Monday, February 28, 2011

Gates Mills dam loss is steelheaders gain

The catastrophic failure of the 105-year-old low-head dam in Gates Mills Village today has created a while new fishing hole.

Its loss now means that migrating steelhead trout can swim their way upstream to as far as Chagrin Falls in Cuyahoga County.

The Gates Mills dam was the second such low-head dam to fail during a storm event, the first being the structure at Willoughby’s Daniels Park dam.

“Well, that opens lot more of the Chagrin River to steelhead - all the way to Chagrin Falls; past Cleveland Metroparks’ South Chagrin Reservation,” said Phil Hillman, fisheries management supervisor for the Wildlife Division’s District Three (Northeast Ohio) office in Akron. “That’s more than four more miles of stream that open up with some good public access.”

And while some of the stream lies along private property just having South Chagrin Reservation available will help spread out fishing pressure, Hillman said.

“Just as it did when the Daniels park dam failed; it’s all new frontier, especially for dyed-in-the-wool steelheaders who are willing to walk longer distances so long as they encounter fewer other anglers,” Hillman said.

Still, any trespassing on private property will require written permission from the landowner, Hillman said.

"But at least we didn’t hear of too many problems regarding trespassing when the Daniels Park dam,” Hillman said

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

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