The Rocky River and other area streams were largely freezing up prior to the thaw on Wednesday. They are currently high and muddy and any window to fish them before the cold sets in again will be brief. Anglers can monitor the most recent river water level and temperature at the following links (Note: flow gage data can be erroneous during cold periods due to ice formation on the sensors) : <Rocky River flow gage data><Chagrin River flow gage data> <Rocky River NEORSD station with turbidity>
. The Cleveland Lake Erie shoreline is still producing a few steelhead, yellow perch, and walleye. A total of 3,000 lbs of rainbow trout were stocked in Metroparks lakes last week (details below). Anglers were just beginning to venture onto the ice to pursue these trout prior to the thaw yesterday.
The Rocky River and other area streams were largely freezing up prior to the thaw on Wednesday. They are currently high and muddy and any window to fish them before the cold sets in again will be brief. The Cuyahoga River is among the last streams to freeze, especially near the Rt 82 area dam in Brecksville, but it will be muddy for awhile at this rate. The big trout are spread throughout the systems at this time and as the waters first begin to clear brightly colored dime to nickel size spawn sacks will hook the most fish, followed by marabou jigs tipped (tipped with maggots, waxworm, ot a Gulp minnow), 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.
Although the Lake Erie shoreline has been treacherous with ice this week, there have been some very interesting ice formations and photographers have been jumping on the opportunity (see some photos below). The lakefront marinas and harbors have been slower to form decent ice than the inland lakes this week, although the forecast into next week look promising to remedy that. Once that occurs, steelhead, yellow perch, northern pike, and a mix of other species will be pursued by ice fishers. The Lake Erie shoreline proper was covered in masses of ice chunks this week.
Last week we stocked 3,000 lbs of rainbow trout, as follows: Wallace (1,400 lbs), Shadow (750 lbs), Ledge (600 lbs), Judge's (150 lbs) and Ranger (100 lbs) lakes. This final winter stocking mirrors a duplicate stocking back in mid December, with the only difference being quite a few bonus brown and brook trout going into Wallace Lake this latest stocking. 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.
Anglers were just beginning to venture onto smaller lakes to pursue trout prior to the thaw yesterday. Given the forecast, they could be back at it within a week. Anglers are currently fishing from the safety of shore in areas where the water drops off quickly, such as from docks, other platforms, etc (see a few examples in photos below). 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.
Regarding ice fishing I offer the following safety advice, which is very important. 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 carry a set of safety picks at the ready around your neck (see guys in the first two images below setting a great example), fish with a friend, let someone know where you'll be, and focus on areas near where other anglers are already fishing.
Cuyahoga River 50 Highlight: Scranton Flats
. 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. For the first we will take a look at the Scranton Flats project, which is located <here>
In July 2014, the efforts of nine partner organizations (including Cleveland Metroparks) and $7.2 million in grant funding culminated in the opening Scranton Flats on the northern Cuyahoga River for public enjoyment. The project transformed former industrial wasteland into 2,800 feet of natural streambank, 2 acres of fish habitat, and 9 acres of upland meadow habitat featuring native wildflowers, as well as a connecting portion of the towpath trail. More on the project and list of partners <here>
From a fish habitat perspective the project has been wildly successful. Between 2010-16 the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District (NEORSD) surveyed fish populations at the site and documented 37 species encompassing 11 families, including 10 species of sunfish (including largemouth and smallmouth bass), yellow perch, flathead catfish, and two species of redhorse suckers (golden and shorthead), which do not tolerate polluted waters. Although we hope and expect this list will to continue growing, the fish aspect of the project has already exceeded expectations of all involved. See a graph from NEORSD data summarizing fish improvements over this period. Although fishing at the site is limited to a restricted location, I encourage folks to stop by and appreciate the beauty of the site and what it’s doing for fish populations of the river.
Jeff Liskay Fly Tying Offerings.
Noted fly fisherman Jeff Liskay will be offering two upcoming fly tying classes. On January 30 from 6-9:00pm will be <Fly Tying 1: Introduction (Wooly Buggers)>
and on February 27 from 6-9:00pm will be <Fly Tying 1: Introduction (Steelhead)>.
These popular classes will have capped attendance so register ASAP at the links to ensure your spots.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
Nick reported from Wallace Lake on Monday "Caught some trout today with my buddy Ryan and Randy. I went 3/3 (including a golden palomino) Randy got 2 beautiful bows and Ryan got one little guy. Caught on jigs/ Swedish pimples with waxworms"
(photos courtesy of Nick Zarzeczny).
Nate shared on Saturday "Here are a few a buddy and I caught today just before the snow picked up. Taylor Neumann's was 28 inches, 8 lbs and made my fish look tiny. We caught a few more in the same hole too, all on jigs tipped with white plastic minnows. That'll have to hold us for a while - seems like everything's about to freeze up!"
(photos courtesy of Nate Roman).
Max relayed late last week "Rivers have been good latley with lots of fish over past 3 days. Here’s a few on jigs even with the slush and ice inconvience. Also I feel you should put out a fair warning to anglers about big ice coming down the river and to be careful because I got nailed by one at the Chagrin"
(photos courtesy of Max Madden).
Greg landed a few Rocky River steelhead this week. He noted that although December was stingy with its steelhead he's done quite well in January (photos courtesy of Greg Palka).
Ken shared late last week "I hit a few on crankbaits yesterday. Starting off it seemed like many things would not make it a good day for fishing: low water temperature, flow, clarity, and rising barometer. I hit three on a trout pattern, before switching to a black/silver one. I tried that for about 45 minutes before switching to a firetiger. I connected with a 25” buck the first cast out and it was 100% game on from the hookset. With 34 degree water, I didn’t expect much of a fight but he must not have been told that his metabolism was supposed to be slow. So, it was a great day for fishing simply becasue the odds were more in favor of the fish. Finally, I have always understood that with such conditions, use small presentations, and bright colors on bright days and dark colors on cloudy days. I suppose we shouldn’t believe everything we think we understand when it comes to fishing. Thanks again for the report and all you do for our fishery!"
(photos courtesy of Ken Stein).
Anglers were just starting to venture onto Metroparks lakes to pursue trout prior to the thaw yesterday. And many had success! Given the forecast it may be happenining again within a week.
When ice is present but not thick enough to stand on, or for anglers simply wishing to be extra safe, there are various docks, platforms, and areas where the water drops off quickly from shore where anglers can "ice fish" from solid ground.
Small to medium size jigging spoons in blue and silver and gold and green were among those producing trout this week. Simply drop to the lake bottom (line will go limp when this happens), reel up a few inches, then jig upward in a 6-12 inch stroke and let the spoon flutter back down and repeat until a fish grabs it.
Tony sent in this pic of his new shirt! (photo courtesy of Tony Cilluffo).
The wind, wet, and cold along the Lake Erie shoreline this week made for some surreal ice formations. Those pictured are from Miller Road Park in Avon Lake (photos courtesy of Kevin Krischer).
Fish population improvement at the scranton Flats restoration site as documented by Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District (data for grapg courtesy NEORSD).
Congratulations to Kathleen Bradley, a founding member of the Rocky River Watershed Council, for 20 years of dedicated and highly appreciated service to the group and mission!
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.