In spring, highlight species targeted by anglers in Cleveland Metroparks include steelhead trout, stocked rainbow trout and coho salmon, walleye, largemouth bass, and panfish. The Rocky River and other area streams are in nice shape at the moment, holding good flow and a nice green stain. But there is a lot of rain in the forecast that will very likely change conditions into the weekend for steelhead anglers. To keep a handle on stream conditions anglers can check 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>.
(Note: the NEORSD station sustained some ice damage and is being repaired). On Tuesday we stocked 600 pounds of rainbow trout in the East Branch Rocky River in Millstream Run Reservation. Also, plenty of trout remain at Wallace, Shadow, Ledge, Judge's, Hinckley, and Ranger lakes. The Lake Erie marina and harbor areas
also offer steelhead trout, northern pike, largemouth bass, and panfish in spring.
Area streams are are currently offering good flow and stain for steelhead anglers, although there is a lot of rain in the forecast that could change conditions for the weekend. Wise anglers will keep an eye on the flow data before embarking on a trip to the river. This week the streams have offered a diverse mix of fresh pre-spawn, spawning, post-spawn, and skipper steelhead of all sizes. See photos below of a brute 33" steelhead from the river on Tuesday. Fish are very well distrubuted all throughout the Rocky, Chagrin, and Cuyahoga rivers and smaller tributaries, such as Euclid Creek at Wildwood Park, drop and clear more rapidly and offer good prospects while the larger rivers are elevated. In stained water (as we very well may have this weekend) a brightly colored spawn sack about the size of a nickel has been the top producer, although bright or contrasting colored jig (tipped with maggots) and fly patterns also catch muddy steelhead under such conditions. Anglers can look forward to very good steelhead fishing at least into early May given the slow warm-up we've had this spring.
The white sucker run is underway on local streams, with Morley Ford north of the Lorain Road bridge being a hot spot. A leadhead jig with twister tail, nymph flies or worm and small sinker fished near the river bottom will all take their share of suckers. Suckers are perfect for kids and less experienced anglers, although experienced anglers can find the fast action they afford to be lots of fun, as well. For some anglers, harvesting suckers for use in making fish patties is a spring tradition. Recipes can be found online if you want to give this a try.
Cleveland shoreline breakwalls, marinas and harbors on Lake Erie have been rough and muddy from waves this week, but this time of year anglers have a shot at catching steelhead, along with northern pike, largemouth bass, and panfish at these locations. Productive spots include Edgewater, Wildwood, and East 72nd/Gordon Park boat ramp areas. For steelhead a medium size Little Cleo spoon (or similar) or jig tipped with minnow or maggots suspended under a float are top producers. For northern pike and largemouth bass a white and silver spinnerbait is often a producer.
On Tuesday we added another 600 pounds of trout to the 1,800 pounds stocked since mid March in the East Branch Rocky River between Route 82 (Royalton Road) and the river crossing ford about a mile south of Wallace Lake. Of the six spots we routinely stock, Bonnie Park (on both the upstream and downstream side of the dam) recieves the lion's share of these fish. We will continue stocking trout in the river up until the end of April.
Our inland lakes are offering very good trout fishing opportunities at this time. In late March 291 coho salmon were stocked in Wallace Lake as a bonus spring fishery. Stockings like this are made possible by proceeds from the Cleveland Metroparks Fishing Fund. On March 29th the Ohio Division of Wildlife stocked 816 rainbow trout at Shadow Lake and 2,759 rainbow trout at Hinckley Lake (these fish avarage about 3/4 lbs each). Additionally, we stocked 6,000 pounds of trout this past winter, as follows: January 22nd Shadow (1,500 lbs), Ledge (1,200 lbs) and Judge's (300 lbs) lakes and on January 24th Wallace (2,800 lbs) and Ranger (200 lbs) lakes.
Trout and coho salmon typically bite well on PowerBait, jigs tipped with a few maggots/waxworms, and smaller spinners (such as Rooster Tail). Please note the current seasonal trout/salmon regulations: Lake Erie and all streams 2/day minimum size 12" (this includes steelhead), 3/day no size limit at Wallace, Judge's and Ranger lakes, and 5/day no size limit at Shadow Lake and Ohio & Erie Canal. Please note: Ledge Lake is posted as catch and release fishing only until further notice.
5th Annual Barbie Rod Steelhead Derby Fundraiser Recap.
Last Saturday we were blessed with a crisp morning and very good river conditions for our 5th annual Barbie Rod Steelhead Derby fundraiser and the day did not disappoint! Of 129 contestants 32 steelhead (and many suckers) were checked in. We even had folks trek from as far as Pittsburgh, PA, and Traverse City, MI, for the event! Although the day was rife with stories along the lines of "I lost a steelhead that was easily 30 inches"
and "I hooked one so big it broke my rod"
the biggest officially landed was 25.5 inches. Results from the competition and raffle can be found <here>
. But hooking and landing any
steelhead on a kiddie rod is an accomplishment. Feedback was that everyone has a great time and between entrance fees, the raffle, T-shirt sales, and straight out donations we netted a whopper for the day- $8,400 for the Cleveland Metroparks Fishing Fund! Special thank yous to our generous <sponsors>
(most are local businesses) and the "Pink Shirts" volunteer team, including (in no particular order): Mark Warren (lead), Greg Young (donation MVP), Brad McMichael (donation honorable mention), Eric and Paula Phillips, Travis Males, Matt Phillips, Bill Mantle, Joe "Santa" Tonich, Ray Lancaster, Andy Young, and Kathleen Bradley. And thanks to all who attended this event and made it so fun and such a huge success (one that grows every year). I've included a bunch of photos from the day below and to anyone with more good event photos that would like to share, please email them to me and I'll include next week.
Every year a few stories from the day really stand out, and there were two this year that (to me) really reflect what this event is all about. In the first one, event sponsor Jason Lawson (Jason's Automotive) and his son, who have not fished for steelhead, were taken under the wing of fellow event sponsor John Fay (Fay's Jigs). Amazingly, young Jason not only caught his first ever steelhead (on one of John's jigs, no less), but it was the fourth largest fish in the whole event out of 129 (mostly adult) competitors! And his father got it all on <video>
as John coaches him and nets the fish. Surely a special moment this father and son will always remember. And shows that "what comes around goes around" given their generous event sponsorship.
The second special moment involved the raffle for the Grand Prize- a gorgeous Cleveland made Majestic centerpin reel. The entire crowd coveted this prize. We had co-owner of Majestic Reels Melissa Yates come up to pick the winning ticket from a cooler full of tickers (see images of just how many tickets were in cooler below). Event organizer Mark warren read the number, but nobody stepped forward. Again, still no reponse. Finally, Mark's girlfriend Becca exclaimed "uh oh!"
from behind us. Sure enough, despite the odds, Mark's number was pulled! Being the stand-up guy he is (and already owning a Majestic reel), Mark chose to put his ticket back so that another person could win. And the next ticket pulled was Miles Boozer, who did not formerly own a centerpin reel and was overjoyed. So yet another huge thank you to Mark for his display of integrity that made for another memorable event moment.
Wallace Lake is Temporarily Drawn Down.
The water level at Wallace will be drawn down about 6 feet for approximately the next week or two as our maintenance crew replaces posts in the swimming area. The north end of the lake is currently muddy from these activities. We apologize for the inconvenience, although you may still fish the lake in the meantime.
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
Father and son had a very successful day on the Chagrin River this week, but I doubt Mom shared in their enthusiasm when she saw that slime covered jacket! John, it was great meeting you at the Barbie Derby and congrats on winning a raffle package! (photos courtesy of John Russell).
There were lots of cool moments in the Barbie Derby this year, but young Jason catching his first steelhead ever, which happended to be the 4th largest checked in out of 129 competitors, was at the top of that list. His father even caught it all on <video>
. Jason is the son of on of our event sponsors, Jason's Automotive (photo courtesy of Jason Lawson).
Congratulations to Dominic on this 25.125" steelhead that was good for third place in the Barbie Derby (photo courtesy of Dominic Charlot).
There were 32 steelhead checked in out of 129 competitors on Saturday. Rich, from Columbus, displays one of those fish. Although only 3 were awarded prizes, landing any
steelhead on a kiddie rod is an accomplishment! (photo courtesy of Rich Good).
Local angler and photographer Bill Britt always captures some great moments with his always ready lens. Here are a few from the event. Check out his website <here>
(photos courtesy of Bill Britt).
Here are a few stills from a <video>
captured of an angler landing a steelhead on a kiddie rod (video courtesy of Matt Gsellman).
A bunch more images offering a flavor of the event. We had a great time and in the process netted a whopping $8,400 for the Cleveland Metroparks Fishing Fund! Congrats to our top 3 finishers, Biggest Sucker winner, and raffle winners, posted <here>
A huge thank you goes out to Melissa and Jeff Yates of <Majestic Reels>
for donating not one, but two, of their work-of-ark Cleveland made centerpin reels as prizes this year. They really helped get a buzz going for our raffle (photos courtesy of Jeff Yates).
And another huge THANK YOU to the "Pink Shirts" team of volunteers that made the magic happen on Saturday. I'm proud to call you all my friends!
Moe of Slyman's Restaurant, a generous donor to the Cleveland Metroparks Fishing Fund, shared yesterday "So I'm down at the Horse Ford on the Rocky River not even 2 minutes and help this guy next to me land a steelhead. My wife Fran and daughter show up and I hand the rod to my wife so I can help the guy and she gets this one on in like 10 seconds! LOL.”
(photo courtesy of Moe Slyman).
While sampling the Rocky River by the Nature Center with a Baldwin Wallace University biology class on Tuesday afternoon we caught and released this brute 33 inch buck steelhead!
Daniel caught this Rocky River steelhead after school (photo courtesy of Daniel Lucas).
Father and daughter caught some pretty trout at Wallace Lake this week. Please note: the water level at Wallace will be drawn down for approximately the next two weeks as our maintenance crew replaces posts in the swimming area. The north end of the lake is currently muddy from these activities (photos courtesy of Terry).
Bill had a good day on the Rock yesterday, as evidenced by this quality chromer he caught on jig tipped with maggots by the boat ramps (photo courtesy of Bill Mantle).
Corey caught a Wallace Lake rainbow trout (on left) and coho salmon (photo courtesy of Corey Butram).
Mark caught this steelhead on his first drift at Rockcliff Springs on the Rocky River this week (photo courtesy of Mark Forbush).
Dustin shared "First trout of the season. Caught on a chartreuse spawn sac. At the Rocky River by Hogsback Lane."
(photo courtesy of Dustin F).
Jon caught a dandy steelhead by the Rocky River marina on Saturday morning (photo courtesy of Jon Brauer).
The cold spring has the smallmouth bass off to a slower than usual start, but they are just starting to show up. Two of this size were sampled by the Nature Center on Tuesday afternoon.
I watched this angler catch and release a feisty skipper steelhead on a Little Cleo spoon on Tuesday.
Max had another good week. He shared "After a 4th place tie finish in the Barbie rod tournament I got a few out of the small creeks on Lip Ripperz and egg flies and got a big female rocking the bloated belly. Got her on the Rocky on an egg sac".
It was nice finally meeting you at the Berbie Derby on Saturday, Max! And congrats on a strong finish in the event! (photos courtesy of Max Madden).
The water level at Wallace will be drawn down for approximately the next two weeks as our maintenance crew replaces posts in the swimming area. The north end of the lake is currently muddy from these activities.
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.