Fishing Reports
April 22nd, 2015
Scott Smith , April 22, 2015

Happy Earth Day!

The steelhead fishing is absolutely incredible! Go as soon and as often as possible.

PS-watch the gauges as there are numerous little micro storms predicted this week. However, as of now, the fishing looks incredible all week!


Every trib is in great shape and holding great numbers of fish from bright chrome jacks to dark hold overs, in all types of water, in every stage of their annual journey, and throughout the length of every system. Even the Grand and “hoga” should fish this week.

Water temperatures are perfect and the forecast predicts great Steelheading well into May!

April 20th, 2015
Scott Smith, April 20, 2015

The Back Packers Shop Fishing Report

Keep fishing! There are lots of big, bright, beautiful and aggressive steelhead everywhere. New fish are coming in, other fish are staging, some fish are on the gravel, and others are dropping back. They are in every ditch and trib they can get to and people are successfully catching these fish using every method possible. What an awesome time and place to be a steelheader!

Go shoot a turkey in the AM, catch a bunch of steelhead mid-day and then toss a streamer in the lower stretches for the first smallmouth of the year. How great is that!

The Vermillion, Rocky and Elk are all fishing really well! The levels remain good but be prepared for a little stain depending on where these little cloud bursts hit. Regardless, the fishing is outstanding and should remain great throughout the week. The sucker run is also in full swing and the smallmouth are sure to follow.

The Chagrin, Grand and Conneaut are all a bit high today but should fish well by Tuesday PM and be in great shape by Wednesday. There are an incredible number of fish in these tribs and the fishing should be awesome later in the week! Again, the suckers are plentiful and sucker spawn has been an awesome producer.

With a little luck, the Cat and maybe even the Cuyahoga should fish by late Thursday and Friday AM.

By all accounts, we should get another push of fresh fish and have outstanding fishing until mid- May. By then, you can catch tons of smallmouth on mid- size poppers until about the Fourth of July.

Another nine weeks of great fun in our very own rivers and streams!

April 17, 2015
Scott Smith , April 17, 2015

Fish now or forever hold your peace!!!!


Steelhead Alley:

Temperature, turbidity, lunar phase, cfs, forecast and the migration stage are perfect and it’s a Friday!

Fish now! Fish Saturday! Fish Sunday! Who knows? With rain in the forecast for Sunday PM, Monday may be a blow out.

It does not get any better than the next couple of days. Everything will fish (except maybe the “hoga”) and I would even swing the Grand starting this PM.

MI Steelhead:

Fish now!




Go fish the Mad, Clear Fork and Apple-they are all perfect and the bugs are coming to life!


Have a great opener! Weather, conditions and hungry trout will make for a great weekend!


They are just starting to look up but the streamer bite is fairly solid.


Presque Isle:

There are pike around-go play! Bring a kayak and explore-so fun! The smallies are coming soon!


Small Mouth:

There are an inordinate number of suckers in the tribs and the smallies will follow soon! This is the most overlooked fishing opportunity in Ohio. Nothing like a four weight, a hand full of poppers and hundreds angry and hungry smallmouth that crush the top water flies. Even better, hardly anybody knows we have a huge run of smallmouth and there is literally nobody else on the rivers.

April 15, 2015
Scott Smith , April 15, 2015

File your returns and go fishing!


So many fish and so little time!

Steelhead Alley:

The East Branch of the Rocky, Black, Ashtabula, Conneaut and Mile Creeks are fishing well and conditions are great today. The Conneaut has an excellent number of fish throughout the system!

The Vermillion, Rocky and Chagrin are slightly high and stained but should be fishable late this afternoon and ideal Thursday. There are lots of fish in these rivers!

The Cuyahoga, Grand and Cat are out until at least Friday. However, the feeder creeks to these larger streams are loaded with fish!

Get out there and fish this afternoon and Thursday. With rain predicted for Thursday, who knows what the conditions will be this weekend.

MI: The West Side Rivers are fishing well with a new push of fish coming in on this high water. This should be a great a great few days in the great state of Michigan!



Apple, Clear Fork and Mad River are fishing well. The Hendrickons have just started to pop and the fish are looking up! Dry fly season-love it!


Enjoy the opener! It should be awesome.


The streamer bite is on and the Hendrickson’s should start next week. What a great hatch! They hatch from 2-4:30 PM regardless of the weather and the fish love them! Then, start looking for epic spinner falls the first week of May with big fish going crazy all before 9:00 PM. This is the only bug that allows you to catch big browns on a dry fly and get a respectable night’s sleep-that is awesome!


Presque Isle:

Go catch a few pike in any of the bays and creeks! Bring a kayak and spend the day! It is sooo fun!

April 14th, 2015
Scott Smith, April 14, 2015

That weather system caught just enough of Steelhead Alley to blow out our tribs. They are high and muddy. Stay home today!

The only major trib that is currently fishable is the Conneaut. However, this river spikes a little later than the others due to the large drainage area. Therefore, if history repeats itself, this river will blow later today.

The Ashtabula, Black and Vermillion should be fishable by tomorrow. The Rocky and Chagrin may be fishable by tomorrow afternoon and certainly by Thursday.

The Grand may be fishable by Friday as long as the anticipated Thursday rain is light.

Sometimes these windows of fishable conditions are really short! This past Sunday fished fairly well and Monday was unbelievable in certain sections of the rivers and awful in other sections. And, then we got hit just enough to ruin a perfectly planned tax relief fishing day!

Stay tuned.

April 12th, 2015
Scott Smith, April 12, 2015

The Vermillion, Rocky, Chagrin, Conneaut, Elk, Walnut and Mile Creeks will fish well today!

Go now! This is the best window for fishing of the year!

The fish are here, the weather is beautiful, the conditions are great and most fisherman will think the rivers are still blown out and will stay home.

The Vermillion, Rocky, Chagrin, and Conneaut are all at about 500 cfs and average clarity at the moment. However, they are fishable now, clearing very fast and should be ideal by this afternoon and tomorrow.

The higher flows and darker conditions are a blessing with the high and bright sun! Embrace the adversity and use it to your advantage. Low and clear conditions are coming fast and they are much more challenging.

These tribs should all fish well for the next three to four days and the larger tribs should be fishable by Wednesday.

Carpe Diem!

April 10th, 2015
Scott Smith, April 10, 2015


The rivers are a mess!

The fish are spawning and having a great time in the mud. The fisherman are frustrated!

Consider all rivers and streams unfishable through the weekend.

The great news is that you will not miss any fishing opportunities while attending Castapalooza. Go see Jeff Liskay, Jerry Darkes, Greg Senyo and a host of fly fishing experts at this fifth annual fly fishing extravaganza. This event is from 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM Saturday on the Grand River at Lake Metroparks Hidden Valley Reservation. Just take Route 528 South off I-90 and follow the signs.

The specifics:

The Vermillion, Black, Rocky, Chagrin, Ashtabula, Grand and Conneaut are blown out through the weekend.

The Elk, Walnut and Mile Creeks may be fishable Saturday but the fish numbers are low.

The Cat is blown for a week.


Ohio Trout:

Clear Fork and Mad are blown out through the weekend.

Look for BWO and Hendricksons when the water clears!



The steelhead fishing has been excellent and the water conditions are very good.

Trout season is very close and look for size 18 BWO’s and the first rising fish early next week. Then the Hendrickson’s will start to usher in the awesome dry fly season!

April 8th, 2015
Scott Smith, April 08, 2015

Stay home-the rivers are high and muddy.

However, there are excellent numbers of fish in all of the tributaries and we are getting another major push this week!

We will update this page when conditions change.


Note: the only fishable waters today are the Conneaut, Elk and Walnut. Chances are good that they will also blow out this PM.

The forecast is for rain all this week and more next week. Yikes.


They're Back!
Reece Fabbro, April 06, 2015


Scott was lucky enough to be out fishing today.

Here's a pic he sent over...


The rest of the boys organized the swinging flies in the shop today. Are you a swinger?

If so, you better get in to see some of these beauties!


April 3, 2015
Scott Smith, April 03, 2015

If you knew that Mother Nature was planting approximately 10,000 Rainbow trout between 18” and 30” in each of Northern Ohio’s major tributaries over the next 48 hours, would you go fishing?

If you knew that Mother Nature would allow these fish to chase our flies for the next thirty days and then they would disappear back into Lake Erie, would you go fishing soon?

I thought so!

To date, the fishing has been average. The water temperatures have been cold and we have had very little liquid precipitation. We have not had any major push of fish to date. However, the game just changed!

Mother Nature’s stocking program is well underway and being greatly assisted by the higher flows and warmer temperatures. Unfortunately, most of the major tributaries will be unfishable through the weekend-just consider them under construction!

We will update this report as the rain moves through the area and we can evaluate Mother Nature’s handy work.

March 28th, 2015
Scott Smith, March 28, 2015

Fish soon!

The Mile Creeks, Elk and Walnut are fishable now. However, the water temperatures are low and the fish are lethargic. The sun will warm these tribs quickly and fishing will improve as each hour passes. The fish are spread out and there are large sections of each river without many fish. However, they are there. So, keep moving!

The Vermillion, Rocky, Chagrin and Conneaut will be fishable this afternoon. The water clarity is currently 12-18” on the upper Chagrin and improving rapidly. The feeder creeks are running clear so expect rapid improvement in the fishing conditions. Again, water temperatures are low (mid to high 30’s) and there is shelf and skim ice on the smaller tribs. These water temperatures will increase dramatically with the bright skies and warmer air temperatures and fish numbers will improve exponentially this week. Again, if you are not catching fish, keep moving. The pods are scattered and there are many sections of each river without large numbers of fish.

There are definitely hold over and some new fish throughout each system. The numbers are not great and as usual, the first run includes the smaller jacks. These fish are eager to take a fly and really fun to catch. They are great slump busters and a sure sign that bigger are on their way!

Look for good fishing and conditions through Thursday of this week with each day being better than the previous.

With the warmer temperatures and warm rain predicted this Thursday and Friday, we should see a nice push of fresh fish by the end of next week. However, there are definitely fishable numbers now and who knows what next weeks’ rain will do to the river conditions or how long the high water will last.

Catch them early and often and enjoy the best week of the spring season so far!

PS-the Clear Fork, Mad River and Apple Creek will also heat up this week. The Northerns should start to show at Presque Isle and both the migratory and non-migratory fish in Michigan and Pennsylvania should start in earnest. Also, watch for the Hendrickson’s to start by the middle part of April. This is one of the best hatches of the season!


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