. It was winter going into spring and Lake Erie which is above the falls was still covered over in ice.

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I managed to find a fly fishing guide and we spent two days fishing the tributaries of Lake Erie. After getting a local fishing permit we headed over to some of the smaller creeks flowing into the lake. There is a phenomenon called ‘lake effect snow’ in that area whereby moisture over Lake Erie forms into snow and falls in a localised area around the lake. The larger tributaries then have a tendency to be slightly milky which is not good for the fishing.

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The steelhead, in anticipation of spring, move out of the lake system and into the rivers at this time of the year. In two days I saw about 30 fish, most of them lying behind rocks or sitting in the rapids. I hooked about 15 fish and landed about 10.

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The tributaries have water that is relatively clear and so the favoured technique is to walk along the bank and look for fish in probable spots. Without the services of a guide I doubt I would have found any fish. The guide was also kind enough to lend me wading boots and a snow fishing jacket along with all the required fishing kit.

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It was definitely enjoyable experience fishing in snow and in temperatures as low as -15deg C.

– Yusuf Coovadia

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