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

Rocky River Fishing Report - June 2012

Posted: 6/1/2012
Posted By: Mike Durkalec

***Monday June 18 morning update: The river is elevated and muddy following the weekend rain.  The conditions are good for catfish, but anglers wishing to target smallmouth bass will want to wait a few days for the water to clear.***

As we move into summer, highlight species targeted by anglers along the Rocky River are smallmouth 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> 

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.  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.  It has been very encouraging to see most anglers releasing the larger bass recently so that these fine gamefish can be caught again.  Also, note that all smallmouth bass must be released immediately if caught downstream of the Detroit Road bridge until June 25rth.  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.  Good numbers of channel catfish stocked in May also remain to be caught at Wallace lake and the Ohio and Erie Canal fishing area.  Catfishing is usually best during lower light conditions using baits such as nightcrawlers, minnows, chicken liver, and processed dough baits.  A good number of larger catfish are moving into the river from Lake Erie on their spawning run.   Resident channel catfish are available in the river all summer.

Some large carp (some exceeding 15 pounds) can be caught in the northern river reaches throughout the month, as well.  Carp can often be caught throughout the day on such bait as canned corn, carp dough baits, worms or crayfish tails.  A growing contingent of fly anglers looking for 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 to the aforementioned species, freshwater drum (sheepshead), white perch, and bullhead catfish are also abundant in the northern river reaches (north of Morley Ford) in early summer.  For the angling generalist, any of the species thus far can be effectively targeted by fishing a fat nightcrawler worm right on the river bottom with a sinker.

Summer means family fishing time for many folks, and panfish fit the bill perfectly for a leisurely picnic and fishing outing.  Anglers seeking panfish have experienced decent fishing at most of the ponds and lakes in the Park District in the past week.  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.

Angler lands the largest fish of his life at Hinckley Lake!   A lucky angler was surprised to catch (and release) a huge channel catfish at Hinckley Lake recently while targeting trout.  A nice account of his experience can be viewed on the Ohio Gamefishing website at the following link:  <Angler Catches Big Hinckley Lake Catfish>.  Incidentally, Hinckley Lake has produced a few enormous channel catfish over 20 pounds over the years.  They are not numerous in the lake, but some of the fish are giants.

Want to donate an old fish mount that's just gathering dust?   If any readers know anyone who would like to donate a fish mount that is in decent condition for display in the newly renovated Hinckley Lake Boathouse, or to be used as educational specimens in general, please get in touch with me.  We are especially interested in largemouth bass, panfish (crappie and bluegill), northern pike, or rainbow trout.  I can provide a letter acknowledging your donation so that you can write off the estimated value on your taxes if you wish, as well.

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,



Nate and Malachi have been enjoying plenty of father and son fishing time on the Rocky lately.  A proud Nate reports that his son caught his first fish on the fly rod (third photo), and that the smallmouth bass and carp have been willing to strike his flies.  Nate is among the ranks of anglers who have rose to the challenge of quietly stalking schools of visible "Rocky River bonefish", (carp - bottom photo) and carefully casting his flies to them to entice a strike (photos courtesy of Nate Adams).


Congratulations to Mike on his Fish Ohio 28.5" bruiser walleye caught in 40' of water off the Cleveland shoreline.  The free launch ramp at the Emerald Necklace Marina offers boaters convenient access to fertile June fishing grounds for walleye and yellow perch (photo courtesy of Jim Gajewski).


Doug has been catching many bass lately, including this fine 17.5" specimen from Wallace Lake.  He has been catching largemouth bass from his kayak in the lakes and smallmouth bass wading the river (photo coutesy of Doug Mouat).


The 21st annual Ken Mantkowski Memorial Handicapped Fishing Outing was held at Ledge Lake on Saturday May 26 and nice weather lured out a record 260 attendees.  To view photos from the day you can check this <photo album link> and channel 5 news stopped by and got some <footage of the event> for the 6 o'clock news.  Thanks to our partners the <Cuyahoga County Board of Developmental Disabilities> and <Ohio Central Basin Steelheaders> for making this event a great success.


On Friday May 25 Archbishop Lyke Middle School students released 79 juvenile rainbow trout in to the Rocky River as part of their <Trout in the Classroom> project, followed by an educational fish sampling activity.  This was the second school to release trout they raised in the Rocky River recently, the other being Westlake High School, a video of which can be viewed at the following <link> (photos courtesy of Jim Augustyn).


I would like to extend a big "thank you" to former Emerald Necklace Chapter of Trout Unlimited president Jim Augustyn for all his efforts to get local schools involved with the Trout in the Classroom project.  Jim still assists with the local TU chapter (as pictured), but has handed the torch to another passionate leader, Richard Bobby.  For more information on this great sportsmans group check out the following link:  <TU Emerald Necklace chapter>.


We had a great bunch of hard working volunteers for the annual Rocky River clean-up on Saturday June 2nd and collected about two heaping pick-up truck loads of trash. Thank you to all who joined us for a fun day giving a little bit back to the river that gives us so much!


Ray caught this brute 5 pound class largemouth bass on a Yum Dinger rubber worm in a local lake (photo courtesy of Ray Wodgik).


Josh and a friend continue to catch some brute smallmouth bass in the Rocky River (photos courtesy of Josh Jackson).


Phil caught and released this trophy 18.5" smallmouth bass in the Chagrin River on a rubber hellgramite (photo courtesy of Phil Prech).


Matt has been having a good time sampling what the local lakes and ponds have to offer with his fly rod (photo courtesy of Matt Deoitte).


The striking Cleveland skyline from an angler's point of view (photo courtesy of Justin Marconi).

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>


Be the first to leave a comment.

Social media and blog policy