As we begin our approach to fall, highlight species targeted by anglers along the Rocky River and other area streams include smallmouth bass, carp, panfish, channel catfish, and early returning steelhead trout. The Rocky River level is flowing low with a light stain this morning, but we appear to have quite a bit of rain in the forecast into the weekend that could change that. To monitor the most recent river water level and temperature you can check the following link: <Rocky River flow gage data><Chagrin River flow gage data>. Lake Erie anglers are targeting yellow perch, walleye, white bass, smallmouth bass, white bass and panfish, and inland lake/pond anglers are primarily pursuing largemouth bass, channel catfish and panfish.
A few anglers reported catching steelhead in the northern stretches of area rivers again this week, but water temperatures have been warm from a trout perspective. When the water is above 70 deg F it is a good idea to get fish in and release them quickly, unless you plan to harvest them. Early steelhead tend show up in the northern mile or so of all of our major streams, as well as off the rocks at Edgewater and E55th. Casting a spoon (ie Little Cleo or KO Wobbler) or spinner (ie Vibrax or RoosterTail) at these locations are as good a bet as any for connecting with an early steelhead trout. Our first cool rain in the coming weeks should serve to entice a few more early steelhead into the streams. As a point of interest, several pink salmon, aka "humpies" due to the pronounced hump on the male fish's back, have turned up in our local streams this week. These smallest of the salmon (the state record is only 3 lbs) are not stocked in the Lake Erie drainage and migrate down here as stray from the upper Great Lakes where they are fairly common. For unknown reasons more of them appear to be present in Lake Erie this year. These fish are among the earliest to run and they all die following spawning.
Anglers are also pursuing a mix of warmwater species in the streams. Smallmouth bass will bite a dark olive or brown tube jig of about 4?�� length, live bait (ie: minnow, crayfish, and leeches), spinners, smaller crankbaits, and flies (ie: crayfish patterns, Clouser minnows, dark brown or olive sculpin or muddler minnow patterns). Channel catfish, carp, sheepshead and several sucker species can often be found around the marina on the Rocky. Catfishing is usually best during lower light conditions using baits such as nightcrawlers, minnows, chicken liver, and processed dough baits. Catfish often bite best following a rain when the water is a bit murky. Carp can often be caught throughout the day on such bait as canned corn, carp dough baits, worms or crayfish tails. For the angling generalist, any of the species thus far can be effectively targeted by fishing a nightcrawler worm right on the river bottom with a sinker.
Anglers at our inland lakes and ponds are catching catfish, largemouth bass, and panfish. Wallace Lake, Ledge Lake, Shadow Lake, and Beyer's Pond are a few spots worth poking around in late summer/early fall.
The yellow perch bite has picked up this week following a slow summer and early fall. Anglers are using perch spreaders and live or salted shiners, although emerald shiners have been hard to come by this year. Boating anglers have found a few perch this week off Cleveland and Euclid in 32-40 feet of water. Rock bass, largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, crappie, freshwater drum and sunfish species are also found along the Cleveland shoreline in summer and can be caught on offerings such as tube jigs, dropshot rigs and live bait. Some good eating size walleye (15-20 inches) have been caught in water from only 16-24 feet deep by Cleveland area boating anglers. White bass fishing, which is typically good in late summer, has been slow lately. The ODNR Division of Wildlife weekly Lake Erie fishing report can be viewed <here>. Anglers/boaters can view current lake conditions off Cleveland at the following link: <City Of Cleveland Water Intake Crib Cam>.
Fall Family Fishing Fest is on Saturday October 8th. Come out and join us for Fall Family Fishing Fest on Saturday October 8th from 9-1:00pm This event is free and we will have a limited number of fishing poles to loan out, as well as courtesy bait. The location is stocked with rainbow trout and farm raised channel catfish the days leading up to the event. Although anglers of any age can participate, prizes in several categories will be reserved for kids 15 years old and under. Thank you to Ohio Division of Wildlife and Ohio Central Basin Steelheaders for supporting this great event with $2,500 in grant funds. More details here: <Fall Family Fishing Fest>.
Hinckley Lake Water Level to be Drawn Down. From the desk of our Chief Planning and Design Officer: "Please be aware that as part of the ongoing Hinckley Dam study we will be conducting a test of lowering the lake level of Hinckley Lake. This test will lower the normal pool elevation by approximately 2?�+ beginning on Monday, October 24. The lake outlet will be opened and monitored to allow the lake to drop approximately 6?�� per day until Friday, October 28th, at which time the outlet valve will be closed and the lake will begin to re-fill. On Friday afternoon, October 28, a group will be walking the perimeter of the lake to witness first-hand the impact/outcome of lowering the lake. It is important that we understand both the expected impacts and also document the surprises, as one of the several scenarios being studied for the dam is the permanent lowering of the lake."
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 email@example.com .
A gentleman who attended the Steelhead Expo caught this fish in the Rocky River prior to the event and was not sure what it was. Turns out it is a pink salmon, a rare catch in the Lake Erie tributaries. Their numbers in Wisconsin are also on the uptick according to a post yesterday on the Wisconsin DNR Facebook page (photo courtesy of Chris Goldsmith).
On Saturday Dale and his son also found a pink salmon in the Rocky, and caught a small walleye . See the report text above for more info on pink salmon (photos courtesy of Dale).
"Mrs. S" caught this beautiful 28", 8 lb., walleye due north of Rocky River on a chrome Hot-N-Tot crankbait in 30 feet of water (photo courtesy of Carl Schweisthal).
Rachel and her dad caught some big sunfish in a Metroparks pond this week (photo courtesy of Rachel Kemp).
Joey was casting a spoon in the northern Rocky River looking for steelhead and caught a surprise catfish (photo courtesy of Joey Brandt).
George reports that he has been catching some beautiful smallmouth bass in the Rocky River by the Nature Center (photo courtesy of George Harris).
Rusty was casting a perch colored crankbait by the marina and was surprised to catch this nice size yellow perch (photo courtesy of Rusty Butchko).
Nate caught a steelie from the Rocky and a skipper steelie from a local creek this week. The skipper apparently had a big appetite as evidenced by the proprtionally large creek chub in its mouth! (photos courtesy of Nate Adams).
On Friday morning these gentleman made a nice catch of walleye and a bonus large perch out of the Rocky River on Lake Erie.
Friday afternoon we conducted a brief electrofishing session by the marina to collect a pair of smaller skipper steelhead to display in an aquarium at the Steelhead Expo on Saturday. We had to sort through a handful of larger fish like those above to find them, though!
Ashley from Rocky River Nature Center poses with our event display steelhead.
At the Steelhead Expo Tom Blotzer, Ohio Central Basin Steelheaders president, presented me with a $2,500 check to support our upcoming Fall Family Fishing Fest (details of this upcoming event in the report above). The Expo had a great turnout of 890 people (photo courtesy of Rachel Kemp).
"Dr. Norm" from Inside the Great Outdoors radio stopped by to donated three Barbie fishing rod set-ups for the upcoming Fall Family Fishing Fest. Trust me, he is smiling on the inside in this photo!
Yellow perch fishing aboard the Linda Mae party boat out of Wildwood Marina has been good this week, with some of their clients even making limit catches (photos courtesy of Wildwood Marina).
We conducted a follow-up fish population survey at Shadow Lake on Tuesday September 27. The first was in 2011 and these surveys are on a 5 year cyclic effort. In 2011 we sampled only 4 largemouth bass in 80 minutes of effort three of which were small 1-2 year old fish. This indicated a serious predator shortage, which I suspected was from a combination of poor winter condition under the ice (winterkill) and heavy harvest. Since then I made an effort to address this issue. We have been proactively treating excess vegetation throughout the growing season to minimize low oxygen under the ice (as it decomposes). Grass carp (one sampled Tuesday in above photos) were also restocked in the lake two years ago to help with this. A nutrient input issue coming from an adjacent property was also dealt with successfully in 2011. And bass have been regularly stocked in the lake since, the last time being on 11/4/15 (we wanted about a year of no bass stocking before this resurvey to get a feel for survival and recruitment). Last winter was extremely mild but, as you'll recall, the winter prior to that was brutal. I am pleased to report that our fish population survey Monday turned up 30 bass in on only 34 minutes of sampling, including the beauties in the photo above. The same sampling equipment and procedure was used as in 2011. And bass of all size classes were represented in the sampling, including several that would have been spawned in the lake this past spring. I will be further processing the data this winter, but this initial observation is great news.
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, firstname.lastname@example.org, (330) 984-3086
17-002 Justin Pribanic, Chagrin River Outfitters, email@example.com, (724) 799-5011
17-003 Joseph Beno, On The Swing, firstname.lastname@example.org, (440) 667-2278
17-004 Jeffery Liskay, Silver Fury Guide Service & Schools, email@example.com (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
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>