CLEVELAND, Ohio — An Alberta Express chugged into Northeast Ohio this past week, huffing and puffing bitterly cold northwest winds and bringing ducks and a wealth of other migrating birds with it. While the frigid temperatures put a thin ice cover on many small lakes and ponds, it won’t be enough yet to provide safe passage for ice anglers.
The local ponds and lakes are in winter transition, except for Berea’s Wallace Lake in the Cleveland Metroparks Mill Stream Run Reservation in the Berea area. The cold-water coho salmon stocked there in October are still biting. On Tuesday, 1,400 rainbow trout up to about two pounds in size were added to the mix.
There are many Wallace Lake shoreline areas and piers where fishermen can dunk small jigs tipped with maggots, waxworms, salmon eggs or pieces of worm for the salmon and trout. With temperatures in the mid-30s arriving early next week, it may take a while for the full-fledged ice fishing season to start, reports Aquatic Specialist Mike Durkalec.
The park system also released some rainbow trout in Ranger Lake in Strongsville. Another stocking on Tuesday will pour 1,500 more trout into the park’s Shadow, Judge and Ledge lakes.
RIVERS AND STREAMS
The Northeast Ohio rivers and streams are filled with steelhead trout, the cold water luring the silvery fish to spawning beds. The rivers are also filled with slush ice, making it difficult to tempt a trout with spawn bigs or jig-maggot rigs, especially early in the day.
If fishermen can find open water, the trout have been willing to bite, said Don Moore at Harbor Bait & Tackle on the Grand River. Moore said the heavy snow cover in spots around the Snow Belt will be a bonus if the snow melts slowly and boosts river levels, drawing in more trout from Lake Erie.
The river conditions have varied by the hour lately, with sunny skies and melt-off giving steelheaders some fair fishing conditions by early afternoon.
Northwest winds pummeled Lake Erie over the weekend. They muddied the near-shore waters and brought a halt to the night fishing for walleye from piers and breakwalls. Calmer weather is in the forecast, starting with Sunday temperatures in the high 30s.
When the Lake Erie waters calm down and clear, the walleye and steelhead trout should be waiting. Grand River anglers have been casting 2/5-ounce and 1/3-ounce Glow Little Cleo spoons and Bandit diving plugs in glow colors with success.
The usual stick baits will also find tempt walleye if there’s a couple of feet of visibility in shoreline waters. Some fishermen are casting heavy spoons and swim baits, as well.
FISHING SHOW NOTES
The Mid-America Boat Show at Cleveland’s I-X Center on Jan. 18-21 will have the only fishing exhibits and seminars in town in 2018. The Cleveland Outdoor Adventure Show, presented by Erie Promotions and Expos, Inc. in recent years, will not be back in 2018 at the I-X Center. The Nari Home Improvement Show will instead share dates with the boating expo.
The Ohio RV Super Show opens the winter outdoor show season on Jan. 10-14 at the I-X Center.