Chagrin River Bite To Life

By Ben See | 03/09/2013

The Chagrin River twists and turns 47.9 miles through three Northeast Ohio counties before ending at Lake Erie. Flowing through Steelhead Alley, the Chagrin is one of five rivers that the Ohio Division of Wildlife stocks on an annual basis with a Manistee strain of steelhead. The lower stretch boasts great public access and is popular with anglers. Unlike previous years, Mother Nature has been kind to us this year, providing open water all season.

While an array of baits catch steelhead spawn sacs are most popular. In Steelhead Alley wading is recommended. My buddies and I walk the stream with 11’-15’ rods using a float, split shot and BorX O Fire cured eggs.


With water temps at or near freezing our steelhead are in more of a holding mode. They aren’t pushing upriver. I’m finding a lot of fish in the belly and tail outs of deep pools and less in the faster headwaters. I’m expecting a push of fish in the coming weeks as temperatures warm and Steelhead Alley sees their spring run.

Anglers willing to battle blowing wind and freezing temperatures have been rewarded with nice fish. Winter typically reduces the number of people on the streams, which allows the opportunity to fish great water that hasn’t seen much fishing pressure.


The Chagrin River has seen several pushes of fish this winter. And, there’s plenty of fish in the system right now for anglers looking to wet a line. Optimal fishing for those using eggs has been flows 350 cfs and lower. Keep an eye on flows. Due to a shale and sandstone bottom, the Chagrin can receive a dose of heavy rain and be blown out only to be fishable again within a few days.

My hot bait cure has been Natural BorX O’ Fire. However, I also bring along eggs done up in Natural Fire Brine. Using this bait cure along with chartreuse spawn sac netting has been the ticket. Meanwhile, this season when the bite has slowed switching to a BorX O’ Fire red cure seems to re-ignite the action.


If the reports from anglers on the Chagrin River this winter are any signs of what is to come this spring is going to be fast and furious. The Chagrin is capable of giving up fish in the double digits. As soon as the spring run starts you can be sure I’ll be there to experience the action!

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