***Tuesday April 19 afternoon update: 600 pounds of trout were stocked this morning in the East Branch Rocky River at 6 locations between Rt 82 (Royalton Road) and the ford (river crossing) just south of Wallace Lake.***
In spring, highlight species targeted by anglers in Cleveland Metroparks include steelhead, stocked trout, largemouth bass, and panfish. After being elevated and muddied all week, the Rocky River is fishable again and conditions should only improve further into the weekend. Anglers are reporting a good mix of fresh run and post spawn fish available this morning. Trout were stocked in Wallace Lake and East Branch Rocky River upstream of Bonnie Park this week, as well as at Hinckley Lake last week. Our local ponds and lakes are also offering good opportunities for largemouth bass, and panfish and yellow perch and walleye fishing is slowly getting better around the Cleveland shoreline. To monitor the most recent river water level, temperature, and clarity (turbidity) you can check the following links: <Rocky River USGS flow gage data> <Chagrin River USGS flow gage data> <Rocky River NEORSD station with turbidity>
After a week of high water, the Rocky and other area rivers ar looking to offer great steelhead opportunities into the weekend. Anglers on the water today are reporting good catches of the big silvery trout, with a mix of fresh run and post spawn fish present. Spawning steelhead (and suckers) can be found in shallower riffle and tailout (ends of pools) areas, while pre and post spawn fish can be found in holes and runs, especially just downstream of spawning fish. Fly fishers, bait anglers, and hardware chuckers are all expected to take a share of the fish, although it's tough to beat a brightly colored dime to nickel size spawn bag in stained water conditions, as we have at the present. Steelhead are distributed all the way up into both branches of the river at this time, as well as everywhere in between, with reports this week of a few of the big trout all the way up to Valley City on the West Branch. In a typical year, steelhead numbers peak in late March through mid April, but I expect out recent cold spell will prolong the run later than usual.
On Tuesday 300 more pounds of rainbow trout were stocked in the East Branch Rocky River upstream of Bonnie Park. As this was done during high water the fish are be nicely distributed by now. 650 pounds of rainbow trout in the East Branch Rocky River, which were released at 4 locations between Route 82 (Royalton Road) and Bonnie Park. These complement the 1,500 pounds of trout stocked in the river since mid-March. we tentatively plan to stock trout on the next two Tuesdays, as well, which will wrap up our spring river stockings. We also stocked another 300 pounds of trout in Wallace Lake on Tuesday, and ODNR Division of Wildlife stocked 2,500 trout in Hinckley Lake and 500 trout in Shadow Lake over the past two weeks. The rainbow trout from ODNR average 10-14", which are a great size for kids, and slightly smaller than the ones Cleveland Metroparks stocks. Also note that trout were stocked throughout the winter at Wallace, Shadow, Ledge, Judge's, and Ranger lakes, and some of these fish remain.
Some offerings to consider for trout include PowerBait in a variety of color, small jigs tipped with maggots or waxworms, salmon eggs, worms, waxworms, minnows, and small lures (such as RoosterTail spinners). Please note the current seasonal trout regulations: Lake Erie and all streams 2/day minimum size 12" (this includes steelhead), 3/day no size limit at Wallace, Ledge, Judge's and Ranger lakes, and 5/day no size limit at Shadow Lake and Ohio & Erie Canal.
Spring is a good time of year to pursue pre-spawn panfish and largemouth bass at our inland lakes and ponds, as well as at protected areas along the Lake Erie shoreline of Cleveland, like Edgewater boat ramps area and Gordon Park. Northern pike may also be found prowling weedy nearshore areas of the big lake. A white spinnerbait or Husky Jerk are good offerings for spring bass and pike, while a few waxworms suspended under a small bobber works well for sunfish. Crappie bite well on live minnows or small jigs. The boat ramp docks are in at Gordon Park, and will be installed at Edgewater within the next week or so if all goes as planned. The cold spell has slowed the yellow perch bite around the E72nd lighthouse for boaters and at E55th breakwall, but this should pick up again with the onset of more spring-like weather. Anglers are reporting a successful night bite for walleye around Lorain, and that is just beginning to pick up here in Cleveland, too.
Wallace Lake Avian Visitors. Over the past week a few really cool visitors of the feathered variety have made an appearance at Wallace Lake. A pair of osprey have been making visits to fish the lake. In fact, one grabbed a stunned bass while we were electrofishing there last Friday and also snatched a trout just after we stocked the lake on Tuesday! As if that wasn't neat enough, I observed a common loon on the lake while sampling with a college group yesterday, too. If anyone can get a good photo of the birds I'd love to see them and include in an upcoming fishing report.
Grafton Correctional Program Update. The latest donation to our Cleveland Metroparks Fishing Fund from the Grafton Correctional inmate fish breeding program is $1,300! Thank you to those who recently donated aquariums/equipment to help expand their program, including- Richard Williams, Adam Davenport, Greg Young, David Kostik, Tom Kraft, and Jeff Riebe. Grafton is expanding this very successful program to a second facility now.
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.
Michael caught this 13.6 pound bruiser buck steelhead at Morley Ford on the Rock back on March 28. Wow! (photo courtesy of Michael Mosack).
How about this for a Wallace Lake bluegill?! The fish was sampled (and released) during a CWRU school outing on Wednesday.
Bill Demarco shows off a 28" steelie caught in Euclid Creek this week. So, are we finally done with the white stuff? (photo courtesy of Ken Russ).
Speaking of the white stuff, it's not every day you see a nice bass caught with snow on the ground (photo courtesy of Scott).
Richard went 5 for 7 on steelies in a smaller Metroparks stream yesterday (photo courtesy of Rich Williams).
For this installment of the Know Your Fish challenge, can you identify these lil fellers caught while sampling at Wallace Lake this week? Please post your guesses in the comments section and I'll post the answer in a few days (photo courtesy of Owen Lockhart).
Daniel and a friend fished at Oxbow Lagoon, caught a few nice bluegill, and observed the resident beaver this week (photos courtesy of Daniel Zukie).
This past week we hosted fish collection outings with a Cleveland school and a Case Western Reserve University Ichthyology (fish biology) class. As our primary site, the river, was high and muddy we were adaptable and sampled Wallace Lake and Baldwin Creek. As you can see from the images, the students were rewarded with some great fish diversity and a hands-on learning experience.
During sampling at Wallace Lake last Friday we turned up the lone cutthroat trout stocked there this winter! The elusive fish has avoided being caught despite a reward being posted (a Metroparks hat) for its documented capture. The fish is covered in fine spots and has characteristic orange slash marks under each side of the throat, hence the name. The female fish was readily dropping bright orange eggs when it was caught. It was released unharmed back into the lake to (hopefully) make a lucky angler's day!
This herring gull was spotted with a largemouth bass prize at Gordon Park on Lake Erie this week (photo courtesy of Chuck Slusarczyk Jr.).
Note: The fishing report is updated monthly in June, July, and August and weekly every other month
2019 Cleveland Metroparks Registered Fishing Guides
(name, company, contact)
- #19-001 Jim Lampros, floodplainsmag.com, email@example.com (216) 513-6011
- #19-002 Joseph Beno, On The Swing, Joseph93935@hotmail.com (440) 667-2278
- #19-003 Daniel Bennett, Steelhead Alley Outfitters, www.steelheadalleyoutfitters.com (888) 453-5899
- #19-004 Monte Casey, The Steelhead Guide, firstname.lastname@example.org www.steelheadguide.com
- #19-005 Jeffery Liskay, Silver Fury Guide Service & Schools, email@example.com (440) 781-7536
- #19-006 Mario Chance, Chagrin River Outfitters, firstname.lastname@example.org (330) 984-3086
More information on Cleveland Metroparks Fishing Guide Permit requirements, including the permit application, you may check the following link: <Fishing Guide Permit Program>
Learn how you can support recreation opportunities through a donation to the Cleveland Metroparks Fishing Fund.