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Where Have All the Steelhead Gone?

Great Lakes catch rates are plummeting and anglers don't know why.

Where Have All the Steelhead Gone?

The Lake Erie steelhead fishery in Pennsylvania alone was worth $40 million in 2016, but catch rates are plummeting. And the bad news isn’t just in Pennsylvania. Fly fishers all over the Great Lakes are wondering what’s happening to a world-class fishery. (Jack Hanrahan photo)

Marty Grazco has been President of the Pennsylvania Steelhead Association (PSA) for seven years, caught his first steelhead in 1976, and lives less than a mile from what some would consider to be the highest concentration of steelhead in Pennsylvania—the lower section of Walnut Creek. Stream improvement projects sponsored by the PSA, monumental stocking efforts by the Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission (PFBC) and 3-C-U Trout Association, and a set of high falls found just upstream from the Manchester Hole that blocks migration, make this PFBC Access Area a heavily fished destination for in- and out-of-state anglers.

Grazco likes to do it the old-fashioned way, casting...

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