***Wednesday February 24 morning update: The Rocky River is elevated and muddy due to overnight rain. It will be at least a few days before it is fishable again.***
***Monday February 22 afternoon update: The Rocky River level is just approaching good fishing conditions following elevated and muddy weekend conditions due to snow melt. There is a growing amount of open water at out lakes and ponds following the thaw, as well.***
***Friday February 19 morning update: There is a significant amount of open water on the Rocky River this morning. Just drive along the parkway to find the open stretches.***
In winter, highlight species targeted by anglers in Cleveland Metroparks include steelhead and stocked trout. Area stream ice conditions have been variable based on the day this week, but steelhead fishing has been on the slow side overall. The impending thaw will serve to open up the river and improve conditions. Our lakes have a thin layer of ice present, but remaining ice is not safe to walk on at this time! One angler at Wallace Lake had a leg break through the ice yesterday, and conditions will deteriorate rapidly with the coming thaw. 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> (Note 1: Ice can cause inaccurate readings from the flow gage. Note 2: the NEORSD monitoring station was damaged in a recent flood and the installation is being repaired).
Steelhead anglers had tougher fishing in the Rocky and Chagrin rivers this week, but persistent anglers did catch some fish. Dime to nickel size spawn sacks in various colors took fish, as did small marabou or hair jigs tipped with maggots/waxworms, small white tube jigs, and live minnows drifted under a float. steelhead are well distributed all the way to at least Cedar Point Road bridge on the Rocky. Area rivers are very slushy this morning, but the coming thaw will clear ice from the streams in short order and improve fishing in the coming week or so. A tip for fishing in icy conditions is to bulk most of the split shot close to the bait, jig, or fly to punch it down through the surface slush quickly and keep it down where to fish are.
The Cuyahoga River is among the last of our streams to freeze in winter, with the lowhead dam under the Route 82 bridge being a hot spot. To get there park in the lot by the Station Road Trailhead in Brecksville Reservation and walk north (downstream) to the dam on the Metroparks (west) or National Park (east) sides of the river. Last Friday I stopped by the dam on a very cold morning and the lone angler fishing reported hooking 6 steelhead in only 2 hours of drifting spawn bags under a bobber. Please note that you can fish bait on the west side of the dam (Cleveland Metroparks property) with the RRX, but bait is banned on the east side (National Park property).
Trout were stocked at Wallace (1,400 lbs), Shadow (750 lbs), Ledge (600 lbs), Judge's (150 lbs), and Ranger (100 lbs) lakes earlier this month. The lakes are all covered by relatively thin ice at the moment, but that will disappear rapidly with the coming thaw. In areas with thin ice anglers can fish areas along the lake margins where the water drops off quickly from shore, such docks. Trout have been biting on a variety of baits this week, with small jigging spoons and jigs tipped with maggots or waxworms being among the top producers. 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.
Fly Tying at Merwin's Wharf on February 23rd: Guest Tyer Jake Villwock. Jake Villwock will be our next featured fly tyer on February 23rd from 6-9:00pm (6-7:00pm is mingling and dinner, and the tying is 7-9:00pm). Jake works for TCO Fly Shop, has guided in Alaska, and his diverse fly fishing experience ranges from Pennsylvania spring-creek trout to Chesapeake Bay striped bass. Attendees will be joining Jake to tie some moderate skill level patterns together, although you are welcome to attend to observe and sit out tying if you wish. Materials will be provided with the $20 fee, but please plan to bring your own vise, tools, and thread. Food and refreshments will be available for sale for the duration of the session. This is an RSVP event- please contact (734) 544-1761 to do so. Other upcoming tyers in this series include Tommy Lynch on March 10 and Mike Schultz on March 22.
OCBS Steelhead Workshop on February 25th. On Thursday February 25th the Ohio Central Basin Steelheaders will be holding their annual Steelhead Workshop. The FREE event will be from 7:30-9:30pm at the Buffalo Wild Wings on Pearl Road located in Strongsville. There will be a whole array of member hosted stations set up to teach the various techniques, equipment, and other points of interest used for local steelhead fishing. More at <OCBS website>.
Fly Tying Basics offering on March 22nd. On Tuesday March 22nd from 6-9:00pm Cleveland Metroparks is offering an entry level fly tying course featuring Jeff Liskay at our Rocky River Nature Center. All materials and tools are provided with the $20 cost recovery fee. This is a capped attendance, RSVP event that just opened for enrollment. For more info, or to register, check here <Fly Tying Basics>.
Medina Raptor Center Seeking Fish Donations to Feed Bald Eagle. The non-profit Medina Raptor Center is rehabbing a very picky bald eagle that will only eat salmon and trout. The center would be happy to accept frozen trout/steelhead/salmon that anglers may be looking to clean out of their freezers, as well as fresh fish. Please contact me to coordinate a fish donation.
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.
Adam and dad made a nice catch of Wallace Lake trout yesterday evening (photo courtesy of Mike Flachbart).
Maria displays a trout on her birthday last week the day before Wallace Lake froze over again (photo courtesy of Graham Montague).
Al caught a limit of Wallace Lake trout on tiny jigs yesterday, but not before one of his legs went through the thin ice all the way up to his hip! For your own safety, do not venture on the ice right now.
The fly tying session featuring Jeff Liskay at Merwin's Wharf last Thursday evening was a great time. RSVP for the next offering to be held on February 23rd. See report above for details.
Ed caught a pair of pretty rainbow trout right before Wallace Lake froze over again late last week (photos courtesy of Ed Schmitt).
I gave a talk to the St. Edward HS Fly Fishing Club last week and was impressed by their club cookie!
Blog reader Alan Tomko is visiting northern China and sent in the following "Ice fishing in Harbin, China. The ice is really thick and people gather around the fishermen and buy their catch. I have eaten a lot of carp here. They really know how to prepare it. It is always boiled in a richly flavored broth, never fried or baked. They don?�+t have ovens." (photos courtesy of Alan Tomko).
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, email@example.com www.steelheadguide.com
#18-002 Jeffery Liskay, Silver Fury Guide Service & Schools, firstname.lastname@example.org (440) 781-7536
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>