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.

Small stream chromer and some Brook Trout

finalsteel2013Ohio finally had a week of solid below freezing temperature. Seeing all the great ice fishing reports on all the forums/blogs I visit, I have been itching to do some fishing on the hard water. I’m not one for taking any chances though, and thought I’d give it another week before I try. So today found me back fishing the small spring fed creeks. These creeks usually are fished heavily on a Saturday, but I found myself with only a few people around and at several points I was by myself.

CWF2013JAN26brookiesArriving at the water, I offered my typical 1/64 oz. hair jig tipped with two wax worms. Barely a minute into fishing, a nice strike and a Brook Trout came to the net. About a minute after that, another (yes there was a wardrobe change if you notice the different color sleeves). I was beginning to think today was going to be a record setting day as far as trout numbers. Strangely, after releasing those back to back fish, it went deathly quiet.

Seeing how the area had went from fast action on arrival to absolutely nothing in over an hour, I decided to move to a new stretch. I settled in on an area that was a bit deeper and slower current. I also decided to change the offering to a small white lead head jig with a Berkley Gulp! Minnow. About 10 minutes in and my bobber shot under, and this time I had a much better fish. There is always the hope of a nice Lake Erie Steelhead mixed in with the small trout, and I was sure I had one. The fish put up an incredible fight considering its humble size, and also proved difficult to net. I had been catching so many of the small trout over the last month and a half I decided to bring a smaller landing net. This nearly cost me the fish as I missed it on multiple attempts before successfully getting it landed. The size and freshness of the fish, made it a somewhat easy decision to keep it. I haven’t had smoked Steelhead yet this winter, so it came home with me.