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 largely ice free again following the thaw earlier this week. Precipitation is in the forecast in the coming days and wise anglers will monitor the most recent river water level, temperature, and clarity (turbidity) at the following links: <Rocky River USGS flow gage data> <Chagrin River USGS flow gage data> <Rocky River NEORSD station with turbidity>.
A combined 3,000 lbs of rainbow trout were stocked at Wallace, Shadow, Ledge, Judge's, and Ranger lakes over the past week. Ice is unsafe to walk onto on our lakes and ponds at this time! When conditions permit walleye and steelhead can still be found along the Cleveland lakefront shoreline.
Area streams thawed nicely this week and the Rocky River is exhibiting an ideal flow and stain for steelhead anglers this morning. But significant precipitation is being called for in the coming days so wise anglers will check the flow gauge data prior to embarking on a trip this weekend. Overall, there have been good numbers of 22-26" steelhead in the streams. 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.
Good numbers of steelhead were still being reported along the Lake Erie shoreline this week, 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). Slow down retrieves on your lures in colder coditions of winter. Night walleye anglers were making 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 3,000 lbs of trout were stocked in Metroparks lakes overthe past week (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. A second (and final) round of winter trout will be released in about a month.
A crust of ice has formed over most of our inland lakes and ponds, although the thaw has not left it thick enough to consider 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. On Tuesday we stocked 1,500 lbs of trout at Shadow (750 lbs), Ledge (600lbs), and Judge's (150 lbs) lakes. These add to the 1,500 lbs stocked last Wednesday 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. The size of the trout averages from1-2 pounds, with a few larger, 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. 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 email@example.com .
Dave and his son caught a nice rainbow trout at Wallace Lake this week. The wee lad reeled it in all by himself (photo courtesy of Dace McCloskey).
Miles caught his first steelhead ever fishing with his dad Matt (photo courtesy of Eric Phillips).
Adam and his dad Mike caught some fine Wallace Lake trout this week. PLEASE NOTE: do not walk on the ice at this time! (photos courtesy of Mike Flachbart).
Dave shares "On Saturday I caught this nice female steelhead loaded with eggs at Morley Ford on a White Fly Jig tipped with maggot under a float. In the spirit of catch and release and to give others a chance, she was safely returned to the water to live another day!" (photo courtesy of Dave Nose).
Dominic caught a surprise brown trout on the Rocky River this week (photos courtesy of Dominic Charlot).
Walt caught his five trout limit at Shadow Lake two days in a row this week. See photos below detailing how he makes holes in the thin ice to fish through from the safety of shore. Shadow Lake has a five trout/day limit per anglers while our other lakes and ponds have a 3 trout/day limit. (photos courtesy of Walt K.).
What a week makes conditions-wise! Macho caught a nice steelie in the Rocky River late last week under icy conditions followed by a nice fresh on caught this morning in the ice free river (photo courtesy of Macho Velez).
Billy caught a big stocked rainbow trout fishing at Ledge Lake through the thin ice from a dock.
This coho salmon was caught fishing through the ice from the lifegurard dock at Wallace Lake. The fish bit on PowerBait.
"Icebreaker Walt" shows how to make fishing holes from the safety of shore in thin ice using a mushroom type anchr and some rope.
On Tuesday we stocked Shadow (750 lbs), Ledge (600 lbs), and Judge's (150 lbs) lakes with trout, adding to those stocked at Wallace (1,400 lbs) and Ranger (100 lbs) lakes last Wednesday (photos courtesy of Gus White).
The top image shows Gypsy the chocolate lab meeting her first trout during stocking at Ledge Lake in winter 2016. The bottom photos show how big she's grown over the past year when she re-visited us during trout stocking on Tuesday. And she loves trout!
A couple bigger steelies that my buddy Bruce and I caught in Michigan on Sunday.
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, firstname.lastname@example.org (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, email@example.com www.steelheadguide.com
- #19-005 Jeffery Liskay, Silver Fury Guide Service & Schools, firstname.lastname@example.org (440) 781-7536
- #19-006 Mario Chance, Chagrin River Outfitters, email@example.com (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.