Fall Fishing for Steelhead in the St. Marys River

An Urban Fishing Adventure in the Soo

Updated: By Robert LaRue

Fishing in the fall for most anglers is probably one of the best times to catch that big trophy they’ve been looking for all summer. Depending on the species, the cooler water temperatures allow some to feed longer in the mornings and evenings. Steelhead specifically, which we were fishing for just past Thanksgiving, are active feeders in the early morning and early evening. These species of fish tend to stop biting mid-day depending on the weather and humidity. So, like any excited fisherman, when the alarm clock went off at 6:00 am, I hopped out of bed, threw on my winter coat and toque and headed out to Bellevue Marina in Sault Ste. Marie.



As it turned out this particular morning was foggy and misty due to the warm ground and warm water on the St. Marys River. Upon arriving at the marina I met Dean from Redwood Sportfishing Charters who has been guiding fishermen in the St. Marys River since 1996. We set out towards the heart of downtown Sault Ste. Marie on the river. Once out on the river, which looks small on a map, the waves were high and the water was rough. The size of the St. Marys River is deceiving when you’re out on it. The river seems massive in comparison to the boat you’re in. As the sun came up we were getting into position to start fishing for trout. There were other fishermen out on the water who had the same intention of going for steelhead.



As we got into position we set our lines and tried to jig for steelhead in the river. We weren’t sure if the steelhead would be biting that day because of the misty and windy weather. It wasn’t long before I felt a strong tug on the line. Fish on! Dean reminded me to keep my fishing rod up as I fought with the fish on the line. The first catch of the day was a nice size steelhead. The fish jumped out of the water about 2 feet high, fighting to get off the line! I was pretty excited to reel this one in especially seeing as it almost jumped into the boat!


After the excitement, we reset the lines to try for another bite. It turned out to be a good day to fish, the other fishermen on the river were having success on their lines as well. The second fish was a good size salmon. He fought hard to stay in the water, but eventually, I reeled him. We trolled for a bit and caught a few more steelhead as we made our way through the rough waters of the river.  As the morning went by we caught and released a few more fish; one was a large coho salmon that was still hanging around.


Just before Noon we reeled all the lines in and called it a day. The fish was particularly hungry that Thanksgiving and we had a successful day. On our way back to the marina we saw the Soo Locks Cruise go by and wave to us.


In light of the weather and rough water I had a great experience with Redwood Charters and Captain Dean and look forward to booking him in the future. It certainly was not a bad way to spend Thanksgiving Day.

Learn more about the great fishing charters available in the Algoma region.

About Robert LaRue

As a member of the Algoma Country Travel staff, I hope my blogs encourage you to explore and plan your next vacation to Algoma.

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