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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 22, 2014

Posted: 5/22/2014
Posted By: Mike Durkalec

Highlight species targeted by anglers around Cleveland Metroparks in late spring include stocked rainbow trout, smallmouth bass, largemouth bass, walleye, panfish and late running steelhead. The river has finally dropped following the major flooding last week and looks like it should offer decent weekend fishing conditions.  Anglers may check the latest flow data at the following links: <Rocky River flow gage data> <Chagrin River flow gage data>.  Wallace Lake is producing stocked trout and catfish and the Lake Erie shoreline has been offering an abundance of species including walleye at night, largemouth/smallmouth bass and various panfish.

The river flows have receded to reveal a silvery surprise...a decent number of steelhead still in the river!  This is the latest run of Ohio steelhead I've witnessed in 30 years of pursuing these fish, and the tough winter and late spring are most certainly the reasons.  These late season steelies have been aggressive in the warmer water and fishing pessure has been relatively light.  I wouldn't be surprised to see a fair number of steelies still in the river in early June, which is a rare occurrence.

Lake run smallmouth bass are still around the local rivers, as well.  They 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.  Please consider releasing these native, self-sustaining sportfish.

With the warmer temperatures channel catfish and carp are beginning to show up in the northern reaches of local rivers, as well.  Catfish hang out in deeper holes, especially those with some woody cover in the water and bite best at dawn and dusk, unless the water is muddy under which conditions they'll bite throughout the day.  Catfish bite best on the river bottom with an egg slip sinker holding down baits such as nightcrawlers, chicken liver (it lasts much longer if tied up in mesh spawn sack style), fish cutbait, and shrimp.  Some steelhead anglers take out their drift gear and use floats for catfish, which works great as long as you set your depth to be very close to or on the river bottom.  A total of 3,000 pounds of farm raised channel catfish have been stocked around the park over the past week, as well, including at Wallace and Shadow lakes and the Ohio & Erie Canal fishing area.

Hard fighting carp bite well on baits like canned corn, worms, doughbaits and crayfish fished on the river bottom in holes.  Gaining in popularity is the challenge of catching carp on the fly rod, with a few local outfitters even offering seminars on this topic from time to time.  The best strategy is to spot visible carp slowly moving with nose down and tail up in runs, often trailed by a muddy plume, all of which indicate feeding behavior.  Cruising carp, on the  other hand, will rarely bite a fly.  Since carp have a great sense of smell but poor eyesight, the fly should be gently dropped a few feet ahead of a feeding fish and only twitched ever so slightly as the fish approaches.  Strikes are so subtle they are often not even felt, but are indicated by a pause in the fish's movement.  Some equate this syle of fishing to that employed by bonefish anglers on the tropical flats, even earning carp the nickname of "golden bonefish" among fly anglers.  In fact, bonefish style flies like a Crazy Charlie work well for carp, as do nymph, bugger and crayfish patterns.  If you are up for the challenge take out the steelhead fly rod and give it a try this year.

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 (2,350 pounds), East Branch Rocky River (1,700 pounds), Hinckley Lake (2,500 trout by ODNR), Shadow Lake (500 trout by ODNR) and Ohio & Erie Canal fishing area (2,100 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 bite 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 have been offering good fishing for 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, tube jgs, rubber worms and crankbaits can all 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. A small watercraft can increase an angler's opportunities for this type of fishing.  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.  The north facing pier at E55th has also been producing some catches of yellow perch for anglers fishing emerald shiners on the lake bottom. White bass respond well to an agitator and jig dropper fished in the E 55th and E 72nd areas. 

Thank You To The Optimist's Club.  Thank you to the Optimist's Club of west Suburban Cleveland for supporting the Cleveland Metroparks fisheries program with a $500 donation this week.

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,



The spring children's fishing derbies this past weekend were a big success!  To view a photo album, from the event featuring lots of smiling kids and their catches you can check this <link>.

Jake and his father took their small boat out off Cleveland and caught some jumbo perch this week (photo courtesy of Jakob Martinez).

For the Know Your Fish Challenge, Jonathan made this unexpected catch in the northern Rocky this week.  Can you name the species?  If so, please be specific with your answer in the comments section (photo courtesy of Jonathan Nelson).

John brought his grandson to the kid's fishing derby on Saturday, then came back again Monday and made another nice catch of channel catfish at Wallace Lake using nightcrawlers fished on the bottom (photo coutesy of John Hall).

Robert, from Medina, caught 13 steelhead one day last week while fly fishing the Rock (photos courtesy of Robert Elshaw).

Jeff and Kevin caught some huge perch north of East 72nd Street on Sunday, including Perchzilla in the last pic...the perch that ate Cleveland (photos courtesy of Jeff Shaw).

Dan at Chagrin River Outfitters reports the Chagrin is still offering late steelhead as well as smallmouth bass on swung streamers (photos courtesy of Dan Pribanic).

Brian caught (and released) quite a few largemouth bass between 17-19" in Metroparks lakes this spring, as well as the huge one in the bottom photo (photos courtesy of Brian Kich).

Nate and AJ are still successfully pursuing late Rocky River steelies (photos courtesy of Nate Adams).

Thank you to the Optimist's Club of West Suburban Cleveland for donating $500 to the Cleveland Metroparks Fishing Fund.

I thought this wise old timer fishing on the dock directly between the trout and catfish stocking trucks today made for a humorous photo op!

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>


5/26/2014 9:53:39 AM by Michael Durkalec
The mystery fish is a longnose gar. Nice job to those who got it!
5/22/2014 11:41:20 PM by Queen Of The Rock
Steelheading has become the "NORM". Everyone is an "expert steelheader". Since we are all experts at steelhead...what do we do now? The fish is a gar that can be caught in numbers on clousers all Spring long. UGHH>>>>YAH>>>UGH>>>>
5/22/2014 5:23:39 PM by Steve Z.
longnose gar, Lepisosteus osseus
5/22/2014 10:54:45 AM by Mark
Longnose Gar!
5/22/2014 10:14:47 AM by don
Lepisosteus oculatus gar
5/22/2014 10:09:27 AM by don
pickerel or alligator gar

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