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Safe ways to go ice fishing at the Cleveland Metroparks

Posted at 3:40 PM, Feb 21, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-21 16:31:13-05

CLEVELAND  — It may be cold but it’s not stopping some people from reeling in some fun and going ice fishing.

If you’re thinking about heading out to explore, there are a few things to keep in mind during this weather: never fish alone, always let someone know where you’ll be, never go without ice safety picks and make sure there are at least four inches of ice.

“We have about 10 and a half inches of ice here today which is really good, and it’s really good quality of ice,” said Mike Durkalec, an Aquatic Biologist for the Cleveland Metroparks.

Durkalec said the clearer the ice, the more stable it is. If the ice looks cloudy or murky, it may not be stable and can fracture or crack.

“It’s a lot of fun, especially when you have to run and go get the fish when it’s on the hook,” said Jack Heidrich.

Heidrich and his father drove in from Delaware, Ohio, and joined the group of roughly 20 fishermen at the East 72nd Street Marina on Sunday. After drilling their holes and setting their trips, the fish began to bite.

“I probably caught six or seven,” Heidrich said. “(This) pretty good perch. It’s good eating size."

Lake Erie harbors like the one at the East 72nd Street. But there are other locations like Edgewater Park, the East 55th Marina and Wildwood Marina offering ice fishing opportunities for steelhead, northern pike, yellow perch, and sunfish.

“I like fishing with my dad because it’s company the whole time," said Kyle Shinko of Avon Lake. "Then we get to brag about who’s catching more fish."

“Today he hasn’t caught anything,” Kyle said with a laugh.

The popular winter hobby has been reeling in anglers by the dozens over the recent cold snap. Some fishermen even coming from as far away as New York state.

“It’s feast or famine. Sometimes you get them and sometimes you don’t,” said John Hornberger of Rochester, New York.

Hornberger made the five-hour drive for a weekend trip to Camp Perry, just to the west of Port Clinton. He's been ice fishing before, but never on Lake Erie, and wanted to try his hand at catching some coveted Lake Erie Walleye.

“We didn’t find any fish the first day. I caught just two walleyes," Hornberger said. "But in the last 45 minutes, I landed probably 15 keepers. It was fish after fish after fish. As good of walleye fishing as I’ve ever experienced.”

Anglers are reminded that no ice is safe ice. You can visit ohiodnr.gov for more ice fishing safety tips and additional information.