Our main man, Jeff Liskay, is back on the podcast, and he’s going to take a deep dive into how to build a roadmap to success when chasing Great Lakes steelhead.

We cover all things Great Lakes from gear, fly, big water, and of course, swinging flies. We also hear a classic Elk Creek story from the Great Lakes Dude. Don’t miss out on this one.

Great Lakes Steelhead with Jeff Liskay. Hit play below!


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(Read the Full Transcript at the bottom of this Blog Post)


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Great Lakes Steelhead Show Notes with Jeff Liskay

00:39 – We start the episode with a story of Jeff’s first trip to Elk Creek in Pennsylvania in 1982.

05:00 – Jeff shares his insights on how to build a roadmap to success when chasing Great Lakes steelhead and salmon.

06:00 – Each river has its signature and personality that you need to understand, from the flows to the run, timing, and everything in between. There are a lot of different factors before you even wet your fly. The first thing is that you have to understand and make a mindset of what’s a realistic catch rate.

09:42 – There are two distinct stream characters in the Great Lakes.


12:14 – Success starts before you leave the house. Your job is to put together a game plan way before your trip. The most successful anglers are the ones who can adjust the quickest during the day.

15:12 – Clarity is going to be a big part too. Michigan streams generally stay fairly clear. But  Wisconsin streams, Ohio streams, and some New York streams, they can get fairly turbid.

18:16 – You have to make a report card for each river before deciding to fish one.



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20:15 – The tributaries are going to be your go-to during super high water events. They warm quicker in the spring, so the fish will gravitate to them. They also cool quicker in the fall time, so a lot of times, there’s not enough water for the fish to go up them in the fall.

20:56 – Water temperatures are very key. But water temperature is in relationship to the other rivers that are surrounding the river you plan on fishing.

22:57 – The hardest thing to overcome is the competition with fellow anglers. Jeff’s tip is to fish areas with fewer anglers.

Jeff’s Rule of Three

  1. Execute your plan.
  2. Evaluate it.
  3. Adjust if it doesn’t work.

35: 14 – Get yourself a map, find the tributaries, and divide the whole river into three sections. Always start in the lowest section possible.

Photo via https://www.greatbigcanvas.com/view/map-of-the-great-lakes,1905438/

42:49 – Take breaks and observe the water you are fishing. The stream always gives up its secret if you look upstream.

47:10 – If you have a question, send them over to Dave at dave@wetflyswingpodcast.com or Jeff.

You can find Jeff on Instagram @greatlakesdude

Facebook Jeff Liskay

Visit his website at Great Lakes Fly Fishing

great lakes steelhead

Related Podcast Episodes

Great Lakes Dude #1 with Jeff Liskay – Steelhead, Walleye, Lake Erie, Fly Fishing

Read the Full Podcast Transcript Below


great lakes steelhead
Photo via https://www.instagram.com/greatlakesdude/

Great Lakes Steelhead Conclusion with Jeff Liskay

In this episode, Jeff Liskay shares his insights on how to build a roadmap to success when chasing Great Lakes steelhead and salmon.

He also provides valuable tips on adjusting your game plan, finding the right tributaries, and overcoming competition with other anglers. We can’t wait to hit the waters and try out Jeff’s Rule of Three.



  1. Great session! Thank you very much. Always a pleasure and learning experience to hear Jeff’s take and guidance shared whether in person or on a podcast. Appreciated.