In winter, highlight species targeted by anglers in Cleveland Metroparks include steelhead and stocked trout. Area streams are elevated and muddy this morning. The thaw and rain has cleared the rivers of ice and water levels are dropping nicely for weekend steelhead anglers. Ice conditions on our lakes is rapidly diminishing, as well. 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: the NEORSD monitoring station was damaged in a recent flood and the installation is being repaired).
Steelhead anglers who know finesse tactics did very well on the Rocky River earlier this week when the water was clear. Live minnows, rubber minnow jigs, and small marabou or hair jigs (white has been hot) tipped with a few maggots or waxworms drifted under smaller floats on lighter fluorocarbon leaders were top producers. The bulk of the fish caught were fresh skipper (14-18") steelhead. The water is currently elevated and stained, but is dropping rapidly. As the water first becomes fishable again, brightly colored spawn bags (dime to nickel size pink and chatreuse work great) will be top producers. As the water clears further into the weekend the offerings mentioned earlier in this paragraph, as well as egg flies and streamers, will take a good share of the fish. Steelhead are very well distributed within our river systems at this time, with fish from the marina all the way up into both branches of the Rocky.
Trout were stocked at Shadow (750 lbs), Ledge (600 lbs), and Judge's (150 lbs) lakes this past Sunday, and at Wallace (1,400 lbs) and Ranger (100 lbs) lakes last Tuesday. The thaw over the past week has chased ice fishers from our smaller inland lakes. Remaining ice is not safe to walk on at this time! Wallace Lake has a lot of open water at this time. In areas with thin ice remaining, 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, 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 11th: Guest Tyer Jeff Liskay. The first celebrity fly tying session at Merwin's Wharf featuring Greg Senyo was a great time! Next in the series Jeff Liskay will be featured on Thursday February 11th from 6-9:00pm (6-7:00pm is mingling and dinner, and the tying is 7-9:00pm). Jeff is an extremely talented and humble local angler, fly tyer, and experienced fly fishing educator who is known well outside our region. He is a Patagonia rep and longtime fishing guide. Attendees will be joining Jeff to tie some effective patterns together, although you are welcome to attend 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 Jake Villwock on February 23, 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 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 and equipment used for local steelhead fishing. More at <OCBS website>.
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.
Michael had a great day steelhead fishing on the Rocky River on Tuesday (photo courtesy of Michael Mochan).
Retired Strongsville police officers John Hall and friend caught their limit at Ledge Lake on Sunday. They caught their trout on gold Swedish Pimple spoons tipped with redworms, as well as two using PowerBait on tip-ups. Note: the ice has deteriorated drastically since this photo was taken (photo courtesy of John Halls).
Ray caught a Rocky River brown trout on a jig earlier this week (photo courtesy of Ray Lancaster).
St Ignatius student Adam had a great day at Ledge Lake Sunday, catching most of his trout on silver KastMaster and Swedish Pimple jigging spoons. He noted that the trout were very high in the water column near the ice (photo courtesy of Adam Baranowski).
John caught a few Rocky River steelies right before the big thaw (photo courtesy of John Fay).
Shadow and Ledge lakes were offering up trout on a variety of offerings on Sunday. Note: any remaining ice is no longer safe to walk on!
These guys caught a bunch of steelhead, keeping three, on the Rocky River on Sunday. They started catching fish as soon as they switched to white jigs tipped with maggots.
Registered Metroparks Fishing Guide Pat Campbell (all registered guides are listed at the end of this report) was fly fishing the river on Monday and shared the following observations/kind words: "I had the pleasure of spending a great morning on the Rocky today. I was only able to fish an hour and a half, but was able to hook 5 eager steelhead in that time. It was probably the most pleasant February 1st I have ever spent on the Rocky (or any river across northeast Ohio for that matter). Whether I am fishing by myself or with clients, I am always amazed at what a special place the Rocky River Reservation is. These wildlife and fishing opportunities in an urban setting are unique. I suspect there are few other cities across the country fortunate enough to have anything similar. As always, I appreciate all of the hard work you and the entire Cleveland Metroparks crew do to make this place special. Keep up the great work!" (photo courtesy of Patrick Campbell).
Todd caught three Rocky River steelies on Tuesday, capped by this fine buck (photo courtesy of Todd Davitt).
John from Olmsted Township landed a few nice steelhead last Thursday morning (photo courtesy of John Burkhart).
On Sunday we stocked 1,500 pounds of trout between Shadow, Ledge, and Judge's lakes. Here we are preparing to weigh a net full of fish prior to their release.
Ed caught some Rocky River steelhead up to 30 inches in length over the past week (photo courtesy of Ed Schmitt).
The next fun fly tying session at Merwin's Wharf will feature Jeff Liskay on February 11th. See the report above for details.
An angler brings in a nice steelhead on the Rock on Tuesday as his son nets it, with the family dog providing moral support (photo courtesy of Scott Heidrich).
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, firstname.lastname@example.org, (330) 984-3086
17-002 Justin Pribanic, Chagrin River Outfitters, email@example.com, (724) 799-5011
17-003 Joseph Beno, On The Swing, firstname.lastname@example.org, (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, 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>