In winter highlight species targeted by anglers in Cleveland Metroparks include steelhead trout, stocked trout, and panfish. The big news this week is the start of the ice fishing season, with anglers cautiously out on local inland lakes and Lake Erie marinas. Area rivers are exhibiting heavy slush and increasing ice at this time. 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>.
Steelhead fishing opportunities in local rivers have been very limited this week due to ice and heavy slush. Areas downstream of fords and dams are affording some open water. A few ice fishers have been reported on the ice by the marina in recent days, although extreme caution should be exercised when venturing onto unpredictable river ice. As a tip, the dam off Station Road in Brecksville Reservation (below the Route 82 bridge) is a popular and often productive spot on the Cuyahoga River in winter, with Cleveland Metroparks owning the west bank (with the railroad tracks) and Cuyahoga Valley National Park owning the east bank. The coming warmer temperatures and rain forecasted this weekend could well serve to open up some more water on local streams.
Ice fishers are cautiously venturing onto the "hard water" of our inland lakes and Lake Erie marinas this week. Most state conservation agencies recommend a minimum of 4 inches of quality ice for foot traffic, and in Cleveland Metroparks it is the angler's responsibility to check ice thickness and safety. The following lakes received trout in mid-December: Wallace Lake (900 lbs), Shadow Lake (450 lbs), Ledge Lake (450 lbs), Ranger Lake (100 lbs), and Judge's Lake (100 lbs). Daily trout limit is 3/day in these waters, with the exception of Shadow Lake which is 5/day. Winter trout bite on Power Bait (rainbow and other bright colors have been best) about the size of a marble near the lake bottom with a small sinker, small jigs tipped with bait (maggots, waxworm, minnow, corn) suspended under a float, spawn sacks, as well as small to medium size jigging spoons (like Swedish Pimple or Forage Minnow). One successful angler reported landing 5 trout at Wallace on Sunday while others around him complained of a slow bite. His trick was setting tip-ups with various baits, with spawn sacks and PowerBait being his top producers on light leaders. The second (and final) winter trout stocking will be around early February.
Marinas at Edgewater, E55th, and Wildwood parks on Lake Erie are all worth a look from ice fishers. Ice in these windswept areas along the lakefront is thicker than most inland areas at this time. Anglers are pursuing panfish such as bluegill, crappie, and yellow perch using small jigs tipped with waxworms or maggots. The most successful anglers move often and use electronics (ie- Vexilar unit) to find the fish. Steelhead can also be found roaming the marinas, 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.
Your Input Wanted: Considering a Metroparks Ice Fishing Derby. We are considering hosting an open ice fishing derby at Wallace Lake on a Saturday in mid-February to benefit our Fishing Fund. Prizes would be awarded for largest (3 or so) fish and there would be an entrance fee of $5-10. Please give your thoughts regarding this idea in the comments section, as organizing such an event on short notice would be quite an undertaking and I want to make certain there is interest there beforehand. Donations of items for prizes would also be much appreciated. Thank you!
2015 Fishing Guide Permits. Please note that Fishing Guide Permits expired on December 31, 2014. Renewal materials were recently sent to all of our previously registered guides, but other folks interested in guiding on Cleveland Metroparks waters this year may find a link to the application materials following the photos in this report. Thank you and may all your clients have fish filled trips in the New Year!
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 .
Dexter went ice fishing at Wallace Lake Sunday evening and caught his first two trout ever on PowerBait (photo courtesy of Corey Butram).
The ice and slush on the Rock didn't stop Brian Price from catching and releasing his first steelhead ever on a gold spinner. Congratulations! (photo courtesy of John Krakowski).
Dave hit the ice this week and scored a Wallace Lake rainbow trout (photo courtesy of Dave McCloskey).
Jeff hit the ice on a Cleveland area Lake Erie marina on Sunday and landed about a dozen keeper sized panfish on waxworms, including bluegill and a few quality crappie and yellow perch (photo courtesy of Jeff Shaw).
Eric was ice fishing for panfish at a Cleveland area marina this past weekend and was shocked to hook into this steelie on very light gear. A great video of him making the exciting catch can be found <here> (video courtesy of Jeff Shaw).
Tom hit the ice with a friend last night and landed some panfish (photos courtesy Tom Nock).
Greg sent in these photo reminders that most of the river is not fishable at the moment. A few folks have been reported ice fishing by the marina, but exercise extreme caution on river ice (photos courtesy of Greg Young).
A nice buck spotted along the Rocky River recently (photo courtesy of Greg Young).
Our old friend Jake is taunting us with these gorgeous snook he caught in sunny Florida this week. No river slush to contend with down there! (photos courtesy of Jake Powers).
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
#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, firstname.lastname@example.org (419) 540-8585
#18-007 Nathan Miller, Steelhead Alley Outfitters, www.steelheadalleyoutfitters.com (888) 453-5899
#18-008 Justin Pribanic, Chagrin River Outfitters, email@example.com (724) 799-5011
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>