In winter highlight species targeted by anglers in Cleveland Metroparks include steelhead trout, stocked trout, and panfish. Area rivers are very iced up with the continued arctic weather. 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>. Anglers have been out ice fishing on local inland lakes and Lake Erie marinas this week catching trout, largemouth bass, and panfish.
Steelhead fishing opportunities in local rivers continue to be extremely limited due to frozen rivers, and the forecast shows no sign of winter lessening its icy grip on the region. In fact, I can hardly recall seeing less open water on the river in my 30 years of steelhead fishing here! A few anglers have been ice fishing the deep, slow marina area off the boats ramps as well as to the north. Please exercise extreme caution on river ice if you venture out there.
Ice fishers have been out on our inland lakes having success this week. Wallace Lake was stocked with 1,000 lbs of trout on February 4th, and Shadow (500 lbs), Ledge (400 lbs), and Judge's (100 lbs) lakes were stocked on February 10th. Ranger Lake was not stocked this final round of winter trout stocking. Daily trout limit is 3/day in these waters, with the exception of Shadow Lake which is 5/day. Winter trout bite on small jigs tipped with bait (maggots, waxworm, minnow, corn) suspended under a float, spawn sacks, small to medium size jigging spoons (like Swedish Pimple or Forage Minnow), 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. One angler using tip-ups baited with live minnows at Wallace Lake this week caught a mixed bag of trout, bass, and crappie. It is always a good strategy to try a variety of offerings when pursuing trout on our lakes until you find what they are in the mood for.
Marinas at E55th, Edgewater, and Wildwood parks on Lake Erie can all be worth a look from ice fishers. In fact, workers spotted two anglers fishing about 1/2 mile north of Edgewater Park on the open lake last week! Anglers are pursuing panfish such as bluegill, crappie, and yellow perch using small jigs tipped with waxworms or maggots. Overall, anglers have reported a slow to inconsistent mid-winter bite along the lakefront, with the abundant schools of shiners that were present last year largely lacking. The most successful anglers move often and use electronics (ie- Vexilar unit) to find the fish. Steelhead can also be found roaming the marinas, especially as we get closer towards spring, and will bite on the same baits they will in the rivers. A few quality size northern pike are also always around in winter. One strategy is to use one or two jigging/bait rods and then set up to six tip-ups per angler using larger live minnows for predators like steelhead and pike. Unlike inland Metroparks waters, you can fish the Lake Erie marinas 24 hours/day.
Remember To Renew Your Fishing License. As an annual friendly reminder, the current Ohio fishing license expires after February 28, 2015. Remember to pick up a new one before heading out to fish on or after March 1st!
ODNR Supports Cleveland Metroparks Hydrilla Control Efforts. Thank you to the ODNR Division of Wildlife for supporting Cleveland Metroparks ongoing efforts to control Hydrilla at four locations with $64K in funding in 2015 (these are ultimately GLRI federal funds). Hydrilla is an extremely aggressive and harmful invasive non-native aquatic plants that is still relatively new to northern Ohio. In Florida alone, this plant causes millions of dollars in damages annually. ODNR has supported our proactive control program for this plant over the past three years.
Fly Fishing Film Tour Coming up on March 6. The Cleveland Museum of Natural History Trout Club is hosting the popular Fly Fishing Film Tour (F3T) on March 6. More on this event <here>.
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 .
Adam fished Wallace Lake with his father on Sunday and they caught 5 trout, 8 largemouth bass, and 3 good size crappie. They were using tip-ups with live minnows (photos courtesy of Mike Flachbart).
Last Thursday Fox 8 news came out to Wallace Lake to do a story on ice fishing. You can view that <here> (video courtesy of Fox 8 News).
Most of the river is frozen over, and even areas normally open in winter like Morley Ford have very limited open water. This is among the most thoroughly frozen I've seen the river in my 30 years of steelhead fishing here!
Congratulations to John Fay, who earned an ODNR Master Angler award pin in 2014. Among his qualifying catches were a 28" steelhead, 26" brown trout, 26" channel catfish, 22" smallmouth bass, and 23" freshwater drum. All but the drum were caught in the Rocky River (photos courtesy of John Fay).
Sean and Ed were off work Monday and braved the negative morning temperatures to go ice fishing at Ledge Lake. They caught a few and missed a few trout in 3 hours there using small spawn sacks (photo courtesy of Sean Flanigan).
Like most of us, Sean Fenton is remembering warmer times on the river and uploaded this <video> of catching a fall Rocky River steelhead (video courtesy of Sean Fenton).
Danny Butram caught the fourth place trout at our recent ice fishing derby and won a custom knit fish cap (by Beth Landers). He reports that his grandsons Max (top) and Dexter approve of the hat. In fact, he notes that he may never get it back from little Max, who's taken a liking to it! (photos courtesy of Corey Butram).
Disk shaped ice formations known as circle ice or "pancake ice" have formed in the recirculating eddy of open water at Morley Ford. I always think they look like lily pads made of ice.
Ken Stein (who many of you will remember from the river and this fishing blog) has been stationed in Europe as a military contactor for a few years now. Among his travels he and his daughters visited Vintgar Gorge in Slovenia, the home to four species of trout. Ken reports that he greatly misses steelhead fishing the Rock and wants to remind folks how much public fishing water we are blessed with here...which is largely not the case in Europe (photos courtesy of Ken Stein).
Radar was the retired canine officer partner of Ranger Captain Sean Flanigan. After a long, happy, and productive life Radar was put to rest last week. Radar was the first Metroparks canine officer and started a program that has grown to four canines and their Ranger handlers today. RIP Radar, your legacy lives on good boy (photo courtesy of Sean Flanigan).
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, firstname.lastname@example.org www.steelheadguide.com
#18-002 Jeffery Liskay, Silver Fury Guide Service & Schools, email@example.com (440) 781-7536
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>