***Monday April 6 afternoon update: This afternoon we stocked 700 pounds of rainbow trout which were equally split between the East Branch Rocky River and Wallace Lake. The river conditions are currently very good and steelhead and stocked trout are being caught, although that could change quickly for the worse with the forecasted rain.***
***Saturday April 4 morning update: Since the river is up and muddy today the Barbie Rod Steelhead Derby has been extended to Wallace Lake trout, as well. Even if you are not participating in the derby, please come see us at the marina picnic shelter starting at 2:00pm today for a cookout, lots of great raffle/auction items, cornhole, and to meet a great group of folks!***
***Friday April 3 morning update: The Barbie Rod Steelhead Derby is on for tomorrow Saturday April 4! The river is in great shape today and they're only calling for about a quarter inch of rain. Please be there by 8:00am...see details below.***
In spring highlight species targeted by anglers in Cleveland Metroparks include steelhead trout, stocked trout, and panfish. The steelhead fishing this past week has been good in the Rocky River and other area streams, overall, and fishing for stocked trout in the East Branch Rocky River has been excellent. Weekend conditions will be contingent on how much of the forecasted rain we recieve. Anglers can check the latest river flows and temperature at the following links: <Rocky River flow gage data> <Chagrin River flow gage data>. Anglers are catching trout at Wallace Lake, as well as other area lakes and ponds stocked this past winter.
The Rocky River is currently offering excellent fishing conditions, but that could change overnight and into the weekend with plenty of rain in the forecast. Quite a few anglers reported catching steelhead over the past week, with most of the fish being in the 16-25" range (see highlight in last week's report for an explanation of fish size this spring), and a handful of lucky anglers even caught bonus brown trout (as evidenced in the photos below). One angler even made a very rare catch of what ODNR colleagues believe is an "splake" (brook trout x lake trout hybrid) that likely escaped from one of the private trout clubs in the Western Basin area where they've been stocked in the past (see photo below). Anglers reported hooking steelhead on a variety of offerings, including dime size spawn sacks, small marabou jigs tipped with a few maggots, live minnows, spinners (Vibrax and RoosterTail are good), and egg and streamer fly patterns. There are lots of emerald shiners in the northern river right now, which is a relief to see after a winter where they were so sparse along the Cleveland lakefront . Some slab sized white bass and even a few walleye have been reported caught from the marina area this week, no doubt feeding on the abundant shiners. A good number of lake-run white suckers have also begun their spawning migration, with immediately below Morley Ford being a good place to find them concentrated. A worm or small jig/flies fished near the river bottom will often catch plenty of suckers.
Our inland lakes are currently ice free. The following lakes were stocked with trout this week: Hinckley Lake (2,500 trout), Shadow Lake (500 trout), and Wallace Lake (100 pounds of trout), the former two of which were stocked by ODNR Division of Wildlife. Ledge and Judge's lakes both still have trout remaining, as well, and these trout have been biting very well since ice cover has disappeared. Daily trout limit is 3/day in these waters, with the exception of Shadow Lake which is 5/day. Trout often bite on small jigs tipped with bait (maggots, waxworm, minnow, corn) suspended under a float, spawn sacks, small to medium size spinners (RoosterTail spinners are good), and Power Bait (rainbow and other bright colors have been best) about the size of a marble near the lake bottom with a small sinker.
The East Branch Rocky River was stocked with 600 pounds of rainbow trout between Royalton Road (Rt. 82) and the ford crossing just south of Wallace Lake again on Monday for the second week in a row. NOTE: the limit on any trout in the river, whether stocked catchable size or steelhead, is only two per day/angler with a 12" minimum size limit and our Rangers and the state Wildlife Officer are out enforcing this. Trout were biting great on PowerBait, small jigs tipped with maggots, and small spinners. If the river level is not too elevated on Monday I plan to stock the river again (with 700 pounds in the afternoon). Keep posted to the report for updates.
Some ice still remains along the Lake Erie shoreline, depending on wind direction, a well as in marinas at E55th, Edgewater, and Wildwood parks. Steelhead, crappie, largemouth bass, and northern pike can all be found prowling the marinas and nearshore waters along the Cleveland shoreline in spring.
2nd Barbie Rod Fundraiser Steelhead Derby re-scheduled for this Saturday April 4. ***UPDATE: the derby is on for tomorrow morning!*** Local angler Mark Warren has arranged the 2nd annual Barbie Rod Steelhead Derby as a Cleveland Metroparks Fishing Fund fundraiser for this Saturday from 8:00am-4:00pm on the Rocky River. The fun event, which is open to all, requires that competitors fish with a kid themed fishing rod for an added challenge (such as a Barbie or Spiderman themed rod, as examples). There will be trophies for the three largest steelhead, as well as over $1,700 in prizes/raffle items and a cookout. Plan to be at the Emerald Necklace Marina (1500 Scenic Park Dr., Lakewood, 44107) by 8:00am to get started. For more information contact Mark at firstname.lastname@example.org or (440) 665-1815. There is also an event info page on Facebook which can be found <here>.
Free Steelhead Basics Offering on Thursday April 9. For anyone interested in learning the basics of catching steelhead in the streams, ODNR Fisheries Supervisor Phil Hillman and I will be teaming efforts to offer a free <Steelhead Basics> seminar on the evening of Thursday April 9 from 7-9:00pm at the Rocky River Nature Center located at 24000 Valley Parkway, North Olmsted 44070. Come join us!
A Message From the Rocky River Park Manager About Boat Docks and Other Items. Rick Ditch, the Rocky River Park Manager, wanted folks to know that he plans to get boat docks in at the launch ramps by the end of April (likely that last week of the month). He will try to get a courtesy dock in before the rest, too, for the convenience of early season boaters. At Lakefront, the manager there hopes to get Edgewater ramps out in two weeks.
Rick also wanted to remind folks about a few additional things. First, please DO NOT have any fires on the ground outside of designated areas (ie- grills and steel fire barrels). Also, please do not park in the berm of the road outside paved and gravel parking areas. The berm and grass is soft and this causes undue damage. Rick and Cleveland Metroparks greatly appreciate your cooperation on these matters.
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 email@example.com .
Congratulations to Vince on catching his first steelhead in the Rocky River yesterday (photo courtesy of Charlie Seibolt).
Dennis shared "Just wanted to share a few photos of the great day we had on trout release Monday in Strongsville! Joe and myself ended up catching 20 trout with the biggest one being around 20 inches. Many anglers were constantly catching the fresh fish and it was great to talk with all the old timers and park rangers! Great day." (photos courtesy of Dennis Morgan).
Michael caught this steelie at Morley Ford on the Rock on Sunday (photo courtesy of Michael Mosack).
Remember the Darr kids from last week? Well, this week it was 9 year old Meri's turn to catch her first steelie from the Rocky River! (photos courtesy of Chris Darr).
Sean and a friend caught some Wallace Lake rainbow trout this week (photos courtesy of Sean Fenton).
This unique catch was made in the Rocky River this week. Two ODNR colleagues believe it is most likely a "splake" (brook trout x lake trout hybrid) that escaped from a trout club in the Western Basin of Lake Erie since they've been known to stock them. The eroded fins indicate a fish raised in a hatchery. The fish was released (photo courtesy of Chris Dietrich).
Randy had a great week on the Rock, landing several steelies and a bonus brown trout on a red head/black body jig tipped with maggots. This is the 2nd brown trout he's caught in the Rock in 2 weeks! (photos courtesy of Kevin Hatfield).
Tim got out to Hinckley Lake and caught this fine rainbow trout. ODNR released 2,500 pan-sized trout in the lake yesterday (photo courtesy of Tim Daley).
John was another lucky angler who scored a Rocky River brown trout this week on his homemade jigs. He also caught a fresh skipper steelie (photos courtesy of John Fay).
Corey caught this uniquely pigmented steelhead out of the Rocky this week. So, would you call the fish dark or fresh? The fish is clearly healthy and normal otherwise (photo courtesy of Cory Kyovsky).
A youngster bravely touches his first trout at Bonnie Park on the East Branch Rocky River on Monday.
Ken has noted a few larger fish turning up in the Rock this week (photos courtesy of Ken Harper).
Retiree "UPS Jim" reels in one of many trout caught at Bonnie Park this week.
Rich, visiting from Columbus, made this surprise catch of a chunky buck brown trout from a small area creek on Sunday. The fish bit a chartreuse spawn sack.
Albert come prepared when trout fishing with seven colors of PowerBait!
The ODNR trout stocking at Hinckley Lake yesterday drew quite a large crowd (photos courtesy of Ranger Rich Valek).
Jeff noted that this week is the first time in over 4 months that he's seen open water in Lake Erie at E55th (photos courtesy of Jeff Shaw).
On Tuesday we hosted two Baldwin Wallace University biology classes for fish sampling outings on the Rocky River by the Nature Center. We observed a decent number of quality steelhead in the sample.
Grafton Correctional Institution is looking for donations on the list above of aquarium items for a program to allow prisoners to raise fish. Any donations may be tax deductible. If you can help please feel free to contact Staff Advisor Adam Dlugolinski directly at firstname.lastname@example.org (list from Grafton Correctional Institution).
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>