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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 and General Fishing Report - August 2013

Posted: 8/1/2013
Posted By: Mike Durkalec

As we move into late-summer, highlight species targeted by anglers along the Rocky River watershed are smallmouth and largemouth bass, carp, panfish, and channel catfish.  To monitor the most recent river water level and temperature you can check the following link: <river flow gage data> 

Summer means family fishing time for many folks, and panfish fit the bill perfectly for a leisurely picnic and fishing outing.  Crappie, bluegill, and other sunfish species can be taken with a number of offerings, but a waxworm or redworm on a small hook (or tiny jig) suspended under a stick float and fished around a weedbed or shoreline brush is always a good choice.  Wallace Lake, Shadow Lake, and Beyers Pond are just a few of many places in the Park to wet a line for various panfish species.  Largemouth bass fishing is best in Wallace and Hinckley lakes, although bass can be found in most park waters.  Canoe and rowboat rentals are available for anglers at Hinckley Lake, as well.

Smallmouth bass are typically found in the deeper, rocky pools of the river during the day in summer, and often move to the heads of such pools in the early morning and evening hours to feed actively, especially during very hot periods.  A dark olive or brown tube jig of about 4” length is one of the best producers of bass in the river.  “Smallies” also bite well on live bait (ie: minnow, crayfish, and leeches), lures (ie: spinners and minnow plugs), and flies (ie: crayfish patterns, Clouser minnows, dark brown or olive sculpin or muddler minnow patterns).  There are abundant small to medium sized bass in the river along with a healthy number of trophy fish up to (and over) 20 inches in length. Rock bass are also present in the same river areas as smallmouth, and can be caught using the same offerings listed above.

Channel catfish and large carp are also present in some of these same areas in the river, and fishing for them can be a laid back and relaxing way to enjoy some time on the water.  Channel catfish are also being caught at Wallace Lake and the Ohio & Erie Canal fishing area.  A huge blue catfish was caught, and released, in Wallace Lake by a lucky angler last month (see photo below).  Catfishing is usually best during lower light conditions using baits such as nightcrawlers, minnows, chicken liver, and processed dough baits. 

Carp can often be caught throughout the day on such bait as canned corn, carp dough baits, worms or crayfish tails.  A growing number of fly anglers seeking a challenge are targeting carp with nymphs and crayfish imitations, as well.  The key to fishing for either carp or catfish is fishing on (or very near) the river/lake bottom. 
In addition, freshwater drum (sheepshead), white perch, and bullhead catfish are also abundant in the northern river reaches (north of Morley Ford) in summer.  For the angling generalist, any of the species thus far can be effectively targeted by fishing a nightcrawler worm right on the river bottom with a sinker.

I have not yet received any reports of steelhead in local streams as of August 1st, but wouldn't be surprised if the first few of the season make ashowing following a cool rain this month.  Last summer we electrofished several fresh specimens by the marina in mid-August while sampling.

Rock bass, largemouth bass, crappie, freshwater drum, channel catfish, and sunfish species are biting along the Cleveland shoreline of Lake Erie on offerings such as tube jigs and live minnows.  Yellow perch and walleye are biting off Cleveland, as well.  Anglers can find more information at the <ODNR Lake Erie fishing report>.  

Unexpected Visitor to Cleveland!     Any readers who follow Cleveland Metroparks Facebook page are likely aware that a brown pelican has been hanging around the Cleveland Shoreline since late June.  This is only the third record of the species ever being spotted in Cuyahoga county, with the other two only staying for a day.  The bird, which likely was blown off course during a storm, appears to be perfectly healthy and is actively feeding on gizzard shad.  The pelican has been dubbed "Cleveland Brown", and some photos are offered below.  Cleveland Metroparks teamed up with CLE Clothing Company to design a <T-shirt for sale> to commemorate this popular visitor's Cleveland vacation, with a portion of the proceeds from each sale going to Cleveland Metroparks' Fishing Fund.

Looking for an Eagle Scout Service Project Idea?
    If you happen to be, or know, an Eagle Scout candidate who is looking for a community service project, please feel free to get in touch with me if interested in a fishing related idea.  I have a few ideas, as well as being open to hear about any you might have.  

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,


Deseree made her father proud on a recent fishing trip by landing this nice bluegill (photo courtesy of Deseree Mahoney).

Walt Pantea displays a few jumbo perch from a recent catch out of our new Lakefront Reservation (photo courtesy of Carl Bachtel).

Steve recently caught this beautiful Rocky River smallmouth bass (photo courtesy of Steve Czekalinski).

Sebastian was fishing Wallace Lake for catfish in July and got more than he bargained for with this giant blue catfish!  The whiskered brute was caught on raw bacon that was left in the sun a few days to "ripen" (catfish often prefer a stinky bait).  Being a sportsman, Sebastian released the fish, which he hopes will surprise another angler.  Blue catfish are native to the Ohio River drainage, but not Lake Erie watershed.  I speculate this one, along with a 41" specimen that turned up dead in the lake a few years back, were mixed in with a shipment of southern channel catfish stocked in the lake over the years (photo courtesy of Sebastian Calvillo).

Mother and daughter share a special moment while fishing the river (photo courtesy of Alicia Motil-Boozer).

A proud Jonas beams over his first smallmouth bass, caught in the Rocky River this summer (photo courtesy of

"Alabama Jim" displays his recent catches of catfish and a trophy bluegill from Wallace Lake (photos courtesy of Mark Fascione).

Matt reports from the river "I caught this nice 16 inch small mouth in the Rocky River on Monday 7/29 in the evening. They were hitting everything! I caught this one on a Rapala top water popper. I caught the smaller one on a 1/6 ounce Rooster Tail. I caught another small one on a 3" Rapala X-Rap. Turned out to be a productive two hours on the river, except for the mosquitoes" (photos courtesy of Matt Laskowski).

On July 30 Mark and a friend were fishing the first buouy can out of Rocky River in 38 feet of water and they made a mixed catch, including 57 keeper size yellow perch (out of 85 landed), a trophy Fish Ohio 16" white bass and a bunch of white perch (photos courtesy of Mark Fascione).

Humans aren't the only anglers working the waters of the Rocky River Reservation this summer, as evidenced by this successful Great Blue Heron (photo courtesy of Min Keung).

Ihor experienced in the river at South Chagrin Reservation for channel catfish and smallmouth bass (photos courtesy of Ihor Balaban).

Lance reports "I can't really put how much I love fishing the Metroparks for you in words, as I fish the rivers and lakes all the time! I was just reading the fishing report and I noticed all of the big bass people were catching and I thought I'd share a picture of mine to maybe help a few people out! I caught this bass in the little lake right past Cedar Point Road. It's the lake that almost resembles the shape of a horseshoe? [the lake he references is Oxbow Lagoon, which was stocked with bass and bluegill last fall]  It's a great spot to fish, lots of bass, panfish, carp and even catfish! I caught and released  this using a white 3 inch wacky rigged Senko worm with a size 1 wide gap worm hook. I hooked it on the second cast! It was around 16 inches and weighed 2-3 pounds! I just wanted to share my setup to maybe help some people out!"  (photo courtesy of Lance Baker).

Andrew caught this hybrid sunfish at Hinckley Lake this summer (photo courtesy of Allen Reinke).

Brian submitted these photos of some nice largemouth bass he caught and released from Metroparks lakes this past spring, as well as a quality Rocky River smallmouth bass (photos courtesy of Brian Kich).

Buddies Nate and AJ continue to make some great catches around the park into late summer, including smallmouth bass, catfish and carp from the Rocky River and largemouth bass, crappie and frogs (was the frog trying to eat or mate with his lure?!) from Oxbow Lagoon.  The one big smallie even hit a top water frog lure, which is always a very exciting way to hook up (photos courtesy of Nate Adams).

Jeff knows a good way to cool off during a hot day of perchin' off the Cleveland shoreline (photo courtesy of Jeff Shaw).

Regular blog contributor John made a trip to Ontario this summer and caught (and released) his two largest bass, a pair of 7 pounders.  He says he can't wait for steelhead season to kick off (photo courtesy of John Fay).

Above are a fine Coe Lake, Berea, white crappie and largemouth bass.  Only about a 1/2 mile from Wallace Lake, Coe is owned by the city of Berea, not Metroparks, a common point of confusion (photos courtesy of Mark Fascione).

Cleveland has had a very rare visiting Brown Pelican for over a month now (see write-up above). Cleveland Metroparks teamed up with CLE Clothing Company to design a <T-shirt for sale> to commemorate this popular visitor's Cleveland vacation, with a portion of the proceeds from each sale going to Cleveland Metroparks' Fishing Fund (pelican photos courtesy of Chuck Slusarczyk Jr.).

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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