***Friday April 1 morning update: The Rocky River did not rise quite as much as anticipated following the rain yesterday, and although elevated and stained it is still borderline fishable this morning. Conditions for the weekend will depend on how much rain we receive tonight and tomorrow. Wise anglers, as always, will check in on the flow data for developments.***
In early spring, highlight species targeted by anglers in Cleveland Metroparks include steelhead, stocked trout, largemouth bass, and panfish. The Rocky River was fishing good for steelhead this morning but, unfortunately, it is rising now and likely to blow out in the near future due to rain. Weekend conditions will be dependant upon how much rain we receive, so keep posted to the flow data for details. Stocked trout in the East Branch Rocky River are also biting well. Our local ponds and lakes are offering good opportunities for stocked trout, largemouth bass, and panfish and yellow perch fishing is starting to heat up around the Cleveland shoreline. 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).
Steelhead fishing in all local streams has been very good for the past two days but, unfortunately, is currently rising and likely on its way to blowing out with lots of rain in the forescast. Weekend fishing prospects will depend on how much rain we receive, so wise anglers will check in on the flow data before heading out for a trip. In the streams are a mix of very fresh, spawning, and post-spawn ("dropback" or "spent") steelhead. Spawning steelhead (and suckers) can be found in shallower riffle and tailout (ends of pools) areas, while pre and post spawn fish can be found in holes and runs, especially just downstream of spawning fish. Fly fishers, bait anglers, and hardware chuckers have all been taking a share of the fish, although it's tough to beat a brightly colored dime to nickel size spawn bag in stained water conditions. Steelhead are well distributed all the way up into both branches of the river at this time. In a typical year, steelhead numbers peak in late March through mid April, so this is prime time.
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 stocked 650 pounds of rainbow trout in the East Branch Rocky River on Tuesday afternoon. The trout were released at 4 locations between Route 82 (Royalton Road) and Bonnie Park. These complement the 850 pounds of trout stocked in the river since mid-March We will not be stocking next week, but plan to stock the last 3 weeks in April. Additionally, the ODNR Division of Wildlife stocked 500 trout in Shadow Lake yesterday, and plans to stock 2,500 trout in Hinckley Lake on April 6. These rainbow trout from ODNR will average 10-14", which are a great size for kids, and slightly smaller than the ones Cleveland Metroparks stocks. 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 week or so if all goes as planned. Early season yellow perch boating anglers are just beginning to report good catches around the E72nd lighthouse and anglers at E55th breakwall have been catching catching a few jumbo perch from shore using emerald shiners on crappie rigs. Anglers are reporting a successful night bite for walleye around Lorain, and that should follow here in Cleveland soon. 848 bluegill and largemouth bass were stocked in Oxbow Lagoon in Rocky River Reservation on Monday, as well.
Barbie Rod Steelhead Derby Summary. On Saturday March 26th we saw just over 50 competitors in the 3rd Barbie Rod Steelhead Derby fundraiser and it was a great time! After a long night of nervously wondering if the river level would drop in time for the event, on Saturday morning we were treated to prime conditions- and the river did not disappoint! Around 30 steelhead were landed on kiddie rod/reel combos and the morning was rife with tales of "the one that got away". Anglers landed a nice bunch of suckers to contend for the "Biggest Sucker" prize, as well. But even those who did not hook anything had fun trying, and hanging out for the cookout and raffle. One angler noted "I never had so much fun getting skunked" which, I think, sums up the jovial atmosphere of the day. In the end, we netted $2,465 for a great cause (The Cleveland Metroparks Fishing Fund) and the final standings were as follows:
1st Place - Robert Wilmink, 25.5" steelhead
2nd Place - Nate Adams, 25.0" steelhead (won the tie breaker)
3rd Place - Phil Hanson, 25.0" steelhead
Biggest Sucker - Jessica Wilkolak, 17.0" white sucker
Congratulations to these folks on their success despite the odds purposefully being stacked against them! An enormous thank you goes out to those who made this event possible. It would not have happened without event coordinator Mark Warren taking the reigns with the assistance of (in no particular order) Greg Young, the Phillips brothers (Eric and Matt), Travis Males, Donnie Misinkis, Rich Williams, and John Brochue. And our great sponsors, all of which are listed at the link that follows. Also at the link, we have an exit survey we'd really appreciate attendees completing, as well as an event slideshow: <Barbie Rod Derby website>.
Lost and Found: Fly Rod and Reel. If you lost a fly rod and reel on the Rocky earlier this month, please send me a description and place it was last used and if it is yours I would be happy to coordinate a happy re-union.
Free Orvis Fly Fishing Classes. Orvis Westlake will be offering free fly fishing classes this spring, starting in early April. For a listing of offerings and to register you can check <here>.
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.
3.5 year old Hunter got his limit of rainbow trout in the East Branch Rocky River this week (photo courtesy of Stephanie Mundt).
Adam and dad made a limit catch of Wallace Lake trout with a bonus giant bluegill (photo courtesy of Mike Flachbart).
Joey was fishing by the marina on Saturday afternoon and got this big ole sheepshead (photo courtesy of Mike Bobincheck).
Andre and a buddy made the most of the seasonably warm weather on Sunday evening and headed to a local pond. Their efforts were rewarded with several fine channel catfish with the biggest pulling the scale to 6 lbs 14 oz (photos courtesy of Andre Herron Jr.).
Joyce and her grandson had a day on the Rock on Wednesday that they'll always remember (photos courtesy of Joyce Smith).
Debbie caught this gorgeous Rocky River steelie on Easter (photo courtesy of Daniel Zukie).
A brown trout is a great catch from the river anytime, but a spring brown trout is an especially special catch because they spawn in fall and are usually long gone by now. But leave it to a McCutceon brother to find one! Brion caught and released this beauty by the marina yesterday (photo courtesy of Brion McCutcheon).
You just never know where these big trout will end up in spring. Ed took his fly rod while him and the wife were walking the dog along the Cuyahoga River recently and caught this gorgeous hen. He was five miles upstream of the Brecksville Route 82 dam! (photo courtesy of Ed Hink).
Congratulations to Pat, who caught his biggest steelhead ever by Cedar Point Road. He thanks the father and son who helped him land his 30" trophy hen (photo courtesy of Pat Jurco).
Brock landed some chrome beauties on the Rock this week (photo courtesy of Brock Mihaly).
Mark likes to stop by Euclid Creek on his lunch break, and is often rewarded with silver, which seems like karma since he was the fella who organized the Barbie Rod Steelhead Derby to benefit our Fishing Fund. Thanks, buddy, and nice catch! (photo courtesy of Rich Williams).
While I am "stuck" writing this report, Dan is sending me photos of the fish he is catching in real time. What a rude JERK! :) Thanks, Dan, and way to go catching 7 fresh chromers this morning (photos courtesy of Dan McCutcheon).
Among his catch of adult steelies yesterday, Nate caught this wild juvenile steelhead on the Rock, as well (photo courtesy of Nate Tessler).
The Barbie Rod Steelhead Derby was a ton of fun on Saturday, with over 50 competitors showing up! The fun event netted $2,465 for our public Fishing Fund (photos courtesy of Terry Ginnis).
Jess and Jerry were among our competitors, and caught a steelhead and a sucker. The 17" sucker won Jess the Biggest Sucker prize- which was a certificate and 300 count bag of suckers! (photos courtesy of Jess Wilkolak).
Travis Males, the event winner the first year, assisted Joe "Santa" Tonich in netting his 24" chromer caught on his Spiderman rod combo by the marina (photos courtesy of John Brochue).
Jeff Burdick landed a nice white sucker on his kiddie rod combo (photo courtesy of Kevin Krischer).
Nate had a game plan in place and it was rewarded with second place overall in the derby. His largest fish, of five caught, was a 25 incher (photos courtesy of Nate Adams).
Our winners from left to right were: 1st Robert Wilmik (25.5"), Nate Adams (25.0" - won tie breaker), Phil Hansen (25.0"). Congratulations, anglers! On the right is event coordinator Mark Warren (photo courtesy of Eric Phillips).
Travis "Woody" Males was among those who helped organize the event. On Saturday he broke off a big steelie that would have likely won the event, and landed a smaller one, on his kiddie rod. But he took it all in stride and landed this beauty following the event on his "adult" rig. Thanks for all your help, buddy, and NICE HAT! (photo courtesy of Scott Heidrich).
My brother was working near Big Creek in urbanized Cleveland and spied these steelies this week (photo courtesy of Dennis Durkalec).
On Monday we collected 848 sportfish from a private golf course through special arrangement and stocked them at Oxbow Lagoon just south of Cedar Point Road on the parkway. Most of the fish were decent to large size bluegills, but some nice largemouth bass were also in the mix. The influx of fish were welcome at Oxbow as it experienced a very bad winter fish kill 2 years ago.
Can you tell what Mr. Bass here had for breakfast? Please post guesses in the comments. This fish was among those transferred from the golf course to Oxbow Lagoon on Monday.
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
#18-003 Josh Trammell, Steelhead Alley Outfitters, www.steelheadalleyoutfitters.com (888) 453-5899
#18-004 Joseph Beno, On The Swing, Joseph93935@hotmail.com (440) 667-2278
#18-005 Daniel Bennett, Steelhead Alley Outfitters, www.steelheadalleyoutfitters.com (888) 453-5899
#18-006 Brad Dunkle, Wildwood Anglers LLC, email@example.com (419) 540-8585
#18-007 Nathan Miller, Steelhead Alley Outfitters, www.steelheadalleyoutfitters.com (888) 453-5899
#18-008 Justin Pribanic, Chagrin River Outfitters, firstname.lastname@example.org (724) 799-5011
#18-009 Patrick Robinson, Steelhead Alley Outfitters, www.steelheadalleyoutfitters.com (888) 453-5899
#18-010 Travis Larson, Hatch Run Fly Fishing, email@example.com (814) 706-1958
#18-011 Mario Chance, Chagrin River Outfitters, firstname.lastname@example.org (330) 984-3086
#18-012 Don Mathews, Steelhead School, www.steelheadschool.com (330) 565-5457
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>