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Fishing Report Blog

Rocky River and Lake Erie were each named among the "150 Best Places to fish in America" in Field and Stream magazine.

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December 12, 2013

Posted: 12/12/2013
Posted By: Mike Durkalec

***Tuesday December 17 afternoon update:  Anglers are cautiously ice fishing most Cleveland Metroparks lakes and ponds as of today.  The trout were biting well at Wallace Lake yesterday and this morning, with one regular catching and releasing thirteen on chartreuse PowerBait.  Ledge Lake has also been producing well.***

Highlight species targeted by anglers around Cleveland Metroparks in early winter include steelhead trout and stocked rainbow trout, with anglers also targeting walleye and panfish.  The Rocky and Chagrin rivers are mostly slush and ice filled, although the Cuyahoga River is offering good flow and less ice.  Anglers can check the most recent river water level and temperature at the following links: 
<Rocky River flow gage data>  <Chagrin River flow gage data>

Steelhead fishing in the Rocky and Chagrin rivers is currently very challenging due to slush and ice present throughout most of the river.  Areas below falls or fords offer some open water.  On sunny days that get above freezing slush will often burn off, but that is not looking likely in the near future.  Anglers should also expect ice in their guides, especially on those cold mornings.  A little Chapstick rubbed on the guides can help remedy this issue.  The big trout are well distributed throughout the systems from the marinas to the reaches well upstream.  The Cuyahoga River, although not stocked and only receiving stray steelhead, is worth a look right now as it has good flow and less ice and slush than the other streams.  Public access to the river can be found in Ohio & Erie Canal and Brecksville reservations (map available in the Cleveland Metroparks website), as well as throughout the Cuyahoga Valley National Park.  Baits such as spawn sacks, live minnows or small jigs tipped with maggots are typically the best winter producers, although a wobbling plug worked slowly along ice shelves or deeper holes can trigger hits from lethargic winter steelhead.  

Steelhead and walleye fishing opportunities from the shore at Lakefront Reservation are available depending on Lake Erie wave conditions.  Anglers can view current lake conditions off Cleveland at the following link: <City Of Cleveland Water Intake Crib Cam>.  Emerald shiners along the Cleveland shoreline are attracting steelhead, although not as many as were around a month ago.  The east facing wall at E 55th Street access has been a steelhead hot spot, although the big trout have also been making appearances off the rocks at Edgewater Park, E 72nd Street/Gordon Park, Wildwood Park and Huntington Reservation.  Anglers have been catching lakefront steelhead most consistently on an offering dubbed "The Smorgasbord" by the locals, which consists of a small 1/32 oz marabou jig or painted jighead tipped with several maggots and two or three small emerald shiners suspended a few feet under a bobber.  I have personally witnessed plenty of fish fall victim to this offering. 

Walleye action has also been reported at dusk and after dark off the rocks at Edgewater Park and East 72nd Street/Gordon Park access on Husky Jerk, X-Rap, Rattlin Rogue and Rattle Trap crankbaits.  Hardy late season boaters out of E 72nd have been rewarded with excellent catches of big walleye trolling Husky Jerk stickbaits, as well.  For both the walleye and steelhead shoreline fisheries, the action tends to come in spurts and anglers need to bring a long handled landing net and should be very careful on wet and slippery shoreline rocks. 

On Monday and Tuesday December 9 and 10, a total of 2,000 pounds of rainbow trout were stocked in five Cleveland Metroparks lakes.  The fish were distributed as follows: Wallace Lake (900#), Ledge Lake (500#), Shadow Lake (400#), Ranger Lake (100#), Judge's Lake (100#).  The trout range from 1-4 pounds, with about 10% of those stocked being a bright yellow variation of rainbow trout that are known as golden rainbows or  "palominos" (see photo below).  The ice is not safe to walk on yet, but anglers can target these trout from the safety of fishing platfoms and docks, as well as from deeper water from shore in several areas at Wallace Lake due to the former sandstone quarry nature of the lake.  Most state conservation agencies recommend at least 4" of solid ice before anglers should venture out to ice fish.  Trout have been caught this week on small jigs tipped with a few maggots suspended a few feet below a float as well as on PowerBait fished near the lake bottom with a small weight.  Jigging spoons can also produce well at times.

If you have a photo or information that you would like to contribute to the fishing report, or if you have any further questions regarding fishing in Cleveland Metroparks, you may contact Aquatic Biologist Mike Durkalec at (440) 331-8017 or

Tight Lines,


"Wild Bill" Keaton shows off a 20", 3 pound rainbow trout caught on a small jig tipped with maggots suspended under a float in a patch of open water remaining at Wallace Lake on Wednesday afternoon.

Bill reports "My son Andy has really figured the centerpin out now that he has almost a full season of trying. He landed 6 out of 7 last weekend despite the very cold weather, Dad only 1 out of 3.  I still like drifting minnows or spawn, Andy has done well with jigs tipped with live or fake minnows." (photos courtesy of Bill Wahl). 

Joe reports "Did pretty well the last couple days at Ledge Lake, ice was 1.5" thick today when I was out. My buddies and I hooked a few goldens but couldn't get them in. We ended up doing pretty well though. All of our fish were caught using minnow imitations.  Jigging spoons, jig/waxworm and PowerBait weren't doing much.  My buddy doesn't fish for trout much and I got to take him out and he had a blast. I can't wait for the ice!" (photos courtesy of Joe Banker). 

Mark caught this handsome Chagrin River buck steelie on an olive Wooly Bugger fly (photo courtesy of Mark Deal)

Robert and friends recently made a great catch of Lake Erie walleye out of E 72nd Street.  The three man limit of 18 walleye came on F-18 crankbaits trolled between 6:30-11:00pm.  Similar reports have been coming in from other anglers trolling the same area over the past week (photo courtesy of Robert Renwick).

DeAngelo caught this chrome bright steelie on the east facing wall at E 55th Street access this week (photos courtesy of DeAngelo Williams).

Lance hit Wallace Lake on Tuesday afternoon and caught six rainbow trout, capped by one pushing 3 pounds (photos courtesy of Lance Masarik).

Justin is still getting the job done on the Rocky despite challenging winter conditions this week.  He has caught steelies and even a bonus brown trout on jigs, as well as appreciating the wildlife viewing opportunities (photos courtesy of Justin Marconi).

"Alabama Jim" Massey, a Wallace Lake regular, shows off a cold water carp he caught recently (photo courtesy of Mark Fascione).

A few examples of the fine trout stocked on Monday and Tuesday.  About 10% of the trout stocked were the unique golden rainbow trout like the one in the top photo, and many others (like the one displayed by volunteer Pete Surace) were of quality size.

Dan caught two steelies in the Rock on Monday despite the arctic conditions.  White tube jigs and spawn sacks are still doing the trick for Dan (photo courtesy of Dan McCutcheon).

Pat sent in this photo of a pair of troutsicles and reports "I fished Ledge Lake Monday and caught two beauties in a couple of holes left by the dock. An oldster showed up and got 3 as well. I got mine on white PowerBait, and he got his by jigging a spinner. I bought an auger for this Saturday, as I am sure those weak spots by the dock will be frozen by then. Included is a picture of the Abominable snow trout I caught."  Pat also reports catching some trout as late as August from spring fed Ledge Lake this past summer (photo courtesy of Pat Thauvette). 

A fly fisher plies his craft at a rapidly diminishing patch of open water at Wallace Lake on Tuesday.


Note: The fishing report is updated monthly in June, July, and August and weekly every other month

2017 Cleveland Metroparks Registered Fishing Guides (name, company, contact)

17-001 Mario Chance, Chagrin River Outfitters,, (330) 984-3086

17-002 Justin Pribanic, Chagrin River Outfitters,, (724) 799-5011

17-003 Joseph Beno, On The Swing,, (440) 667-2278

17-004 Jeffery Liskay, Silver Fury Guide Service & Schools,, (440) 781-7536

17-005 Monte Casey, The Steelhead Guide,

More information on Cleveland Metroparks Fishing Guide Permit requirements, including the permit application, you may check the following link: <Fishing Guide Permit Program>

Cleveland Metroparks Fishing Fund

Cleveland Metroparks Fishing Fund helps provide a rewarding fishing experience to Northeast Ohio anglers through the stocking of rainbow trout, channel catfish, largemouth bass, and other sport fish. The Fund also supports children's fishing derbies and creation and restoration of essential habitat in the ponds, lakes, and rivers within Cleveland Metroparks.

For more information or to make a gift to Cleveland Metroparks Fishing Fund, including a web donation option, please visit: <Fishing Fund Donations Online>


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