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Meetings of the PA Steelhead Association

The PA Steelhead Association holds regular monthly meetings except in the summer months of May, June, July and also December at 7:00 pm on the second Wednesday of the month usually at the American Legion Post 773 at 4109 West 12th Street in Erie. This is on the south side of West 12th Street (State Route 5), just east of the Erie Airport. 

We meet in the banquet room (to the left when you walk in). We encourage and welcome members to attend to share their views and opinions and of course the local public is always welcome. Meetings focus on items pertaining to the mission of the club, fund raising events, and local public and political issues affecting our fisheries. The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission is frequently represented at our meetings for questions and recommendations and of course there is plenty of time to discuss fishing, local secrets, and the catch of the day. We usually have an interesting main presenter with a fishing related program.

General Membership Meeting

 General Membership Meeting on Zoom

WHEN: 2nd Weds of most months at 7:00 PM

We are trying something new for us! A general membership meeting online by Zoom. Click on the link under "Join Zoom Meeting" shortly before the meeting starts at 7:30pm!

We are also going to try to put our meetings on Facebook Live! 

Topic: PSA General Membership Meetings

Time: 07:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 810 8453 8949

Passcode: 257378

Find your local number:

The PSA is going high Tech!

If you never have used Zoom before, joining a Zoom meeting on a computer or mobile device, you can download Zoom from the Download Center. Otherwise, you will be prompted to download and install Zoom when you click a join link.

Meetings are typically held at 7:00 pm on the 2nd Wednesday of each month, August through April, except December typically at the American Legion Post #773,  4109 West 12th Street, Erie, PA. 

PA Steelhead Associaton Facebook page link below: 

Sara Stahlman was the Presenter for th PSA February 8th, 2023 Membership Meeting

Sara Stahlman - Sea Grant Extension Leader

This was Sara’s 6th presentation to our membership over the last 8 ½ years. She discussed what Sea Grant is and does and “What’s new in Aquatic Invasive Species? New Species, Projects, and Problems.” Sea Grant promotes the sustainability of Pennsylvania ecological and economical coastal and watershed resources through science based research education and outreach.

Sara first defined what AIS or Aquatic Invasive Species are: non-native species that cause harm, economically or ecologically. She then explained that often enter the great lakes through the ballast of cargo ships from the Caspian/Black Sea area. Efforts are being made to define ballast water standards and technology to test and enforce them.

Locally “hitchhiking” on boats, trailer & gear transfers AIS as well as people dumping aquariums and pets in the wild. Sea Grant has developed “Clean Your Gear” fact sheets, as well as “Landing Blitz” fact sheets on prevention steps:  

  1. Clean – inspect & clean any visible aquatic plants

  2. Draw – from bilge, livewell, motor, & bait containers or buckets    

  3. Dry – for at least 5 days; wipe with     

  4. Dispose of unwanted bait in TRASH

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Some of these fact sheets can be found at

A Bait ID guide has also been developed for invasive species bait fish, for fish such as the Round goby which are often mistaken for Sculpin:

January 11, 2023 Zoom Presenter:

Fran Verdoliva - “DEC Stocking Strategy and Programs for the salmon River Fishery


Born in Oswego, N.Y., Fran's early fascination with fish and fishing began with the waters around Lake Ontario, where much of his fisheries work continues.

His fly fishing commenced while he was young enough to run a paper route, the proceeds from which going mostly to support his growing tackle needs. As he was developing as a serious fly rodder, he found the Delaware River and as a still youthful angler, he spent much time there, on the Beaverkill and other Catskill waters.

Graduating from Syracuse University, he did further work in outdoor education and natural resource management, all while beginning to earn a living guiding and otherwise working in the fishing world. Fifteen more years of guiding nearly took Fran firmly into the private sector working in the fishing business. This valuable experience and his keen natural awareness of the great potential of the Great Lakes fishery all served him well. He was often called upon to counsel with the New York DEC on fisheries and natural resource matters. He became a specialist with DEC, leading to his work with the hatchery at Altmar.

Verdoliva inducted into Fly Fishing Hall of Fame | Sports |

Fran was instrumental in the first dam removal project on any Lake Ontario tributary. This venture soon proved to be key in restoring valuable Brook Trout spawning habitat to that stream.

He was responsible for the first "fly fishing only" section on public water in New York in 1989.

He was the lead person on a comprehensive habitat analysis of lands around Lake Ontario. His efforts as a spokesman for the fish pioneered the teaching of anglers that the big Pacific Salmon that entered the Lake Ontario feeder streams might indeed be taken using tradition al sport fishing methods and tackle. He championed this at a time when many said snagging of these fish be allowed to continue. Fran's ethics and his resolution were ultimately key in the implementation of the "no snagging" regulations in place today, and in providing the great fishing to be found around Lake Ontario today.

November 9, 2022 presenter - Jim Simonelli 

Jim Simonelli,  PSA member and past President of the 3-C-U Trout Club, discussed the Erie steelheading scene nearly from the beginning. He talked about some of the other amazing gentlemen that played a critical role in creating the wonderful fishery that we have here today.

He also talked about where we got our Steelhead from and how we ended up with today’s “fall run” version. Jim discussed how 3CU was very important to the initial growth of the fishery and for over fifty years has been supplementing the stockings.

He mentioned guys that were spending their time, money, and concerned effort on something they cared deeply about. Without guys like Bob Hetz, Jimmy Dallas, Gordon Bannister, and many others the fishery would not be what it is today.

PA Steelhead Association had a Special Evening
w/ George Daniel: November 3rd. 7:00PM
George Daniel: Euro-nymphing Techniques
for Great Lake Steelhead

This event was a Zoom presentation only!

George Daniel has been chasing anything that swims with his fly rod since age 6 and still has the same passion 37 years later. George has competed at a high level for Fly Fishing Team USA, earning individual back-to-back US National Fly Fishing Championship titles and ranked as high as 5th in the World. George has also served as captain for Fly Fishing Team USA and Coach for the US Youth Fly Fishing Team. He has competed and won other regional and national fly fishing competitions over the years. At age 30, George decided to give up competitive fly fishing and focus on what he enjoys most-teaching. 

George Daniel considers himself a teacher first and a fly fisher second. He has authored three best-selling fly fishing books and has authored dozens of articles for national fly fishing publications, including Fly Fisherman Magazine. He continues to travel the county conducting lessons and workshops for private groups, corporations, and conservation organizations. In 2022, George decided to come back to coach the US Youth Fly Fishing Team. He’s a brand ambassador for a number of fly fishing companies. He is currently the Director of the Joe Humphreys Fly Fishing Program at the Pennsylvania State University. George currently lives on an old farm homestead with his wife, two children, and a Boykin Spaniel. 


Presenting at the Oct. 12, 2022 membership meeting was Paul Krott.


   Paul had a power point presentation "Understanding water conditions and utilizing the USGS stream gauges for steelhead success."   Topics included information about the USGS stream gauges, how to read and utilize these water gauges to understand water conditions along with tips/tactics for different water conditions to be more successful when targeting steelhead.  Paul gave info on how often the gauges update and recommended levels for fishing our local creeks. He also had a discussion of seasonal changes and differences. Other gauge tools were discussed that show gauge location and water temp for example and how to use that info. It was a very informative and well organized presentation.


Presenting at the Sept. 14 member-ship meeting was Don Benczkowski. Don gave a talk on the “high water mark” and tried to decode the crazy Pennsylvania laws on beach access.

Don Benczkowski presentation on: Public Access in Lake Erie for the

Pennsylvania Steelhead Association membership meeting -September 14, 2022

Discussion points:

  • What is public access?
  • The Public Trust Doctrine
  • Navigable Waterways
  • Areas protected for public use
  • Protected activities
  •  Right of the public to access PA waterways

- Recreation

- Navigation

- Commerce

  • Has implications for access to waterways and their shorelines
  • Includes public lands (parks, boat launches, etc.) and shorelines of navigable waters

August 10, 2022 Presenter Matt Hrycyk (at the Lawrence Park Fish Club pavilion)

August 10th meeting Speaker was Matt Hrycyk one of the original founders of the PA Steelhead Association. Matt gave a great presenta-tion on the Art of Bait Fishing for Steelhead. He discussed how to cure eggs, make egg sacs and how to fish minnows and salted minnows. Matt was one of the early Steelhead fisherman in Erie who led the way to popularize the sport.


April 13, 2022 meeting scheduled presenter Amidea Daniel had to cancel due to illness. Don Benczkowski of the PA DEP Coastal Resource Management Program spoke about trying to provide better cell coverage on the Presque Isle Peninsula. He encouraged people that have had cell phone reception difficulties to attend a town meeting with Representative Pat Harkins. The meeting was on May 5th, at 5:00 @ the Tom Ridge Environmental Center (TREC). They were hoping to get testimonies from many people regarding the lack of good coverage and the safety hazards that causes. The plan is to then take that info to the cell phone companies and lobby to get better coverage. PSA Board of Directors and Officers Name John Hall President, Chris Larson Vice President, Chris Fatica Treasurer, Ryan Novatnack Secretary. Board Members are Dan Beck, Ariadne Capotis, Roger Latimer, Marie Scalera, Skip Simmons, Karl Weixlmann, & Sam Zacour.

March, 2022 Presenter Jeff Blood highlights

Jeff Blood's presentation was very interesting to listen to as a relatively new Steelhead angler. I had no idea the internet caused such a boom in Steelhead fishing in the late 90s. Most likely, because I was perch fishing with family supervision at that time in life! It made me think of what social media has further promoted with regard to traveling to fisheries across the world. It is a wonderful fishing experience here in Steelhead Alley, but it is indeed more pressured and more renowned for its fish than in prior times. He stressed the importance of public access and the removal of impediments to Steelhead migration. Moreover, if the Ashtabula River removed a concrete barrier in an upper stretch of the river it would add tens of miles of fishable water and could potentially better spread out angler pressure. Mr. Blood shared that his "White Death" fly and "Blood's Dot" were flies that escaped his inner circle of friends and became regionally famous. He invented those patterns by spending time scientifically analyzing his surroundings in the Steelhead streams. He showed us many pictures of fish eggs from varying species. He also showed us Emerald Shiners and how, in all actuality, they are not quite emerald and certainly not bright green. One little nugget from his talk, and I have heard the fly tyer Nick Pionessa speak on something similar, is that many variations of his highly productive patterns exist today, and even more of those imitations are way too overdressed and do not fish how Mr. Blood intended them to. Mr. Blood discussed the importance of translucency with his egg material. Mr. Blood also discussed the properties of his "frog hair tippet" that separated it from competitors. If you ever break-off when you don't think you should have--blame that tippet! It very well may have had a minute imperfection that caused it to break below its test strength. It was nice to hear Seaguar makes a great fishing line--that is the current brand he cites as near 'nuff. All in all, we learned that catch rates for skilled Steelhead fisherman are well into the double-digits. Especially if Mr. Blood has the entire day to while away on the stream! Thank you for speaking to us Wednesday evening, Mr. Blood!

Our February, 2022 speaker, Karl Weixlmann, gave an interesting presentation on “Adjusting to Water Conditions Throughout the Seasons.” His presentation included PowerPoint slides that that were displayed in the Zoom format. He also answered question form those in attendance on line. 


December 14th, 2021 presenter was Tom Fuhrman, Founder and Executive Director of the Lake Erie Region Conservancy from 2001 till 2018 and currently a board member.

Tom Fuhrman served on several boards and committees dealing with Great Lakes water issues. He is a former Mayor of Lake City. Tom was the Founder and Executive Director of the Lake Erie Region Conservancy from 2001 till 2018 and currently a board member. The Lake Erie Region Conservancy has preserved and protected about 1800 acres since it was formed in 2000.

They are still promoting cooperation between government agencies and the private groups to protect natural areas in our Great Lake region!

Tom was instrumental in the procurement of lands with the Lake Erie Region Conservancy. A long time are public land steward, Tom has worked on projects like acquiring the land  that became The Bluffs State Park! Tom, as Executive Director of the Lake Erie Region Conservancy received a Special Recognition Award from the PSA at the 2018 Fall Run Banquet.


November 9th, 2021 Presenter was Dan Pastore

Dan Pastore filled in as a presenter last month as our scheduled presenter took ill. Dan  is the District 1 commissioner for the PFBC.  Dan discussed the new creel regulations as they effect Tout and Steelhead. “All the proposed changes passed with the exception of reducing the creel limit for Lake Trout, which remained at 2. So for steelhead, the creel limit will be 3 all year, rather than 3 during the extended season and 5 during the regular trout season. In addition, the minimum size will be 15” at all times.”

He also discussed briefly the Brood Stocking program. Sam Zacour then gave a short presentation on the involvement of the PSA and Rich Sherwin in getting access to the water at Veterans Park . A slide show was then played of the Brood Stock sliding from the truck down to the water.


 October 13th, 2021 Membership Meeting! 

Presenters were our newest board members Ari Capotis and Marie Scalera 

Ari and Marie will had a slideshow presentation. The link between their presentations is information about clubs of like-minded people. They discussed fishing from a ladies' perspective.

Marie was born in Ireland. Her father was in the Air Force so she said “I grew up an Air Force brat living in a different country every 2-3 years. Worked in advertising for several years.” Marie has just begun her Steelhead experience therefore Marie is going to discuss her participation in Sisters on the Fly. It is an all female, social outdoor adventure group. Activities range from camping, hiking, canoeing, and fishing all the way to holiday luncheons. SOF was originally founded by two fly-fishin' sisters in Montana. They have a ton of fun together, girls only. 

Ariadne is an Erie native with a passion for the outdoors. She has been steelhead fishing since she was in grade school. She graduated from Allegheny College with a degree in English & Managerial Economics in 2016. She joined the Pennsylvania Steelhead association in 2018 and was elected onto the board in 2021. She currently resides in Erie with her boyfriend Daniel and their Giant Schnauzer, Tuukka. 

Ari’s presentation touched on how she finds a spot, providing resources/information for people to explore at their own pace. She discussed publicly available websites, and programming for steelheading Erie County. Ari’s presentation closed with a reminder about PFBC programming this fall for women interested in steelhead fishing. 

September 8th,2021 Membership meeting 

We reserved the Millcreek Legion outdoor pavilion for our September 8th  membership meeting.  It sits right behind the main building, it's very nice. All the garage doors open including the one on the west end. There is plenty of room for our needs.  There are picnic tables inside and attached restrooms to the pavilion.   Thanks to Rich Sherwin and Chris Fatica for helping to secure the Pavilion!               

September 8th, presenter Tom Cermak of the Coastal Outreach Specialist of Pennsylvania Sea Grant, joined Pennsylvania Sea Grant in 2012, and works on projects pertaining to sustainable land-use development, open space and recreational land conservation, and water quality improvement.

He gave a super presentation about all the good things Sea Grant does to improve the environment around streams and the lake shore. Our membership is keenly interested in all efforts that maintain and improve habitat for returning steelhead. 

Tom discussed specifically a stream enhancement project on Cascade Creek.

He showed us pictures and provided more information than what sea grant had already published regarding the project. He discussed sediment quite a bit and the benefit of creating riparian zones and such to prevent siltation on the streams after storm water run off.

August Membership Appreciation Meeting

When: August 11, 2021 at 7:00PM

Where: The Brugger House at Avonia Beach (Trout Run)

We are pleased to announce that we re-introduced our regular membership meetings this year, beginning with our kick off Membership Appreciation Meeting in August.  We met at the Brugger House at Avonia beach.  Meeting started at 7:00PM. 

Our guest Speaker was Sara Stahlman, Extension Leader with PA Sea Grant.  She spoke on the state of invasive species in the Lake Erie waterways, as well as her recent research on climate changes and its effects on our Lake Erie area. 

lman gave super presentation about invasive species and climate change and how both contribute to problems in our Erie waters.

Her knowledge and professionalism was completely evident in the enthralled reaction and enthusiasm of her audience.

This was at least the 3rd or 4th time Sara presented to the club and we welcome

The meeting was catered by Teresa’s Deli,  Non-alcoholic drinks were provided. (BYOB for other).  We were excited to see everyone as we continue to re-acclimate back into our normal lives.          


Our March 11th, 2021 PSA meeting presenters were Andy Reed and Mike Rinkevitch.  They discussed Ticks in Erie county.

Andy Reed has a background in Wildlife Biology and works as an Environmental Protection Specialist with the Erie County Department of Health and is a member of the Northwest Pennsylvania Tick Task Force. 

Mike Rinkevitch is a lifelong outdoorsman.  He is an Environmental Protection Specialist and has worked for the Erie County Department of Health for over thirty years

They provided a brief overview of the ticks found in Northwestern PA, prevention of tick bites and tick-borne disease, and the symptoms and signs of Lyme Disease.

Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission fisheries biologist Chuck Murray was our speaker this on February 12th

Chuck’s presentation addressed “The State of Lake Erie Fisheries”

Chuck will spoke about the populations of the game fish in Lake Erie including walleye, bass, perch lake trout and of course steelhead and brown trout.

He gave an assessment of the forage fish abundance and how it can affect all of the various game fishes.

The fish commission under Chuck’s supervision has been monitoring the migration tendencies of our walleye population by tracking im-pulses from transmitters implanted on numbers of walleye. 

January 8th Presenter                                  

PA Steelhead Association officer Ryan Novatnack presented on the PSA involvement with the Women’s Intro to Steelhead Program.

On November 2nd and 3rd the Tom Ridge Environmental Center at entrance to Presque Isle Bay held host to PFBC’s 2nd annual “Women’s Intro to Steelhead” Program.  The PA Steelhead Association, along with Pennswood’s West Trout Unlimited and the Fly Fishers International (FFI), helped to make this event another great success.  The program saw 31 participants from across the state gather in Erie, PA over the weekend. 

Ryan did his presentation on the basics of introductory Steelhead fishing.

December Program Presenter was Sara Stahlman, Extension Leader, Pennsylvania Sea Grant

Sara Stahlman, Extension Leader, joined Pennsylvania Sea Grant in 2006 and became extension leader in July, 2017. Sara is responsible for providing statewide leadership and management for the Pennsylvania Sea Grant extension program in several key areas including water quality, climate change, fisheries, invasive species, waterway and land-use planning. Throughout her career Sara has engaged with local, national, and international audiences by providing presentations and organizing stakeholder workshops, and through the development of successful products and programs. Sara developed two aquatic invasive species field guides which have been distributed to field biologists and agencies in more than 25 states and two Canadian provinces. She earned her bachelor’s in biology with a minor in psychology from Penn State Behrend, and her master’s degree in biology from Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania

Sara’s topics were 1.) how climate change could affect the Great Lakes, the fish and fishing.

2.) How the Asian Carp would affect the Great Lakes if they get in our waters.

Nov. 13th, 2019 speaker was Tim Wilson

Biologist Tim Wilson of the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission was the PSA guest presenter during the November 13th general membership meeting. Tim is stationed in Linesville and monitors the fish in Lake Erie Tribs and discussedhis responsibilities  and the state of our fishery.

“He was well versed on the challenges our creeks have, regarding

 waterfalls, debris etc.

He laid out the plans to rectify the challenges they have with the 4 Mile project.

Very important, he presented the priority list of what creeks they will work on. He believes that new fixes will be learned as they go from creek to creek.  A lot of discussion was held on the priority of the Walnut Creek Project...The waterfall.  It is the last to be do

ne. Why?? They hope to learn from the other projects and incorporate any new ideas that come up. As he said.. It is the biggest project and it will be expensive so we want to get it right to the best of our ability and experience, even though it will be a few years off. He makes a lot of sense and I support him on the plan.”

Tight lines

Frank Scicchitano 

Oct 9, 2019 speaker was MIKE BLEECH

Mike is the Outdoor columnist for the Erie Times News. Mike attended Edinboro University of Pennsylvania for four years as a biology major. He has been a full-time freelance writer/photographer since 1980 with more than 10,000 articles published in more than 100 publications.

Mike discussed the need for outdoor organizations to get kids involved in the outdoors!

September 11th Meeting speaker

Zack Klan, Kayak specialist at Fish USA was our presenter at the September 11 meeting. Zack gave a nice presentation on Kayak Fishing.


The PA Steelhead Association holds meetings each month except May, June, and July usually at 7:30 pm on the second Wednesday of the month .  Meetings are held  at the American Legion Post 773.  The Legion is located at 4109 West 12th Street (State Route 5), just east of the Erie Airport. 

We meet in the banquet room to the left when you walk in.

 7:30 pm on the 2nd Wednesday of each month. American Legion Post #773,  4109 West 12th Street, Erie, PA


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PO Box 8892 Erie, PA 16505

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