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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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May 8, 2014

Posted: 5/8/2014
Posted By: Mike Durkalec

Highlight species targeted by anglers around Cleveland Metroparks in mid-late spring include steelhead, stocked rainbow trout, smallmouth bass, largemouth bass, walleye and panfish. The Rocky and Chagrin rivers are currently exhibiting good fishing conditions, although weekend conditions will be dependant upon how much rain we recieve.  If there is an appreciable amount of rain, anglers would be wise to check the flow gage trend before making a trip, which may be done at the following links: <Rocky River flow gage data> <Chagrin River flow gage data>.   Wallace Lake is producing trout and the Lake Erie shoreline is offering an abundance of species including walleye at night, largemouth bass and various panfish.

As suspected might be the case due to the late winter, the rain last week drew in an impressive push of additional steelhead into the Rocky and Chagrin rivers.  A highlight has been a good quantity of larger fish, as evidenced by several of the photos that follow this report.  There is a mix of spawning, spent (already spawned) and fresh pre-spawn steelhead in the rivers.  They are very well ditributed from the marina all the way up both branches of the river.  Fly, bait and hardware fishers have all been hooking up with a share of the fish this week.  With the warm weather continuing in the forecast anglers should expect numbers of steelhead to begin tapering off sharply in the near future, although there should be a few steelhead in the rivers until late-May this year.

The good lake-run smallmouth bass fishing has also continued this week.  The river is offering impressive numbers of these football shaped fighters, which average 1-4 pounds, and can often be taken on dark brown, olive or white jigs and flies about 3-4" in length.  Spinners and crankbaits have also been working.  These bass will continue to be present in the rivers until early June most years.  The entire Main Branch of the Rocky produces these bigger smallmouth, although the best fishing tends to be north of the Lorain Road bridge.  The area by the marina has had lots of emerald shiners present and smallmouth, steelhead (especially skippers) and white bass can be found actively feeding on them in this area.  The Chagrin and Cuyahoga rivers also receive good runs of these "bronzebacks". 
I strongly encourage anglers to release any big pre-spawn smallmouth bass as they are the backbone of this naturally sustaining population of sportfish.

Although regularly scheduled rainbow trout stocking has concluded for the spring season, there are plenty of trout left to catch.  Areas stocked this spring include Wallace Lake (2,150 pounds), East Branch Rocky River (1,700 pounds), Hinckley Lake (2,500 trout by ODNR) and Shadow Lake (500 trout by ODNR).  The East Branch Rocky River is stocked between Royalton Road (Rt. 82) and the ford crossing just south of Wallace Lake. The DNR stocked trout are pan-size (11-12"), while the Metroparks stocked fish are running several inches larger, on average.  Trout have been biting on PowerBait fished near the lake bottom, as well as small spinners, spoons and streamer flies.  The largemouth bass and panfish bite has also been good at Wallace and other area lakes this week.

The Lake Erie shoreline and harbors are offering largemouth bass, walleye, crappie, rock bass, smallmouth bass, white bass and northern pike, among other species. Looking for shallower water with structure, especially emerging weedbeds, is a good strategy for largemouth, pike and panfish. White and silver spinnerbaits and crankbaits retrieved slowly produce bass and pike, while a small jig tipped with waxworm or lively minnow suspended a few feet under a float is a good bet for crappie and other panfish. Smallmouth bass and walleye like the shoreline rip-rap around Edgewater Park and E 72nd, with the walleye hitting stickbaits and rattle crankbaits best after dark.  The walleye night bite between 9-11:00pm has been good there recently.  White bass respond well to an agitator and jig dropper fished in the E 55th and E 72nd areas.  A small watercraft can increase an angler's opportunities in this area.

Water Alert Reporting Network (WARN) Training.   The Sierra Club and Cleveland Metroparks is teaming up to offer a water quality incident reporting system training on Tuesday, May 13 from 6-8pm at the Watershed Stewardship Center at West Creek Reservation in Parma.  The training will inform citizens about the Water Alert Reporting Network (WARN), which is designed to help Ohioans record and report suspected incidents of pollution or misconduct that could potentially harm our natural environment. The goal of WARN is to ensure that regulators are aware of incidents of concern and that they address these incidents in a timely and appropriate manner. This network is also designed to empower volunteers to communicate ways to protect our waterways and stand as watchdogs against environmental harm. To register for this event click here .

Spring Children’s Fishing Derbies May 17 & 18.  Our highly popular annual kid’s fishing derbies are coming up on Saturday May 17 at the Ohio & Erie Canal fishing area and Sunday May 18 at Wallace Lake. The event is free, fish will be stocked for the event, and fishing gear and bait will be provided for those in need at no cost. For more information, you can check the following link: <May 17 Fishing Derby Info>  <May 18 Fishing Derby Info>Photos from the 2013 event can be viewed at the following link: <2013 Fishing Derby photos>.

Edgewater Park Launch Ramps To Re-open For This Weekend.  The public boat launch ramps at Edgewater Park are scheduled to re-open in time for this weekend, although parking may temporarily be limited to the rear area.  We are sorry for any inconvenience this may have caused early season boaters.  For the next few weeks, though, the gates will be locked and ramps inaccessible from approximately 11pm-7am due to lots of construction materials being onsite.  The ramps are expected to be back to 24 hour use within a few weeks.

One Lost Fly Rod Reunited With Owner, One To Go!   Thanks to Owen Murphy of Ohio Steelhead Drifters one lost fly rod was re-united with it's owner this week, but we still have another one waiting for someone to come forward.  If you know anyone who lost a fly rod on the Rock, please send them my way.

Angler Seeking Lost Landing Net.   An angler lost a Frabill landing net on the Rocky recently, so if you found it please get in touch with me to coordinate getting it back to the owner.

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,


Father and son Eric and Harlan, of Lakewood, had a great time fishing the Rocky River together on Saturday and Sunday (photos courtesy of Eric Hoegner).

Congratulations to Gabriel (top image) on catching his first steelie on the fly rod in the Rock this week.  His brother Michael wanted to thank the guys at CRO for the good advice they gave them, as well as their new fishing buddies Joyce, Bob and Zach (photo courtesy of Michael Venditti).

Wallace Lake was good to Drew again this week, offering up a limit of trout as well as a quality largemouth bass taken on the pictured jig (photos courtesy of Drew).

Dan at Chagrin River Outfitters reports that the Chagrin River has been fishing well for steelhead this week (photos courtesy of Dan Pribanic).

Sean landed a 19" bruiser Rocky River smallmouth bass on a Berkley Pit Boss and Scott caught a good size one on a Mepps spinner (photo courtesy of Sean Fenton).

Charlie and Tim pose with a fly caught Rocky River buck steelie (photo courtesy of Charlie Seibolt).

Nathaniel caught the Rocky River gamefish trifecta this week:  smallmouth bass, largemouth bass and steelhead (photos courtesy of Nathaniel Watkins).

Jonathan and friends have been hooking some dandy walleye along the Cleveland shoreline this week (photos courtesy of Jonathan Biggom).

Metroparks registered fishing guide Monte Casey sent in some photos of Sheila, Nick, Charlie and Derek (in thatr order) with some fine Rocky River steelies from this week.  Sheila's 32" beast bit an orange egg pattern fly, and Derek's brute buck was 30" (photos courtesy of Monte Casey).

Congratulations to Don on catching his first smallmouth bass in the Rocky River on Sunday (photo courtesy of Don Burrie).

Eric caught this trophy 15.4" crappie at E 55th Marina and this jumbo perch double off the Cleveland breakwall this week (photos courtesy of Kevin Lukehart).

For the Know Your Fish Challenge this week I offer the photos above of a fish caught last week in the Cuyahoga River below the Route 82 dam in Brecksville Reservation.  This one is fairly difficult.  Please be as specific as possible with your guesses in the comments section and I will post the answer there in a few days (photos courtesy of Jake Powers).

They don't come and brighter than this chrome beauty that slammed a swung streamer in the Rock this week.  Some anglers call steelies this bright "ghosts" because they blend in so well with the water and mirror their surroundings, making them tough to spot (photo courtesy of Chris Thompson).

Wallace Lake offered a bounty of rainbow trout to anglers again this week (photos courtesy of Pete Surace).

Mark reports that he had the river to himself in the rain Monday when he caught these two chromers (photos courtesy of Mark Kennedy).

Jumbo yellow perch fishing aboard the Linda Mae out of Wildwood Park in Euclid has been very good lately.  A few bonus walleye have been caught on the boat, as well.  For information on a fishing trip on this walk-on headboat you can call (216) 481-5771 (photos courtesy of Wildwood Marina).

Zach describes the steelhead fishing on the Rock this week as "on fire", with black wooley bugger flies being his top producer (photos courtesy of Zach Kaczmarski).

John reports good steelhead fishing in the northern Rock on Sunday using his Area 51 jig.  He also observed that it was his first time fishing for steelies in May (photos courtesy of John Fay).

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>


5/26/2014 11:24:55 PM by Queen Of The Rock
Hey hot dog lips, The "Sucker Hole" has really changed. The mud laced bank is now a sandy beach. We pulled a lot of bruiser smallies out of the "Sucker" on fire tiger Chug Bugs this past week. My captcha almost reads "God Damn..."
5/26/2014 12:23:57 AM by Queen Of The Rock
Top water beast smallies today. Fire tiger chug bug 3" Golden specs, lip injections for 50+ females only.
5/26/2014 12:23:51 AM by Queen Of The Rock
Top water beast smallies today. Fire tiger chug bug 3" Golden specs, lip injections for 50+ females only.
5/26/2014 12:23:48 AM by Queen Of The Rock
Top water beast smallies today. Fire tiger chug bug 3" Golden specs, lip injections for 50+ females only.
5/15/2014 9:07:03 AM by warren
where is a good place to go fishing in rocky river
5/13/2014 10:57:41 PM by Queen Of The Rock
As the spineless across the pond say "Such Is Life". The next four + months will provide peaceful fishing for carp, cats, bluegills, and smallies. A 15lb carp on a centerpin in mid that is fishing! adjust & adapt See everybody net fall...for average.
5/10/2014 4:39:33 PM by Tim
Buffalo is da feesh! I caught an 8lb one and it turned out to be the slimest fish I've ever touched. Beware..these things are nasty.
5/10/2014 9:57:15 AM by Mike Durkalec
The mystery fish is indeed a bigmouth buffalo, a type of sucker. Nice job guys! And thank you for the fishing update, Phil.
5/9/2014 3:43:03 PM by Phil
Smallies were hitting for me on a white gold willow/silver Colorado tandem spinnerbait, and a crawdad colored Rippin' Rap. Caught 3 over four pounds, 2 over five pounds. GREAT fishing at rocky so far!
5/8/2014 10:18:31 PM by Queen Of The Rock
Why are guides needed on the Rocky River? Anglers site fish and snag as much as they can on this river...especially in Spring. If you can see the fish , why need a guide? Ohio is no where near Montana.
5/8/2014 10:18:28 PM by Queen Of The Rock
Why are guides needed on the Rocky River? Anglers site fish and snag as much as they can on this river...especially in Spring. If you can see the fish , why need a guide? Ohio is no where near Montana.
5/8/2014 6:42:08 PM by Pete Surace
Mike, Thanks for your great work. The Rainbow season (aside from weather problems) was outstanding thanks to you! Pete
5/8/2014 3:44:36 PM by Steve Zarzeczny
bigmouth buffalo,Ictiobus cyprinellus
5/8/2014 1:16:05 PM by michael
Cant decided between black and smallmouth buffalo. I have caught smallmouth and never black, so I'll guess smallmouth.
5/8/2014 10:35:03 AM by joe
that kind of looks like a buffalo. i am going to guess black buffalo. ive never actually seen one before

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