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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 - April 4, 2013

Posted: 4/3/2013
Posted By: Mike Durkalec

The Rocky River is currently exhibiting moderately low and clear conditions.  Given the forecast this scenario should continue through the weekend.  Anglers can check the latest river flow and temperature trends at the following link: <Rocky River flow gage data> 

It appears spring is finally at our doorstep with warmer temperatures forecasted for the coming week.  With the low and clear water conditions finesse offerings will often produce best.  The current conditions are perfect for fly fishing, and anglers are hooking up on size 16-12 nymph and egg patterns, as well as swung or stripped streamer flies such as Clouser Minnow and Intruder patterns.  For anglers using float or spin gear, live minnows, small jigs (1/32 or 1/64 oz) tipped with a few maggots or a waxworm, 3-4" tube jigs (white is often good) and other rubber baits, and Trout Beads are all proven producers.  Lures such as small to medium size spinners (Roostertail, Vibrax), spoons (Little Cleo, KO Wobbler), and plugs (Kwikfish, Rapala minnow) can work well at times, too.  It is often a good move to downsize to 4 and 6 lb flourocarbon leaders in the clear water. 

Anglers have reported substantial steelhead spawning activity in the gravel bottom riffles this week.  Some anglers enjoy sight fishing under such circumstances, which requires a stealthy approach for best results.  Plenty of fresh (pre-spawn) and spent (already spawned) fish are present in deeper holes and runs, as well.  Anglers should expect lots of other anglers to be present as the weather warms, especially in the more easily accessible areas and on the weekends.  I still believe the bulk of the spring run has yet to arrive.  Steelhead are well distributed throughout all watersheds at this time, which allows anglers to spread out and find a stretch of water for themselves. 

Plenty of lake-run white suckers are also available in the Rocky and Chagrin rivers.  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.  Anglers targeting steelhead who are catching mostly suckers would be wise to switch to a new location.

For the third week in a row the East Branch Rocky River was stocked (on Tuesday) with 600 pounds of trout between Route 82 (Royalton Road)  in Strongsville and the river ford (crossing) just south of Wallace Lake in Berea.  Additionally, ODNR stocked Hinckley and Shadow lakes with trout on Monday April 1.  The fish stocked by ODNR average about a foot long, which is a perfect size for kids, with the trout stocked in the river averaging substantially larger with plenty of 18-20" fish in the mix.  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. 

Taking a good fish photo.  Over the years I have seen a lot of fish photos, and many of the best share some common traits.  First, when possible it is always best to have the happy (smiling) angler in the photo.  The fish should be a focus of the image, so holding it out a bit and minimizing covering the fish with the angler's hands will show the fish best.  If the fish is muddy from landing it, rinse it off before the photo.  Please do not hold a fish by the gill cover unless you plan to keep it!  Positioning the photographer with the sun to his or her back will minimize shadows and highlight detail in the image.  A good photo will portray the river or lake in the background instead of a muddy bank or uniform woods, so plan the photo accordingly.  On a final note, anglers fishing alone can still get a good photo thanks to the auto function available on digital cameras, as well as pocket size collapsible tripods that run $10 or less.  But make sure to practice taking auto function photos a few times before you land that trophy! 

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

Good Fishing,

Ryan and Brandon, 8 and 10 years old, experienced success steelhead fishing the Rocky River with their father on Saturday (photos courtesy of John Burkhart).

Alex and Sammy display their first quality steelhead taken from the Rock (photos courtesy of Tom Nock).

Charlie shows off a beautiful Rocky River buck steelie (photo coutesy of Ed Seibolt).

Will has been fishing for steelhead for three years now and landed his first of the season in the Chagrin River this week (photo courtesy of Will Ellis).

Nick, along with his brother William and father Steven, made this limit catch of rainbow trout from the East Branch Rocky River on Tuesday.  William landed the big fish of the day, a 22 incher (photo courtesy of Nick Zarzeczny).

Jake shares "I just wanted to pass along this photo of my father Dan with the largest steelhead he has ever caught. 32” and 13 pounds. Rarely do I see him as excited as he was when that fish was beached and securely in his grasp. His excitement really made the entire day of fishing worth it.  He caught it swinging a version of a white wooly bugger that my grandfather had tied the night before. The fish was released in hopes that someone else will have the same exciting experience. I just wanted to share the photo and story." (photo courtesy of Jake Masuga).

Mike caught this pair of beautiful rainbow trout in a Metroparks lake (photo courtesy of Mike Ambroziak).

Mike caught this large steelhead on a green Woolly Bugger fly pattern on March 30 (photo courtesy of Michael McDermott).

 Pat got his limit of three trout at Ledge Lake on Easter Sunday, topped by an 18 inch fish.  He also caught and released a golden rainbow trout (photos courtesy of Pat Thauvette).

Ken caught some nice chrome steelies from the Rock this week, along with a bonus brown trout (photos courtesy of Ken Harper).

Mike and George caught some quality rainbow trout from the East Branch Rocky River on Tuesday afternoon (photos courtesy of Bill Marquard).

Karl shows off a plump hen steelie, fresh from Lake Erie, taken near the marina this week (photo courtesy of Karl Ternay).

Nate had a good week on our local streams (photos courtesy of Nate Adams).

Nathaniel caught some quality steelies in the Rock this week (photos courtesy of Nathaniel Watkins).

Brion (top photo) took his brother in law Sean, visiting from North Carolina, steelhead fishing and they caught some real beauties (photos courtesy of Brion McCutcheon).

Jonathan has been catching plenty of willing trout in the East Branch of the river.  See the report for a description of the area stocked (photo courtesy of Jonathan Hatfield).

Fabio (top) caught this fresh Chagrin River steelie on an Intruder streamer pattern.  Below Yuri displays one of three fresh steelhead that he brought to the bank while fly fishing the Chagrin this past weekend (photos courtesy of Fabio Malaspina).

Sisqo topped off a great day of steelheading a local stream with a huge surprise.  He caught this young lake trout, most likely the result of ODNR's stocking of surplus juvenile lake trout in Lake Erie this past fall.  It will be interesting to see if a few adult "lakers" make it into our streams in the coming years (photo courtesy of Sisqo By).

Ranger Flanigan doesn't seem particularly enamored with the hoardes of suckers that he and a friend ran into on a recent steelhead outing (photo courtesy of Sean Flanigan).

Pat Campbell, owner of Fisher of Men Outfitters, had a stellar day fly fishing Cleveland Metroparks land on the Chagrin River this week.  One of my own favorite fly patterns, a pale pink Sucker Spawn, is clearly visable pinned in the jaw of the one fish (photos courtesy of Patrick Campbell).

Charlie caught this trout on a black Woolly Bugger fly (photo courtesy of Charlie's mom).

This dead alligator was discovered in Euclid Creek this week, undoubtedly a bad decision by a pet owner to release an animal they no longer wanted (photo courtesy of Karol Boryka).

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

2017 Cleveland Metroparks Registered Fishing Guides (name, company, contact)

17-001 Mario Chance, Chagrin River Outfitters,, (330) 984-3086

17-002 Justin Pribanic, Chagrin River Outfitters,, (724) 799-5011

17-003 Joseph Beno, On The Swing,, (440) 667-2278

17-004 Jeffery Liskay, Silver Fury Guide Service & Schools,, (440) 781-7536

17-005 Monte Casey, The Steelhead Guide,

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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