World Series in Cleveland: Fishing options, steelhead to perch

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An unnamed perch fishermen wears his Cleveland baseball colors on a party boat, Linda Mae, out of Wildwood Marina, east of Cleveland.
Credit: Cleveland Metroparks

“This could be, through dumb luck, an exceptional time,” Mike Durkalec said.

He meant steelhead fishing around Cleveland.

It is an exceptional time with the Cubs in the World Series at Cleveland for the opening two games and, possibly, the sixth and seventh next week.

There’s a lot of time outside of the games. There’s only so much to be seen at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame (1100 Rock and Roll Boulevard), eaten at Mitchell’s Ice Cream (1867 W. 25th) or drank at Great Lakes Brewing Company (2516 Market Ave.), where my tastes favor Eliot Ness Amber Ale or Burning River Pale Ale.

As to the fishing, Cleveland Metroparks has 26 miles along the Rocky River alone and three main free boat ramps: west to east, Emerald Necklace Marina on Rocky River (a mile to Lake Erie) and Edgewater and Gordon parks on Erie. That’s right, I said free ramps.

So I contacted D’Arcy Egan, retired outdoors columnist for The Plain Dealer (outdoorsohio.com) last week. Yes, I anticipated the Cubs advancing. BTW, Egan’s dad, Gail, was a broadcaster when Cleveland began televising baseball in the 1950s.

Lake Erie and its tributaries are major destinations for Chicago-area fishermen, but more around Port Clinton, Ohio than by Cleveland.

Egan pointed me to Durkalec, aquatic biologist for Metroparks, which has a good mobile app and interactive map. Durkalec updates a fishing report/blog every Thursday.

Earlier this month Rylie Masarik caught her first steelhead, with help from her uncle Jerry, at Edgewater Park in Cleveland, one of many public fishing areas available for Cubs fans traveling to Cleveland. Credit: Cleveland Metroparks

Earlier this month Rylie Masarik caught her first steelhead, with help from her uncle Jerry, at Edgewater Park in Cleveland, one of many public fishing areas available for Cubs fans traveling to Cleveland. Credit: Cleveland Metroparks

Steelhead fishing is the top thing going, from shore and for fly fishermen. Egan suggested the Rocky in Cleveland and the Grand, Chagrin rivers and Conneaut Creek to the east.

Durkalec said heavy rains over the weekend knocked out river fishing but it had rebounded to good by Monday and should hold, barring major rains Wednesday. A bit of rain could spark the fishing. Right flow is key.

If you are used to steelhead fishing from the Chicago shoreline or on the Root River or Trail Creek, it is the same. Think flies, spawn or bait, or spinners and spoons.

Egan said the best bait shop on river steelheading and Lake Erie boat fishing is Erie Outfitters in Sheffield Lake, including guides, (440) 949-8934. For fly fishermen, Egan recommended Chagrin River Outfitters in Chagrin Falls (440) 247-7110.

If trailering a boat to Cleveland, Durkalec suggested trolling for steelhead around the river mouths.

“If you are trailering a boat, a half a mile or mile out, there are coolers of jumbo perch,” Durkalec said.

Best is the breakwall out of Gordon Park in 30-40 feet with emerald shiners on crappie rigs or perch spreaders. Like most perch fishing, Durkalec said,“Look for the pack of boats.”

The night walleye bite has been slow. That builds as the water cools.

If you want different walleye fishing–drifting and casting–Capt. Jerry Abele with Headhunter Fishing Adventures is the guy, (419) 732-2670. When I reached Egan, he had just come back from four of them doing six-walleye limits with Abele.

Durkalec–(440) 331-8017 or md@clevelandmetroparks.com–loves to give updates and information.

STRAY CAST: Fishing and baseball are as fundamental to me as a grilled cheeseburger and a Leinenkugel; wrapping my head around the Cubs in the World Series is like me pairing bleu cheese with wine.


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