***Tuesday December 19 afternoon update: This morning rainbow trout were stocked at Shadow (750 lbs), Ledge (600 lbs) and Judge's (150 lbs) lakes. The ice is not safevbut anglers can fish through the ice from the safety of land in areas where there is deeper water near shore.***
***Tuesday December 19 morning update: There is plenty of open water on the Rocky River this morning and conditions are stained but very fishable.***
In early winter, highlight species targeted by anglers in Cleveland Metroparks include steelhead trout, stocked trout, and walleye. The Rocky River and other area streams are currently icing up rapidly. 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: ice formation on the gage probes can lead to erroneous readings in winter. Trout were just stocked at Wallace and Ranger lakes and we hope to stock Shadow, Ledge, and Judge's lakes next week. When conditions permit walleye and steelhead can still be found along the Cleveland lakefront shoreline.
All area streams iced up very rapidly this week, and with varying temperatures forecasted over the next 10 days it's tough to predict what to expect over the weekend. River conditions are typically quite variable in winter, with areas below dams and fords typically offering fishable conditions the longest during really cold spells. Overall, there have been plenty of 22-26" steelhead in the streams, with few fish over 28" being reported so far this season. Bait often rules in winter, with dime size spawn sacks, live/salted minnows, and small jigs tipped with maggots/waxworm all being among the top producers. Fish have been reported in all the stocked streams recently, as well as the Cuyahoga River and Euclid Creek.
Before Lake Erie kicked up and muddied this week, good numbers of steelhead were still being reported along the Lake Erie shoreline, especially at E55th and Edgewater parks. Popular methods for targeting Lake Erie shoreline steelies include suspending a jig tipped with minnow or nightcrawler 2-5 feet below a bobber, as well as casting a spoon (ie Little Cleo or KO Wobbler) or spinner (ie Vibrax or RoosterTail). Night walleye anglers can make good catches at Edgewater and E55th/Gordon parks from the shore casting crankbaits, with with larger Husky Jerks and Perfect 10 models being top producers. Make sure to bring a long handled net and cleats work well on icy shoreline rocks.
A total of 1,500 lbs of trout were stocked in Metroparks lakes this week with 1,500 additional pounds on the way (see the highlight regarding this below). Trout are also available at Ohio & Erie Canal fishing area down the hill from CanalWay Visitor Center off E49th Street. 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. Our Rangers are out enforcing this, too, so make sure you know the rules. A second (and final) round of winter trout will be released in about a month.
A thin crust of ice has formed over most of our inland lakes and ponds recently, although not thick enough for ice fishing. Anglers are currently fishing from the safety of shore in areas where the water drops off quickly, such as from docks, other platforms, etc. Since ice fishing is (hopefully) is right around the corner, we offer some advice. 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. If we do receive good ice this winter we hope to hold an ice fishing fundraiser derby, likely in mid February. Stay tuned for details on that.
Winter Trout Stocking Update. Yesterday we stocked 1,500 lbs of trout at Wallace (1,400 lbs) and Ranger (100 lbs) lakes. Some coho salmon, stocked back in October, are still being caught at Wallace Lake on the same baits being fished for trout, as well. Next week we hope to stock an additional 1,500 pounds of trout betwee Shadow, Ledge, and Judge's lakes. The size of the trout varies from 3/4 to 2 pounds and the fish are colorful as a result of our supplier including beta carotene in their diet. Along with the predominantly standard rainbow trout are a few brown trout and brook trout for variety (see photos below). The second (and final) round of winter trout will go into the same lakes around late January/early February.
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 .
John caught a fine coho salmon at Wallace Lake yesterday on a pink jighead tipped with pink marshmallow. The lake is covered by thin ice, but anglers can fish from the safety of fishing platforms, docks, and areas where the shoreline drops off quickly to deeper water (photos courtesy of John Hall).
What a difference a week makes! Late last week Macho landed three steelhead on the Rocky River. The river is currently very icy (photo courtesy of Macho Velez).
Sam and friends have caught some fine walleye along the Cleveland shoreline by E55th in recent weeks (photos courtesy of Sam Horn).
Nick caught a nice Wallace Lake coho salmon on pink PowerBait (photo courtesy of Nick Zarzeczny).
Chagrin River Outfitters has guided clients to some fine catches recently, including a bonus brown trout. A listing of all Cleveland Metroparks guides is offered at the end of this report, although the list will start again at the beginning of 2018 (photos courtesy of Dan Pribanic at CRO).
Yesterday we stocked 1,500 pounds of trout- 1,400 lbs in Wallace Lake and the rest in Ranger Lake. The fish were 99% 12-16" rainbow trout with a few brown and brook trout for variety. We hope to stock Shadow, Ledge, and Judge's lakes next week. Please note: our inland lakes are mostly covered by thin ice, but anglers can fish from the safety of fishing platforms, docks, and areas where the shoreline drops off quickly to deeper water (photos courtesy of Bill Britt).
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>