The Rocky River is exhibiting excellent fishing conditions, with moderate flow and stain. Looking at the forecast the outlook is even better into the weekend, although anglers should be prepared for cold weather. Anglers can check the latest river flow and temperature trends at the following link: <Rocky River flow gage data>
Steelhead fishing was good for mid-winter on the Rocky and Chagrin rivers this week, with anglers having to be a bit persistent and work for their fish in the cold water. Float anglers scored with tube jigs (white 3-4" have been good), 1/64-1/32 marabou or hair jigs tipped with a few maggots or a waxworm, live minnows, and dime to nickel size spawn sacks in various colors (pink is always a safe bet). Fly fishers are still taking fish dead drifting egg and nymph patterns, although swinging big streamers on light spey and switch rods is a method gaining in popularity on our streams.
Most steelhead this week have been caught in deep, slow pools, the classic winter holding area. But anglers should not discount making a few drifts in faster water holding areas, as well, since the Little Manistee strain fish that Ohio uses come from hardy northern stock. A surprising number of spawning steelhead were reported during the warm up earlier this week. Steelhead are well distributed throughout the Rocky and Chagrin watersheds at this time, and anglers who cover the most water are often the most successful.
The suckers are in! This latest rise in water has drawn in a good run of white suckers from Lake Erie. These fish are a ton of fun on light tackle, especially for children and less experienced anglers. Although many suckers are hooked inadvertantly by anglers seeking steelhead on offerings like jigs tipped with maggots and nymph flies, they can effetively be targeted by fishing a worm on the river bottom with a sinker and modest tackle. At this time most suckers will be in deep, slow holes from Morley Ford (just north of the Lorain Road bridge) to the marina. Some anglers relish sucker patties in spring when suckers are at their prime as table fare. A number of recipes can be found by conducting a web search.
Open water fishing opportunities are available on Cleveland Metroparks lakes and ponds. Anglers at lakes like Wallace, Ledge, Shadow and Judges reported modest catches of rainbow trout, as well as few bass and panfish, this week. Small jigs and ice flies tipped with a few maggots or waxworms, PowerBait and salmon or trout egg sacks have all been catching their share of trout, as well. Both winter stockings of trout in Metroparks waters have been completed, and the first spring stocking will be scheduled soon (keep posted to the fishing blog for details).
Dad's First Steelhead - Completing The Circle. Excerpt from email sent by Nick Bryan on March 11, 2013. "This picture (first photo below) means more to me than any other I've sent, and is a must share. I just had the pleasure of spending this past Thursday-Sunday fishing the Rocky and Grand Rivers with my dad and brother. I have been hooked on steelies for 6 years now, but they both live in southern Ohio and have never tried for them, so I was determined to get them hooked up. Overall fishing was pretty slow, which is to be expected this time of year, but we did get into some action and landed a few fish. My brother managed to hook into 3, but did not land one. He felt a little better when I told him I spent 40 hours on the water trying before I landed my first steely.
The highlight of the trip came on Friday at the Rocky River. I put my bro and dad on two of my favorite spots, gave them a bit of coaching, and we started fishing. About a half an hour after we hit the water I was next to my dad and heard his drag start zinging out, fish on! He had hooked into his first steelhead. It was big and it was fighting hard, even by steelhead standards. As the fight wore on the we got a look at the fish, I could tell it was a good one. She finally got worn out and my dad dragged her into the shallows, and I was blown away to see this 31 inch, probably 12-14lb, female. My dad's first steely was bigger than any I've ever caught!
My dad is the one who took me fishing and first instilled in me a love and respect for nature. I love him and owe him so much for that. This is one of those memories that will last a lifetime, and I am actually getting very emotional and tearing up as I write this. Seeing my dad catch this fish gave me such a better feeling than catching any of my previous steelhead ever did. He deserved it."
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This is the first steelhead caught by the angler featured in the fishing report highlight above (photo courtesy of Nick Bryan).
Congratulatios to Scott on catching (and releasing) his largest steelhead to date in the Rock this week. He estimates the big hen was about 13 pounds (photos courtesy of Scott Heidrich).
Yuri landed this beautiful steelhead while fly fishing the Chagrin River this week (photo courtesy of Fabio Malaspina).
Tom caught this hen brown trout in the Rock this week. I have never observed as many brown trout from the river as I have this season (photo courtesy of Tom Nock).
Stephen poses with a beautiful Chagrin River buck steelie, one of several he hooked in fast, shallow water on white wooly bugger and Clouser patterns. On a side note, Stephen was among the resident physicians at MetroHealth Medical Center who cared for me following my recent vehicle accident. Their highly talented trauma team brought me from "extremely critical" condition back to stable condition. These folks saved my life and I am very grateful for their outstanding work (photo courtesy of Stephen Reichard).
Jay had a great birthday on Wednesday, landing two steelies fly fishing the Rock with his "Pickled Egg" pattern (photos courtesy of Mani Latifi).
Corey made a surprise catch in Wallace Lake recently. He caught the large channel catfish, and two trout, on a small ant fly tipped with maggots suspended below a float on the north end of the lake (photo courtesy of Corey Butram).
White tube jigs have been producing some high quality fish in the Rock for Jesse (photos courtesy of Jesse Sohl).
Paul caught this beautifully colored buck steelie while fly fishing the Rock recently (photo courtesy of Paul Swarmer).
Veteran steelheaders Brion (top photo) and Al have been instilling fear in the local steelhead population lately (photos courtesy of Brion McCutcheon and Al Katigbak).
Sisqo displays a nice buck steelie from the Rocky River).
Will caught this fine rainbow trout this week (photo courtesy of Will Ellis).
Note: The fishing report is updated monthly in June, July, and August and weekly every other month
2017 Cleveland Metroparks Registered Fishing Guides (name, company, contact)
17-001 Mario Chance, Chagrin River Outfitters, firstname.lastname@example.org, (330) 984-3086
17-002 Justin Pribanic, Chagrin River Outfitters, email@example.com, (724) 799-5011
17-003 Joseph Beno, On The Swing, firstname.lastname@example.org, (440) 667-2278
17-004 Jeffery Liskay, Silver Fury Guide Service & Schools, email@example.com (440) 781-7536
17-005 Monte Casey, The Steelhead Guide, http://steelheadguide.com
17-006 Nathan Miller, Steelhead Alley Outfitters, http://steelheadalleyoutfitters.com
17-007 Patrick Robinson, Steelhead Alley Outfitters, http://steelheadalleyoutfitters.com
17-008 Justin Shillaci, Steelhead Alley Outfitters, http://steelheadalleyoutfitters.com
More information on Cleveland Metroparks Fishing Guide Permit requirements, including the permit application, you may check the following link: Fishing Guide Permit Program
Cleveland Metroparks Fishing Fund
Cleveland Metroparks Fishing Fund helps provide a rewarding fishing experience to Northeast Ohio anglers through the stocking of rainbow trout, channel catfish, largemouth bass, and other sport fish. The Fund also supports children's fishing derbies and creation and restoration of essential habitat in the ponds, lakes, and rivers within Cleveland Metroparks.
For more information or to make a gift to Cleveland Metroparks Fishing Fund, including a web donation option, please visit: <Fishing Fund Donations Online>