In winter highlight species targeted by anglers in Cleveland Metroparks include steelhead trout, stocked trout, and panfish. Area rivers have significantly more open water than last week, but also still have quite a bit of shelf ice remaining. With more cold temps in the forecast rivers can be expected to get slushy again soon. 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>. The recent thaw did little to adversely affect ice on smaller waterbodies and ice fishers continued to prowl local inland lakes and Lake Erie marinas this week.
Steelhead fishing opportunities in local rivers have improved this week with significantly more open water available. Still, plenty of shelf ice remains and river are more likely than not to be getting slushy again into next week given the forecasted temperatures. Areas downstream of fords and dams are affording the most open water, although there is a lot of open water from Brookpark Road bridge to Puritas Roas bridge on the Rocky. 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. Diehard river anglers have reported hooking a few steelies this week on jigs, dime size spawn sacks, and live minnows.
Ice fishers are still out on the "hard water" of our inland lakes and Lake Erie marinas this week despite the brief thaw. 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 consistently successful angler suggests that folks try a variety of offerings when pursuing trout on our lakes. 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.
Metroparks Ice Fishing Derby Tentatively Scheduled for Saturday February 14. Since we've received abundant interest we are looking at hosting a Metroparks ice fishing derby at Wallace Lake on Saturday February 14 from 9-2:00pm. A $10 entrance fee for each participant will benefit our Metroparks Fishing Fund. Some live bait will be available for purchase onsite, also to benefit the fundraiser. Please plan to get there early to register onsite at the tent on the lake near the swimming area parking lot. Prizes will be awarded for at least 1st, 2nd, and 3rd largest trout. Prize packages are being worked out, but so far prize donors that have committed include Erie Outfitters, Butcher & The Brewer, Stink's Bait & Tackle, and The Rodmaker's Shop. Additional sponsors are welcome! Tip-ups will not be allowed for this competition. Anglers may use two fishing rods per entrant.
RRWC Annual Meeting. The Rocky River Watershed Council will host their annual public meeting on Thursday January 29 starting at 7:00pm at the Brunswick Community Library. Guest speakers will cover birding in the watershed, as well as unique aquatic creatures of the river. This event will include refreshments and is family friendly! Details <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 firstname.lastname@example.org .
Justin is a hardcore steelheader who has been landing a few fish despite the tough river conditions we've had (photos courtesy of Justin Marconi).
Trout with often bite jigging lures through the ice (photo courtesy of Tim Carter).
Dave caught this surprise brown trout along the lakefront (photo courtesy of Dave Rankin).
Largemouth bass are generally not an ice fishing target species, but can bite good in winter (photo courtesy of Yamma Zemesarajs).
...and smallmouth bass are not a target species in the rivers in winter, but that didn't stop this one from biting a Gulp minnow (photo courtesy of Scott Deere).
Channel catfish are yet another non-target species in winter which are occasionally caught in our streams and lakes (photo courtesy of Scott Denham).
Tom was lonely out there on the frozen lake so he made a snow-fisherbuddy to hang out with. Tom's new friend started out happy, but became sad when the fish didn't cooperate :( (photos courtesy of Tom Nock).
Local angler Al Reinke is also a taxidermist, and mounted this trifecta of rainbow, golden rainbow, and brown trout he caught in Wallace Lake this winter (photo courtesy of Al Reinke).
Dan at Chagrin River Outfitters sent in a few photos of fish caught with his guides from earlier this year, and also wanted to inform folks that the fly tying portion of the shop was recently revamped. Stop in and check it out if you are in the area (photos courtesy of Dan Pribanic, owner of CRO).
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>