Cleveland Metroparks Winter Trout Stocking 2019

HINCKLEY, OH – This week I had the opportunity to observe a few Cleveland Metroparks trout stockings.  This was the final of two rounds of winter trout stockings that occurred at Wallace, Shadow, Judge’s, Ledge, and Ranger Lakes.  I suppose I will state the obvious, now is the time to get to any of these lakes for this awesome annual fishing opportunity.  Along with the sheer numbers of fish, there are some exceptional individual specimens that are worthy of trophy status in anyone’s book.  If you read this post in it’s entirety, I will elaborate more on that.

Owen and Michael all smiles despite the actual hard work it takes to do the stockings

A net full of memories waiting for skilled (or lucky) anglers!

They make it look effortless, but that can is HEAVY  (I was happy to be the photographer!)

I was surprised that the stocking of trout actually was quite laborious.  It involved manually netting the fish and then lifting them into a large rubber trash can. After that, the trash can full of fish and water has to be carried down to the water for the release.  I’m certain many of you assumed that it was just a tank that pulls up to the lake with a giant hose that shoots them in.  I myself, assumed that from media I had seen online, and from watching an ODNR stocking some years ago at Swanton Reservoir in Northwest Ohio.  While it does seem like ‘fun’ work, it truly was work.  I only assisted on a couple trips down to the water and my back let me know it was work!

What a beautiful Brown Trout

An equally stunning Brook Trout

An eager Brook Trout didn’t need dumped, it jumped to its new home

There wasn’t a single fish that I observed that wouldn’t have put a smile on a fortunate angler’s face, but there were some that would be extremely special catches.  This included some Brown and Brook Trout, some Golden Trout (only at a few locations, not all lakes), and some of all species that were substantially large.  While my personal target would be these special species stocked in lower numbers than the Rainbows, a giant Rainbow would certainly be exciting!  I am always impressed by the overall quality of trout that the Cleveland Metroparks stock, and this round was no exception.  I pray some of these fish have a future encounter with me in the coming weeks.

I remain grateful to the Cleveland Metroparks for their efforts to provide recreational opportunities.  Specifically, their associates like Michael and Owen who carry out the mission so well.  They are not simply astute and credentialed in their chosen field, but passionate fisherman too.  I am certain this contributes to how these lakes are managed so successfully.

I hope all of you get a chance to target these fish and feel free to shoot me an email about how you do or leave a comment.  Don’t forget to visit the Cleveland Metroparks Fishing Blog to get fishing related news and view some of the catches.  Finally, please consider making a donation to the Cleveland Metroparks Fishing Fund if you want to make a monetary gesture of gratitude – that also helps continuation of programs like these trout stockings.

2018 North Ridgeville Corn Festival, Fishing Derby

NORTH RIDGEVILLE, OH – After last year’s epic catch (you can read about that here), we were pretty excited over the fishing derby that takes place as part of the North Ridgeville Corn Festival.  The derby, ran by the great folks from the North Ridgeville Fishing Club are always a joy to be around and do a fantastic job coordinating the event.  The fishing this year was very slow but my son still enjoyed himself by using a small net to catch minnows which he then placed in a bucket.  These ‘pet’ fish provided him plenty of entertainment and he recruited many other peers to assist in the effort.  All of the kids in the area we fished had a lot of fun whether they were catching or not.  Had my son allowed me to use one of his pets as bait, I could have likely helped him have success fishing, but he was not having any of that.  We did see a number of Bluegill caught, surely enough for some good competition for the age groups.  See you next year!

Bassmaster Elite Series, Fantasy Fishing

LAKE MARTIN, AL – “Play Bassmaster Elite Series Fantasy Fishing”, they said… “it will be fun!”, they said.  So yeah, evaluating my first tournament I guess it was a lot of fun if I don’t care about my actual result.  Of course in all actuality it was a lot of fun, borderline complete blast.  It made my engagement with the tourney a whole different experience than just looking at the leaderboards and waiting for it to be broadcast on television.  I found myself glued to the BASStrakk feed on Twitter, praying to see any of the names from my handpicked team.  While I envisioned myself becoming the Robert Kraft or George Steinbrenner of Fantasy Fishing ownership, the reality is that I put quite the jinx on a set of accomplished anglers.  For those familiar with the movie Office Space, I can hear the complete roster of anglers in Lumbergh’s voice saying, “uhm… yea… so if you could just not pick me, that’d be great”.  Sadly, some will be drafted to team CoolWaterFish.

For those unfamiliar with format, you select one angler from predefined groups A through E.  You score points based on each of your anglers overall place in the tourney.  All anglers fish the first two days, top 51 fish Day 3, top 12 fish Day 4.  I had 2 anglers fishing Day 3 (Matt Lee, 32nd and Chris Lane, 49th) and none on Day 4.  As a percentage, I was only 22.6% which means the vast majority of fantasy owners outperformed me.

So what was my methodology with choosing my team?  Well, I had many ideas and I decided to go with anglers from the same state as the event.  I applied the fact that I tend to do my best fishing on water I have fished the most.  My thought process is that these anglers would have likely fished Lake Martin more frequently as they made their way up through the ranks to the Elite Series.  I also thought residing in the state, if they still recreationally fished or did guiding, it might have them there more.  In the end, I think the entire field being the top professionals in the world, any local advantage was mitigated.  I will definitely use different methodology next event.

Feel free to leave a comment where you finished for the event, as for me 20,641st.  Ugh!~