Thursday, January 17, 2008

Ohio Chrome...The Manistees

Well It's official. I'm on the board for 2008. With a reluctance to slip back into the day to day doldrums of working life and the recent warming trend/resultant thaw I decided a distraction as in order. With the Erie tribs on the drop from substantial rises it was certain that fresh fish would have entered their systems. My quarry was Chrome Manistee strain steelhead and my destination was Erie's South Shore.
My morning started out at the usual road trip time of 3:30 am. A quick shower and off to the boarder where I had to explain to the customs officer why I was entering his country at 4:00 am to go fishing in January. When travelling with Norland there seldom is a worry at the border but when alone I often wonder how it will play out. After I clear customs it's a fairly straight forward 3.5hr shot south to the Erie tribs of Ohio. This trip was the test run for a Christmas present I had received and I must say it is an amazing tool.

Prior to this outing I had only fished Ohio once and was anxious to return under favourable conditions. The first adventure was timed poorly and I was keen for some redemption and of course the Manistees.
From all accounts Ohio has built quite a reputation for itself in recent times. I would even venture forth and say it has become the new Disneyland fishery for numbers and quality stockers. I have received numerous accounts of 50+ fish days when timed right and have also been told it is not all that uncommon. "Ridiculous" is a term that comes to mind when I try and fathom those numbers. I have experienced crazy days on a PA trib and have been cautioned that it can ruin a man and steer him solely towards the numbers game. There is a great loss when the game is turned strictly towards the numbers and the entire experience is compromised. However, I must admit it truly is a treat for a Huron steelheader to experience a plethora of quality chrome. Throughout the day I wondered how an Ohio steelheader would mentally fare on a Huron Trib. Would they be able to enjoy themselves with the drastic reduction in numbers? I would like to think they would.
My experience this time was most enjoyable. The surroundings were enjoyable, the people very friendly, and the fish were present, accommodating, and beautiful.
I have to admit that Ohio lived up to the hype and has now become a serious option when I am looking for alternatives. I look forward to exploring more of her offerings and hope to do so in the coming weeks. I see we are in for some true winter weather over the next few days but I'm praying for a warming trend in the weeks that follow so I can get back out on the water and shake off the winter blues.
I am most certainly a blessed man when I can travel a few hours N, S, E, or W and have world class steelheading opportunities practically 9 months of the year :0)