Oh we have lots of wild steelies in a number of rivers and their fights are strong. Steelhead were stocked in Michigan rivers in 1880s and have been reproducing in a number of them since. Several rivers are all wild.
Their fights are strong but one thing to remember is that our GlL weather is colder than PNW, which means lower water temps and decreased fish metobilism especially in the winter months. River temps in 30s are the norm. Our rivers are narrower and not as fast as PNW rivers thus the GLs steelie does not have this advantage during the fight. Many of our rivers are sinuous, narrow, fast, with many log jams from the logging era. The steelies know how to run under them and sometimes over them.
Our rivers in general are spring creek in clarity, no glacial milky colored water like PNW. Lighter leaders are needed here most of the time so the fight of a ten pound steelhead on a 4 - 6 LB test leader is quite a challenge for the fly fisher.
It appears the GL steelhead runs are larger and more dependable than the PNW, however this has been a strange fall and winter to date due to low water flows and a dry fall and hot summer.
Check out the Matt Supinski - Steelhead Dreams book which gives an good overview of the GLs steelhead fishery and fly fishing tactics. It is only a year old so its information is current.
Welcome to the forumn if you decide to ever come out to Michigan or Wisconsin let us know and we can point you in the right direction. Me and a few others on this forumn have been fishing it for 20+ years.
If any more questions let us know.
Steelhead fishing is pretty good here otherwise I would have been flying out to the PNW by now a lot more
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