CONNEAUT — Ron McHenry, Nick Loprire and George Marsh were on the move Thursday morning, as were dozens of other anglers seeking the elusive steelhead trout in Conneaut Creek.
Loprire of Cortland made a series of graceful arcs with his rod and line as his bait searched the green water for its prey. None was to be found just below the Old Main Street bridge, so he and his fishing friends loaded their gear into an SUV and headed “into town” — a parking spot near the “tubes,” one of several hot spots inundated with fishermen Thursday.
The trio’s outing was one of many the fishermen plan to make to Ashtabula County this year. The drive is less than one hour, and the variety of fishing — from Pymatuning to Lake Erie and all the rivers and streams in between — make the county an attractive destination for the Mahoning Valley sportsmen.
George Marsh of Liberty said although he does some trout fishing, his favorite is the lake fish.
“I like best those fish that you eat, the walleye and perch,” Marsh said as he followed Loprire and McHenry back to the SUV.
Marsh said they had probably caught and released 30 steelhead by late morning, and with their success fairly strong, the men were debating the merits of splitting the cost of a room and staying overnight rather than driving home. It all depended on how well the fishing went the rest of the day.
Upstream from the arches, Ryan Russell of Lexington, Ky., and his friend, Greg Williams, also of Lexington, already had reservations at the Day’s Inn in Conneaut. Russell had just landed his first big one of the day with help from guide Ben Barger of Steelhead Alley Outfitters. Williams estimated that the fish weighed between 7 and 8 pounds. After Barger snapped several pictures of Russell with his trophy, the trout was released to the chilly water and the fly fishing resumed.