In 1972, Dr. Andrew White of John Carroll University found two reproducing populations of brook trout in the headwaters of the Chagrin River near Bass Lake in Geauga County, 25 miles east of Cleveland. Until his discoveries, all original-strain, native Ohio brook trout were thought extirpated.
Source — Final Report: F3SM02, Brook Trout Reintroduction: Lake Erie Drainage, NE Ohio. 11/14/2007;
Geauga Park District, TU CSI, Google Earth
Unfortunately, in 1993, one of these two populations, in Woodie Brook, was destroyed by a real-estate developer, leaving only Spring Brook (shown as a cyan line in the image).
In 1996, the Ohio DNR Division of Wildlife, with some federal grants, began a program to propagate the Spring Brook stock into additional streams. 15 were attempted, and 9 were still surviving when the project final report was written in 2007 (indicated with cyan dots). Add in Spring Brook, and that makes 10 populations total in the state.
Spring Brook itself is surrounded by exurban sprawl (these streams are all within the outer commuting belt of Cleveland). Fortunately, in 1998, the state and Geauga County were able to purchase virtually all of the property immediately surrounding it.
A KMZ used to generate this image, which maps Spring Brook, plus provides points that indicate where each of the 9 additional populations was propagated, is available in the download system. There you’ll also find a copy of the final report of the project which makes sobering reading.
In case you intend to run to your closet to pull out that 0-weight rod immediately, keep a few things in mind. Spring Brook is operated by Geauga County as a preserve, along with Bass Lake Preserve, and access is only by special permit. Moreover, these are all headwaters streams. Most are first-order, a few are second-order. All are tiny, most so small that they are unnamed in the USGS’ Geographic Names Information System (GNIS). As a result, the fish will be tiny and casting will be extremely challenging. Many appear to be on private land which is likely to be posted. And while I’m sure you already practice catch-and-release voluntarily, it is illegal to possess a brook trout taken on any of these streams. All must be released immediately.
BTW, I recently received some correspondence from a “local”. Based on these comments you may want to leave the fly rod in the car and just bring your best pair of polarizing sunglasses to the limited stream frontage that isn’t posted:
The 9 streams are mostly on private property and watched closely. The few small portions not on private or preserved land are not technically closed to fishing, but you’d probably meet some new and interesting people if seen snooping around with a fly rod anyway. Stream conservation is a big topic in Geauga county and most people who live near the trout holding streams know about them and wouldn’t like anyone messing with the fish. Whether legally fishing or not, you’re likely to get told to leave.