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 good catches of 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 in late January, and anglers are out cautiously ice fishing at Wallace and Shadow lakes this week, among others. The Lake Erie marina and harbor areas
are ice covered and providing ice fishing opportunities for steelhead, as well. PLEASE NOTE: ice conditions on our inland lakes and Lake Erie marinas is highly variable at this time and anglers must follow the safety precautions suggested in this report, as well as be aware that any ice fishing is at their own discretion and risk.
Area streams were producing good catches of steelhead during windows of fishable conditions this week, and weekend prospects will depend on how much precipitation we receive into the weekend. In slightly stained water a brightly colored spawn sack about the size of a nickel has been the top producer, although bright or contrasting colored jig and 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, and a few bonus brown trout showed up recently (see one photo as evidence below). The best steelhead fishing of the season is traditionally just around the corner, too.
Anglers have been cautiously ice fishing Cleveland shoreline marinas and harbors on Lake Erie this week and making good catches of steelhead. Places worth a look are E72nd/Gordon Park, Wildwood Marina, and Edgewater Marina (note: ice had been broken up around the Edgewater boat launch during the previous thaw so be especially wary in that area). Live minnows, ice jigs tipped with waxworms, and spawn sacks under small bobber or on tip-ups are all catching some fish, as are actively worked small to medium size jigging spoons with silver or gold in the finish (1/8 oz Kastmaster and Swedish Pimple are among the more popular). The water was slightly stained following the last thaw and the yellow perch seem to have vacated the same areas they were being caught earlier. One lucky young angler did cach a surprise coho salmon through the ice (see photos below).
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. These fish complement the 3,000 pounds stocked back in mid-December at the same locations. This concludes our scheduled winter trout stocking. Anglers have been cautiously ice fishing at Wallace and Shadow lakes this week, with ice appearing to be less developed at Ledge and ranger lakes. 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 smaller 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.
With the highly variable ice conditions around the region this week, please re-review and heed the following safety tips! 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, carry a length of rope, fish with a friend (but venture into untraveled areas with some distance between you), 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 not looking promising given the recent rollercoaster weather. Stay tuned for details on that.
Ledge Lake is Temporarily Catch & Release Fishing Only.
Please note that Ledge Lake in Hinckley Reservation will be catch and release only fishing until further notice. Signs will be posted at the lake indicating this in the near future.
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
2018 Cleveland Metroparks Registered Fishing Guides (name, company, contact)
#18-001 Monte Casey, The Steelhead Guide, email@example.com www.steelheadguide.com
#18-002 Jeffery Liskay, Silver Fury Guide Service & Schools, firstname.lastname@example.org (440) 781-7536
#18-003 Josh Trammell, Steelhead Alley Outfitters, www.steelheadalleyoutfitters.com (888) 453-5899
#18-004 Joseph Beno, On The Swing, Joseph93935@hotmail.com (440) 667-2278
#18-005 Daniel Bennett, Steelhead Alley Outfitters, www.steelheadalleyoutfitters.com (888) 453-5899
#18-006 Brad Dunkle, Wildwood Anglers LLC, email@example.com (419) 540-8585
More information on Cleveland Metroparks Fishing Guide Permit requirements, including the permit application, you may check the following link: Fishing Guide Permit Program
Cleveland Metroparks Fishing Fund
Cleveland Metroparks Fishing Fund helps provide a rewarding fishing experience to Northeast Ohio anglers through the stocking of rainbow trout, channel catfish, largemouth bass, and other sport fish. The Fund also supports children's fishing derbies and creation and restoration of essential habitat in the ponds, lakes, and rivers within Cleveland Metroparks.
For more information or to make a gift to Cleveland Metroparks Fishing Fund, including a web donation option, please visit: <Fishing Fund Donations Online>