***Tuesday January 26 morning update: There is a slowly growing amount of open water on the Rocky River and the river has a nice green stain. Ice on our lakes is unsafe for ice fishing at this time. We have not been able to stock the second round of winter trout at Shadow, Ledge, and Judge's lakes yet, but I will post an update as soon as that happens.***
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 opportunities very limited. 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: river ice is making for unreliable gage flow readings at this time. Note 2: the NEORSD monitoring station was damaged in a recent flood and the installation is being repaired). The very first ice fishers are venturing onto our inland lakes this week, although ice is still relatively thin overall and extreme caution should be exercised for those considering doing so.
The Rocky and Chagrin rivers are slush and ice filled this week, with limited steelhead fishing opportunities. The Cuyahoga River is among the last of our streams to freeze and could be worth a look from hardy winter anglers. 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 slow wobbling plugs can all entice lethargic winter steelhead into biting.
The very first ice fishers of the year have ventured onto our smaller inland lakes, although extreme caution should be exercised as the ice is still relatively thin everywhere. Trout were stocked at Wallace (1,400 lbs) and Ranger (100 lbs) lakes on Tuesday, and we hope to stock Shadow, Ledge, and Judge's lakes early next week. Back in December, 3,000 lbs of trout were distributed between these same lakes. Winter trout bite well on jigging spoons, small jigs tipped with a few maggots/waxworms, PowerBait, live minnows, and small spawn sacks. 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.
We offer the following advice regarding ice fishing safety. 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.
Once they freeze over the Lake Erie marinas and harbors around Cleveland can offer panfish and steelhead ice fishing opportunities, as well.
Reporting Poaching in Cleveland Metroparks. Following stocking we often receive reports regarding observed or suspected overbagging of trout. Unfortunately, many of these well meaning folks contact us after getting home later that day or, worse yet, the next day. Our Rangers cannot issue a citation unless they catch a poacher in the act, regardless of the information provided. So, with this being a common occurrence, Ranger Captain Sean Flanigan asks that folks call our dispatch number immediately upon observing suspected poaching activity. Please program the dispatch number in your cell phones: (440) 331-5530. He also advises not to let the person(s) in question know that you have noticed the suspected poaching and to call discreetly. Provide as much info regarding the person, activity, location, etc. Our Rangers can follow-up in a timely fashion this way. Thank you for your assistance!
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.
Ken shares "Just wanted to share a nice one from last Thursday on the Rocky. Water was really cold with a lot of shelf ice. One of only a couple 30 inch+ fish I have personally caught this fall despite overall good numbers. A great fight despite cold water. Glad I got a little in before our coldest weather of the season, fished Sunday in the mud and it was really slow with only a few skippers." (photos courtesy of Ken Harper).
On Tuesday we stocked trout at Wallace (1,400 lbs) and Ranger (100 lbs) lakes. Early next week I hope to stock Shadow, Ledge, and Judge's lakes.
Andrey caught this gorgeous rainbow trout at Wallace Lake today (photo courtesy of Andrey Gutsulyak).
Justin braved some serious slush and frozen feet this week, but was rewarded with some fine Rocky River steelhead (photos courtesy of Justin Marconi).
The very first ice fishers of the season are out this week, although ice is still quite thin everywhere. Another week of similar weather would greatly improve conditions.
Greg caught several nice steelies in the Cuyahoga River this week (photos courtesy of Greg Young).
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>