***Tuesday March 22 afternoon update: 650 pounds of trout were stocked in the East Branch Rocky River today at 6 locations between Route 82 (Royalton Road) and the ford crossing just south of Wallace Lake.***
In early spring, highlight species targeted by anglers in Cleveland Metroparks include steelhead, stocked trout largemouth bass, and panfish. After being elevated and muddy all week the Rocky River is just approaching fishable conditions again. Weekend prospects will be dependent upon just how much more rain the region receives, so anglers would be wise to keep an eye on the flow data. Steelhead fishing has been very good during windows of favorable conditions. Our local ponds and lakes are offering good opportunities for stocked trout, largemouth bass, and panfish. 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> <Rocky River NEORSD station with turbidity> (Note: the NEORSD monitoring station is back online).
After barely a chance to fish the Rocky and Chagrin rivers this week, the streams are just now approaching fishable conditions. Weekend steelhead fishing prospects will be dependent upon how much additional rain we receive in the next few days, so wise anglers will check the flow data before embarking on a trip. If the river level continues dropping, then very good steelhead fishing opportunities can be expected. Windows of good fishing conditions recently have seen anglers catching good numbers of steelhead in the Rocky, Chagrin, and other area streams, and anglers can expect a continued great outlook as we get further into spring. Dime to nickel size spawn sacks in brighter colors will be a top offering as the water first begins to clear from muddy to a greenish-brown stain. Steelhead are well distributed all the way up into both branches of the river at this time. Steelhead spawning activity will increase from this point on through the end of spring in shallow riffle areas, such as the reach just upstream of Cedar Point Road bridge on the East Branch of the river. There has been a mix of fresh silver, darker/colorful, smaller skipper/jack, and handful of spawned out fish around in the rivers at this time. For a great story about steelhead in the Cuyahoga River check out this link: <Cuyahoga Steel by Matt Stansberry>.
There are currently lots of lake-run white suckers in the river, as well. Morley Ford just north of the Lorain Road bridge is a sucker hot spot, and they will gobble worms or grubs/maggots fished on the river bottom, even under elevated and muddy river conditions. Springs suckers are especially good targets for kids, less experienced anglers, or folks just learning to fly fish.
We began our spring trout stocking program on Tuesday afternoon. Since the river was elevated, we put the majority (500 lbs.) in Wallace Lake this time. The remaining 150 lbs. went into the East Branch Rocky River on the upstream side of Bonnie Park dam. With that noted, I am requesting angler's assistance to help determine just how well trout stay in an area when stocked during high water. Please report to me any trout you catch by Bonnie Park over the next week to assist in making this determination. Thank you. We tentatively plan to stock again this coming Tuesday afternoon, and all of those will be distributed in the East Branch Rocky River if the river conditions are amenable. You can check in on the Fishing Report Blog for updates on that. Spring trout stockings by Cleveland Metroparks will continue until May. Additionally, the ODNR Division of Wildlife plans to stock 500 trout in Shadow Lake on March 30 and 2,500 trout in Hinckley Lake on April 6. These rainbow trout will average 10-14", which are a great size for kids. Also note that trout were stocked throughout the winter at Wallace, Shadow, Ledge, Judge's, and Ranger lakes, and a good number of these fish remain.
Some offerings to consider for trout include PowerBait in a variety of color, small jigs tipped with maggots or waxworms, salmon eggs, worms, waxworms, minnows, and small lures (such as RoosterTail spinners). 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.
Spring is a good time of year to pursue pre-spawn panfish and largemouth bass at our inland lakes and ponds, as well as at protected areas along the Lake Erie shoreline of Cleveland, like Edgewater boat ramps area and Gordon Park. Northern pike may also be found prowling weedy nearshore areas of the big lake. A white spinnerbait or Husky Jerk are good offerings for spring bass and pike, while a few waxworms suspended under a small bobber works well for sunfish. Crappie bite well on live minnows or small jigs. The boat ramp docks are in at Gordon Park, and will be installed at Edgewater within the next two weeks if all goes as planned. Early season yellow perch boating anglers are just beginning to get out around Cleveland and anglers at E55th breakwall are catching some jumbo perch from shore using emerald shiners on crappie rigs.
Barbie Rod Steelhead Derby on March 26th. On Saturday March 26th the we will be hosting the third annual Barbie Rod Steelhead Derby on the Rocky River. Trophies, prizes for three largest steelhead, raffles, and a cookout are all part of the day's festivities for this fun event where anglers must fish for steelhead with a kiddie fishing pole! Proceeds from the fundraiser event go to support the Cleveland Metroparks Fishing Fund. A website has been set up for the event <here>. The event has a Facebook page, as well. Don't miss this fun event for a great cause!
Fly Tying Basics with Jeff Liskay offering on March 22nd. UPDATE: THIS EVENT HAS SOLD OUT. But please still contact us to show your interest to aid in scheduling additional offerings. 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. For more info, or to register, check here <Fly Tying Basics>. If interested, I suggest registering soon, as the spots are filling quickly.
Fly Tying at Merwin's Wharf on March 22nd: Guest Mike Schultz. For the final installment of this series, Mike Schultz of Schultz Outfitters will be featured fly tyer on Tuesday March 22nd from 6-9:00pm (6-7:00pm is mingling and dinner, and the tying is 7-9:00pm). Mike is a well known and respected Michigan fly fisher and tyer. Don't miss this one! 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.
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.
David had a fine afternoon fly fishing the East Branch Rocky River by Lagoon Dam yesterday, hooking several steelhead on Egg Sucking Leech flies and a 3" pink trout worm.
Mariah shares "Had another good day at Rockcliff. Took my son to start showing him the ropes and it paid off greatly. There's nothing better than seeing your son getting excited doing something that you love to do" (photos courtesy of Mariah Estep).
Andre caught a nice pair of trout at Ledge Lake (photo courtesy of Andre Herron Jr.).
Annie relays "First catches of the year for Jared and I! Caught on Joe's Flies at Wallace Lake. Thanks for maintaining a fishing report!" (photos courtesy of Annie Dershem).
Last Wednesday Daniel caught the coveted spring trifecta while fly fishing the Rock- steelhead, smallmouth bass (pictured), and a sucker (photo courtesy of Daniel Zukie).
Congratulations to Katie on catching not only her first steelhead in the Rocky, but her FIRST FISH EVER! (photo courtesy of Zach Kaczmarski).
Despite the muddy water, Cleveland blues legend "Guitar Slim" (pictured) and a handful of friends were catching some jumbo yellow perch at E55th breakwall this afternoon.
Pat reports "Caught this nice rainbow trout at Wallace Lake on March 12 on my own hand tied nightmare jig and pink trout worm. I usually fish for steelhead in the Rocky but figured I'd check out Wallace since river conditions were bad today. Glad I was able to get my fix!" (photo courtesy of Pat Jurco).
While the larger streams were muddy, Charlie was adaptable and found fly fishing success on a small Metroparks stream (photos courtesy of Charlie Seibolt).
Matt got out on a small pond and landed his first couple of largemouth bass of the year (photos courtesy of Matt Arroyo).
Tim caught this nice steelie while sporting his Metroparks pride shirt (photo courtesy of Tim Maher).
Dan caught a few Rocky River beauties this week prior to the flooding (photos courtesy of Dan McCutcheon).
Brad, Scott, and Steve (not pictured) caught some nice steelhead well upstream in the Rock last week (photos courtesy of Steve Nyetrae).
Local angler John visited his buddy Jake in Florida recently and did great fishing there. Can you name any of the species above for the saltwater installment of the Know Your Fish Challenge? (photos courtesy of John Lusnek).
This nasty, invasive, parasitic sea lamprey was yanked off of a fresh Rocky River steelhead this week. Do not release any sea lamprey found attached to fish! Please kill them or, better yet, retain to bring to me or call me so I can pick it up. We need them as education/research specimens (photo courtesy of Ryan McCarger).
Our local friend Alan Tomko continues his journey through China coming across unique fish and other specimens for sale at the markets there (photos courtesy of Alan Tomko).
The Fly Fishing Film Tour held at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History on March 5th was a sold-out show of 550 folks. The event raised $34K for northeast Ohio conservation efforts! We were proud to be a Supporting Sponsor of this great event this year (photos courtesy of Woods King).
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.