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Fishing Report Blog

Rocky River and Lake Erie were each named among the "150 Best Places to fish in America" in Field and Stream magazine.

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Rocky River Fishing Report - March 21, 2013

Posted: 3/21/2013
Posted By: Mike Durkalec

The Rocky River is exhibiting good winter fishing conditions, with moderate flow and stain.  Looking at the forecast things may warm up just a bit into the weekend, although anglers should still be prepared for cold weather.  Anglers can check the latest river flow and temperature trends at the following link: <Rocky River flow gage data> 

Steelhead fishing was good for late-winter on the Rocky and Chagrin rivers this week.  Float anglers scored with tube jigs (white 3-4" have been good), 1/64-1/32 marabou or hair jigs tipped with a few maggots or a waxworm, live minnows, and dime to nickel size spawn sacks in various colors (pink is always a safe bet).  Fly fishers are taking fish dead drifting egg and nymph patterns, although swinging big streamers on light spey and switch rods is a method gaining in popularity on our streams.

Most steelhead this week have been caught in deep, slow pools, the classic winter holding area.  But anglers should not discount making a few drifts in faster water holding areas, as well, since the Little Manistee strain fish that Ohio uses come from hardy northern stock.  Steelhead are well distributed throughout the Rocky and Chagrin watersheds at this time, and anglers who cover the most water are often the most successful.

There are good numbers of lake run white suckers in the Rock.  These fish are a lot of fun on light tackle, especially for children and less experienced anglers.  Although many suckers are hooked inadvertantly by anglers seeking steelhead on offerings like jigs tipped with maggots and nymph flies, they can effetively be targeted by fishing a worm on the river bottom with a sinker and modest tackle.  At this time most suckers will be in deep, slow holes from Morley Ford (just north of the Lorain Road bridge) to the marina.  Some anglers relish sucker patties in spring when suckers are at their prime as table fare.  A number of recipes can be found by conducting a web search.

The East Branch Rocky River was stocked with 600 pounds of rainbow trout yesterday.  The fish were liberated between Route 82 (Royalton Road)  in Strongsville and the river ford (crossing) just south of Wallace Lake in Berea.  Anglers at Wallace, Ledge, Shadow and Judges lakes also reported good catches of rainbow trout, as well as few bonus bass and panfish, this week.  Small jigs and ice flies tipped with a few maggots or waxworms, PowerBait, small spinners, and salmon or trout egg sacks have all take their share of trout. 

Barbie Rod Fishing Derby on the Rock.  Local anglers Sisqo By and Matt Phillips have organized a fun fishing tournament on the Rocky River scheduled for this Saturday March 23rd where anglers must use a kiddie style fishing pole, such as a Barbie or Spiderman theme rod, to catch a steelhead trout.  These types of tournaments are a tradition in some areas of the Great Lakes and Pacific Northwest for steelhead.  Entrance fee is $20/angler, and prizes and cash will be awarded for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd largest steelhead.  Erie Outfitters generously donated $200 in prizes for the event and also contributed a $50 prize for first steelie over 30".  Anglers are to meet at 7:30am at the main pavillion at Scenic Park at the Rocky River marina.  At 2:30pm fishing ends and a cookout will be held with food offered at reasonable prices.  Interested folks can get more info and/or RSVP on a Facebook page for the event titled First Official Barbie Rod Derby (although you can just show up the morning of the event to register).

If you have a photo that you would like to contribute to the fishing report, send them to

Good Fishing,

Harrison had a great week of steelhead fishing on the Rock (photos courtesy of Harrison Vonderau).

Allen displays one of many white suckers caught this week on the northern Rock (photo courtesy of his father).

David landed these Rocky River steelies on the past two Sundays on a black jig tipped with maggots (photos courtesy of David Dorko).

Matt caught this golden rainbow trout in Wallace Lake this week (photo courtesy of Matt Rama).

Scott has landed 79 steelhead so far this year, including the specimens above from Morley Ford on the Rock and the Chagrin River (photos courtesy of Scott Deere Jr.).

John was fishing the lower Rock last Saturday and hooked two, landing one in faster water on his green and white Patty Jig, in honor of St. Patrick's Day (photo courtesy of John Fay).

Tom has been catching some fine steelhead up to 29" in the Rocky recently (photo courtesy of Tom Nock).

PatCampbell, owner of Fisher of Men Outfitters (registered guide info follows the report), had a banner day fly fishing the upper Rock this week (photocourtesy of Patrick Campbell).

Fabio scored this nice buck swinging a streamer on his switch rod on the Chagrin River this past weekend (photo courtesy of Yuri Zelenkov).

Al displays another fine chromer this week (photo courtesy of Al Katigbak).

Pat has enjoyed fishing Cleveland Metroparks lakes and ponds this winter.  He has hooked most on small jigs tipped with maggots,
although his largest (the brute in the first photo) bit on chatreuse Power Bait (photos courtesy of Pat Thauvette).

Hey, watch where you point that thing!  (photo courtesy of Travis Males).

Jeff with another bruiser hen from the Rock (photo courtesy of Jeff Abbott).

Sisqo (top photo) and friends have been dredging up some Rocky River silver this week (photos courtesy of Sisqo By).

Veteran angler Ken Harper hooked into a nice bunch of fresh chromers up to 30" on the Rock yesterday evening (photos courtesy of Ken Harper).

Note: The fishing report is updated monthly in June, July, and August and weekly every other month

2016 Cleveland Metroparks Registered Fishing Guides (name, company, contact)

16-001 Patrick Campbell, Fisher of Men Outfitters, LTD,

16-002 Monte Casey, The Steelhead Guide,

16-003 Don Mathews, Steelhead School,

16-004 Jeffery Liskay, Silver Fury Guide Service & Schools,, (440) 781-7536

16-005 Patrick Robinson, Steelhead Alley Outfitters,

16-006 Gareth Thomas, Steelhead Alley Outfitters,, (216) 235-5056

16-007 Nathan Miller, Steelhead Alley Outfitters,, (440) 796-6105

16-008 Jim Lampros,,, (216) 513-6011

More information on Cleveland Metroparks Fishing Guide Permit requirements, including the permit application, you may check the following link: <Fishing Guide Permit Program>

Cleveland Metroparks Fishing Fund

Cleveland Metroparks Fishing Fund helps provide a rewarding fishing experience to Northeast Ohio anglers through the stocking of rainbow trout, channel catfish, largemouth bass, and other sport fish. The Fund also supports children's fishing derbies and creation and restoration of essential habitat in the ponds, lakes, and rivers within Cleveland Metroparks.

For more information or to make a gift to Cleveland Metroparks Fishing Fund, including a web donation option, please visit: <Fishing Fund Donations Online>


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