***Friday December 18 morning update: Steelhead anglers did well on the Rocky and Chagrin rivers yesterday afternoon and both streams are in even better shape this morning. Lake Erie, on the other hand, is rough this morning.***
As we move into winter, highlight species targeted by anglers in Cleveland Metroparks include steelhead trout, stocked trout, walleye, and panfish. Area rivers are dropping into shape for steelhead anglers and conditions should improve into the weekend. Anglers can check the latest river flows and temperature at the following links: <Rocky River flow gage data> <Chagrin River flow gage data>. A total of 2,000 pounds of rainbow trout were stocked in five Metroparks lakes last week, as detailed in the report below. Lake Erie is offering late season opportunities for walleye and steelhead, as well..
The Rocky, Chagrin, and other area streams are dropping into shape for steelhead anglers in time for the weekend. Nickel size spawn sacks (salmon or trout eggs) usually take the most fish when the water is stained, as is currently the case, but they will bite more diverse offerings as the water clears and fishing pressure affects them. Changing up between several offerings is a good plan under our current conditions, with minnows (live or salted), small jigs tipped with maggots, white tube jigs, salmon egg mimicking beads, and various fly patterns (small eggs, streamers, and nymphs) all producing a share of the fish. Wobbling Flatfish style plugs can also be worth a try. Steelhead are well distributed throughout the watersheds at this time, with the freshest fish concentrated in the Rocky north of Morley Ford/Lorain Road bridge. Steelhead on the Chagrin are up into North and South Chagrin reservations in decent numbers, as well. There is a mix of skippers (smaller 15-18" steelhead) and adult steelhead in the river at this time, and stray brown trout (from PA and NY programs) have been turning up on a weekly basis.
A total of 2,000 pounds of rainbow trout were released into Metroparks waters last week and have been biting well. The following lakes received trout: Wallace Lake (900 lbs), Shadow Lake (450 lbs), Ledge Lake (450 lbs), Ranger Lake (100 lbs), and Judge's Lake (100 lbs). Daily trout limit is 3/day in these waters, with the exception of Shadow Lake which is 5/day. The rainbow trout averages between 3/4 pound and 2 pounds, with a handful of bonus golden rainbows and brown trout also released in Wallace. Trout have been caught on Power Bait (rainbow and other bright colors have been best) about the size of a marble near the lake bottom with a small sinker. Fish have also been caught on small jigsa tipped with bait (maggots, waxworm, minnow, corn) suspended under a float, as well as lures like small spoons, spinners, and Gulp minnows. The lakes have been open water this week. The second (and final) winter trout stocking will not be around early February.
The shoreline fishing at E55th and E72nd accesses offer late season steelhead and walleye prospects when the lake is calm. Edgewater and Wildwood parks are also spots worth a look this time of year. Small jigs tipped with emerald shiner minnows and a few maggots 2-4 feet under a bobber accounted for many of the steelhead caught along the lakefront this fall, although a spawn sack, minnow (on a small hook, not a jig), or nightcrawler dangled a few feet under a bobber can also be productive. Spoons can also be worth trying when the fish are aggressive The night walleye bite casting from shore at E72nd and Edgewater Park remains good, with Husky Jerks, Rattlin' Rogues/Perfect Tens, and rattle type shad crankbaits being among the top producers. Wise anglers bring a long handed net when fishing these sites, and be very careful on those slippery shoreline rocks.
Mystery Illness Plagues Lake Ontario Steelhead. Steelhead are turning up dead in Lake Ontario streams, particularly the Salmon River, and researchers are searching for the cause. You can read more about this unfortunate situation <here>.
If you have a photo that you would like to contribute to the fishing report, or if you have any further questions regarding fishing in the Cleveland Metroparks, you may contact Aquatic Biologist Mike Durkalec at (440) 331-8017 or firstname.lastname@example.org .
Andy caught his first ever lake-run brown trout, a fine hen, from the Rocky River on Saturday afternoon. This year has seen an unprecedented number of brown trout in the river (photo courtesy of Nick Milkovich).
Sean caught this colorful 27" buck steelie drifting a minnow in the Rock this week (photo courtesy of Sean Fenton).
Brian caught some nice stocked trout at Shadow Lake last Thursday on waxworms. The big one was 20" and 3.5 pounds (photos courtesy of Brian White).
Scott notes that the late season walleye trolling along the Cleveland shoreline has been fantastic. These twin 10 pounders measured 28.5" and 29" and were hooked between E55th and the mouth of the Cuyahoga River (photo courtesy of Scott Geer).
Ted caught this outstanding buck brown trout at Morley Ford on the Rock this week (photo courtesy of Bill Arensberg).
Mark caught his largest steelhead ever from the Chagrin River this week. The bruiser hen bit eggs and was 32" long and just shy of 15 pounds (photos courtesy of Mark Warren).
Although most late season walleye anglers are prowling the Cleveland shoreline after dark, Adam illustrates they can also be taken during daylight. This one grabbed a deep diving crankbait (photo courtesy of Adam Zakarowsky).
On Sunday Nick landed two trout at Shadow Lake on small marabou jigs tipped with corn. The larger one measured 18" (photos courtesy of Nick Zarzneczny).
A few steelies are still being taken at E55th. The lake was glass calm on Monday.
Chris caught this rosy cheeked steelie in the Rocky on Sunday morning on a bright egg pattern, and lost a few, as well. He maintains an interesting blog that may be found at the following link: <Steel Pursuit> (photo courtesy of Chris Thompson).
Charlie caught this fresh buck in the northern Rock this week (photo courtesy of Charlie Seibolt).
Chuck took his float tube to Wallace Lake on Tuesday and caught a pretty rainbow trout on a small Gulp minnow. He also watched a trout swim right past his flippers! (photo courtesy of Chuck Mechling).
Rick caught this fine walleye off E72nd on Monday night. The fish bit a Husky Jerk trolled at 1.1 mph (photo courtesy of Jeff Shaw).
Carson caught this wild (stream bred) juvenile steelhead in a small creek this past weekend. The fish was likely hatched in spring and survived the summer in the stream (photo courtesy of Carson Prichard).
Unfortunately, waterfowl and other wildlife get caught in discarded fishing line more often than you might imagine. Please pick up any used fishing line you see while on the water. Channel 3 did a news segment on the issue this week which may be viewed <here>.
Note: The fishing report is updated monthly in June, July, and August and weekly every other month
2019 Cleveland Metroparks Registered Fishing Guides
(name, company, contact)
- #19-001 Jim Lampros, floodplainsmag.com, email@example.com (216) 513-6011
- #19-002 Joseph Beno, On The Swing, Joseph93935@hotmail.com (440) 667-2278
- #19-003 Daniel Bennett, Steelhead Alley Outfitters, www.steelheadalleyoutfitters.com (888) 453-5899
- #19-004 Monte Casey, The Steelhead Guide, firstname.lastname@example.org www.steelheadguide.com
- #19-005 Jeffery Liskay, Silver Fury Guide Service & Schools, email@example.com (440) 781-7536
- #19-006 Mario Chance, Chagrin River Outfitters, firstname.lastname@example.org (330) 984-3086
More information on Cleveland Metroparks Fishing Guide Permit requirements, including the permit application, you may check the following link: <Fishing Guide Permit Program>
Learn how you can support recreation opportunities through a donation to the Cleveland Metroparks Fishing Fund.