***Wednesday March 19 afternoon update. A total of 600 pounds of rainbow trout were stocked in the East Branch Rocky River between Rt 82 and the river ford just south of Wallace Lake. The most fish were stocked on the upstream side of the Bonnie Park dam, a very popularfishing spot. The Rocky River downstream is offering excellent steelhead fishing conditions today with much lighter angler pressure than yesterday.***
***Tuesday March 18 morning update. The Rocky River is offering very good conditions for steelhead fishing today. Several anglers reported success yesterday afternoon, as well. The first installment of spring trout stocked in the East Branch Rocky River is scheduled for late morning tomorrow.***
***Monday March 17 morning update. The flow and stain in the Rocky River is approaching ideal for steelhead fishing. The water is turning green just in time for St. Patricks Day! Although the river is slushy this morning, that should be gone by this afternoon and the rest of the week is forecasted above freezing. Check the flow gage if we recieve any appreciable rain mid-week, but it looks like we will have the best steelhead fishing opportunities in months in the coming days.***
***Saturday March 15 morning update: The flow in the Rocky River increased substantially overnight and will not be fishable for at least a few days. Ice fishing is not recommended at this time due to deteriorating ice conditions.***
***Friday March 14 afternoon update: Ice on our lakes has deteriorated rapidly with the thaw and venturing onto the ice is not recommended at this time. If you do so, please exercise extreme caution and check ice thickness regularly with a spud bar. A few anglers were out attempting to hook a steelhead on the still muddy and elevated Rocky River today.***
Highlight species targeted by anglers around Cleveland Metroparks in winter include stocked rainbow trout, steelhead and panfish. All our lakes and ponds contine to offer an extended season of ice fishing opportunities, as are protected harbors along the Lake Erie shoreline. The Rocky and Chagrin rivers are currently elevated and muddy due to snow melt this week, and although dropping in level further snow melt will likely delay prime fishing conditions. Anglers can check the most recent river water level and temperature at the following links: <Rocky River flow gage data> <Chagrin River flow gage data>
The Rocky and Chagrin rivers are currently elevated and muddy but dropping in level, although further snow melt in the coming days will likely sustain or increase the flows. It is difficult to predict when the river will be in good shape for steelhead anglers, but that could likely be later into the weekend or early next week. Anglers are advised to keep an eye on the flow gages, and when the Rocky gets below 500 cfs it will offer increasingly better conditions according to most angler's preferences. Larger nickel to quarter size spawn sacks in bright pink and chartreuse colors take the most steelhead in muddy conditions, and an 8 gram (+/-) float and plenty of weight is well suited to high water on our local streams. Before the rise in flow, anglers were hooking some steelies on the Rock and Chagrin earlier this week, and Cuyahoga River anglers reported some steelie and northern pike action On a neat side note, this week local angler Justin Marconi caught his third brown trout since the beginning of the season on the Rock. Once flows recede, a fresh batch of among the first of our spring run steelhead can be expected. Many anglers are hoping/expecting for a good spring run given the limited opportunities for steelhead to run this winter.
Lake Erie shoreline ice fishing opportunities are available in protected areas, such as East 55th and Wildwood marinas and Gordon Park. Edgewater Marina access will be closed off at the launch ramps this winter for hurricane damage related repairs to the area, but motivated anglers can still walk in along the rip-rap to the west. These areas offer steelhead and smelt, among other species like sunfish, crappie and even northern pike. A single maggot on a tiny hook, or tandem hooks a foot apart, is a productive smelt offering. The same baits as used in river fishing will work for steelies under the ice, as well as a jigging spoons.
Trout have been caught at Wallace and Ledge lakes this week on PowerBait and jigging spoons. Largemouth bass and some panfish have been caught at Wallace this week, as well. As the ice melts on the lakes anglers can look forward to a few weeks of a hot bite from trout at Wallace, Ledge, Judge's, Shadow and Ranger lakes.
The first stockings of the East Branch Rocky River for spring will likely take place within the next two weeks, depending on what happens with the weather and river conditions. You can check the fishing report for updates as details develop. Furthermore, ODNR Division of Wildlife plans to stock trout at Hinckley and Shadow lakes on April 1.
Fly Fishing Offerings at CRO this Saturday. This Saturday March 15 Chagrin River Outfitters is offering a couple of free fly fishing seminars. At 11:00am, the Intro to Steelhead Fly Fishing will offer an overview of tackle, techniques and strategies for Ohio steelhead just in time for the spring run. At 2:00pm, Swinging for Steelhead will offer an in depth look at the popular technique of swinging flies on two handed rods for supercharged strikes. CRO is located at 100 North Main Street in Chagrin Falls.
Matt Supinski at Orvis Cleveland this Saturday. It's going to be tough to decide what to do this Saturday if you're a local steelhead fly fisher! Orvis Cleveland is hosting noted Michigan author/guide/lodge owner Matt Supinski to give a talk starting at noon about selectivity in trout and salmon from a fly fishing perspective. He will also be signing his newly released book on the same topic. Great Lakes Brewing Company will have a selection of seasonal brews at the event for sampling. Orvis Cleveland is located at 28839 Chagrin Boulevard in Woodmere.
If you have a photo or information that you would like to contribute to the fishing report, or if you have any further questions regarding fishing in Cleveland Metroparks, you may contact Aquatic Biologist Mike Durkalec at (440) 331-8017 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Emmanuel had a good morning on the northern Rock on Monday, landing two fresh skipper steelies (photos courtesy of Emmanuel Roman).
Matt caught this brace of rainbow trout while ice fishing Wallace Lake this week. Both fish took PowerBait.
Mark had a great week on the Chagrin River in North Chagrin Reservation. The top photo is an impressive 30", 11 pound, hen that bit a brown Wooly Bugger on Monday morning. The other two fish were between 23-24" and munched a white jig tipped with waxworm last Friday. All fish were found in deep holes (photos courtesy of Mark Warren).
In this installment of "Know Your Fish", who can identify this specimen caught by Nate while targeting steelies in the Rock this week? Please post guesses in the comments section and be as specific as possible. I will post the answer there in a few days (photo courtesy of Nate Adams).
"Possum" (Lee) caught this pair of trout at Wallace Lake one each on a jigging spoon and PowerBait.
Brian reported from Wallace Lake on Monday "The trout fishing was super slow, but at 12:00 until about 1:30 I caught 8 bass. This is the biggest around 13-14 inches. Died off as fast as it started. Let them all go. 53 degrees F and I was the only person on the ice all day except for the morning. Can't beat that. Was gonna hit the south where I know a lot of bass hold but the ice did not look too good although it probably is." (photo and report courtesy of Brian Kich).
Rich made the trip up from Columbus Saturday morning and caught a steelie his first 20 minutes on the Rock. But the promising start was not followed by any other takers on his four hour outing. His fishing partner Joyce pretends to lift a heavy log and ice slab on the river bank in the bottom image. Be careful there, Super Joyce! (photos courtesy of Rich Good).
A couple Ranger buddies and I did an annual steelhead outing on the Pere Marquette River, Michigan, this past Sunday and Monday. Above is a sampling of images of Rich and Sean showing some of our catch, followed by the last photo depicting my big buck steelie of the trip.