***Monday April 23 afternoon update: This morning 600 pounds of rainbow trout were stocked in the East Branch Rocky River at six locations between Rt 82 (Royalton Road) and the ford (river crossing) just south of Wallace Lake.***
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 dropping into nice shape after being elevated most of the week. A dry forecast into the weekend will allow conditions to improve further, as well. 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). We did not stock rainbow trout in the East Branch Rocky River in Millstream Run Reservation this week due to high water. Trout from past stockings 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 dropping into nice shape following high water much of this week. The forecast into the weekend looks clear of precipitation so conditions should only improve even further. Before the last rain area streams were offered a diverse mix of fresh pre-spawn, spawning, post-spawn, and skipper steelhead of all sizes. I suspect most of the post-spawn fish exited the systems during elevated water this week, but indications are that fresh fish moved into area streams. Fish have been very well distrubuted all throughout the Rocky, Chagrin, and Cuyahoga rivers, as well as smaller tributaries such as Euclid Creek at Wildwood Park. 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.
We did not stock trout this week due to high water, but on Monday we tentatively plan to liberate another 600 pounds of trout to the 2,400 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 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.
Orvis and Chagrin River Outfitters Upcoming Shop Day Events.
Want to learn to catch steelhead, smallmouth bass, and carp on the fly locally? Well, you're in luck! On Saturday and Sunday April 21 & 22 Orvis Cleveland and on Saturday April 28 Chargin River Outfitters are both having free in-house events to cover these topics. Learn more at <Orvis Cleveland>
and <Chagrin River Outfitters>
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
Congratul;ations to James on catching his first steelhead, which happened to be a 31.25" beast! (photo courtesy of James Robinson).
Ed reported from the river on Saturday "Check out the attached Small-fie I was able to take yesterday. I tried to take a Steel-fie of the trout I caught too, but it was too triggered (ss my daughter's 6th grade class says) and flipped into the water. I challenge any other anglers out there to try and take a good fish selfie without damaging their cell phone or the fish. Quite challenging with a steelhead...I ended up landing 3 smallmouth and 1 trout yesterday on the Rock, all caught on a 3in Berkley Swim Bait Ripple Shad in the Green Ghost color on a 1/8 oz red Brad's Jighead."
(photo courtesy of Ed Schmitt).
A young angler shows off a nice steelhead.
Tim reported "Hey Mike, went out in the rain over the weekend with my trusty Rebel Craw, and the Wallace Lake bass were eating it up. My best friend Dan, who is a master trout angler, told me to toss the craw. I was reluctant but he swears it is the best lure ever made. It paid off!!"
(photos courtesy of Tim Mulcahy).
Steve reported "Finally got one! Actually 2. Thanks for feedback on the spring stocking. I finally found success in a nice flow of water after some downed trees. It created a nice oxygenated pool and I landed my first trout in part of the east branch behind my house."
(photo courtesy of Steve Kerr).
Max reported on Tuesday "Capitalized on the fishing while I could before the cold front shut it down and rain ransacked the whole area. The Cuyahoga River and canal did flood and canal road was closed because of it but I did get a couple bucks ready to spawn"
(photos courtesy of Max Madden).
Chagrin River outfitters is guiding clients to some great catches. They also wanted to let folks know they have a free shop educational event on Saturday April 28 (photos courtesy of Dan Pribanic).
Brad has been doing great on local streams. Also most anglers use fly, spinning, or float geat around here, he proves a baitcaster rig can also be highly effective (photos courtesy of Brad Gardner).
Yesterday we did a fish sampling field outing with a Case Western Reserve University Ichthyology (fish biology) class. We normally like to sample the river, but had to be adaptive due to elevated and muddy river conditions and do wallace Lake instead- and were not disappinted! We collected lots of fish, but of most interest to anglers would be lots of coho salmon, rainbow trout, several nice brown trout, largemouth bass, and even a several pound rainbow trout that broke an angler off that was tangled up in a downed tree- complete with rattle bait still in the mouth!
Wallace Lake was down about 6 feet at it's lowest, and is only down about 2 feet currently. It will be down for another week or so while maintenance activities are completed (photo courtesy of Carl Schweisthal).
Berea Falls on the East Branch Rocky River was raging earlier this week (photo courtesy of Mike Jones).
Randy took these interesting photos of Baldwin Lake dam on 4/8 versus 4/16 for comparison (photos courtesy of Randy Tillman).
This past Saturday a somber day was brightened by the memory of Phil Hillman, affectionately known as the father of Ohio steelhead fishing (he started the program), as a new fishing access on Conneaut Creek was designated in his name. To me steelhead fishing is not only an enjoyable pastime but serves as an amazing gateway to river conservation efforts. Sadly, Phil passed last summer but his legacy will live on. It was great to hear accounts from his colleagues and family of happy and humorous moments from his life and 32 year career as a Fisheries Supervisor with the Ohio Division of Wildlife. This is the only property owned by the state named after an employee, which makes this an especially humbling honor for his family. Thank you Phil for your contributions to the sport so many of us love and enjoy!
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, email@example.com (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, firstname.lastname@example.org www.steelheadguide.com
- #19-005 Jeffery Liskay, Silver Fury Guide Service & Schools, email@example.com (440) 781-7536
- #19-006 Mario Chance, Chagrin River Outfitters, firstname.lastname@example.org (440) 247-7110
- #19-007 Justin Pribanic, Chagrin River Outfitters, email@example.com (440) 247-7110
- #19-008 Josh Trammell, Steelhead Alley Outfitters, www.steelheadalleyoutfitters.com (888) 453-5899
- #19-009 Nathan Miller, Steelhead Alley Outfitters, www.steelheadalleyoutfitters.com (888) 453-5899
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.