In winter highlight species targeted by anglers in Cleveland Metroparks include steelhead trout, stocked trout, and panfish. A fair amount of localized water (between Brookpark Road and Puristas/Mastic Road bridges) opened up with the mini thaw this week, but overall area rivers are still largely iced up. It looks like one heck of a thaw coming over the next week, though, which should really begin breaking up the thick river ice. 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 got a little better following the recent short thaw, most notably the open water between Brookpark Road and Puritas/Mastic Road bridges. The flow and stain in those few miles of river are good at the moment and a few anglers even reported hooking a fish or two this week. As the projected thaw arrives expect the thick river ice to begin breaking up and offer more of a spectacle than fishing opportunities for awhile..
Ice fishers have been out on our inland lakes are still pursuing stocked rainbow trout. 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, and all lakes have plenty of trout remaining. Fishing reports from Shadow Lake have been slow, but expect trout to turn on as the lakes is freshened by melt-off in the next few weeks. 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.
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 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 often roam into the marinas and nearshore areas in late and will bite on the same baits they will in the rivers. Panfish, bass, and northern pike are also 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.
Spring Kickoff Events at Chagrin River Outfitters.
Tonight Thursday March 5th: Kevin Feenstra will cover swinging flies for great lakes steelhead. FREE from 6pm-7pm. Private Fly tying class after seminar with Kevin spinning up some of his favorite spring steelhead/smallmouth/trout bugs. Class $25, call shop or stop in to sign up. Kevin has been swinging flies for steelhead on the Great Lakes tributaries a long time and is a great teacher of ways to make all of us better two handed (spey) anglers. More <here>.
Saturday March 7th: Jerry Darkes and staff of Chagrin River Outfitters for a day of switch and spey. Also on hand new gear from Scott fly rods, Abel fly reels, and Scientific anglers. Great day to stop in the shop, see some new gear, learn a few tricks, and book your spring steelhead trip with the areas top guides. Intro to Spey and Switch seminar 10am., Tips for swinging flies for steelhead 12pm, and Tube fly demos with Jerry Darkes and John Fabian 2-3:30 pm.
Seeking Donation of a Smaller Wooden Boat. We are looking for a donation of a smaller (8-14 foot) wooden boat for a Zoo penguin exhibit. The boat need not be seaworthy in any way and, in fact, the design artist says it should ideally "look like it was left to rot in a ship yard". Please contact me if you can help.
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 .
I am dubbing the fishing report this week "The Nate Show". Nate, amazingly scored gold (carp), silver (steelhead), and bronze (brown trout) prizes from the limited open water availale in the Rock. And he did it with the fly rod! Nice work, Nate (photos courtesy of Nate Adams).
The fishing maybe have been slow at Wallace Lake for Alex, but "Jitters the coffee stealing squirrel" kept him entertained. Watch a video of this furry character <here> (video courtesy of Alex Garrote).
The Lake Erie marinas, such as Wildwood above, have about 2 feet of solid ice present.
Dan at Chagrin River Outfitters has some great offerings at the shop tonight and Saturday (see the report highlight for details). In the meantime, he sent these photos of warmer environs on a recent fishing trip to Mexico (photos courtesy of Dan Pribanic, 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, Joseph93935@hotmail.com (440) 667-2278
#17-004 Jeffery Liskay, Silver Fury Guide Service & Schools, email@example.com (440) 781-7536
#17-005 Monte Casey, The Steelhead Guide, www.steelheadguide.com
#17-006 Nathan Miller, Steelhead Alley Outfitters, www.steelheadalleyoutfitters.com (888) 453-5899
#17-007 Patrick Robinson, Steelhead Alley Outfitters, www.steelheadalleyoutfitters.com (888) 453-5899
#17-008 Justin Shillaci, Steelhead Alley Outfitters, www.steelheadalleyoutfitters.com (888) 453-5899
#17-009 Daniel Bennett, 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>