The Rocky River and other area streams are currently elevated and stained, but should be in decent shape for the weekend Anglers can monitor the most recent river water level trend and temperature at the following link prior to making a trip: <Rocky River flow gage data><Chagrin River flow gage data> <Rocky River NEORSD station with turbidity>
. Ice has degraded rapidly on local lakes this week, but anglers can fish for trout through thin ice from the safety of shore. ANGLERS SHOULD NOT VENTURE ONTO ICE AT THIS TIME!
The Rocky River and other area streams were elevated and stained following the rain early this week, but should be in decent shape for the weekend. Anglers should monitor the flow gage info (link above) before making a trip. The ice is gone and steelhead will be available as the water clears. During a brief window of decent fishing conditions before the rain/sleet on Monday several anglers reported success throughout the Rocky River. When the water is stained it's tough to beat a nickel size bag of trout of salmon eggs in brighter colors, such as hot pink or chatreuse. As waters contine to clear the big trout will bite marabou jigs under floats, smaller dime size spawn sacks, beads that mimic salmon eggs, flies (egg patterns and baitfish streamers), and lures such as Little Cleo spoons and wobbling crankbaits. Steelhead numbers can be expected to peak into March-April.
During the brief period that anglers got on the ice in Cleveland area harbors on Lake Erie last week results were largely disappointing. The main issue was a hyper-abundance of gizzard shad. This is great for predator fish, but makes fishing tough. Harbors still have ice cover (boat launches are not usable) but the lake is ice free along the Cleveland shoreline today as far as the eye can see. With a south wind anglers have a shot at steelhead and yellow perch at the E55th breakwall.
Anglers are catching trout on various Metroparks lakes. Throughout the winter a total of 6,000 lbs of rainbow trout were stocked in Metroparks lakes, as follows: Wallace (2,800 lbs), Shadow (1,500 lbs), Ledge (1,200 lbs), Judge's (300 lbs) and Ranger (200 lbs) lakes. In addition to rainbow trout averaging between 1-2 lbs, quite a few bonus brown, brook trout, and golden rainbow trout were included (especially in Wallace Lake). Trout are also available at Ohio & Erie Canal fishing area down the hill from CanalWay Visitor Center off E49th Street. 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. Trout through the ice bite well on small to medium size (1/8-1/4 oz) jigging spoons with silver or gold colors, small marabou jijs tipped with grubs, PowerBait in bright colors, live minnows, and salmon eggs/small spawn sacks.
Ice has degraded rapidly at our inland lakes and ponds recently and should not be considered safe. Anglers can still fish from the safety of shore in areas where the water drops off quickly, such as from docks, other platforms, etc. Since ice fishing is (hopefully) is right around the corner, we offer some advice. 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. Other safety tips are to always fish with a friend, let someone know where you'll be, and focus on areas near where other anglers are already fishing. Due to the deterioration of ice conditions we are not planning to have an ice fishing fundraiser derby this year.
Cuyahoga River 50 Highlight: Cuyahoga Water Trail
. 2019 marks celebrating 50 years of restoration since the last fire on the Cuyahoga River, the event that ignited the clean water movement. In light of this milestone, I will be providing a series of Cuyahoga River related highlights in the fishing blog throughout the year. This week I'm featuring the <Cuyahoga River Water Trail project>.
A water trail is is a marked route for recreation on navigable waterways such as rivers, lakes, canals, and coastlines. In the case of the Cuyahoga River, the water trail has five distinct segments with a four county area, each offering a unique paddling experience and spanning the river from Burton, Ohio, all the way to Lake Erie (see map below). Organizing this effort was no small feat, with 10 managing partners (Cleveland Metroparks among them) and 15 stakeholder partners were/are involved. Among the project goals are to increase public access to and along the river for all people, share resources to create better and safer experiences for visitors, allow people to enjoy the health and beauty of the river and to boost tourism and economic development in nearby communities. I encourage folks to head to the river this paddling season with their own canoe or kayak, or if you don't own one rent one, and enjoy the bounty of this resource. And don't forget a fishing rod, as the smallmouth bass, noerthern pike, steelhead trout, and other species await in the dark pools and sparkling riffles of "the crooked river".
Fishing Guide Permit Renewals
. Please note that Fishing Guide Permits expired on December 31, 2018. Folks interested in renewing or beginning guiding on Cleveland Metroparks waters this year may find a link to the application materials following the photos at the end of this report. Thank you and may all your clients have fish filled trips in the New Year!
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
Adam caught this dandy rainbow trout at Wallace Lake this week. His father is avery experienced ice fishers and still described the ice conditions as "sketchy" this past weekend (photo courtesy of Mike Flachbart).
Bob and Pat caught two rainbows and a brook trout by the Wallace Lake swimming area on Saturday (photo courtesy of Bob Hoboda).
This steelhead was caught on a salted minnow at Morley Ford on the Rocky River on Monday.
Ken caught this 21" hen steelie on a Kwikfish crankbait in the Rocky River this week (photo courtesy of Ken Stein).
Scott was in the area from Cinncinnatti on Monday and found success on the Rocky River (photo courtesy of Scott Witte).
JP had a great outing on the Rocky River on Monday (photos courtesy of JP Webb).
Lake Erie is open along the Cleveland shoreline, but boat ramps at Edgewater and Gordon Park (E72nd) are still locked in with ice.
What a difference a day makes- Rocky River at the Marina Monday versus Tuesday this week.
The East Branch Rocky River (left side) was running dirtier than the West Branch (right side) of the river.
The Cuyahoga River Water Trail project is featured in the report above. This map outlines the 5 Cuyahoga River Water Trail segments between Burton, Ohio, and Lake Erie. For an interactive map you can click <here>
Note: The fishing report is updated monthly in June, July, and August and weekly every other month
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.