On Saturday, days before Northeast Ohio was blasted with more than 8 inches of snow in some parts, Lake Erie and all the area rivers already were dotted with hardy ice anglers. The weather finally cooperated for that sport — and for the hardy souls who love to walk out on Lake Erie’s ice.
Since the weekend, much of Ohio has been blanketed by a front of snow. But instead of looking at the snowy, frigid weather as something negative, let’s look at the positives. Iced-over waterfalls in the Cleveland Metroparks reservations. Tree branches draped in snow, glinting with thousands of sparkles when illuminated under a street light. Rosy-cheeked owners walking dogs prancing from snow bank to snow bank.
More so than in previous years, ice fishing is being enjoyed. The hobby is part of sport fishing, which is one of the area’s most popular outdoor recreational activities, according to a Cleveland Metroparks visitor survey. It ranked sixth in overall popularity among 15 specific activities listed by park users as part of their daily recreational activities.
Cleveland Metroparks is home to 26 stream miles of the Rocky River, which represents the largest single public stream ownership in Ohio. The river currently supports a significant steelhead trout fishery, as well as native stream fisheries for a diversity of fish species. According to the Metroparks, the year-round fishability of the Rocky River has been enhanced by the steelhead fisheries as well as a stock-and-catch trout fishery in upstream segments of the river. Cleveland Metroparks also holds significant ownership of portions of the Chagrin River and the Cuyahoga River that support local stream fisheries.
Local lakes and ponds are also productive year round as rainbow trout are stocked during the winter months.
When was the last time you made a snowman? Or a snow angel? Let’s not forget sledding. Nothing says you have to be a child to enjoy these things. Bundle up, grab one of those sledding discs, find a hill and go for it.
Not up for flinging yourself down a hill at breakneck speed? What about taking advantage of the Metroparks and going for a walk? The trails are perfect this time of year. Dress warmly, don’t take your phone, don’t listen to music. Just look around. See that frozen river? Look at how the undulating water created patterns in the ice. Go to the edge of the river, if you can, and enjoy the iced artwork on the shale. Go to the lakefront and be amazed at the sculptures created by waves.
We are Ohioans. We are hardy. And we know how to enjoy our state.
Let it snow!