Increase Text Size Decrease Text Size

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.

Drop Us A Line - Email Us Your Fishing Photos

March 6, 2014

Posted: 3/6/2014
Posted By: Mike Durkalec

Highlight species targeted by anglers around Cleveland Metroparks in winter include stocked rainbow trout, steelhead and panfish.  All our lakes and ponds are offering ice fishing opportunities, as are protected harbors along the Lake Erie shoreline.  The Rocky and Chagrin rivers are currently offering limited open water, although the impending mild thaw should help improve conditions.  Anglers can check the most recent river water level and temperature at the following links: <Rocky River flow gage data>  <Chagrin River flow gage data>  

Steelhead fishing opportunities in the Rocky and Chagrin rivers are currently limited due to ice, although there is still a fair amount of open water for folks willing to explore.  The forecast is calling for a mild thaw into the weekend that should help improve conditions.  The fishing had been quite good for some of the anglers who got out last weekend and early this week prior to the river locking up with ice again.  Most fish were taken on spawn sacks or jigs drifted under floats.  Another option worth a look right now is the Cuyahoga River, which has areas that are slower to freeze up than some of our other streams.  The dam in Brecksville Reservation just downstream of Station Road access (below rthe Route 82 bridge) can be a productive spot. 

Lake Erie shoreline ice fishing opportunities are available in protected areas, such as East 55th and Wildwood marinas and Gordon Park.  Edgewater Marina access will be closed off at the launch ramps this winter for hurricane damage related repairs to the area, but motivated anglers can still walk in along the rip-rap to the west.  These areas offer steelhead and smelt, among other species like sunfish, crappie and even northern pike.  A single maggot on a tiny hook, or tandem hooks a foot apart, is a productive smelt offering.  The same baits as used in river fishing will work for steelies under the ice, as well as a jigging spoons.  The E 72nd area has had huge schools of emerald shiners currently present, which can make fishing challenging (too much natural food to compete with).

The final winter stocking of trout was completed on February 5th.  The stocking consisted of a total of 2,000 pounds of rainbow trout stocked as follows: Wallace Lake (900#), Ledge Lake (550#), Shadow Lake (300#), Ranger Lake (100#), Judge's Lake (150#).  Shadow Lake had a slighlty reduced stocking quantity due to less than ideal dissolved oxygen levels, with the extra trout distributed between the remaining lakes.  The trout range from 1-4 pounds, with about 10% of those stocked being a bright yellow variation of rainbow trout known as golden rainbows.

The trout bite at Wallace Lake, in particular, has improved this week and Ledge Lake has also been producing.  Some days the morning and evening have been best, although some anglers reported good mid-day success this week.  Most trout have been reported caught on PowerBait (chartreuse has been a producer) fished near the bottom and jigging spoons 4-6 feet under the ice.  Bites in late winter can be light, and the most attentive anglers often experience the greatest success.  The severe winter we are having this year with extended ice cover and snow is causing oxygen levels to decline in our lakes and ponds, which is likely the reason the trout can be in a sour mood.  Dissolved oxygen levels are currently critically low in shallow Bunns Lake and Oxbow Lagoon, neither of which are stocked with trout.   

Tip-ups can greatly increase your odds of ice fishing success.  Ohio and Cleveland Metroparks regulations allow two rods and six tip-ups per angler on the ice.  Since the Ohio regs pamphlet does not define a tip-up in detail, some confusion exists among anglers as to what constitutes such a device, so I offer the following clarification.  The Ohio Administrative Code definition of a tip-up per 1501:31-1-02 (EEEEE) is as follows: "Tip-up means a device consisting of a hook and line attached to a spring or other device which is capable of raising a small flag or other signaling device when a fish is biting or is hooked

Presentation detailing the Rocky River Fish Kill Investigation tonight.   Tonight (March 6) I will be giving a presentation at the <West Creek Watershed Stewardship Center> in Parma from 6-7:30pm outlining the events of the Rocky River fish kill investigation, from the first reports of dead fish by anglers in April 2012 through the sentencing of the responsible party in August 2013.  A true multi-agency environmental success story.  We will also be observing and discussing the native fishes in the tanks at the center.  This is a good excuse to come out and see this kid/family friendly facility if you have not already done so.  Details <here>.

Toxic Sediment Dumping in Lake Erie Public Meeting tonight.  Tonight from 4:30-6:00pm the Ohio Environmental Council will be hosting a public meeting about the proposal to dump toxic Cuyahoga River dredge spoils into the open waters of Lake Erie.  In addition to being a recreational treasure, millions of people get their drinking water from Lake Erie, making this an issue all of us have some stake in.  More info <here>.

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

Tight Lines,


Nate hooked three steelies, landing two, fly fishing the Rock over this past weekend.  His fish bit a pink scud fly (photos courtesy of Nate Adams). 

Mark caught this bonus brown trout in Wallace Lake this week.  The trout bite has been good overall for the past week (photo courtesy of Mark Fascione).

"Captain Rich", pictured here with "Wild Bill", caught this beautiful 21.5" Wallace Lake rainbow trout on a Forage Minnow jigging spoon.

John caught his first centerpin steelhead from the northern Rock over the weekend on his "top secret" Area 51 jig (photo courtesy of John Fay).

Congratulations to Morgan on her success on her first ice fishing outing!  (photos courtesy of Jeff Shaw).

A few anglers try their hand at hooking a steelie in the open water below Morley Ford on Monday afternoon.

This angler found himself in a bit of a predicament on Saturday afternoon.  He hooked a nice steelie (one of three total) from the high wall at Morley Ford, but didn't have a net.  He had to coax the fish up onto the shelf ice, slide it to him and release the fish upstream...none the worse off for its experience.

Justin caught a nice handful of steelies from the Rock between last Thursday and early this week.  Most unusual was the 24" coho salmon he caught, in the top picture.  Normally cohos are late fall spawners, but this one may have been delayed due to early onset of winter.  Most of his fish have hit jigs (photos courtesy of Justin Marconi).

An anglers drifts a deeper slot where the East and West branches of the Rock come together.

Geno caught this fine largemouth bass from a local private pond (photo courtesy of Dale Sante).

This scene of the misty, slush filled river in the early morning sun greets many commuters heading north on the parkway by Big Met Golf Course around the 8-o'clock hour.

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>


3/16/2014 12:02:51 AM by .
I had an area 51 jig from hanger 18....but it was seized by aliens and found to be semiprecious. Great reports!
3/11/2014 9:50:27 AM by Mike H.
Oh, awesome! It's always cool to see the stray browns coming up the Rock, from time to time. Thank you for the info!
3/11/2014 8:26:26 AM by Mike Durkalec
Our trout supplier also raises brown trout, and every now and then he slips a few in with the rainbow trout.

Social media and blog policy