***Wednesday March 18 morning update: Good news! The flow gage is back online and the Rocky River is on the threshold of being fishable this morning. And conditions will improve more so as the water level recedes and clears further in the coming days. Steelhead fishing prospects are shaping up to be the best they've been in months.***
***Tuesday March 17 afternoon update: Rainbow trout (600 pounds) were stocked in Wallace Lake this morning because the East Branch Rocky River is elevated and muddy. Also, I called USGS this morning about the flow gage issue and they were already planning to send a technician up from Columbus to check it out.***
***Tuesday March 17 morning update: The river level remains elevated and muddy this morning, but the level has dropped noticeably overnight. If we don't get too much rain it could be approaching fishable conditions over the next few days.***
***Monday March 16 morning update: The river level remains elevated and muddy due to weekend rain and snow-melt. The flow gage remains non-functional at this time. The weather forecast is calling for rain tonight into tomorrow and the amount we receive will dictate whether or not the river level begins to recede enough to fish. I will continue to post updates to the report as conditions change.***
***Friday March 13 morning update: Great news! As of this morning the Rocky River is open all the way to Lake Erie, with the river ice having been pushed beneath the smooth lake ice (see photos added below). The river level has not dropped since yesterday, having been sustained by melt-off due to overnight temperatures above freezing.***
In early spring highlight species targeted by anglers in Cleveland Metroparks include steelhead trout, stocked trout, and panfish. The big news this week has been the break-up of ice on the Rocky River. At this time the river is flowing high and muddy with most remaining ice being from the marina to the lake. Anglers can check the latest river flows and temperature at the following links (NOTE: the flow gage reading is not accurate at the time of this writing, possibly due to ice damage): <Rocky River flow gage data> <Chagrin River flow gage data>. Anglers are still out ice fishing on local inland lakes and Lake Erie marinas this week catching trout, largemouth bass, panfish, and catfish.
The Rocky River is currently flowing high and muddy due to melt-off and the ice has been clearing out by the day. At the time of this writing the remaining ice is from the marina to Lake Erie, with some slabs pushing 2 feet thick! As the water level drops and clears expect the best fishing prospects in over 2 months. In addition to steelhead, expect white suckers to begin their spawning run, as well. Since the flow gage is currently not reading correctly, possibly due to ice damage, I will give regular updates on water conditions at the beginning of this report until that problem is remedied.
Although snow and ice are melting, ice fishers are still out on our inland lakes primarily pursuing stocked rainbow trout, although panfish, largemouth bass, and even catfish. Wallace, Shadow, Ledge, and Judge's lakes were stocked with a total of 2,000 lbs of trout this winter. Expect trout to turn on as the lakes is freshened by melt-off over the next few weeks, with some of the best fishing offered as the lakes become open water. Please be especially wary around inflows/outflows and edges of the lakes, as these are the first areas to become thin during the thaw. Also be sure that there is at least a minimum of 4 inches of solid ice where you are fishing. Daily trout limit is 3/day in these waters, with the exception of Shadow Lake which is 5/day. 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.
Marinas at E55th, Edgewater, and Wildwood parks on Lake Erie can all be worth a look from ice fishers. Overall, anglers have reported a slow to inconsistent bite along the lakefront, with the abundant schools of shiners that were present last year largely lacking...but I expect this to change for the better as we transition into spring. Steelhead often roam into the marinas and nearshore areas in late and will bite on the same baits they will in the rivers. Crappie, largemouth bass, and northern pike are around in winter, and even more so into early spring. Unlike inland Metroparks waters, you can fish the Lake Erie marinas 24 hours/day.
Rodmakers Shop Spring Tackle Event and Sale March 13-15. Today through Sunday the Rodmakers Shop in Strongsville is hosting a spring tackle event highlighted by 20-40% off items in the shop. More <here>.
2nd Barbie Rod Fundraiser Steelhead Derby Coming on March 28! Local angler Mark Warren has arranged the 2nd annual Barbie Rod Steelhead Derby as a Cleveland Metroparks Fishing Fund fundraiser. The fun event, which is open to all, is on the Rocky River on March 28 and requires that competitors fish with a kid themed fishing rod for an added challenge (such as a Barbie or Spiderman themed rod, as examples). There will be trophies (see image below) for the three largest steelhead, as well as other prizes and a cookout. For more information contact Mark at firstname.lastname@example.org or (440) 665-1815. There is also an event info page on Facebook which can be found <here>.
Seeking Donation of Steelhead Heads. Yes, you read that right! A Baldwin-Wallace University anatomy class needs a few steelhead heads for a class project within the next week. If you happens to have any available, please contact me to arrange pick-up. Thanks.
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 .
Congratulations to Zach on catching his first steelhead ever in the Cuyahoga River this past Saturday. The 25.5", 7.5 lb trout hit a bright green Alaskabou fly. Zach, who is in school in the area, says the Pennsylvania trout where he is from do not run this large (photo courtesy of Zach Strohl).
***Friday March 13 update: Great news! The ice has cleared out of the Rocky River all the way to Lake Erie overnight, with the smooth lake ice having been pushed beneath the smooth lake ice.***
Greg also had a great day on the Cuyahoga River this week, hooking five steelies on jigs tipped with maggots. Note, these guys were fishing the Cuyahoga while the others streams were still mostly frozen. The Rocky and Chagrin get a much larger run of steelhead, although the Cuyahoga is an underappreciated fishing location (photos courtesy of Greg Young).
Jim, Frank and other regulars were catching some trout on the south end of Wallace Lake on Tuesday. Largemouth bass, channel catfish, and panfish have also been biting there.
Zach caught three steelies in the Rocky River on Sunday. He was using a black streamer pattern on the fly rod (photos courtesy of Zach Kaczmarski).
Some anglers are optimistic enough to fish under the toughest conditions! This photo is from Morley Ford yesterday (photo courtesy of Lance Masarik).
This was the marina area yesterday (photos courtesy of Greg Young).
This was this morning. The ice is clearing out by the day, which is great news for anglers. Now we just need the water level to drop and clear.
These trophies will be awarded for the three largest steelhead caught on the March 28 Barbie Rod Steelhead Derby and cookout. The entry fee proceeds will benefit the Metroparks Fishing Fund. More info on the event can be found in the highlight in the fishing report above (photo courtesy of Mark Warren, event organizer).
I am betting the folks in these condos on the northern Rock have been pretty nervous the past few days!
Jake continues to taunt us with photos of his great catches in Florida this winter, with this shark from this week being the latest. HOPEFULLY NEXT WEEK WILL BE OUR TURN TO RETURN THE FAVOR!!! (photo 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
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>