Raindrops drummed the plastic skylight protruding from the roof over our bathroom. Whomever designed our house obviously had never tried to sleep through a drum class. But instead of being annoyed by the persistent pounding, I found it soothing. Early fall rains mean steelhead. During heavy rains the tributaries along Lake Erie quickly fill up with chocolate brown water -- the chocolate provided by the heavy clay soil of Northeast Ohio.
After a long, dry summer it will take many fall rains to restore the rivers to their normal levels. But even modest spikes in river flow will spur a fresh run of silver. Steelhead really aren’t picky and they are more than willing to run upstream and then drop back into the lake if either water levels or temperatures become less appealing.
The rains tell us it is time to tie on a new leader, restock the fly box and load the gear in the back of the fish car. It is time for steelhead commutes.