Pautzke Power in the Alley

By Ben See | 10/25/2011
Ohio and Pennsylvania’s Steelhead Alley is fickle at times. Its’ smaller streams are affected by a small amount of rainfall. Experienced anglers learn to be weathermen, reading USGS flow gauges and following weather radar maps. With that said, this fall season is shaping up to be the wettest on record. Days ago some stream systems were high and muddy, whereas other approached flood stage. The outlook for wetting a line was bleak for Steelhead Alley tributaries this past weekend.


Determined to overcome Mother Nature’s obstacles, I opted to drive east to Pennsylvania. Ohio wasn’t going to fish in the morning.  As the weekend game plan developed, I knew it was time to tap into the spare refrigerator down in the man cave where my secret stash of Pautzke cured eggs hides. I saw red, pink, and natural Borx O’ Fire cured eggs, but rather than choosing one color, I began tying up spawn sacs in every color. White, green, pink, purple and blue mesh netting was used in conjunction with the Pautzke cured king salmon eggs I acquired in Canada a few weeks back. After tying several hundred spawn sacs it was time for bed.

It was a restless night. I couldn’t get the thought of steelhead dancing out of my mind. The thought of the two-hour drive from here in Ohio to Pennsylvania and the possibility of the streams being too high to fish was making me toss and turn.  Nevertheless, the alarm went off long before the sun rose and I headed to PA. One way or another it was going to be a day to remember.


Arriving at Elk Creek in Erie, Pennsylvania, the anticipation of seeing the river conditions would make or break the day. A few friends and I geared up and got our first glimpse of the stream. With the headlamps shining into the water we instantly knew we had timed it perfect. The water clarity and flow was exactly what we hoped for. We endured the trek downstream in pitch darkness. I moved into position on one of my favorite holes and waited till daylight.


The first fish of the day was landed at daylight. Soon thereafter, we all landed steelhead. They couldn’t resist the BorX O’ Fire Pautzke cured eggs. It was one of those days where hours of fishing felt like minutes. Averaging 20 fish an hour between us, there was truly a lot of excitement in the air.  Navigating the stream we found new fish wanting the Borx O’ Fire eggs. Fly anglers nearby were experiencing limited success. In passing they would ask “What is the magic bait?” I replied, “BorX O Fire.”

As early morning turned to mid day, it was getting close to that time of working our way back to where we had originally dropped in at.  However, there was one last spot we wanted to try before heading back to our vehicles. As some fly guys looked on, our first drift through the run produced a double header.  After landing both, we called it a day, but not without a memorable tally; three anglers, double digits individually, triple digits as a group. Truly a trip to remember!  And, a reminder that in Steelhead Alley – never leave home without BorX O Fire cured eggs.


To see more footage of See’s banner day, please visit his YouTube video: