In early spring, highlight species targeted by anglers in Cleveland Metroparks include steelhead trout, stocked trout, and panfish. The rivers are in great shape today and are fishing very well for steelhead. Based on the weather forecast conditions should remain decent into the weekend. 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>. A total of 3,000 lbs of trout were stocked in our lakes about a month ago and plenty remain (see details below).
The Rocky and Chagrin rivers are in excellent shape and are fishing very well for steelhead. Weekend prospects are looking to remain decent, as well. A mix of fresh chrome and older more colorful steelhead are well distributed throughout both watersheds at this time. A growing number of fish have already been spawning and there are an abundance of skippers (smaller 15-18" steelhead) in the northern river reaches. When the water is on the stained side, a dime to nickel size brightly colored spawn sack (hot pink or chartreuse are both good) drifted under a float/bobber is hard to beat. As the water further clears into the weekend other offerings, including live minnows, jigs tipped with maggots or waxworm, salmon egg mimicking beads, and various flies (eggs, nymphs, and streamers) will begin taking a good share of the fish. Medium size silvery spoons, spinners, and small to medium crankbaits can be worth a try, as well, and require less specialized tackle for newer steelhead anglers. The unstocked Cuyahoga River and smaller area tributaries have also been producing stray steelhead lately. A growing number of lake-run white suckers and a few smallmouth bass are being caught by river anglers, as well.
Some steelhead can also be found along the Lake Erie shoreline throughout winter at E55th and Edgewater parks. The breakwalls and shoreline rocks are slippery, though, so it is a wise plan to wear boot cleats/chains if you head out there. 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). Make sure to bring a long handled net.
A total of 3,000 lbs of trout were stocked since late January/early February at Wallace (1,400 lbs), Shadow (750 lbs), Ledge (650 lbs), Judge's (100 lbs), and Ranger (100 lbs) lakes and plenty of these trout remain. This concludes our winter trout stocking which have totaled 6,000 lbs between these five locations since December. Trout hit well on PowerBait fished near the bottom, jigs tipped with a few maggots/waxworms suspended below a bobber, minnows, and smaller spoons and spinners. The most successful anglers change their presentation until they find what works on a given day. 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 stocking of trout in the East Branch Rocky River is tentatively scheduled to begin next Tuesday (March 14) morning. These fish are stocked at about a half dozen locations in Millstream Run Reservation between Royalton Road (Route 82) and the river ford (low bridge crossing) just south of Wallace Lake. Trout will then continue to be stocked regularly through the end of April. Stay posted to this report for the latest fish stocking details.
4th Annual Barbie Rod Steelhead Derby Fundraiser on March 25. On Saturday March 25th the we will be hosting the fourth 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 and our list of great <sponsors> is growing weekly! The event has a Facebook page, as well. Don't miss this fun event for a great cause!
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.
David has been catching some great steelhead on the Rock, including a brute 12 pound buck (photos courtesy of David Dorko).
Gabe shared "This is a picture of the biggest steelhead of my life from this week! 32 inches. I caught it on a hand tied white jig. I managed to get this crazy fight on video and this is a link to it on youtube : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KR-AbOikEDE&t=1s " (photo courtesy of Gabe).
Max was fishing with his buddy Mike and shares "Egg sacs come through again on Saturday we caught 4 steelhead and 2 suckers total and lost about 4 steelhead and on Sunday we had 1 bite and it was a small steelhead I caught" (photos courtesy of Maximus Madden).
Brian, who is the Police Chief of Cuyahoga Heights, caught this nice steelhead while fly fishing the Rocky River on Sunday (photo courtesy of Brian Sturgill).
Adam and his dad Mike had a banner day on the Rocky on Sunday (photos courtesy of Mike Flachbart).
Mitchell writes "I have a couple photos to share with you of my first two steelhead on the Rocky river. I caught these Sunday after being so excited to get out on the water following the Fly Fishing Film Tour Saturday night, which was incredible" (photos courtesy of Mitchell Ramba).
Shaun and his buddy Jake had a great time catching some rocky River steelies on jigs tipped with maggots and spawn (photos courtesy of Shaun Cassidy).
Open Vise Night on at Merwin's Wharf last Wednesday night was a hoot, and some nice flies were tied (photos courtesy of Owen Lockhart).
I just got back from a trip to Idaho's Clearwater River at midnight last night. The first day there my buddy Walt from Colorado (who served in Army Special Ops in the Vietnam War) and I hooked a good 20 steelhead float fishing with jigs and beads. Then it rained for two solid days and the fishing pretty much came to an end. These fish travel 500-600 miles upstream from the ocean and over 8 dams to get here. The stamina of this strain of fish is off the charts. I purchased a brand new G Loomis float rod rated for 12-17 pound line for this trip and it broke the second day in the middle of fighting a big fish- a first for me!
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.