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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 25, 2013

Posted: 4/24/2013
Posted By: Mike Durkalec

The Rocky River is currently elevated and stained but the flow is receding.  Weekend conditions will be dependant upon how much rain we receive today, although bets are the weekend should offer fishable, even if stained, conditions.   A number of Cleveland Metroparks lakes and ponds are offering good opportunities for rainbow trout, largemouth bass and various sunfish species.  Anglers can check the latest river flow and temperature trends at the following link: <Rocky River flow gage data> 

The Rocky River is currently offering a large pecentage of steelhead that have already spawned, commonly called dropback or spent steelhead.  These fish are often eager biters and tend to jump a lot when hooked.  There are still fresh (not yet spawned), spawning and skipper (15-20" fish) steelhead around, as well.  Spawning is occuring in shallow riffles and tailouts over gravel.  Quite a few of the fresh fish are staging in deeper water downstream of pods of spawning fish.  Dropbacks can be found just about anywhere, but most often frequent deeper pools and runs as they systematically migrate back to Lake Erie.  Fish are well distributed throughout the watershed.  This is the time of year where just about any technique has a chance of hooking fish, with fly fishers, float fishers and hardware chuckers all hooking their share.  Weekend fishing conditions will be fully dependant upon how much rain we recieve today, and if it ends up being minimal the fishing outlook will be good.  The Chagrin River is experiencing a similar scenario.  Given the relatively cold spring we've had so far steelhead should be around in reasonable numbers through the end of April, with a few fish likely lingering around into early to mid May if we don't get any extreme hot temperatures

The run of smallmouth bass migrating into the Rocky River from Lake Erie is off to a good start, with an increasing number of anglers in the northern river reporting some bonus bass mixed in with the steelhead this week.  "Smallies" will hit live bait (minnows, crayfish, worms), 3-4" tube jigs (olive, brown and white are all good), and baitfish streamer or Woolly Bugger flies (same colors as noted for tube jigs).  This is a special time of year where anglers have a chance to catch a mix of bass and steelhead from some of the same holes.  Anglers are strongly encouraged to release these larger 2-4 pound bass so that they can spawn and perpetuate the population.  Lake run smallies will be around until early June most years.  Suckers are still present throughout the river, as well.
On Tuesday another 600 pounds of rainbow trout were stocked in the East Branch Rocky River between Route 82 (Royalton Road) in Strongsville and the river ford (crossing) just south of Wallace Lake in Berea.  These fish complement the 2,400 pounds of trout released into this reach of river since mid March.  Additionally, ODNR stocked Hinckley and Shadow lakes with trout on Monday April 1.  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.  Next week will be the final release of trout into the river for the season.

Largemouth bass and panfish angling has been good in Cleveland Metroparks lakes and ponds, as well.  Some anglers have reported a good largemouth bass bite at Wallace and Hinckley lakes recently using spinnerbaits, rubber skirted jigs and rubber worms.  Sunfish can be taken in just about any Metroparks lake or pond by dangling a small worm or waxworm on a small hook below a pencil style bobber.

Free Angler Meet and Greet Event At North Chagrin on Saturday April 27th.   The folks at Steelhead Alley Angler ( and Ohio Fly Fishing ( have teamed up to host a free Meet and Greet event at Cleveland Metroparks Buckeye Shelter/River Grove in North Chagrin Reservation slated for Saturday April 27th starting at 10:00am.  They have rounded up an impressive list of sponsors to donate items for a silent auction and raffle, with the drawing at 2:00pm.  Raffle tickets will be $10.  Lunch at noon and fishing are on the agenda, as well, so bring your fishing gear if interested.  Come on out for some comeraderie and for a chance to learn some tips from skilled local anglers, as well as for a chance to add some gear to your fishing arsenal.  For additional information on the event contact or

If you have a photo that you would like to contribute to the fishing report, or if you have any further questions regarding fishing in the Cleveland Metroparks, you may contact Aquatic Biologist Mike Durkalec at (440) 331-8017 or

Tight Lines,



Emma fished with her uncle Pat this week and he shares "My niece once again left a pole unattended, and the pole ended up getting dragged in by this 21 inch trout over at Ledge Lake. My niece's excuse? She thought green Power Bait didn't work. After I went into the 40 degree water to retrieve my pole I still let her catch it. I guess it worked after all." (photo courtesy of Pat Thauvette).

Congratulations to 9 year old Dominic on catching his first steelhead from the Rocky River this week (photo courtesy of his father John).

Craig caught some gorgeous steelies fly fishing the Rock this week, punctuated by the 32" 11pound buck in the first photo (photos courtesy of Craig Baker).

Randy scored a Rocky "Spring Slam", catching a 13" smallmouth bass and 19" rainbow trout this week (photos courtesy of Randy Smith).

Matt caught this chrome fresh beauty at the Emerald Necklace Marina this week (photo courtesy of Matt Smith).

Patrick was fly fishing the Chagrin River for steelhead and just switched over to a Clouser minnow pattern when he made a somewhat unexpected catch: a nice size largemouth bass! (photo courtesy of Patrick Murphy).

Steve caught this 27" chrome hen steelhead fishing out of his boat just north of the marina on the Rock (photo courtesy of Steve Jak).

Nate was kind enough to pass along the following detailed report from the river this week:  "I was out flyfishing on the Rocky River yesterday, and figured I would send you a fishing report for the Metroparks website.  I began at the Morley Ford and worked my way downstream a few bends in the river.  There seems to be plenty of quillback present in the deeper runs.  The quillback seemed to outnumber the white sucker in this stretch of the river.  I worked the first bend downstream of Morley Ford and caught a 24” steelhead on a nymph.  Fish weren’t on gravel, but could be found just downstream.  After working that bend with a nymph, I went back with a large streamer pattern and caught a 19” smallmouth bass on the swing"  (photos courtesy of Nate Tessler).

Fabio and Yuri swung up some fine steelhead using streamer patterns in the Chagrin River again this week (photos courtesy of Fabio Malaspina).

Joyce is solidifying her reputation as the Queen of the Rock!  Above are just a handful of steelies from her catch this week (photos courtesy of Joyce Smith).

Jim caught some fine steelies fly fishing the Rock this week, but also noted some areas of heavy steelhead spawning activity near access points can also have equally heavy angler traffic (photos courtesy of Jim Kafantaris).

Nate caught this bruiser buck steelie which he noted was missing an eye (photo courtesy of Nate Madej).

Ed passes along "I had to step away from Daddy Day Care Monday evening since the river conditions and weather were both ideal.  After no luck with jig and maggots or my trusty shad swim bait, I turned to the old faithful 1/4 gold Little Cleo.  Bam!  First the 28 inch steelhead hit and jumped 6 times like I have rarely seen before. Each time like 3 or 4 feet out of the dead calm, glass-like water.  I would put this trout in my top 10 most fun fish ever caught with the aerial show and perfect weather.  Soon after the 16 inch smallie bass hit and put up a nice fight too" (photos courtesy of Edward Schmitt).

Thank you to the Ohio Central Basin Steelheaders for their generous $1,000 donation to the Cleveland Metroparks Fishing Fund.  In the photo OCBS Vice President Tom Blotzer awards the check to Cleveland Metroparks Interim Chief of Natural Resources Terry Robison (photo courtesy of OCBS).



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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