In 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 strong with a stain, with more rain on the way. At the moment the Rocky has crested and will continue to offer good fishing conditions until we receive more rain. 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 recently 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 flowing strong with a stain with more rain forecasted on the way. As of this morning, the Rocky is beginning to crest and will offer good fishing conditions until the next significant rain. Anglers should keep an eye on the flow gage before traveling very far for a fishing trip. The rain this week definitely improved the steelhead fishing, with many anglers reporting success this week. A good percentage of the fish lately have been feisty 15-20" skippers, especially in the northern river reaches. The majority of the steelhead the past few days have bit brightly colored spawn sacks, although jigs tipped with grubs, live or salted minnows, and various flies have also taken fish. 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.
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), although their numbers have been decreasing the past few weeks as more fish enter the streams. 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).
A total of 3,000 lbs of trout were stocked in Metroparks lakes earlier this month, as follows: 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, 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. 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.
Night walleye anglers continue to report very good action off Edgewater and E72nd/Gordon parks from the shore casting and from boats trolling stickbaits, with larger Husky Jerks and Perfect 10 models being top producers. 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 hit, so persistence pays. 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>.
Putting Our Fish Data To Work for a Greater Good. We collect fish population data in our streams and lakes for a number of in-house practical needs, including to help in managing our recreational fisheries, assessing water quality, submittal to the OEPA state and OSU Museum of Biodiversity databases, and inventorying biodiversity on the lands we manage. But thanks to our seasonal crew member Owen Lockhart, who is finishing up his PhD at Cleveland State University, our fish data is being used on an even larger scale. To date, Owen has contributed 358 observations representing 67 species of fish to the Global Freshwater Fish BioBlitz (GFFB) project on iNaturalist. He is ranked as #2 in total number of records and #3 in total number of species among contributors to the GFFB project. In addition, fish observations from work-related activities contributed to the following regional projects via Owen's efforts: Cleveland Metroparks Biodiversity Inventory, Ohio BioBlitz (an Ohio Biological Survey project), Lower Lake Erie Region CSI (a LEAP bioregion project), Medina County Biodiversity Project, Killbuck Lakes Park monitoring effort, and Wood County Biodiversity Project. Non-fish observations gathered during work-related duties contributed to the aforementioned regional projects as well as taxon-specific projects (e.g., Global Amphibian BioBlitz, Tracking Red-eared Sliders, Coyote Watch, etc.). Great job, Owen! We've been very pleased to have you working with us the past few seasons.
Proper Fish Handling Tips. If you plan to keep a fish for consumption, you can handle it however you wish, although a <recent scientific study> indicates that humanely dispatched fish taste better. If you plan to release the fish, though, it can make a big difference. As a few tips on minimizing stress to fish that anglers plan to release, I start by noting that minimizing time out of the water is a good (and fairly obvious) one. Removing the fish for a quick photo or two is no big deal, but a five minute photoshoot is never a good idea! This is more important the warmer the temperature. A fish to be released should not be played excessively long, either. A fish to be released should be cradled with both hands if lifted from the water, not by the gill cover. This is most important with larger, heavier fish. A fish should not be allowed to flop around in mud or sand, or on rocks and concrete, as this can removed the protective slime coat and injure the fish otherwise. These four simple items alone can minimize 90%+ of injury/stress that can diminish a released fish's chances of survival. If you have any additional "dos and don'ts" of proper fish handling feel free to share with us in the comments section.
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 .
?�n This happy lad caught his first steelhead from the Rocky River this week! He wanted to catch a steelhead like the mounted specimen on the wall that dad caught 13 years earlier, and he succeeded. I'd call this a great Christmas present! (photo courtesy of Greg Breha).
?�n Look who was spreading holiday cheer on the Rock this week! Fly Fishing Santa hooked and landed a steelhead on his 3rd drift at Rockcliff Springs, which a visiting angler from Windsor, Canada, netted for him. I think this guy found his lucking fishing outfit! HO, HO, HO!!! (photos courtesy of Cathy Boozer).
?�n John, from Westlake, landed the largest Rocky River brown trout I've yet seen this season! (photos courtesy of John Vargo).
?�n Hey, what's that stuff on the ground? John shares from this past weekend "Big one of the weekend released, around 26 inches. Lots of fresh skippers were pushing too. Tight lines and Merry Christmas." (photo courtesy of John Fay).
?�n Ed caught a rainbow and brown trout at Wallace Lake this week and noted "My family appreciates your stocking efforts at Wallace and in the Rocky which provide a ton of fun for us year round. Have a Merry Christmas and a blessed new year." (photos courtesy of Ed Schmitt).
?�n Matt caught this fine walleye along the Lake Erie shoreline on a Husky Jerk (photo courtesy of Matt Arroyo).
?�n Frank displays a Lake erie shoreline steelie photo courtesy of Mark Fascione).
?�n This handsome buck brown trout came out of Euclid Creek (photo courtesy of Reilly Monroe).
?�n Tim made a short evening trip to the Rock this week and hooked three, landing this chromer (photo courtesy of Tim Matty).
?�n Owen displays a nice shore-caught yellow perch from Tuesday.
?�n Tibi caught both a regular and golden rainbow trout this week (photos courtesy of Tibi Jovica),
?�n Ranger Coleman made a nice catch of quality size yellow perch this week (photos courtesy of Aaaron Coleman).
?�n Here's a tip for any dog owner angling readers. For years I've kept the skins of yellow perch and I bake at 400 deg for ~30 minutes to make dog treats (before and after pics above). They have the consistency of a potato chip with a crunch the dogs like. And best of all, I don't have to feel guilty about not sharing my delicious perch fillets with them!
?�n One thing we never say around my office is "that's not my job". Owen has worked for me while wrapping up his PhD at Cleveland State University, and here he is merrily grinding away the oxidation on our electrofishing boat hull. Tip to aspiring fish and wildlife professionals- you should enjoy working with your hands just as much as using your head!
?�n The burn barrel at Morley Ford serves as a social hub on the Rocky River, as well as being a nice place to warm the hands during a winter day pursuing steelhead on the river.?�n
Note: The fishing report is updated monthly in June, July, and August and weekly every other month
2018 Cleveland Metroparks Registered Fishing Guides (name, company, contact)
#18-001 Monte Casey, The Steelhead Guide, email@example.com www.steelheadguide.com
#18-002 Jeffery Liskay, Silver Fury Guide Service & Schools, firstname.lastname@example.org (440) 781-7536
#18-003 Josh Trammell, Steelhead Alley Outfitters, www.steelheadalleyoutfitters.com (888) 453-5899
#18-004 Joseph Beno, On The Swing, Joseph93935@hotmail.com (440) 667-2278
#18-005 Daniel Bennett, Steelhead Alley Outfitters, www.steelheadalleyoutfitters.com (888) 453-5899
#18-006 Brad Dunkle, Wildwood Anglers LLC, email@example.com (419) 540-8585
#18-007 Nathan Miller, 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>