***Monday March 19 afternoon update: This morning 600 pounds of rainbow trout were stocked in the East Branch Rocky River at six locationas between Rt 82 (Royalton Road) and the ford (river crossing) just south of Wallace Lake.***
***Friday March 16 afternoon update: This morning 600 pounds of rainbow trout were stocked in the East Branch Rocky River at six locationas between Rt 82 (Royalton Road) and the ford (river crossing) just south of Wallace Lake.***
In early spring, highlight species targeted by anglers in Cleveland Metroparks include stocked trout, steelhead trout, largemouth bass, and panfish. The Rocky River and other area streams have offered the best steelhead fishing of the year, by far, over the past week. But the streams are beginning to get clear so being versatile in your approach is a good plan (see tips section below). 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). Tomorrow (March 16) we plan to stock trout in the East Branch Rocky River in Millstream Run Reservation. Also, plenty of trout remain at Wallace, Shadow, Ledge, Judge's, and Ranger lakes. The Lake Erie marina and harbor areas
are also offering steelhead trout, northern pike, largemouth bass, and panfish.
Area streams have offered the best steelhead fishing of the year this week, with a mix of fresh pre-spawn, post-spawn, and skipper steelhead of all sizes. As just one example of how good things are, yesterday two friends drove up from Columbus (one was Eugene Braig, Director of the Ohio State University Aquatic Ecosystems Extension Program) to join me for a half day of fishing in the afternoon. We only fished two holes and hooked around 40 steelhead between us ranging from skipper size to almost 30" which included a mix of chrome bright, dark and colorful, and even spawned out females allmingled together in the same holes. Fish are very well distrubuted all throughout the Rocky, Chagrin, Cuyahoga, and several smaller river/stream systems at this time following a few weeks of high flows. There has been substantial fishing pressure and water is getting clear on most streams, so versatility will be a key to success this weekend (see special tips section addressing this below). Anglers have caught steelhead on just about every type of gear and bait/lure/fly this week, although finesse offerings will be top producers in the clearing flows. See the highlight section below for more on this. Anglers can expect some great steelheading opportunities for the remainder of the spring season. The annual white sucker run is also underway in local streams.
Although Lake Erie has been muddy overall this past week, the protected Cleveland shoreline marinas and harbors on Lake Erie are currently offering anglers 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 very good trout fishing opportunities at this time. 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. The average rainbow trout was between 1-2 lbs, but there were many trophy fish in the 5-10 lb range stocked in Wallace Lake, too, along with quite a few bonus brook, brown, golden rainbow trout in the mix. 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 tomorrow (March 16). The Ohio Division of Wildlife plans to stock pan sized rainbow trout at Hinckley and Shadow lakes on March 29th. Stay tuned to the fishing report for details on that.
Tips For Fishing Pressured Steelhead. Most of you have likely heard the great fishing reports from the rivers in recent days, and it was indeed an amazing week! But great fishing and good weather brings out crowds and these steelhead quickly become "educated". Earlier this week as the water was first clearing and fresh run fish were naive you could fish a nickel size pink spawn sack on 8 pound line and pretty much hook fish all day. But by this point just about every fish in the river has likely seen (and many caught and released on) spawn sacks and they are getting wary of them at this point. Now is the time to be versatile/adaptable in your approach! That would mean lighter flourocarbon leader (down to at least 6 lb), and an assortment of smallish jigs (down to 1/64 oz) you can tip with maggots or waxworms, rubber baits, beads, flies, and/or live minnows. Also be prepared to fish lesser-used colors that the fish are less likely to have seen/been hooked on already and are therefore less wary of (tip: blue can be good). And change offerings often to show them something different. Smaller floats, split shot, and hooks (I will go as small as a size 14 or even 16 at times) will help get hook-ups in the clearing water, too.
As another tip, getting out early in the day is far better plan then late in the day since the fish have had all night to rest and will be more eager to bite than ones that I’ve seen baits drift by all day. There are a ton of fish in the system right now but they are also getting pretty educated after a week of heavy fishing pressure. If you’re versatile you will likely catch some steelhead this weekend- but if not you'll probably be a lot less successful.
Project Healing Waters Cleveland Chapter Fundraiser on Thursday March 22. On Thursday March 22 from 7-9:00 pm the Cleveland chapter of Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing will be having a fundraiser at West Park Station (17015 Lorain Avenue, Cleveland 44111). A very reasonable $20 donation gets attendees UNLIMITED chicken wings, pizza, domestic draft beer and house wines. There will also be raffles. Don't miss the opportunitty to support our veterans while having a lot of fun, food, and drink! More about he group and their mission at <PHWFF 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
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.