In late winter, highlight species targeted by anglers in Cleveland Metroparks include stocked trout, steelhead trout, and panfish. The Rocky River and other area streams have been elevated and muddy for over two straight weeks with more rain today. 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). A combined 3,000 lbs of rainbow trout were stocked at Wallace, Shadow, Ledge, Judge's, and Ranger lakes in late January, and these lakes are currently offering fantastic open water fishing opportunities. The Lake Erie marina and harbor areas
are also largely ice free at this time and are offering steelhead trout, northern pike, largemouth bass, and panfish.
Area streams have been elevated and muddy for the better part of two weeks straight with lots more rain today. We will need several days in a row of dry weather before the river is fishable again. Some anglers on the Rocky and Chagrin rivers still reported catching a few steelhead in the muddy water this week. In 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. Smaller tributaries, such as Euclid Creek at Wildwood Park and Porter Creek at Huntington Reservation, will drop and clear more rapidly than the larger rivers and will offer decent prospects while the larger rivers are still flowing hard. Anglers can look forward to some of the best steelhead fishing of the season as the river levels recede and begin to clear. The annual white sucker run has also kicked-off on local streams.
Although Lake Erie has had high waves and is muddy, the Cleveland shoreline marinas and harbors on Lake Erie are currently offering open water and anglers have a shot at catching steelhead, along with northern pike, largemouth bass, and panfish. 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.
Our inland lakes are offering open water and great trout fishing opportunities at this time. We stocked 3,000 pounds of trout in late January, as follows: January 22nd Shadow (750 lbs), Ledge (600 lbs) and Judge's (150 lbs) lakes and on January 24th 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 (see photos of several trophy rainbow trout following this report). And there were plenty of brook and brown trout up to 2 lbs, and even a peppering of foot long golden rainbow trout (photos of all of which are also offered below). These fish complement the 3,000 pounds stocked back in mid-December at the same locations. This concludes our scheduled winter trout stocking. 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 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 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. We tentatively plan to begin spring stocking of rainbow trout in the East Branch Rocky River at Millstream Run Reservation around mid-March. Stay tuned to the fishing report for details on that.
Dead Gizzard Shad along the Lakefront. I have been recieving nearly daily calls regarding the dead fish at Edgewater and Gordon Park boat launch areas. While a bunch of dead fish looks outwardly alarming, these fish are large gizzard shad, a species very prone to dying in large numbers during rapid changes in temperature, especially in winter. The fish are much more visibly obvious now that the ice has melted. More information is offered in this Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District blog entry from this same time of year in the past: <Gizzard Shad Die Offs>.
Fly Fishing Film Tour This Saturday March 3rd. *UPDATE: EVENT TICKETS ARE SOLD OUT* This Saturday March 3rd the very popular national Fly Fishing Film Tour (F3T) with be stopping in Cleveland at the Museum of Natural History. Get your tickets soon as this fun event sells out every year! Cleveland Metroparks is a Supporting Sponsor again this year. More here: <F3T CLE>.
5th Annual Barbie Rod Steelhead Derby Fundraiser on April 7.
On Saturday April 7th we will be hosting the fifth annual Barbie Rod Steelhead Derby on the Rocky River. Trophies, prizes for three largest steelhead, raffles, and a cookout are all part of the day's festivities for this fun event where anglers must fish for steelhead with a kiddie fishing pole! I didn't think we would be able to top last year in terms of the amazing prize packages, but lead organizer Mark Warren and his friend Greg Young have already rounded up prizes and <sponsors>
for the event that exceed last year- and they are still adding to them weekly! Proceeds from the fundraiser event go to support the Cleveland Metroparks Fishing Fund. A <website>
has been set up for the event, as well as a Facebook page. Local angler Andy Wahl put together this outstanding <video>
detailing last year's event. Don't miss this fun event for a great cause!
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
#18-007 Nathan Miller, Steelhead Alley Outfitters, www.steelheadalleyoutfitters.com (888) 453-5899
#18-008 Justin Pribanic, Chagrin River Outfitters, firstname.lastname@example.org (724) 799-5011
#18-009 Patrick Robinson, Steelhead Alley Outfitters, www.steelheadalleyoutfitters.com (888) 453-5899
#18-010 Travis Larson, Hatch Run Fly Fishing, email@example.com (814) 706-1958
#18-011 Mario Chance, Chagrin River Outfitters, firstname.lastname@example.org (330) 984-3086
#18-012 Don Mathews, Steelhead School, www.steelheadschool.com (330) 565-5457
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>