In winter, highlight species targeted by anglers in Cleveland Metroparks include stocked trout, steelhead trout, panfish, and yellow perch. The Rocky River and other area streams were producing steelhead during fishable windows this past week and weekend conditions will be dependent upon how much precipitation we receive in the coming days. 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 during the thaw and is being repaired). A combined 3,000 lbs of rainbow trout were stocked at Wallace, Shadow, Ledge, Judge's, and Ranger lakes last week, although ice conditions have degraded significantly over the past week and should not be considered safe at the time of this writing
. The Lake Erie shoreline ice has broken up although marina and harbor areas are still largely ice covered.
Area streams were producing decent catche of steelhead during windows of fishable conditions this week, and weekend prospects will depend on how much precipitation we receive into the weekend. In stained water a brightly colored spawn sack about the size of a nickel has been a top producer, although bright or contrasting colored fly patterns also catch muddy steelhead under such conditions. There has been a mix of fresh steelhead and darker fish that have already been in the river. Some of the best steelhead fishing of the season is ahead of us. Although the lakefront shoreline proper ice has largely broken up, the protected marina and harbor areas are still ice covered. Ice fishing for steelhead and yellow perch had been very good, but the ice has degraded significantly this week and should not be considered safe. No fish is worth falling through the ice!
A total of 3,000 pound of trout were stocked in five Cleveland Metroparks locations la week (see highlight below for details). These fish complement the 3,000 pounds stocked back in mid-December at the same locations. This concludes our scheduled winter trout stocking. Ice conditions have degraded significantly this week and were not safe to venture onto at the time of this writing. Good news is that anglers can fish through questionable ice from the safety of fishing platforms, docks, and areas where the water drops off immediately near shore (especially on the formerly quarried northwest end of Wallace Lake). Some trout also remain from an October stocking at Ohio & Erie Canal fishing area down the hill from CanalWay Visitor Center off E49th Street.
Trout through the ice typically bite well on PowerBait, jigs tipped with a few maggots/waxworms, and smallish jigging spoons (such as Forage Minnow and Swedish Pimple). 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.
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. If the spud bar goes through in one hard strike it is a red flag that you need to get out of that area immediately. Other safety tips are to carry a set of ice spikes on a cord around your neck, fish with a friend, let someone know where you'll be, and focus on areas near where other anglers are already fishing. If we continue to get good ice this winter I would like to coordinate an ice fishing fundraiser derby, possibly later in February, although that is looking less promising given the recent rollercoaster weather. Stay tuned for details on that.
An Amazing Bunch of Trout.
We stocked 3,000 pounds of trout last week, as follows. On January 22nd we stocked Shadow (750 lbs), Ledge (600 lbs) and Judge's (150 lbs) lakes and on January 24th we stocked Wallace (1,400 lbs) and Ranger (100 lbs) lakes. Most impressive were the Wallace Lake batch- these fish were hands down the best bunch of trout that I've ever had the privilege of stocking is terms of size and species diversity. The average rainbow trout was between 1-2 lbs, but there were many trophy fish in the 5-10 lb range in the mix. And there were plenty of brook and brown trout up to 2 lbs, and even a peppering of foot long golden rainbow trout! Here is a great <album>
detailing the stocking from local fishing photographer Bill Britt. Please send in your photos of some of these fine fish for the report and, most importantly, ENJOY!
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
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 (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.