In winter, highlight species targeted by anglers in Cleveland Metroparks include stocked trout, steelhead trout, panfish, and walleye. The Rocky River and other area streams are thawed and just dropping to fishable following high and muddy 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 this week, although ice conditions have degraded significantly. The Lake Erie shoreline ice is breaking up although marina and harbor areas are still largely ice covered.
Area streams thawed this week and are just approaching fishable after being elevated and muddy for several days. In stained water a brightly colored spawn sack about the size of a nickel is a top producer, although bright or contrasting colored fly patterns also catch steelhead. I would expect fresh steelhead to be intermixed with any 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 this week 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. A top producer for steelhead has been a smaller (1/8 oz) silver jigging spoon either bare or tipped with a small minnow or a few waxworms worked anywhere in the water column. Perch were bitting best on small jigs tipped with waxworms gently worked near the bottom. Please excercise extreme caution and take adequate safety precautions if you choose to venture onto the ice in the coming days. No fish is worth falling through the ice! Additionally, I had a few reports of walleye caught after dark along the open portion of the Cleveland shoreline this week.
A total of 3,000 pound of trout were stocked in five Cleveland Metroparks locations this 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 are especially thin around the lake margins. The forecast is calling for further thawing into the weekend, as well. Anyone considering going on the ice should excercise extreme cation and heed the safety tips offered below. Good news is that anglers can always 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 plan to coordinate an ice fishing fundraiser derby, likely in February, although that is looking less promising given the recent thaw. Stay tuned for details on that.
Thank You to Moe Slyman and Slyman's Restaurant!
Moe Slyman is co-owner of Cleveland's iconic <Slyman's Restaurant>
and to say he loves fishing would be a gross understatement! Here is a <video>
of Moe recently reeling in a fine steelhead through the ice along the Cleveland Lakefront. Moe is a man of strong faith and his family has been blessed with the "American Dream" through hard work after immigrating to the USA from their native Lebanon many years ago and his appreciation of his good fortune is never taken for granted. In an exceptionally generous gesture Moe donated a check to our <Cleveland Metroparks Fishing Fund>
this week (in modesty he asked that the amount not be disclosed). Donations to our Fishing Fund, such as this, have allowed us to take an already excellent fisheries program to that next level in recent years. As if those giant corned beef sandwiches weren't already tasty enough, now you know that Slyman's also supports local fishing programs, too. So next time you visit Slyman's please thank them for their support and be sure to check out the great photos of Moe's family and friends grinning with their fishy catches as pinned to the wall behind the counter.
An Amazing Bunch of Trout.
We stocked 3,000 pounds of trout this week, as follows. On Monday we stocked Shadow (750 lbs), Ledge (600 lbs) and Judge's (150 lbs) lakes and yesterday 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
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>