***Wednesday January 20 morning update: Trout stocking at Shadow, Ledge, and Judge's lakes has been delayed until early next week. The Rocky River is very slushy in most areas this morning.***
***Tuesday January 19 afternoon update: Trout were stocked this morning at Wallace (1,400 lbs) and Ranger (100 lbs) lakes. A few of the very first ice fishers are on both lakes, although anglers should exercise extreme caution on the relatively thin ice.***
***Saturday January 16 morning update: The Rocky River is elevated and muddy due to overnight rain and snow melt.***
***Thursday January 14 afternoon update: The mild temperatures today have resulted in a lot of the Rocky River being slush free by this afternoon. The river has a good stain and flowfor steelhead fishing. Given a forecast of above freezing tonight, morning prospects should be very good.***
In winter, highlight species targeted by anglers in Cleveland Metroparks include steelhead trout, stocked trout, and walleye. Local streams have iced up this week, making steelhead fishing much more challenging. 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 is being relocated). Our inland lakes have a crust of ice this week and given the forecast ice fishing opportunities may be just around the corner.
The Rocky and other area streams have good numbers of steelhead present, but icy conditions are making for challenging fishing. Ice and slush have been worst in the Rocky River in the mornings. The Cuyahoga River is among the last of our streams to get slushy. It is not stocked, but does get a decent number of stray steelhead. Brightly colored spawn sacks, jigs tipped with grubs, live or salted minnows, rubber baits, and various flies have all taken a share of the fish over the past two weeks.
A thin crust of ice has formed over most of our inland lakes and ponds recently, although not thick enough for ice fishing. A total of 3,000 lbs of trout were stocked in Metroparks lakes in December, as follows: Wallace Lake (1,250 lbs), Shadow Lake (700 lbs), Ledge Lake (550 lbs), Judge's Lake (250 lbs) and Ranger Lake (250 lbs). Winter trout bite well on PowerBait, canned corn, jigs tipped with a few maggots/waxworms, and jigging spoons. 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.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.
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.
Steelhead, yellow perch, and night walleye fishing opportunities are available at Edgewater, 55th, and E72nd/Gordon parks from the shore when conditions allow. Steelhead anglers typically use small jigs tipped with maggots, minnows, or worms under small bobbers. Walleye anglers cast Husky Jerk and Perfect 10 stickbaits. Perch anglers fish crappie rigs with live or salted emerald shiners on the lake bottom. Be aware that shoreline rocks can be dangerous when covered by a thin layer of ice.
Fly Tying at Merwin's Wharf on January 26: Guest Tyer Greg Senyo. The first celebrity fly tying session at Merwin's Wharf will feature Greg Senyo on Tuesday January 26th from 6-9:00pm. Greg and attendees will be tying some proven Great Lakes steelhead patterns together. 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. This is an RSVP event- please contact (734) 544-1761 to do so. Other upcoming tyers in this series include Jeff Liskay on February 11, Jake Villwock on February 23, Tommy Lynch on March 10, and Mike Schultz on March 22.
Ice Fishing Derby. A number of folks have recently asked if we plan to host another Ice Fishing Derby to benefit our Fishing Fund this year. We need to see if the weather cooperates, but the short term forecast is looking promising. With that said, Saturday February 13th is being set aside as the tentative date that I hope to have the event. Hopefully we can solidify that plan by the end of this month.
2016 Fishing Guide Permits. Please note that Fishing Guide Permits expired on December 31, 2015. Renewal materials are being sent to all of our previously registered guides, but other folks interested in guiding on Cleveland Metroparks waters this year may find a link to the application materials following the photos at the end of this report. Thank you and may all your clients have fish filled trips in the New Year!
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.
Gabe shares "Went to Rocky River Friday morning. First time catching fish on my hand tied white marabou jigs! Four fish total! Also caught many carp in the Cuyahoga River on spawn sacks the day before." (photos courtesy of Gabe Speidel).
Andy and Bill caught some fine Rocky River steelhead and a nice brown trout fishing in the rain last week (photos courtesy of Bill Wahl).
Nate says this is the kind of weather that separates the men from the boys! (photo courtesy of Nate Adams).
John notes "Here are a couple of fish I caught and released on Saturday on Fay?�+s Midnight Rider jig." (photos courtesy of John Fay).
Last Thursday night I assisted two researchers by helping catch a live Lake Erie burbot to photograph and for tissue samples for their work. Burbot are officially designated as a Species of Concern in Ohio, but this freshwater cod appears to be slowly recovering (sea lamprey parasites and pollution in the lake greatly decreased their abundance over the past 80 years). Burbot like river mouth areas with lots of baitfish in winter as they prepare to spawn around February. Fishing techniques and baits are very similar to fishing for catfish. They are a coldwater species and tend to migrate from east to west in the lake as winter progresses. In fact, ice fishers have turned them up as far west as the Lake Erie islands (although they would be a rare catch out there).
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
17-009 Daniel Bennett, email@example.com, (440) 417-3062
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>