The Rocky River and other area streams are offering very good fishing conditions and steelhead have been biting well the past few days. River conditions have been slushy in mornings following nights with temperatures dipping much below freezing. Anglers can monitor the most recent river flows and temperature at the following links: <Rocky River flow gage data><Chagrin River flow gage data> <Rocky River NEORSD station with turbidity>
. NOTE: the NEORSD turbidity meter has been repaired and is back online.
Quality of ice has degraded on local lakes over the past two weeks, but anglers can safely 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 are offering very good fishing conditions today and steelhead have been biting well the past few days. The streams have been slushy on mornings following te,peratures dipping much below freezing, but it has been mostly gone by afternoon. Steelhead are well dispersed throughout the river systems, with the freshest fish being concentrated in the northern river reaches closer to Lake Erie. On the Rocky I would say that is roughly from Morley Ford (just south of Lorain Road bridge) and north to the marina. It was hard to beat a brightly colored (hot pink and chartreuse are often best) nickel size bag of salmon or trout eggs when the water was stained side this week. As the water further clears into the weekend steelhead will bite a variety of offerings, including smaller dime size spawn bags, 1/32-1/64 oz marabou jigs under floats (black, pink, and white are top colors), beads that mimic salmon eggs, and flies (egg patterns and baitfish streamers). In winter a wobbling crankbait worked slowly through a deep hole can also produce well at times. One strategy that can be employed when the fish are most pressured, such as on weekends, is to show the fish an offering or color they are less likely to have seen yet, and change things up until something works (a blue egg sack or unusual fly pattern would be examples). Getting out early on weekends also hedges bets in the angler's favor, unless the morning is cold enough to make the river overly slushy. Steelhead numbers can be expected to peak into March-April.
Lake Erie shoreline harbors still have ice cover (boat launches are not usable), but it has degraded since last week. There is an abundance of gizzard shad in nearshore harbor areas, as well. With a south wind anglers have a shot at steelhead and yellow perch at the E55th breakwall, although north and northeast winds will push ice pack up along the shoreline. Be very careful along ice covered shoreline rocks at places like Edgewater Park.
Anglers have a shot at trout on various Metroparks lakes, especially on Wallace Lake which was stocked this morning (see highlight below for details). Throughout the winter a total of 7,100 lbs of rainbow trout were stocked in Metroparks lakes, as follows: Wallace (3,900 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 quality has degraded 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.
Our fish stocking account had enough funds left to arrange an additional stocking of 1,100 lbs of trout. The fish were stocked this morning at Wallace Lake. About 2/3 of the fish are rainbow trout averaging a little over a pound each, but as a special surprise over 100 quality size and spectacularly colored brook trout were also stocked, as well as a fair number of golden rainbow trout and a few trophy brown trout. See photos of some of these fish below. Thank you to those who support our Fishing Fund (link at end of this report).
OCBS Steelhead Workshop Tonight (February 28th). Tonight the Ohio Central Basin Steelheaders will be holding their annual Steelhead Workshop. The FREE event will be from 7:30-9:30pm at the Buffalo Wild Wings on Pearl Road located in Strongsville. There will be a whole array of member hosted stations set up to teach the various techniques, equipment, and other points of interest used for local steelhead fishing. More at <OCBS website>.
Fly Fishing Film Tour this Saturday (March 2nd). This Saturday March 2nd the popular national Fly Fishing Film Tour (F3T) with be stopping in Cleveland at the Museum of Natural History. Get your tickets while they last as this fun event sells out every year! Cleveland Metroparks is a Supporting Sponsor again this year. More here: <F3T CLE>.
6th Annual Barbie Rod Steelhead Derby Fundraiser on March 30.
On Saturday March 30th we will be hosting the sixth 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! And new for 2019 we will be adding a children's division. I didn't think we would be able to top last year in terms of the amazing prize packages, but lead organizer Mark Warren, local angler Greg Young, and the rest of the coordinating team 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 a pastevent. 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
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.