***Monday March 26 afternoon update: This afternoon 291 coho salmon were stocked in Wallace Lake as a bonus spring fishery. Stockings like this are made possible by proceeds from the Cleveland Metroparks Fishing Fund.***
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 very good steelhead fishing over the past week. But the streams are beginning to get clear so being versatile in your approach is a good plan. 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 total of 1,200 lbs of trout were stocked in the East Branch Rocky River in Millstream Run Reservation over the past week. Also, plenty of trout remain at Wallace, Shadow, and Ledge lakes. The Lake Erie marina and harbor areas
are also offering steelhead trout, northern pike, largemouth bass, and panfish.
Area streams have offered very good fishing this week, with a mix of fresh pre-spawn, post-spawn, and skipper steelhead of all sizes. A few fish have been actively spawning and that will ramp up quickly when the water begins to warm a few more degrees. Fish are very well distrubuted all throughout the Rocky, Chagrin, Cuyahoga, and several smaller river/stream systems at this time. There has been substantial fishing pressure and water is getting clear on most streams, so versatility will be a key to success this weekend. 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 a good time for 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.
The white sucker run is underway on local streams, with Morley Ford north of the Lorain Road bridge being a hot spot. A leadhead jig with twister tail, nymph flies or worm and small sinker fished near the river bottom will all take their share of suckers. Suckers are perfect for kids and less experienced anglers, although experienced anglers can find the fast action they afford to be lots of fun, as well. For some anglers, harvesting suckers for use in making fish patties is a spring tradition. Recipes can be found online if you want to give this a try. Here is a <link> to a past sucker fishing article from D'Arcy Egan. Please send in some sucker photos this week!
Cleveland shoreline breakwalls, 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.
On March 16 and 19 a total of 1,200 pounds of rainbow trout were stocked in the East Branch Rocky River between Route 82 (Royalton Road) and the river crossing ford about a mile south of Wallace Lake. Of the six spots we routinely stock, Bonnie Park (on both the upstream and downstream side of the dam) recieves the lion's share of these fish. We will continue stocking trout in the river up until the end of April.
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. The Ohio Division of Wildlife plans to stock pan sized rainbow trout at Hinckley and Shadow lakes on March 29th.
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.
Project Healing Waters Cleveland Chapter Fundraiser on Thursday March 22. Tomorrow 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!
Are You Pondering Making a Fishing Trip to the Area? Consider Hiring a Registered Fishing Guide. Are you an angler from outside the Cleveland area considering making a trip to this area? Or are you a local angler wishing to take up steelhead fishing or fly fishing? Then you might consider hiring a local guide to shorten the learning curve. All the professional guides listed at the bottom of this report are capable instructors, insured, and first aid/CPR certified.
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 email@example.com
Proud daddy Christian watched his little girl catch her first steelhead on the Rocky River this week (photo courtesy of Christian Joseph).
Keith reports "PJ caught this 30”+ steelhead on a Little Cleo spoon at Lake Erie this weekend. It is his second 30”+ steelhead of the season."
Great job, PJ! (photo courtesy of Keith Weitz).
David shows off a beautiful steelhead he caught with dad (photo courtesy of John Russell).
Chelsea caught 3 trout on PowerBait on Sunday while fishing Ledge Lake with dad (photo courtesy of Patrick Campbell).
Congratulations to Colin on catching his first two steelhead ever (photos courtesy of Tim Daley).
Adam caught a plump stocked rainbow trout at Bonnie Park on the East Branch Rocky River (photo courtesy of Mike Flachbart).
Dave shares "I recently took up fishing as a hobby this summer after a 20+ year hiatus from fishing small ponds in the Columbus area as a kid. I finally decided to check out what Lake Erie and the many river tributaries had to offer, and since this summer, I have been absolutely hooked on fishing and getting out into the Metroparks to enjoy our wonderful nature preserves. I started bass fishing in Metroparks lakes, Rocky River, and Lake Erie breakwall areas and have since moved on to trying to figure out how to fish for steelhead in the Rocky River. In the late fall and through the winter it was a struggle, but I have learned a lot, read a lot, and talked with many anglers out on the river who have been very helpful. I finally started to catch steelies regularly this week, and I have included a picture of my first landed steelhead this past Friday evening from the Rocky River 'Back Wall' area near the marina. I caught this nice 26" female on a white jig tipped with waxworms. She put up an amazing fight!"
Great job, Dave! I'm certain she'll be the first of many (photo courtesy of Dave Cicetti).
Bruce was traveling from Chicago to Pennsylvania to visit his mother and stopped to fish the Rocky River on his way. He wasn't disappointed- hooking 9 steelhead in a morning (photo courtesy of Bruce Raymond).
Robert caught a monster Wallace Lake rainbow trout using green PowerBait on Saturday (photo courtesy of Bob Hboda).
I love it when people appreciate the largely unheralded white sucker run on our rivers! Mike reports "Thanks for the intel. I love the suckers. It’s funny because last weekend I went out specifically targeting them and couldn’t get a sniff, and then the next week I target something else, and it’s all I catch. Zero complaints though. Thanks again for the info."
(photos courtesy of Mike Brady).
Zachary landed this beautiful steelhead (photo courtesy of Zachary Rohaley).
Tony had great news this week "To say the least I had the best weekend of trout fishing I've ever had which culminated on Saturday with me catching the biggest trout I've ever caught! I didn't measure her but I was able to estimate her length at over 30". I also got my buddy Rich interested in trout fishing and I got him hooked up too! All the fish were released. I hope you enjoy the pictures and Rich and I are both looking forward to the Rocky River clean up day on June 2nd"
(photos courtesy of Tony Cilluffo).
AJ landed some fine steelies this week (photos courtesy of AJ Leonard).
Austin reported from the marina area "I've been slaying the steelhead on Rocky River with 1/4oz lil Cleos. This is my first steelhead season ever and I think I’m hooked for life. Thanks to my cousin Bobby for turning me on to these steelhead. I’m loving it"
(photos courtesy of Austin Grant).
Clint had great luck this week "Attached are photos of myself and the first two Steelhead that I have ever caught. The luck of the Irish was with me today! I was at the Valley Parkway bridge just north of Cedar Point Road. I caught this buck on a black stonefly nymph. I would love to be in the next week of the fishing report! I read it every week!"
(photo courtesy of Clint Miller).
Congratulations to Sean on catching this 32" buck steelie in the Rocky River, his personal best. Wow! (photo courtesy of Sean Fenton).
Matt caught this beautiful steelhead, among quite a few others, in the Rocky River during a break from college (photo courtesy of Matt Svoboda).
Rich and Eugene display a steelhead doubleheader just before releasing them. Eugene was visiting from Columbus, where he is Director of the Aquatic Ecosystems Extension Program at The Ohio State University.
Pete (bottom pic) and friends found success fishing the East Branch Rocky River on Monday. The other gents in order from the top are Bob Sonnabend, Bob McCune, Mike Daugherty, Dan Kunes, and Mike Gosk (photos courtesy of Pete Surace).
Adrian has been hooking the Rocky River steelies on the fly rod (photos courtesy of Adrian Zachary).
Matt caught this steelhead fly fishing with a Blood Dot egg pattern (photo courtesy of Matt Arroyo).
The breakwall at Wildwood Park produced some steelies this week (photos courtesy of Sam Horn).
Pat, a regional rep for TFO fishing rods, reported "Fun afternoon on Metroparks waters. Had a blast on the East Branch catching rainbow trout with the TFO Finesse 0.5wt fly rod. Then hit the Main Branch for a bit and did some drift fishing with the TFO Sea-Run Casting Rod."
(photos courtesy of Pat Campbell).
Max had a great week and shared "Fishing was on fire Thursday on the Rocky. I caught a lot of fish on spawn and caught them all on my centerpin. First day I ever caught anything on it but once the water dropped it slowed a bit. Here a few of the pics I took. I have seen a couple fish spawning too"
(photos courtesy of Max Madden).
Troy displays a fine Rocky River steelhead caught on Sunday (photo courtesy of Nancy Desmond).
"Alabama Jim" displays a rainbow trout caught at the Bonnie Park Dam on the East Branch Rocky River on Monday. This dam will be coming out in the future for the betterment of the watershed. More on that <here>
. (photo courtesy of Owen Lockhart).
Allen displays on of the larger rainbow trout of the 1,200 pounds stocked in the East Branch Rocky River over the past week. See the report above for details.
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, firstname.lastname@example.org (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, email@example.com www.steelheadguide.com
- #19-005 Jeffery Liskay, Silver Fury Guide Service & Schools, firstname.lastname@example.org (440) 781-7536
- #19-006 Mario Chance, Chagrin River Outfitters, email@example.com (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.