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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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April 10, 2014

Posted: 4/10/2014
Posted By: Mike Durkalec

***Wednesday April 16 afternoon update:  600 pounds of rainbow trout were stocked at Wallace Lake this morning.***

***Tuesday April 15 morning update:  The Rocky and Chagrin rivers are flooded from overnight rain.  Given the unfavorable river conditions, trout will be stocked at Wallace Lake tomorrow instead.***

***Saturday April 12 afternoon update:  Although the Rocky River is still quite muddy, there were a bunch of steelhead trying to jump over Lagoon Dam on the East Branch this afternoon.  I watched one young angler hook two in less than 10 minutes on a flyrod from the top of the wall.  The river will have a substantial run of fresh steelhead as the water level drops.***

***Friday April 11 morning update:  The Rocky and Chagrin rivers are elevated and muddy this morning due to overnight rain.  Keep an eye on the flow gage data and look for a dropping flow trend, ideally below 500 cfs, to signify good fishing conditions.***

Highlight species targeted by anglers around Cleveland Metroparks in early spring include steelhead, stocked rainbow trout, largemouth bass, panfish and suckers. The Rocky and Chagrin rivers are dropping in level and could offer good fishing conditions for the weekend if we do not recieve any more significant precipitation in the coming days. 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> 

Mother Nature has not been very kind to steelhead anglers this year, with a brutal winter followed by a succession of high water events so far this spring.  If significant rain holds off prior to the weekend anglers may finally get the lucky break they've been hoping for.  Barriers to fish migration, such as fords, dams and falls, are often the first areas to produce steelhead in high water.   It's tough to beat a nickel to quarter size spawn sack in brighter colors in dirty water.  Fly fishers do best in stained water with larger streamers in contrasting colors (ie- Egg Sucking Leech) or brightly colored, densely tied egg patterns.  Given the time of year, expect a number of fish to move right up into shallow spawning riffles.  When the river levels are conducive to fishing anglers are optimistic that the best steelhead run yet this spring will finally be upon us. 

The white sucker run is going strong in the Rocky River, with Morley Ford north of the Lorain Road bridge being a hot spot.  Suckers can be caught well even in muddy water.  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. Suckers are perfect for kids and less experienced anglers, although experienced anglers can find the fast action they afford to be lots of fun, as well.  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.  Here is a 
<link> to a recent local sucker fishing article. 

Due to possible rain and an already elevated river, we hedged our bets and split the trout stocked yesterday between the East Branchy Rocky River (150 pounds) and Wallace Lake (450 pounds).  Add these fish to those stocked last week at Wallace Lake last week (500 pounds) and by ODNR Division of Wildlife at Hinckley Lake (2,500 trout) and Shadow Lake (500 trout) and fishing prospects this weekend are excellent in our lakes.  In late March 1,200 pounds of rainbow trout were also stocked in the East Branch Rocky River between Royalton Road (Rt. 82) and the ford crossing just south of Wallace Lake. These trout will be well distributed at this point.  The DNR stocked trout are pan-size (11-12"), while the Metroparks stocked fish are running a few inches larger, on average.  Trout have been biting on PowerBait fished near the lake bottom, as well as small spinners, spoons and streamer flies.  Some left over trout from earlier stockings are still being caught at Ohio & Erie canal, Ledge, Judge's, Shadow and Ranger lakes, as well.  Check back in on the fishing report weekly throughout spring for the latest stocking updates.  Some largemouth bass and panfish were also biting at Wallace Lake this week.

The Lake Erie shoreline and harbors are ice free and anglers can find crappie, largemouth bass, steelhead and northern pike prowling nearshore areas for baitfish. See a few photos below of fish sampled at Gordon Park off E 72nd Street on Tuesday.  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 in mid-May.

Jerry Darkes Speaking at Orvis Cleveland Tonight.   Tonight at 6:00pm noted local fly fisher Jerry Darkes will be giving a talk about fly fishing the Great Lakes, the subject of his new book.  Come out to hear Jerry and get your book signed!  Orvis Cleveland is located at 28839 Chagrin Boulevard in Woomere, OH.

Juvenile Steelhead Stocked This Week:  PLEASE HANDLE WITH CARE!
   Please be aware that on Monday and Tuesday this week juvenile steelhead trout, called smolts, were stocked in the northern Rocky (70,414) and Chagrin (66,177) rivers.  ODNR Division of Wildlife plans to stock an additional 20,000 small trout later this month in each of these rivers, as well.  The fish, averaging 6.5-7.5 inches, are not of legal size for harvest and anglers should minimize handling and quickly release any they catch.  If you are in an area where lots of these voracious little trout are feeding it's a good idea to move to another spot, because they are the future of our fishery and because they normally don't hang out with adult trout, anyways. 

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,


Brian sent in this photo of a brute chrome steelie his father caught in the Cuyahoga River last Thursday.  The fish bit a Red Devil spoon at noon (photo courtesy of Mike Reed).

Tim relays from Saturday "
We had a great day out on Wallace Lake today!  These were just a few of the fish we caught.  A couple huge rainbow trout and a 16" crappie!  All caught all on minnows.  Don Moses is the one holding the huge trout and big crappie, I'm the other guy in the pics holding the trout." (photos and report courtesy of Tim Robertson).

Joanne and Joe were fly fishing Monday where the two river branches meet and had a great day with nobody else around.  They did well using cream and cheese colored angora yarn sucker spawn flies in the stained flow.  Joe noted lots of fish on the gravel spawning (photos courtesy of Joe Schiel).

John reports from last Friday "This trout was caught at Wallace Lake on Fay's pink sucker jig today.  It was my first time at Wallace.  I saw about a dozen taken by various guys. The big smile is because the season has been tough. Weather looks good this week once the river drops. I also wanted to say thanks to Jim that I met there.  He gave me some location tips and some PowerBait so I gave him one of my jigs.  I meet the nicest people on the water and most guys are willing to help each other out.  I had some friends new to fishing and they had a chance to see the generosity that exists on the water. Fish on!" (photo and report courtesy of John Fay).

Dan caught this skipper by the marina on Monday before the river got muddy, and witnessed a few others caught, as well (photo courtesy of Dan McCutcheon).

Caleb and Albert (top two images), as well as several other anglers, experienced success fishing for trout at Wallace Lake during the brief time we were there stocking on Wednesday.

We tested the electrofishing boat for the first time this season at Gordon Park at Lakefront Reservation on Tuesday afternoon, and got a nice mix of fish in a short period of time.  In the photos above volunteers Steve and Lana display some nice largemouth bass and a steelhead, as well as what I am officially dubbing "The World's Biggest Goldfish"!

In this installment of "Know Your Fish", volunteer Steve Nyetrae displays a specimen (on the viewer's right in the top image and below) for your identification.  Please submit your guesses regarding the species of the mystery fish in the comments below, and I will post the answer there in a few days.  Please be as specific as possible.

A fly fisher engaged in battle with a feisty rainbow trout at Wallace Lake this week.

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,

16-002 Monte Casey, The Steelhead Guide,

16-003 Don Mathews, Steelhead School,

16-004 Jeffery Liskay, Silver Fury Guide Service & Schools,, (440) 781-7536

16-005 Patrick Robinson, Steelhead Alley Outfitters,

16-006 Gareth Thomas, Steelhead Alley Outfitters,, (216) 235-5056

16-007 Nathan Miller, Steelhead Alley Outfitters,, (440) 796-6105

16-008 Jim Lampros,,, (216) 513-6011

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>


4/17/2014 12:38:36 AM by ?captcha validation..begin taging humans..........
Is it really that tough to go 5 minutes out of the river to catch & kill a programmed fish? If you are gonging to kill it and eat it, what matters where the fish are stocked? Go to Giant Eagle if you need the taste of trout flesh...or Wallace...or river.......
4/16/2014 1:54:44 PM by Mike
Please stock the river instead of Wallace some time! It's not that super high and muddy!
4/12/2014 2:43:53 PM by Mike Durkalec
Quillback carpsucker is correct. They migrate up the Rocky River from Lake Erie to spawn every spring, usually in April.
4/11/2014 2:27:00 PM by Tony - Berea Ohio
Michael: Although this fish looks very similiar to the smallmouth buffalo, I'm going to have to go with Pcampbell and say it's a quillback carpsucker. Notice the nicely rounded dorsal fin that comes to an abrupt "point," hence the name "Quillback."
4/10/2014 9:27:47 PM by Michael Z
Smallmouth Bufflo. Caught a few in the Cuyahoga
4/10/2014 3:52:32 PM by Pete Surace
Never heard that name. I was about to say "Quillback Carp," which was what we called them.
4/10/2014 11:04:45 AM by P Campbell
Quillback Carpsucker :-D They are actually a beautiful fish with their platinum coloration.

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