The Rocky River and other area streams have been largely full of slush and shelf ice the past few days, with mornings have been especially challenging. 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.
Ice on local lakes got better this week but is still thin, but anglers can safely fish for trout through thin ice from the safety of shore. ANGLERS SHOULD BE VERY WARY OF VENTURING ONTO ICE AT THIS TIME!
The Rocky River and other area streams have been largely full of slush and shelf ice the past few days. Mornings have been especially challenging for anglers. During windows of fishable conditions this week anglers have reported some good steelhead fishing success. are well dispersed throughout the river systems, with the freshest fish being concentrated in the northern river reaches closer to Lake Erie. Winter 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. Steelhead numbers can be expected to peak into March-April so the best fishing of the year is coming soon One highlight this week was a couple of lake-run brown trout caught in the Rocky River this week (photos below). As a tip, the area immediately below the dam on the Cuyahoga River below the Route 82 bridge tends to stay largely ice free all winter.
Lake Erie shoreline harbors still have ice cover and are full of gizzard shad. With a south wind anglers can often find some open water and have a shot at steelhead 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 a number of Metroparks lakes, especially on Wallace Lake recieved an infusion of 1,100 lbs of trout a week ago. These bonus fish were possible thanks to our park Fishing Fund doing well lately (see link to that following this report). About 2/3 of the fish are rainbow trout averaging a little over a pound each, but especially exciting was that over 100 quality size and colorful brook trout were included, as well as a fair number of golden rainbow trout and a few trophy brown trout. Some of these fine brook trout are on display in the photos below. Throughout the winter a total of 7,100 lbs of rainbow trout were stocked between Wallace, Shadow, Ledge, Judge's and Ranger lakes. 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 on local lakes is not very thick 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: Removal of Fish Consumption BUI
. 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 removal of the Fish Consumption Beneficial Use Impairment for the Cuyahoga River Area of Concern.
I'll start with a bit of background. For decades, the same river segments were repeatedly identified as the most contaminated areas around the Great Lakes. The adoption and implementation of environmental laws and regulations significantly reduced the discharge of pollutants, but these areas continued to experience severe environmental degradation. In 1985, the Water Quality Board of the International Joint Commission (IJC) designated these locations as Areas of Concern (AOC) and recommended the development of comprehensive remedial action plans (RAP) to concentrate on the cleanup and restoration of beneficial uses to these areas. There are four AOCs in Ohio, the lower 45 miles of the Cuyahoga River among them (see map of ohio AOCs follwing the fishing report text).
The Ohio EPA RAP team reviewed the original listing/delisting criteria provided by the IJC and drafted listing criteria from a State regulatory perspective that was at least as resrictive as from a federal perspective. The team then determined what criteria the State would require to document that a beneficial use had been restored, and termed it the <State Delisting Target>
. Beneficial Use Impairment (BUI) Assessment Reports prepared for the Lake Erie Lakewide Management Plan (LaMP) were used as background references and to better connect the AOCs to Lake Erie. A rationale is presented for each BUI, explaining how each proposed target was selected (there were 10 BUIs listed on the Cuyahoga River AOC). Several BUIs include milestones that may qualify them for being designated as an area in recovery. This means that all remedial activities identified have been implemented and only monitoring is required to determine when the delisting targets have been achieved. It may take several years for the effects of remedial actions to be measured in environmental results.
On Monday morning I received a call from Dr. Scott Hardy of Ohio Sea Grant to relay the following great news regarding the Cuyahoga AOC. Scott shared “The Cuyahoga River AOC will be hosting a celebration in the near future to promote the removal of the third of ten BUIs for the river. The US EPA has approved the removal of Fish Consumption from the list, acknowledging that contaminant levels in fish tissue have been reduced enough to meet state or Lake Erie consumption advisory levels by removing sources of contamination. The public will be invited to join in a celebration in the near future to highlight this milestone. Keep an eye out for more details to come!”
. Stay tuned to the fishing blog for updates on this celebration as details emerge.
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
Mikale, Dave, and friends had a successful week chasing steelhead on the rocky River. Highlights were a young ladies' first steelhead and a doubleheader with an audience of kids (photos courtesy of Mikale Mosack).
Saturday morning Nick had a great morning at wallace Lake- catching a trophy 21" brook trout, golden rainbow trout, and some regular rainbow trout. He was using a white jighead tipped with worm (photos courtesy of Nick Zarzeczny).
Carmen caught some fine Rocky River steelies on jigs recently (photos courtesy of Carmen Colagiovanni).
Saturday morning Bob, his son Jason, and neighbor Pat had a great outing at Wallace Lake, catching several rainbow trout and two bonus brook trout using orange and sherbert colored PowerBait (photos courtesy of Bob Hoboda).
On Sunday Tyler caught a 25.5" steelhead and surprise 21" brown trout in the Rocky River. The brown hit a small gold KastMaster spoon (photos courtesy of Tyler Normant).
Nick also caught a gorgeous brown trout this week. He reports "This week I was fortunate to get into a few fish on a couple of quick after work fishing stops. The brown was my first caught in the rock and biggest ever caught so far. It had made a swipe at my Hot-N-Tot on one cast and on the next cast it didn't miss! It hit with full force and put up a fantastic fight."
(photos courtesy of Nick Bryan).
JP had a great day at wallace Lake yesterday, landing a dozen trout and losing a bunch more. He caught the trophy brook trout at wallace last week (photo courtesy of JP Webb).
Brad caught some quality steelhead this week (photos courtesy of Brad Gardner).
David got a fine rainbow and brook trout at Wallace Lake recently on a 2" orange jigging spoon (photos courtesy of David Wagner).
Yesterday I had the pleasure of hosting high school student Isaiah, a bright lad who aspires to be a veterinarian. I took him to see my trout supplier’s hatchery to talk about animal care, disease prevention, etc. education is an important component of the Cleveland Metroparks mission.
As referenced in the Cuyahoga River 50 Highlight in the report above, the lower 45 miles of the Cuyahoga River is one of four Areas of Concern (AOCs) in Ohio.
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.