***Tuesday December 30 morning update: The Rocky River has a moderate stain this morning and is offering good fishing conditions.***
***Monday December 29 morning update: The Rocky River is elevated and muddy this morning, but should be fishable within the next couple of days. The river has retained a muddy stain longer than usual after a storm lately, likely due to all the silt washed in back during spring flooding.***
In winter highlight species targeted by anglers in Cleveland Metroparks include steelhead trout, stocked trout, walleye, and panfish. Area rivers are in good shape at the moment, although rain in the forecast could give them a bump in flow 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>. Rainbow trout are biting in the five Metroparks lakes where they were stocked in mid-December. Given the wind forecast Lake Erie will likely be rough in the coming days.
Area rivers brought holiday gifts to many anglers this week, as evidenced by the photos that follow this report. The Rocky, Chagrin, and other area streams are in decent shape with clear water and moderate flow, but look to be getting a bump in flow into the weekend. Nickel size spawn sacks (salmon or trout eggs) were taking the most fish when the water was stained over the weekend, but as the water cleared this week they were biting on diverse offerings such as 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). Steelhead are well distributed throughout the watersheds at this time, although the freshest fish have been 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 in unprecedented numbers lately.
A total of 2,000 pounds of rainbow trout were released into Metroparks waters in mid-December and continue to bite 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, small jigs 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 offered a mix of thin ice cover with some open water this week, and the current warm temperature will open up even more water before it gets cold again next week. The second (and final) winter trout stocking will not be around early February.
Given the wind forecast, Lake Erie will likely be rough in the coming days. The shoreline fishing at E55th and E72nd accesses has offered 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. A lot of boaters have continued pursuing late season walleye, as well.
The Great Rocky River Brown Trout Invasion of 2014! In a typical year, a handful of brown trout are reported in the Rocky River, most likely straying over from the PA and NY Lake Erie brown trout stocking programs. Well, this year we've already seen a few dozen dozen browns in the river and the number keeps growing and the fish are getting bigger! A highlight this week was the catch and release of a big buck brown in the river by young angler Justin Boozer. A video of that event taken by his proud grandfather can be viewed <here>. The most likely reason for this windfall is the expansion of the Pennsylvania program, in particular. Why would a PA stocked brown trout swim all the way to Cleveland? I guess they know that Cleveland is home of the Browns! Whatever the case, our local anglers don't mind a bit.
On that note, I'd also like to remind folks that www.therockyriver.com is having their annual Rocky River Bonus Brown Trout Derby, which offers a top prize of a $100 Erie Outfitters gift certificate. The rules for the derby can be found <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 .
Young Justin thought he had hooked his first steelhead when fishing the Rocky with his father and grandfather on Sunday, but reeled in an even bigger surprise...a beautiful buck brown trout! The young sportsman even released the trophy catch. You can watch a video of the whole happy event <here> (photo and video courtesy of Cathy Boozer).
Lenney had a good day on the Chagrin this week, land 2 steelies of 3 hooked (photos courtesy of Lenney S.).
Lance caught a big brown in the Rock in the same place Justin released his fish. Could it be the same fish? I think it's quite likely and, if so, catch and release obviously works (photos courtesy of Lance Masarik).
Kevin caught several very fresh steelies by the marina on Saturday morning, including this fine buck and a 30" hen. He was using dime size spawn sacks and white tube jigs.
Rachel landed her first steelie of the season while fishing the Rock with her very proud father this past weekend (photo courtesy of Bob Brunner).
Will caught this 24" steelie in the Chagrin River on an orange spawn sack (photo courtesy of Will Ellis).
John caught this Rocky River brown trout on a chartreuse streamer fly pattern (photos courtesy of John Brochue).
Sean was back at it again this week, landing some fine Rocky River steel on live minnows (photos courtesy of Sean Fenton).
Jake made an especially unique catch in the Rock this week...a brown trout with a small parasitic sea lamprey still attached. He also caught a nice hen steelie, which he gave a goodbye kiss since he is soon departing for college in Florida. He'll be busy studying marine biology and pursuing his fishing passion...catching sharks in the surf. Best of luck, buddy, and keep in touch. We look forward to seeing your saltwater fishing pics! (photos courtesy of John Lusnek).
Nate sent in this pic of yet another Rocky River brown trout taken by his friend this week (photo courtesy of Nate Adams).
Allen has been catching lots of Wallace Lake rainbow trout on a small jig tipped with a few maggots (photo courtesy of Allen Reinke).
Zach found this fish dead by the nature center this week, possibly due to being mishandled by an angler. Can you identify the Mystery Fish species in the comments section below? (photo courtesy of Zach Kaczmarski).
Delmar caught this pan size trout at Wallace Lake yesterday on a small jig tipped with maggots. A big golden rainbow trout was swimming around the area taunting him by showing some interest in his offerings...but not biting.
John caught and released this Rocky River chrome on Saturday morning. He reported it gave a great fight (photo courtesy of John Gabella).
John reports "This was the best fish from the weekend. They were hitting on eggs earlier this past weekend and switched to jigs. This male hit and on Fay's Area 51 White Widow jig on the lower Rock. Tight lines and Merry Christmas!" (photo courtesy of John Fay).
Michael shared photos of a few of the steelies he caught from Morley Ford north to the marina on the Rock this week (photos courtesy of Michael Berardinas).
This is one of several steelies hooked on the northern Rock Saturday morning when I fished with a friend and his son. All fish were hooked on dime size pink and yellow spawn sacks.
Andy shared a pic of a fresh run steelie taken by the marina this week on jig tipped with maggots, as well as one of his favorite fishing pics from 2014 taken of a lakeside sunset at Edgewater Park. I hope everyone had a great 2014 and has a safe and happy New Year! (photos courtesy of Andy Young).
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, email@example.com (330) 984-3086
#17-002 Justin Pribanic, Chagrin River Outfitters, firstname.lastname@example.org (724) 799-5011
#17-003 Joseph Beno, On The Swing, Joseph93935@hotmail.com (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, www.steelheadguide.com
#17-006 Nathan Miller, Steelhead Alley Outfitters, www.steelheadalleyoutfitters.com (888) 453-5899
#17-007 Patrick Robinson, Steelhead Alley Outfitters, www.steelheadalleyoutfitters.com (888) 453-5899
#17-008 Justin Shillaci, Steelhead Alley Outfitters, www.steelheadalleyoutfitters.com (888) 453-5899
#17-009 Daniel Bennett, Steelhead Alley Outfitters, www.steelheadalleyoutfitters.com (888) 453-5899
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>