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.
March 20, 2014
Posted By: Mike Durkalec
***Wednesday March 26 afternoon update: The East Branch Rocky River was stocked with 600 pounds of catchable size rainbow trout this morning..***
***Tuesday March 25 morning update: The Rocky and Chagrin rivers are both offering very good conditions and have produced a good number of steelhead the past few days. Small white tube jigs drifted under floats took quite a few fish yesterday. The East Branch Rocky River is scheduled to be stocked with catchable size rainbow trout again late tomorrow morning.***
***Saturday March 22 afternoon update: The Rocky River is offering very good fishing conditions today. Stocked rainbow trout are biting well in the East Branch of the river, although the steelhead fishing was on the slow side for most today. Trout are also being caught in the open water at the north end of Wallace Lake.***
***Friday March 21 morning update: The Rocky River still has a muddy stain, but is fishable, this morning and conditions will continue to improve into the afternoon. Steelhead fishing prospects tomorrow will be dependant upon how much rain we recieve tonight. If the rain is minimal, the river will further recede and conditions would be favorable in the morning. Anglers would be wise to monitor the flow gage data and look for a continued decrease in flow into the weekend, which would indicate further improvement of conditions.***
Highlight species targeted by anglers around Cleveland Metroparks in early spring include steelhead, stocked rainbow trout, largemouth bass and panfish. Anglers should avoid venturing onto the ice as conditions have deteriorated over the past week. The Rocky and Chagrin rivers spiked in flow last night, but are dropping in level and clearing and should offer very good steelhead fishing prospects this weekend. 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>
The Rocky and Chagrin rivers spiked in flow due to rain last night and are currently moderately elevated and muddy, but are receding and should offer very good steelhead fishing prospects into the weekend. Last night marked the first time in months that the river reached 40 degree F which, along with the bump in flow, will draw in even more fresh steelhead. Winter weary anglers have been out in good numbers and doing fairly well since Monday on the Rock, with a mix of silver and darker adult steelies complemented by quite a few skippers (smaller 15-20" steelhead). There has been a greater proportion of skippers in the river north of Morley Ford, and more adult fish further upstream. A few larger fish between 29-32" were reported this week, but most have been 17-24". Dime to nickel size spawn sacks took the most fish in the stained river this week, although various jigs drifted under floats and fly anglers hooked up, as well. This weekend I would expect all proven steelhead methods and offerings, including hardware like spoons ad spinners, to offer a reasonable chance of a hook-up. The spring run will only continue to improve in the coming weeks.
The annual white sucker run has also kicked off this week in the northern Rocky, with areas downstream of Rockcliff Springs access and Morley Ford being sucker hot spots. A leadhead jig with twister tail, nymph flies or worm and small sinker fished near the river bottom will all take their share of suckers. For some anglers, harvesting suckers for use in making fish patties is a spring tradition. Recipes can be found online if you want to give this a try.
The Lake Erie shoreline is locked in with ice, but as it melts anglers can find crappies, largemouth bass, steelhead and northern pike prowling nearshore areas for baitfish. Steelhead are more nomadic while the remaining species tend to be more structure oriented. A small watercraft will increase an angler's opportunities in this area. Edgewater boat ramps are still closed for hurricane related repairs, but are expected to re-open later this spring.
The first spring stocking of trout in the East Branch Rocky River was conducted yesterday morning. A total of 600 pounds of rainbow trout were stocked between Royalton Road (Rt. 82) and the ford crossing just south of Wallace Lake, with the spot on the upstream side of Bonnie Park dam receiving the heaviest load of fish. Trout were already biting for anglers by yesterday afternoon, with quite a few fish taken on PowerBait, in particular. Trout will be stocked roughly weekly until the beginning of May, and updates will be posted to the fishing report, so check back regularly for the latest info. Furthermore, ODNR Division of Wildlife plans to stock trout at Hinckley and Shadow lakes on April 1.
Although ice fishing is not considered safe at this time, some trout have been caught at Wallace and Ledge lakes this week from docks and platorms that offer access to deeper water. Jigging spoons, PowerBait and small jigs tipped with a few maggots or a waxworm will all produce. Largemouth bass and some panfish have been caught at Wallace recently, as well. As the ice melts on the lakes anglers can look forward to a few weeks of a hot trout bite at Wallace, Ledge, Judge's, Shadow and Ranger lakes.
Trout Unlimited Offering Female Anglers Free Membership. As a promotion to draw more women to fishing, Trout Unlimited is offering first time free membership to female anglers through May 31st. The membership offers the same benefits of a paid membership. More info can be found <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 firstname.lastname@example.org
John and Nate (middle photo) caught some nice steelhead while fly fishing the upper Main Branch of the Rock on Tuesday and Wednesday. Nate notes that he has observed quite a few fish moving upstream through the riffles this week, and has also noticed steelies starting to pair up for spawning (photos courtesy of Nate Adams).
Pete had a great day on the Rocky yesterday. He started out by hooking three steelhead in a half hour, one of which was on his first drift! Then he moved further upstream to meet a friend and caught this large stocked rainbow trout at Bonnie Park on the East Branch in Strongsville (photo courtesy of Pete Surace).
Ken caught this 18 inch brown trout in the northern Rock on Monday on a spawn sack. The stumpy right pelvic fin (circled) is due to a fin clip indicating it is of Pennsylvania stocking origin. I guess it's to be expected that a brown would defect to Cleveland! (photo courtesy of Ken Harper).
Joyce caught this chrome bright skipper steelie drifting a spawn sack on the northern Rock yesterday morning, and observed six fish hooked by anglers in only a half hour where she was fishing. Skippers have made up the bulk of the catch this week on the lower river closer to the marina (photo courtesy of Joyce Smith).
Mark scored another nice steelie this week from the Chagrin River in North Chagrin Reservation (photo courtesy of Mark Warren).
Chris caught his biggest steelie of the season yesterday, this brute buck caught and released in the upper Main Branch of the Rocky (photo courtesy of Chris Levicki).
"Wild Bill" caught this Wallace Lake rainbow trout from the safety of the lifeguard platform by the beach this week. Anglers should not venture onto the ice at this time.
David landed this fine steelhead at Rockcliff Springs (photo courtesy of David Majoros).
A nice limit catch of trout from Wallace Lake this week, highlighted by a unique golden rainbow trout (photo courtesy of Bill Keaton).
Jim caught this buck steelie on the northern Rock on Tuesday. On Monday, he landed bruisers measuring 29" and 32" (not pictured), as well.
Lance shook the winter dust off the centerpin and hooked some Rocky River steelies this week (photo courtesy of Lance Masarik).
Paul took a trip to Tennessee and found that his Ohio gear and techniques worked just fine for their trout, too (photos courtesy of Paul Holzheimer).
Matt traveled from Michigan to fish the Rock on Tuesday. In these images he is by the marina and illustrates how high the wall of muddy ice slabs are stacked by the boat ramps. He had hooked a 4 pound steelie when I saw him.
Jeff sent in this image taken on the northern Rock earlier this week with the subject line "hardcore fisherman" and I would agree! The guy hooked three steelhead by the marina, and had no easy task launching and retrieving the boat over the ice slabs by himself (photo courtesy of Jeff Deluca).
Chris displays a 14.5" black crappie taken ice fishing an inland lake this week. Crappie this size can be found along the Cleveland Lakefront of Lake Erie at ice out, as well (photo courtesy of "Captain Rich").
I'll preface this by noting that the Lake Erie ice fishing season is over at this time due to unsafe ice conditions. Tim Rumlow of Sheboygan, Wisconsin, is an expert ice fisherman (doesn't that describe most folks from Wisconsin?). He visited Camp Perry to ice fish Lake Erie for the first time two weeks ago, and a friend and him caught their limits and then C&R walleyes up to 12 pounds. They did so well that they made a last minute decision to come back this past weekend and invited me. I already had plans Saturday, but they limited again and C&R others, which had me excited to join them Sunday. On Sunday morning the temperature had plummeted by over 30 deg F with a front and the NE wind was a'howlin. Despite moving a dozen times, which is no easy task when ice fishing, we caught exactly zero walleye. In fact the fish were so turned off that nobody was catching any. It wasn't a total bust for me, though, as Tim shared many tips on techniques and using electronics while ice fishing. Nick and Tim planned to stick around another day although I had to work and could not join them. So, I'm sitting in a safety meeting at 9:30am on Monday on St. Paddy's Day and get a text with the photo above that says "7 on the ice already" and texted him back a response I'd rather not repeat here! This was my second trip out there this winter, and I got skunked on the first one under similar conditions, as well, despite being out with one of the island area's best known guides. Moral of the Story: I can catch steelhead, but have bad ju-ju for winter walleye, so it's best not to invite me! Or you can choose the less superstitious explanation and just avoid walleye ice fishing the day after a wicked cold front moves in (photo courtesy of Tim Rumlow).
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, www.fomoutfitters.com
16-002 Monte Casey, The Steelhead Guide, www.steelheadguide.com
16-003 Don Mathews, Steelhead School, www.steelheadschool.com
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>
3/31/2014 8:30:39 AM by steve
WM it would take years and years for one of the stocked catchables to reach a size comparable to steelhead. Maybe if one of the trout found a river hole deep enough with lots of crayfish and minnows. within that time the fish probably will be caught and filleted. On another note trout require cold water flows with rocky mountain type gravel to spawn in. Ohio tributaries are shale.
3/22/2014 10:48:34 PM by Nate
I've caught steelhead up past Sprague in Columbia Station. I would like try to catch one in medina. I know it would take the right condition for them to get that far.
3/22/2014 10:29:15 PM by !
Hey gangsta ?
That fish is from under I90 not 480 area.
The covered up tags from other gangstas is a dead give away. You will not find many gangsta tags under 480 and Brookpark, that's too far from Cleveland.
My buddy and I have been getting steel on small pieces of hotdogs under floats.
Great reports! Go Tribe!
3/22/2014 4:59:01 PM by Ray
I have heard of steelhead being caught in medina county! Thanks for the updates Mike!
3/22/2014 2:52:50 PM by Mike Durkalec
Ben, quite a few steelhead run up the West Branch of the Rocky River but, unfortunately, there is very little public land on that portion.
3/22/2014 2:44:53 PM by Ben
Do any fish swim into the west branch?
3/21/2014 4:14:58 PM by matthew
I forgot the link
3/21/2014 4:13:59 PM by matthew
for lake county reports you can check here. I think they were going to stock or already did. I might have seen that on the ohio game fishing website.
3/21/2014 8:03:22 AM by Mike Durkalec
WM, steelhead that return are primarily stocked as 6-9" juvenile trout known as smolts by ODNR. We get some stray fish from out of state, a small amount of natural reproduction and likely a few larger stocked trout that return when steelhead size, as well.
3/20/2014 11:58:01 PM by ?
Nice big boy from under 480/Brookpark area!
Met someone today that said he was "starting early" with his fly gear this year.
WOW, I catch steel on the fly all season. What am I doing right?
3/20/2014 6:56:45 PM by Widget_Master
Are the steelhead that run up the Rocky river typically "grown up" trout that have been stocked in the east branch and migrated to the lake and back? Or is there a wild population?
3/20/2014 5:43:07 PM by Mike Durkalec
Veteran's Park is in Lake County Metroparks, Stephen.
3/20/2014 4:56:55 PM by stephen
is anything happening at veterans park pond
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