***Tuesday January 12 morning update: The Rocky River is very slushy this morning.***
***Monday January 11 morning update: The Rocky River is currently elevated and muddy and largely ice free, but given the forecast expect ice to form quickly as the level drops. On the plus side, ice fishing should be kicking off soon on our smaller lakes.***
In winter, highlight species targeted by anglers in Cleveland Metroparks include steelhead trout, stocked trout, and walleye. We received a great run of steelhead just in time for the onset of winter weather! Ice that formed mid-week is clearing from the river and the flow and stain is very good. 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 developed a thin crust of ice this week.
The Rocky and other area streams received the best runs of steelhead of the entire season following the high water last week, with many folks reported hooking multiple fish. Also good news is some larger fish in the mix, with several 30" class steelies having been caught over the past week. The ice that formed in the streams mid-week is diminishing at this point, and conditions look favorable for another good weekend of steelhead fishing. 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 last week. Medium size silvery spoons and spinners are always worth a try, as well, and require less specialized tackle for newer steelhead anglers.
A thin crust of ice has formed over most of our inland lakes and ponds over the past week. 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). The size of the trout varies from 3/4 lb to over 3 lbs, and the fish are extra colorful as a result of our supplier changing their diet to include more beta carotene. Along with the predominantly standard rainbow trout are several dozen golden rainbow trout, a few brown trout, and even one cutthroat trout stocked at Wallace. The second (and final) round of winter trout will go into the same lakes around late January. 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.
Steelhead, yellow perch, and night walleye fishing opportunities are available Edgewater, 55th, and E72nd/Gordon parks from the shore when conditions allow. Steelhead anglers are fishing small jigs tipped with maggots, minnows, or worms under small bobbers. Walleye anglers are casting Husky Jerk and Perfect 10 stickbaits. Perch anglers are fishing 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.
Coming Soon: Fly Tying Offerings at Merwin's Wharf. A series of five Tuesday/Thursday evening (6-9:00pm) hands-on fly tying sessions are being coordinated with Greg Senyo and other regionally noted fly tyers. Tentative dates so far are January 26, February 11 & 23, and March 10 & 22 . All materials will be provided by sponsors, although there will be a $20 fee that goes towards compensating the speaker. I will post more details as they become solidified.
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 .
Tony caught this chrome in the Rock this week and realized it had a second hook and spawn bag in the mouth, so he removed both (photos courtesy of Tony).
Jeff caught this 30" bruiser hen in the Rock Sunday morning on one of his buddy John Fay's home tied jigs (photo courtesy of Jeff Sutliff).
Tim reports from the Rocky "My brother and nephew were in town from Indiana this Sunday. My nephew was able to land his first steelhead and we caught 7 total. Good day." (photo courtesy of Tim Fischer).
Joe shares "Conditions have been great and thought I would share these pics of this 7.5lb 30 inch beauty from Rocky River. She took a Prom Dress swinging fly. Happy New Year!" (photos courtesy of Joe Varcelli Jr.).
Daniel started out the New Year with a bang with this gorgeous Rocky River chrome (photo courtesy of Daniel Dukie).
Justin and Carly enjoyed a few successful hours on the Rocky this week (photos courtesy of Justin Telep).
We're all familiar with steelhead, but maybe this one should be called a "goldhead"! This yellow hued steelhead was taken in an Ohio stream this weekend. The reason for the golden pigment in this particular fish is unclear, but is likely the result of a genetic quirk (photos courtesy of Greg Senyo).
Tibi and friends have been catching the rainbow trout very well at Wallace Lake this week, although the lake is starting to ice over now. Bag limits for trout at various locations are detailed in the report above (photos courtesy of Tibi Jobovic).
Joe caught a bonus brown trout mixed in with the Rocky River steelhead earlier this week (photo courtesy of Joe Shaw).
Buddies Mike, Scott, and Kevin kicked off 2016 great on the Rock, as detailed in this <video> (video courtesy of Mike Iglewski).
John had a good week on the Rock, here exhibiting one of several steelhead he landed (photo courtesy of John Fay).
Yuri and Fabio have been enjoying success swinging and indicator drifting flies on the Chagrin River (photos courtesy of Fabio Malaspina).
Dave, his sone, and his buddies all hooked plenty of steelhead on the Rock this past weekend (photos courtesy of Dave Rankin).
Congratulations to Nick on catching his first steelies on his new centerpin on the Rocky this week (photos courtesy of Nick Zarzeczny).
Greg had a successful outing chasing steelhead on the Chagrin River (photos courtesy of Greg Young).
Will observes "Hope you had a happy holiday season, thought I'd share a report from the other day. River is looking great right now and the fishing has been outstanding recently. However, the catching needs a little work. Went 1 for 4 on spawn. Every decent pool I stopped at seemed to have some fish, but didn't find a big pod. Overall it was a fantastic day." (photo courtesy of will Ellis).
Well known fly tyer Greg Senyo had a good week swinging flies on Steelhead Alley. He notes that he has caught steelhead on swung flies in water as cold as 32.5 deg F in the past, with the key being stable water temps for several days. Winter steelhead do not like chasing swung flies when the water temp is dropping. Greg also notes that dead drifted flies will almost always outproduce swung flies in winter, so swinging is choice made based on personal preference (photos courtesy of Greg Senyo).
We are proud to be among one of 16 national projects highlighted in a USEPA water quality progress report recently, and one of only two from the Great Lakes region. Our project studied the affects of stormwater runoff on headwater streams in the Rocky River watershed based on degree of surrounding urbanization (images from <USEPA's Promoting Innovation for a Sustainable Water Future Progress Report>).
Note: The fishing report is updated monthly in June, July, and August and weekly every other month
2019 Cleveland Metroparks Registered Fishing Guides
(name, company, contact)
- #19-001 Jim Lampros, floodplainsmag.com, email@example.com (216) 513-6011
- #19-002 Joseph Beno, On The Swing, Joseph93935@hotmail.com (440) 667-2278
- #19-003 Daniel Bennett, Steelhead Alley Outfitters, www.steelheadalleyoutfitters.com (888) 453-5899
- #19-004 Monte Casey, The Steelhead Guide, firstname.lastname@example.org www.steelheadguide.com
- #19-005 Jeffery Liskay, Silver Fury Guide Service & Schools, email@example.com (440) 781-7536
- #19-006 Mario Chance, Chagrin River Outfitters, firstname.lastname@example.org (330) 984-3086
More information on Cleveland Metroparks Fishing Guide Permit requirements, including the permit application, you may check the following link: <Fishing Guide Permit Program>
Learn how you can support recreation opportunities through a donation to the Cleveland Metroparks Fishing Fund.