In early winter, highlight species targeted by anglers in Cleveland Metroparks include steelhead trout, stocked trout, and walleye. The Rocky River and other area streams are currently icing up exceptionally fast. 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>. Note: ice formation on the gage probes can lead to erroneous readings in winter. Trout were just stocked at Wallace, Shadow, Ledge, Judge's, and Ranger lakes and some walleye and steelhead can still be found along the Cleveland lakefront shoreline.
All area streams iced up very rapidly this week, and with wildly varing temperatures forecasted over the next 10 days it's tough to predict what to expect over the weekend. River conditions are typically quite variable in winter, with areas below dams and fords typically offering fishable conditions the longest during really cold spells. Overall, there has been a mix of adult steelhead (24-26") and skippers (14-18" steelhead), with few fish over 28" being reported so far this season. One exciting development this week were the first brown trout reported from the river this season (photos below). Bait often rules in winter, with dime size spawn sacks, live/salted minnows, and small jigs tipped with maggots/waxworm all being among the top producers. Fish have been reported in all the stocked streams recently, as well as the Cuyahoga River and Euclid Creek.
Decent numbers of steelhead are still being reported along the Lake Erie shoreline, especially at E55th and Edgewater parks. Popular methods for targeting Lake Erie shoreline steelies include suspending a jig tipped with minnow or nightcrawler 2-5 feet below a bobber, as well as casting a spoon (ie Little Cleo or KO Wobbler) or spinner (ie Vibrax or RoosterTail). Night walleye anglers can still find some fish at Edgewater and E72nd/Gordon parks from the shore casting crankbaits, with with larger Husky Jerks and Perfect 10 models being top producers. Make sure to bring a long handled net and cleats work well on icy shoreline rocks.
A total of 3,000 lbs of trout were stocked in Metroparks lakes this week (see the highlight regarding this below). Trout are also available at Ohio & Erie Canal fishing area down the hill from CanalWay Visitor Center off E49th Street. Trout bite well on PowerBait, canned corn, small spinners, and jigs tipped with a few maggots/waxworms, and nightcrawlers or shrimp fished right on the bottom. 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. Our Rangers are out enforcing this, too, so make sure you know the rules. The second (and final) round of winter trout will, hopefully (barring a winter storm), go into the same lakes next Tuesday and Wednesday. Keep posted to the fishing report for updates on that.
A thin crust of ice has formed over most of our inland lakes and ponds recently, although not thick enough for ice fishing. Anglers are currently fishing from the safety of shore in areas where the water drops off quickly, such as from docks, other platforms, etc. Since ice fishing is (hopefully) is right around the corner, we offer some advice. Most state conservation agencies recommend at least 4" of solid ice before anglers should venture out to ice fish, and in Cleveland Metroparks it is the angler's responsibility to check that. One method is to use a spud bar near shore and check the ice thickness, and if it is > 4 inches then walk out a little further and check again. Ice is often thinnest right at the water's edge and around inlets and outlets of the waterbody. Other safety tips are to always fish with a friend, let someone know where you'll be, and focus on areas near where other anglers are already fishing. If we do receive good ice this winter we hope to hold another ice fishing fundraiser derby likely in mid February. Stay tuned for details on that.
Winter Trout Are In! I am pleased to report that this past Friday and Tuesday we stocked 3,000 lbs of trout between 5 of our lakes. We traditionally stock 1,800 lbs per round, but we are putting a portion of a large settlement from the 2012 Rocky River fish kill towards stocking extra fish for a 10 years period. The lakes include: Wallace Lake (1,400 lbs), Shadow Lake (700 lbs), Ledge Lake (600 lbs), Judge's Lake (200 lbs) and Ranger Lake (100 lbs). The size of the trout varies from 3/4 lb to a few broodstock that were a whopping 8+ lbs! And the fish are extra colorful as a result of our supplier including more beta carotene in their diet. Along with the predominantly standard rainbow trout (Kamloops, British Columbia, strain) are several dozen golden rainbow trout, brown trout, and even a few brook trout. The second (and final) round of winter trout will go into the same lakes around late January/early February 2016.
Closures on the Rocky River Parkway. As many of you have noticed there have been abundant closures of the parkway in the Rocky River valley lately. As our forestry crew continues to remove dead hazard trees this will be an ongoing thing. We do post the closure signs at majors access point to minimize the inconvenience. And we do apologize for the temporary inconvenience but it is important to keep the public out of active work zones for everyones' safety. Our Marketing division does work to keep the agency Facebook page updated with the latest closure information.
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.
Adorable little Aubrey was fishing Wallace Lake with her father this week and caught a trout that matched her golden locks (photo courtesy of Charles Weaver).
Adam and his father have been having some successful trips targeting trout at Wallace Lake this week. Our inland lakes are all covered in thin ice at this point (photos courtesy of Mike Flachbart).
Dennis scored a Rocky River brown trout at Morley Ford this week (photo courtesy of Bill Arensberg).
Back in late November Ken caught and released not one but two Rocky River brown trout on the same day. In fact, the trout both bit a white jig drifted in the northern river only 30 minutes apart! (photos courtesy of Ken Metz).
Retired Strongsville police office John Hall caught this 25" 8.25 lb rainbow trout in Wallace Lake on a gold spoon and 4 lb line Saturday morning (photo courtesy of John Hall).
Adam caught some gorgeous steelhead in a smaller area stream last week, as well as a small stream bred trout (photos courtesy of Adam Baranowski).
David caught this colorful brook trout at Wallace Lake yesterday on a jig. We had great diversity in the trout stocked this week, with some browns, brooks, and golden rainbows mixed in with the standard rainbow trout (photos courtesy of David Paruski).
Ryan also caught a brook trout this week, although his was from Ledge Lake (photo courtesy of Ryan Magalsky).
Anatoliy braved the winter lakefront at E55th and was rewarded with two fresh steelhead (photo courtesy of Anatoliy Leydiker).
An angler scored a pair of Wallace Lake rainbow trout the day before the lake was covered in thin ice (photo courtesy of Ranger Captain Sean Flanigan).
I made a cute new buddy while stocking trout at Ledge Lake on Tuesday (photo courtesy of Nick Zarzeczny).
These "ice lily pads" are officially known as frazil pans. They are a phenomenon that form in eddying water flows. Right below Morley Ford is a good place to find them (photo courtesy of Zach Kaczmarski).
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>