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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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January 9, 2014

Posted: 1/9/2014
Posted By: Mike Durkalec

Highlight species targeted by anglers around Cleveland Metroparks in winter include steelhead trout, stocked rainbow trout and panfish.  The Rocky and Chagrin rivers currently offer limited open water, with ice jams damming water behind them making for dangerous conditions.  Anglers can check the most recent river water level and temperature at the following links (although icy river conditions can lead to inaccurate flow readings): <Rocky River flow gage data>  <Chagrin River flow gage data>   Anglers have been ice fishing most Park District lakes and ponds this week.

Open water is limited in the Rocky and Chagrin rivers, with ice jams present and damming water behind them which could lead to a dangerous situation when they breach.  The warm-up and rain this coming weekend will only exacerbate the unsafe conditions.  Anglers should excercise extreme caution around the river in the meantime.  And do not ever walk on river shelf ice, as it should never be considered safe!

Lake Erie shoreline open water fishing opportunities came to a halt this week due to pack ice pushed up along the shoreline and a dangerous coating of ice covering shoreline structures.  On the other hand, solid ice is setting up in protected nearshore areas, such as Edgewater, East 55th, and Wildwood marinas and Gordon Park.  These areas offer ice fishing opportunities for smelt and steelhead, among other species, which will heat up as winter progresses.

Ice fishers are pleased with the frigid weather and have been on most Park District lakes and ponds this week.  In early December 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#).  A duplicate stocking is tentatively scheduled for January 21 and 22, weather permitting.  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", several of which can be viewed in the photos that follow this report.  Trout have been biting on PowerBait fished near the bottom, small jigs tipped with maggots or a waxworm suspended below a small bobber and jigging spoons (smaller size KastMaster, Forage Minnow and Swedish Pimple have all been producing).  One angler on the north end of Wallace Lake Sunday caught a mixed catch of rainbow trout, largemouth bass and sunfish all on a small silver KastMaster jigging spoon.  A Metroparks Facebook album of ice fishing photos can be viewed at this <link>.   

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. 

Sulphur Springs Creek Restoration Project.   A nice write-up was offered in the Environmental Monitor this week about one of our joint stream monitoring and restoration projects with Chagrin River Watershed Partners and the Emerald Necklace Chapter of Trout Unlimited.  The ultimate goal of the project is to re-introduce Ohio's genetically unique strain of native brook trout to the Sulphur Springs subwatershed, although there are no guarantees that will happen.  To learn more check out the following <link>.

2014 Fishing Guide Permits.   Please note that Fishing Guide Permits expired on December 31, 2013.  Renewal materials were recently sent to all of our previously registered guides, but other folks interested in guiding on Cleveland Metroparks waters this year may find a link to the application materials following the photos in this report.  Thank you and may all your clients have fish filled trips in the New Year!

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,


It was too cold to go to school yesterday for Joey (his school was closed), but it wasn't too cold to go ice fishing with his father at Wallace Lake (photo courtesy of Gary Brandt).

Cheryl and her daughter joined us for the Winteriffic event ice fishing at Wallace Lake on Sunday and scored this coveted golden rainbow trout her first time ever ice fishing!  The fish, which was released, bit a small ice jig tipped with a few maggots.

Three generations of the Brunner clan were also fishing Wallace Lake with us on Sunday.  In the top image, Grandpa Bob is showing first time ice fisher Grayson the finer points how to jig for trout (photos courtesy of Rachel Brunner).

Pat landed a bruiser 24" rainbow trout on a live minnow while fishing at Shadow Lake this week (photos courtesy of Pat Barchalk).

I watched this happy angler land a fine golden rainbow "palomino" trout on a jiggng spoon at Wallace Lake on Monday.

Before the deep freeze, buddies Nate, John and AJ found some willing steelies on a smaller Cleveland Metroparks stream (photos courtesy of Nate Adams).

Joe and Adam display a few of the trout from their limit catch taken on PowerBait at Wallace Lake on Monday morning.

Mark caught this golden rainbow and regular rainbow trout on jigs tipped with maggots at Shadow Lake this week.  He caught a bunch of small panfish, as well (photo courtesy of Mark Cox). 

Brian caught this pretty Wallace Lake rainbow trout this morning, and also wanted to warn anglers about some pooled water on the ice adjacent to Prospect Road (bottom image).  The water emanated from a water line break in Berea yesterday which has since been repaired (photos courtesy of Brian Kich).

Tom caught his first ever fish through the ice, a small but colorful sunfish, at Wallace Lake this week, He also lost a big trout and his buddy Mark landed a golden rainbow.  They were fishing in -10 degree F temperature! (photos courtesy of Tom Nock).

Jake caught this "banana troutsicle" on PowerBait at Wallace Lake on Tuesday (photo courtesy of Jake Powers).

This angler was doing well on jigs tipped with maggots near the Wallace Lake lifeguard platform on Sunday.

You don't need to worry about a cooler for your fresh catch in winter! (photos courtesy of Scott).

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

2016 Cleveland Metroparks Registered Fishing Guides (name, company, contact)

16-001 Patrick Campbell, Fisher of Men Outfitters, LTD,

16-002 Monte Casey, The Steelhead Guide,

16-003 Don Mathews, Steelhead School,

16-004 Jeffery Liskay, Silver Fury Guide Service & Schools,, (440) 781-7536

16-005 Patrick Robinson, Steelhead Alley Outfitters,

16-006 Gareth Thomas, Steelhead Alley Outfitters,, (216) 235-5056

16-007 Nathan Miller, Steelhead Alley Outfitters,, (440) 796-6105

16-008 Jim Lampros,,, (216) 513-6011

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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