***Friday January 2 afternoon update: River ice is breaking up and slush is much reduced on The Rocky and Chagrin rivers today. The northern mile of river and slower stretches have the most ice. Looking ahead in the forecast this situation is expected to continue to improve through tomorrow, although depending on how much rain we receive the rivers could get muddy tomorrow afternoon.***
***Thursday January 1 morning update: The New Year greets us with a river full of ice and slush this morning! This will get better as the temperature rises above freezing.***
In winter highlight species targeted by anglers in Cleveland Metroparks include steelhead trout, stocked trout, and walleye. Area rivers are exhibiting good clarity and flow, but are beginning to get icy/slushy, especially in the morning. Anglers can check the latest river flows and temperature at the following links (be aware ice on the flow gage sensors can cause erroneous readings): <Rocky River flow gage data> <Chagrin River flow gage data>. Metroparks inland lakes are mostly covered by thin ice as of today. Lake Erie is still offering surprisingly good late season opportunities as conditions permit, although a strong west wind today left E55th as one of few options for shore anglers.
Last week the river stayed quite muddy at flows that are typically transitioning to green. Today the river has good flow and stain...but slush and ice has become an issue. The marina area was iced over all the way across this morning. Although it did not get above freezing slush did thin out noticeably by this afternoon, and with a forecast 10 degrees warmer tomorrow, New Year Day into Friday looks more promising. Expect mornings to have the worst slush, which typically burns off appreciably throughout the day (especially if the sun peeks out). For anglers who don't like a lot of company out there (like we had over this past 50 deg F holiday weekend), this cold weather is really thinning the herd. It looks like rain in the forecast starting on Saturday, so conditions beyond that point will depend on how much we receive. Anglers have been hooking up this week on a variety of offerings, including dime/nickel size spawn sacks, minnows (live or salted), small marabou 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 watershed at this time, although the bulk of the fish down by the marina have been skippers (smaller 15-18" trout), with a greater proportion of adult fish as you move upstream. So far, this year has been above average on the Rocky for numbers, but bigger fish (28"+) have been few and far between. Steelhead on the Chagrin are up into North and South Chagrin reservations in decent numbers, as well, and up to the Route 82 dam on the Cuyahoga River.
Our inland lakes are mostly covered by a thin layer of ice. Anglers can fish these areas from the safety of shore where the water drops off quickly, such as off docks, fishing platforms, and the sandstone ledges at Wallace Lake. The following lakes received trout in mid-December: 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 continue to be 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.
A strong west wind today left the protected bay at E55th as one of few Lake Erie shore fishing options. Although fishing for steelhead was slow there today, anglers reported a good bite yesterday. 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. A few boaters were out over the past week still catching some walleye and yellow perch off Cleveland.
Fly Fishing For Steelhead on the Rocky River: An Audio Narrative. Reporter Brian Bull recently caught up with local fly fishers Chris Thompson and Terry Uhl to spend a morning fishing with them on the Rocky River and find out what they love about the sport. That NPR/Ideastream story can be found <here>. The story was spurred by the recent Trout Unlimited designation of the Lake Erie watershed and its fishery as one of <Ten Special Places> worthy of protection in the US.
Reminder From the Ranger Department: Do Not Park in the Parkway Berm. As you have likely noticed, the parkway was repaved this year at substantial expense and effort. The soft shoulder material takes awhile to cure, and folks (especially anglers) parking in the berm of the parkway have been damaging it and causing extra work for our already busy maintenance crews. For the next year, we ask that you limit your parking to the official lots/improved areas. Rangers are out keeping an eye on this, as well. Thank you.
Ice Fishing Outing Cancelled. The ice fishing program scheduled for Sunday January 4 from 1:30-3:00pm has been cancelled due to unsafe ice conditions (sorry, I had to point out the obvious!).
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 .
Happy New Year!
Rich caught his first steelhead on a centerpin rig this past Sunday. What a pretty hen!
On Sunday Andrew did a very late season trip on the boat off Cleveland and caught a mix of yellow perch and 3 walleyes on Swedish Pimples. Of the 11 perch caught, he noted all were over 9 inches (photos courtesy of Andrew Mundt).
Allen caught this fine buck brown trout in Wallace Lake on a small jip tipped with a few maggots suspended under a small bobber. Being a taxidermist, he plans to mount the fish (photo courtesy of Allen Reinke).
Yuriy had a good holiday break on the Rock, catching steelhead on spawn, jigs, and minnows (photo courtesy of Yuriy Chen).
After a few tough trips, Joe's persistence paid off with this nice Rocky River steelie (photo courtesy of Joe Gulley).
This week Jesse was yet another recipient of a Rocky River brown trout (photo courtesy of Jesse Sohl).
Adam went on a late season perch trip on the lake and caught this surprise walleye on a spreader rig (photo courtesy of Adam Zakarowsky).
Young angler Christian caught his first steelie ever in the Rock this week. Great job, young man! Lesson 2: holding your catch for a photo (photos courtesy of Matt Brady).
John continued to have success on the Rock using his own jig creations this week (photos courtesy of John Fay).
The brown trout parade continues with Michael's fish caught near the branching of the river last Friday. The fish hit a Gulp minnow (photos courtesy of Michael Boc).
Scott caught this gorgeous fresh run buck steelie over the weekend (photo courtesy of Scott Deere).
This small rainbow trout was caught in the Chagrin River. Given the size, appearance (clean well formed fins), and faint par marks it is very likely a wild, stream born trout (photo courtesy of Brendan Prebish).
Fred displays a Wallace Lake rainbow trout caught this week. As of today, the lake is covered with thin ice (photo courtesy of Mark Fascione).
Jake continues to make the most of his last remaining days before moving to Florida to study marine biology and chase sharks with heavy tackle (photos courtesy of John Lusnek).
Remember those two big brown trout from last week's report? Comparison of spot pattern reveals it was the same fish. Moral of the story: catch and release works!
Karl Ternay was a well rounded angler, familiar face on our local waters, and friend to many. He passed away this week and will be sorely missed. Rest in peace, Karl.
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, email@example.com, (440) 667-2278
17-004 Jeffery Liskay, Silver Fury Guide Service & Schools, firstname.lastname@example.org (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>