Next up in the our mini-series on Steelhead Alley is Conneaut Creek where steelhead run some 75 miles from the mouth of the river along Lake Erie in Conneaut, Ohio to the the headwaters in Dickonsburg, Pennsylvania.
Conneaut Creek is a high-quality stream that runs very clear due it's Chagrin shale and gravel bottom that minimizes suspended sediment. The Conneaut is recognized nationally for its steelhead fishing due in-part because it is stocked from both Ohio and Pennsylvania.
Conneaut Creek in Ashtabula County was officially designated a State Wild and Scenic River on October 6, 2005. The designation provides state protection to a 21-mile stretch of the creek from the Ohio-Pennsylvania border to the former Penn Central Railroad bridge in the City of Conneaut on the Lake Erie shore.
Conneaut Creek is similar to Pennsylvania's Elk Creek, but larger, and winds its way through urban areas, rural landscapes, valleys, and gorges in both Pennsylvania and Ohio. The "Conny" gets excellent returns of both fall-run Pennsylvania strain steelhead and spring-run Manistee strain steelhead as a result of stocking by both the Pennsylvania Boat and Fish Commission and Ohio's Department of Natural Resources.
If you are planning a trip to Conneaut Creek but are not sure where to go, a good place to start is the Ohio DNR Conneaut Creek Steelhead Trout Fishing Map which shows public access points.
Public access to Conneaut Creek in Ohio is limited to the Conneaut Harbor and the Lakeville Park Access off Center Road as most of the river flows through private farmlands and woodlands. Pennsylvania offers better public access, primarily at bridge crossings, and fewer anglers.
Conneaut Creek fishes best when the stream flow is between 150-350 cfs. The USGS Conneaut Creek flow gauge near Conneaut, OH provides real-time stream flow data and can be used to judge when to fish. The chart below shows the Conneaut Creek stream flow (in cfs) for the past seven days. Conneaut Creek usually takes about 3-4 days to clear and return to normal flows after a rainfall.
Ideal Flow (cfs)
Average Run-off Time
Anglers seeking big steelhead without big crowds may find Conneaut Creek made to order, especially late in the year (December) when fish have reached the remote upper portion of Pennsylvania's largest Lake Erie tributary.
Fun Fact: Conneaut's name comes from an Indian word for "place of many fish," or "place where snow lays in spring."
Ken is an avid fisherman of 40+ years who loves to explore and find new places to fish. He created DIY Fly Fishing to help you do the same.
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