In early winter, highlight species targeted by anglers in Cleveland Metroparks include steelhead trout, stocked trout, and walleye. The Rocky River and other area streams are currently flowing low and clear, and fishing is getting stale accordingly. To monitor the most recent river water level, temperature, and clarity (turbidity) you can check the following links: <Rocky River USGS flow gage data> <Chagrin River USGS flow gage data> <Rocky River NEORSD station with turbidity>. Trout were just stocked at Wallace, Shadow, Ledge, Judge's, and Ranger lakes and walleye and steelhead have all been biting along the Cleveland lakefront for shore and boating anglers.
The Rocky and Chagrin rivers are getting low and clear again and fishing is on the stale side, accordingly. It doesn't look like much should change into the weekend, although there is rain in the forecast early next week. Anglers are having the most consistent success near the marina and river mouth areas. Some anglers are wading the river upstream and finding a few willing fish in the deeper holes. Overall, there has been a mix of adult steelhead (24-26") and skippers (14-18" steelhead), with few fish over 28" being reported so far this season. Under clear water, pressured conditions it behooves anglers to be versatile with their offerings, including live/salted minnows, small jigs tipped with maggots/waxworm, smaller spawn sacks in varied colors (including blue), salmon egg mimicking beads, rubber baits (white 3" tubes can be hot), and various flies (eggs, nymphs, and streamers). Medium size silvery spoons and spinners are always worth a try, as well, and require less specialized tackle for newer steelhead anglers. The Cuyahoga River and Euclid Creek also receive some stray steelhead, as do other unstocked streams. Fishing will only improve from this point on through spring, especially if we have the mild winter that is being forecasted.
Large numbers of steelhead continue to stage and feed on abundant emerald shiners and small gizzard shad along the Lake Erie shoreline (especially at E55th and Edgewater parks). Popular methods for targeting Lake Erie shoreline steelies include suspending a jig tipped with minnow or nightcrawler 2-5 feet below a bobber, as well as casting a spoon (ie Little Cleo or KO Wobbler) or spinner (ie Vibrax or RoosterTail). Many of these fish traditionally enter the river in greater numbers following a good rain from late fall onward.
A total of 3,000 lbs of trout were stocked in Metroparks lakes this week (see the highlight regarding this below). Trout are also available at Ohio & Erie Canal fishing area down the hill from CanalWay Visitor Center off E49th Street. Trout bite well on PowerBait, canned corn, small spinners, and jigs tipped with a few maggots/waxworms, and nightcrawlers or shrimp fished right on the bottom. Please note the current seasonal trout regulations: Lake Erie and all streams 2/day minimum size 12" (this includes steelhead), 3/day no size limit at Wallace, Ledge, Judge's and Ranger lakes, and 5/day no size limit at Shadow Lake and Ohio & Erie Canal. Our Rangers are out enforcing this, too, so make sure you know the rules.
Night walleye anglers are reporting great action off Edgewater (in particular) and E72nd/Gordon parks from the shore casting and from boats trolling stickbaits, with larger Husky Jerks and Perfect 10 models being top producers. A few canoe/kayak anglers also had success this week, as you can see in the photos below. Keep in mind that this fishery can be "feast or famine", with one night producing a limit catch in short order and the next, under seemingly identical conditions, not producing a single hit. Yellow perch anglers around Cleveland have reported a fair to decent bite in 32-40 FOW off E72nd/Gordon Park and Bratenahl. A few modest catches of perch have also been caught by shore anglers on the north facing breakwall at E55th. Anglers are using perch spreaders and crappie rigs baited with emerald shiners. The ODNR Division of Wildlife weekly Lake Erie fishing report can be viewed <here>. Anglers/boaters can view current lake conditions off Cleveland at the following link: <City Of Cleveland Water Intake Crib Cam>.
Winter Trout Are In! I am pleased to report that on Tuesday and Wednesday we stocked a record 3,000 lbs of trout between 5 of our lakes. We normally stock 1,800 lbs per round, but we are putting a portion of a large settlement from the 2012 Rocky River fish kill towards stocking extra fish for the next 10 years. The lakes include: Wallace Lake (1,250 lbs), Shadow Lake (700 lbs), Ledge Lake (550 lbs), Judge's Lake (250 lbs) and Ranger Lake (250 lbs). The size of the trout varies from 3/4 lb to over 3 lbs, and the fish are extra colorful as a result of our supplier changing their diet to include more beta carotene. Along with the predominantly standard rainbow trout are several dozen golden rainbow trout (pictured below), a few brown trout, and even one cutthroat trout stocked at Wallace. The second (and final) round of winter trout will go into the same lakes around late January/early February 2016.
The Great Brown Trout Invasion of 2015? As you can see in the photos below, a number of brown trout were caught in the Rocky River this week. I expect even more to show up after we get some more rain. These fish are most likely strays from Pennsylvania and New York brown trout stocking programs in their Lake Erie tributaries. And we are happy to get them! One angler I know shared a strange Rocky River brown trout story from recently. A roughly 25" brown followed his float about ten feet as he was reeling in. He could see it well in the clear water. Then it shocked him by grabbing his float and started to swim off with it! He pulled it away and next cast the fish repeated this odd behavior. He never did get the fish to grab his bait, though. This is almost as strange as another observation regarding a Rocky River brown from a few years ago. A guy caught a nice buck brown and as he was cleaning it he found about a half dozen maple seeds/samaras (those things that look like little helicopters) in the fish's gut! He sent in a photo as evidence, which some of you might remember. Do any of you have a bizarre local fishing story? If so, please share in the comments section as we'd love to hear it.
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 .
Bryan and his helper caught some nice largemouth bass casting spinners at Wallace Lake this week (photos courtesy of Bryan Zacharias).
A fish doesn't need to be large to elicit a happy reaction! Congratulations to Jason on catching his first fish ever while casting a Husky Jerk at E72nd this week. The overzealous goby managed to impale itself on all three treble hooks while trying to do whatever it was planning to the lure (Eat it? Chase it away? Mate with it?!) (photos courtesy of Owen Lockhart).
It was a fantastic week for stray brown trout in the Rocky River! As exhibit A, Brad caught this beautiful buck brown on Sunday (photo courtesy of Brad Manelski).
Andy and a buddy caught some nice steelies in the Rock on Thanksgiving morning, but the highlight was the surprise brown trout caught by their friend Chuck, who was visiting from Charlotte (photos courtesy of Bill Wahl).
Brian had a good time trout fishing at Wallace Lake yesterday. He was using an unorthodox offering- bread! (photos courtesy of Brian Ailor).
Pat had success at the Rockcliff Springs hole on the Rocky on Friday and Saturday, scoring some quality steelies and a bonus brown trout. The fish were released (photos courtesy of Pat Cramer).
David landed this trophy 9.5 lb walleye fishing from his kayak after dark at Edgewater Park this week (photo courtesy of David Cain).
Nick and Ryan made a fine catch of trout at Ledge Lake yesterday. Most of the fish bit Nick's own fly pattern pictured (photos courtesy of Nick Zarzeczny).
Jon simply notes of the local walleye scene- "Cleveland has been on fire" (photos courtesy of Jon Freni).
John caught this Rocky river chrome drifting his own jig creation under a float (photo courtesy of John Fay).
Frank has caught some nice walleye and steelhead fishing the Cleveland lakefront from shore. He uses minnows for bait (photos courtesy of Mark Fascione).
Frank shared this nice feedback "I?�+ve been fishing Wallace Lake for over 30 years and it has never been better for me than the 2015 season. You?�+re doing an awesome job there Mike. Season total I?�+ve caught and released largemouth well in to the hundreds from my kayak. I?�+ve since sold the kayak to buy a new bass boat and last Sunday decided, after putting the boat away for the winter and feeling the itch pretty bad, to try the lake from shore. They?�+re still biting!" (photos courtesy of Frank G.).
Ryan caught a Rocky River brown trout last Friday (photo courtesy of Ryan Watson).
Josh shares "Found this nice male brown trout on the Rocky River Monday. Came on a clean untipped (no maggots or waxies) gold and black marabou jig. Tailouts of deep holes and runs have been producing some nice fish. East side tribs are producing some nice steelies, the Rocky has been a little slower due to water levels. Thought I send this since everyone gets a little excited to see reports of browns on our rivers." (photo courtesy of Josh Michalski).
Ranger Coleman has noted some periods of hot steelhead fishing at E55th this week. Among the many who experienced success were Jim, Larry, Tony, Tracy, and Will- pictured above in that order (photos Ranger Aaron Coleman).
Rocky River is not the only place giving up brown trout this week. This one was caught at Wallace Lake yesterday (photo courtesy of Bob Wohlgemuth).
Mike has been making some great walleye catches out of Edgewater trolling from his Pelican canoe. Purple shallow diving stickbaits trolled at 1.5-2 mph 15 feet back off side planers have been his top producer (photos courtesy of Mike Iglewski).
Desmond caught some fine walleyes from shore at Edgewater Park this week (photo courtesy of Desmond Prince).
An angler displays a big walleye caught from the north facing wall at E55th.
We stocked a record 3,000 lbs of trout in five Metroparks lakes this week. See the report for details.
One cutthroat trout (a first for us) was stocked at Wallace Lake this week, and I am offering a prize of a Metroparks digital camo cap like the one pictured to the angler who catches it and documents it with a photo clearly showing it was done at Wallace.
The Know Your Fish Challenge has a twist this week because I am telling you the fish. It is the burbot. The challenge is to list the many nicknames for this species in the comments section. No Googling, either! The burbot above were caught by my friends and I in Lake Michigan last week (top pic is OSU Extension Aquatic Ecosystems Program Director Eugene Braig). Burbot in Lake Erie have suffered from sea lamprey parasitism and the population is currently greatly depressed, and in Ohio they are officially listed as a Species of Concern by ODNR. I have attempted to target them in Erie three times over the years to no avail, although one angler perch fishing out of Conneaut caught one this fall (I saw the photo). If you've ever been lucky enough to catch a Lake Erie burbot, or know someone who has, please share your story in the comments section as I would love to hear about it. Burbot are piscivores that mostly eat baitfish, dead or alive, on the bottom. They love very cold water and only come shallow enough to catch from shore in late fall and winter. Burbot are unique in that they are the only freshwater cod species, and they are delicious (I can attest to that first-hand!) despite their unusual appearance. They are most commonly prepared as a dish called "poor man's lobster" (pictured) because, well, they taste just like lobster when boiled and served with melted butter!
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, firstname.lastname@example.org (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, email@example.com www.steelheadguide.com
- #19-005 Jeffery Liskay, Silver Fury Guide Service & Schools, firstname.lastname@example.org (440) 781-7536
- #19-006 Mario Chance, Chagrin River Outfitters, email@example.com (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.