I am surprised that some of the other Great Lakers have not checked in on this subject. There is one river that has a nice summer run - the St. Joseph in Indiana/Michigan. It is a short drive away (unless you hit Chicago rush traffic). The best place to fish summer steelhead is in Indiana during the summer.
I suggest that you purchase Matt Supinski's book "Steelhead Dreams" to review his section on the St. Joseph River. Ripple Guide Service also guides in that area (although they promote smallmouth bass fishing during August).
If you are in pinch, shoot me an email. I have not fished the section between South Bend (Notre Dame) and Elkhart but am planning to do so this summer. If you promise not to laugh at my newbie spey casting I will glad to go out there with you.
That PS is a pretty strong statement, lets hear the evidence. Last year Bonneville Dam, the lowest on the Columbia, had 364,251 steelhead and 920,251 salmon pass upstream. There are several major rivers below that dam, so the total numbers are higher than this and this is just one river.
I would like to fish your area in the future to compare. You may have higher concentrations of fish than we do and need slightly different tactics to be most effective.
I will be the first person from the MW to say that we DO NOT have the kinds of runs that they get in the PNW. If you were to compare the top 5 or top 10 rivers in the MW for returns each year. With the top 5 or top 10 rivers in the PNW there would be no comparison! Dont get me wrong we do have some good fishing here in the MW but I think it is a little over rated when compared to the PNW or Alaska or Russia!
If you get a shot at the smallmouth, I would take it. They tend to average smaller than Steelhead but they are much more aggressive. I just use a lighter rod for them, something in the 6/7/8 range. We have some good smallmouth runs in some of the Lake Erie tribs in the spring. They mix in with the Steelhead and make for some interesting fishing.
A forum community dedicated to Spey casting, fishing, flies, and enthusiasts. Come join the discussion about trails, licenses, fishing, game laws, styles, reviews, optics, accessories, classifieds, and more!