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 three straight weeks, but we are finally getting a break from the rain and steelhead fishing has improved accordingly. 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 great open water fishing opportunities. The Lake Erie marina and harbor areas
are also offering steelhead trout, northern pike, largemouth bass, and panfish.
Area streams had been elevated and muddy for the better part of three weeks straight but we are finally getting a reprieve from the rain and stream conditions have improved accordingly. Despite stained water conditions steelhead were biting well in the northern Rocky River this week, with the marina area and Rockcliff Springs being among the productive spots. Many of the fish have been fresh "skippers" (smaller 15-18" steelhead), but a peppering of larger fish are also being caught. 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 (tipped with maggots) and fly patterns also catch muddy steelhead under such conditions. Smaller tributaries, such as Euclid Creek at Wildwood Park, drop and clear more rapidly than the larger rivers and offer good prospects while the larger rivers are elevated. Anglers can look forward to some of the best steelhead fishing of the season as the river levels continue to recede and clear. The annual white sucker run has also kicked-off on local streams.
Although Lake Erie has had high waves and is muddy, 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 great trout fishing opportunities at this time. We stocked 6,000 pounds of trout on two dates betwwen mid-December and late January, 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. 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 smattering of foot long golden rainbow trout. 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 next week. Stay tuned to the fishing report for details on that.
Dead Gizzard Shad along the Lakefront. I have been recieving 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>.
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 email@example.com
Robert was fishing Wallace Lake with his father on Monday when he landed this trophy brown trout on green PowerBait (photo courtesy of Bob Hoboda).
Jeremiah caught a colorful rainbow trout at Wallace Lake this week (photo courtesy of Jeremiah Shorlo).
Father and son Adam and Mike have been making some great catches of trout at Wallace Lake this week (top three photos), including a bonus brown trout, as well as some dime bright Rocky River steelhead (photos courtesy Mike Flachbart).
When the main rivers were elevated and muddy this week buddies Dan and David took matters into their own hands and found some willing steelhead in a smaller creek in Cleveland Metroparks (photos courtesy of Dan Grifo).
Josh caught a coho salmon in Wallace Lake this week. It's nice to see some of these fish still around considering they were stocked way back in October. Some clues you may have caught a coho salmon include a more forked tail (versus a trout) with spots mostly limited to the margins on the upper and lower lobes, spots that are more irregular in shape than round, and an upper jaw that protrudes out further than the lower jaw (photos courtesy of Josh Militz).
This steelhead came out of a tiny creek in North Chagrin Reservation. That's the full width of the creek in this image! (photo courtesy of Jeremy Peppeard).
Mike shared "Wanted to share a few catches with you. The first one is a little largemouth I caught on my third cast this past Sunday morning. The other is a little gill I caught in the big lake at Acacia the week before. They were biting like crazy. All small, but I don't care. After a winter of getting skunked steelhead and ice fishing, these two little guys were a sight for sore eyes and a nice little pay off for all the hard work I've put in this winter."
(photos courtesy of Mike Brady).
Steelhead were biting well in the northern Rocky River this week despite muddy stream conditions. The fish above were from the marina and Rockcliff Springs areas on Tuesday.
The Fly Fishing Film Tour this past Saturday sold out again this year and was a great time, as it always is. Clevelenad Metroparks was a supporting sponsor and hosted an info table at the event.
Local angler and photographer Bill Britt captured some images of an angry Lake Erie in Cleveland this past Friday (top four images). He also caught an angler heading out towards the Cleveland Crib during calmer seas, as well as a "unique" shot of a cormorant expelling the remains of what was likely a feast of gizzard shad! (photos courtesy of Bill Britt).
The annual Barbie Rod Steelhead Derby is slated for Saturday April 7th. See highlight in the report for more info, or go to this <website>
(photo courtesy of <The Good River>
, an event sponsor and locally owned apparel company).
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 (440) 247-7110
- #19-007 Justin Pribanic, Chagrin River Outfitters, firstname.lastname@example.org (440) 247-7110
- #19-008 Josh Trammell, Steelhead Alley Outfitters, www.steelheadalleyoutfitters.com (888) 453-5899
- #19-009 Nathan Miller, Steelhead Alley Outfitters, www.steelheadalleyoutfitters.com (888) 453-5899
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.