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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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June 2014

Posted: 5/29/2014
Posted By: Mike Durkalec

As we move into summer, highlight species targeted by anglers along the Rocky River and other area streams include smallmouth bass, carp, panfish, and channel catfish. To monitor the most recent river water level and temperature you can check the following link: <Rocky River flow gage data> <Chagrin River flow gage data> Lake Erie anglers are targeting yellow perch, walleye, largemouth/smallmouth bass and panfish, and inland lake/pond anglers are primarily pursuing largemouth bass, channel catfish and panfish. 

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 28rthRock 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 & Erie Canal fishing area, as well as several smaller Metroparks waters.  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) will be found 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, 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 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.  Largemouth bass fishing is best in Wallace and Hinckley lakes, although bass can be found in most park waters.

Rock bass, largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, crappie, freshwater drum and sunfish species are biting along the Cleveland shoreline of Lake Erie on offerings such as tube jigs and live minnows.  Yellow perch and walleye are biting off of Cleveland, as well.  The ODNR Division of Wildlife weekly Lake Erie fishing report can be viewed <here>.  Anglers/boaters can view current lake conditions off Cleveland at the following link: <City Of Cleveland Water Intake Crib Cam>.

Rocky River Clean-Up Saturday June 7.   The annual Rocky River volunteer clean-up will be held Saturday June 7 from 9:00-noon, to be followed immediately by a hot dog cookout to thank our valued volunteers.  This is a collaborative effort between caring citizens, Rocky River Watershed Council, Cuyahoga Soil and Water Conservation District, local groups (such as Boy Scouts and Ohio Central Basin Steelheaders) and Cleveland Metroparks.  We will be meeting at 9:00am sharp at the picnic shelter at Scenic Park (near the marina) to form into groups and discuss our plan of attack to clean-up the river.   All are welcome at this family/kid friendly event, and don’t forget to come dressed to possibly get a bit wet and muddy!

Harmful Algal Bloom Forecast for 2014.   Heavy spring rains and associated phosphorus run-off are leading experts to predict a worse than average Lake Erie harmful algal bloom (HAB) this summer.  If it is as bad, or worse than, the record 2011 bloom it could extend as far east as Cleveland.  Ohio EPA offers this <fact resource> regarding the subject.

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,



Tony caught and released this gorgeous Rocky River smallmouth bass on a 1/24th oz spinner (photo courtesy of Tony Cilluffo).

Timothy caught this bowfin, a prehistoric species, in the Rocky River at the marina.  He was fishing a nightcrawler on the bottom (photo courtesy of Timothy Hess).

It's not everyday you can steelhead fish in shorts, but Joel proved it can be done (photo courtesy of Jordan Pike).

Carl "Big Daddy" Bachtel, a WKYC reporter, and his sons Sam and Nick have been catching early summer perch and walleyes off the Cleveland shoreline (photos courtesy of Carl Bachtel).

Kids and families fishing together is what summer is all about!

Nathaniel caught this bruiser channel catfish on the Rock (photo courtesy of Nathaniel Watkins).

Jake has been catching a fun mixed bag of species from the Cuyahoga River, including smallmouth bass, carp, catfish and even steelhead, the latter up through late spring (photos courtesy of Jake Gruse).

Teaching four kids to fish at the same time is quite a task, but Gavin, Ada, Joe and Sam learned the basics on the Chagrin River recently and, hopefully, kindled what will be a life-long love of fishing (photos courtesy of Mark Warren).

Andrew has been fishing the river at North and South Chagrin reservations, where he caught this red-eyed rock bass and husky carp (photos courtesy of Andrew Kursh).

A few anglers display average size largemouth bass caught recently at Ledge Lake, although I've personally seen bass up to 6 pounds out of this smaller lake.

Nick has taken full advantage of the early summer fishing opportunities available, catching fish ranging from rainbow trout and late running steelhead to largemouth and smallmouth bass in our lakes and streams (photos courtesy of Nick Zarzeczny).

Derek caught his first bass at Wallace Lake (photo courtesy of Corey Butram).

John, from Akron, took his wife Mary fishing at a small lake and she landed this giant hybrid sunfish on a white Bully's Spider fly tipped with waxworms.  After being outfished, John says he is going to tie more of this pattern for next time (photo courtesy of John Dieringer).

Joe and Trey caught some feisty smallmouth along the Cleveland shoreline recently (photos courtesy of Joe Shaw).

For this installment of Know Your Fish I offer the specimen above, recently caught in the Cuyahoga River on a jig by an angler targeting smallmouth.  Can you name the species in the comments section?  I'll post the answer there in several days (photo courtesy of Jake Gruse).

Ihor hooked into this late season steelhead while targeting smallmouth bass by the water treatment plant on the northern Rocky River (photo courtesy of Ihor Balaban).

The Ken Mantkowski Memorial Handicapped Accessible Fishing Outing held at Ledge Lake recently was a big success, thanks in no small part to our partners from the Ohio Central Basin Steelheaders.

Sunfish nest depressions are a common sight in soft bottom margins along our lake shorelines in early summer (photo courtesy of Owen Lockhart).

Metroparks registered fishing guide Patrick Campbell has been chasing warm water species with the fly rod lately, capped by the 34" carp in the top image (photos courtesy of Patrick Campbell).

Michael was still finding som,e late steelhead in the Rocky into early summer (photo courtesy of Michael Venditti).

These two sunfish were caught recently in Cleveland Metroparks.  Can you tell them apart?  The top one is a bluegill and on the bottom is a colorful pumpkinseed sunfish, with red-tipped gill cover.

Nate followed up his multi-species assault on the fish of the Rocky and Chagrin rivers by doing a public service and returning a wayward garbage can lost during a flood.  If you see lost picnic table, garbage cans, etc lost along the river please let me know the locations so we can retrieve them (photos courtesy of Nate Adams).

It's always cool to see wildlife while out fishing.  In this case, a harmless northern water snake slides along the lake edge (photo courtesy of Owen Lockhart).

***NEWS FLASH:  WET TROUT ARE SLIPPERY!!!*** (photo courtesy of Owen Lockhart).

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>


6/8/2014 11:45:11 PM by Drewski
Right I know the 3 hook rule in Ohio but it looks like the three baits hanging all have hooks plus the one in the fishes mouth.
6/6/2014 3:36:01 PM by Mike Durkalec
You can fish an umbrella rig, as long as only three of the baits have hooks. Some folks will fish the remaining baits with out hooks or use hookless spinner blades in their place.
6/6/2014 3:16:35 PM by Mark
Umbrella rig information. You can only fish with 3 hooks on your line in Ohio.
6/5/2014 10:54:29 PM by Queen Of The Rock
There is no good reason for someone to fight and land a steelhead above 60 degrees water without keeping the fish. I break off a steel in 60+ degree water as soon as I realize the fish is a steel. Hope all anglers break off steel in 60+ degree water if not keeping fish. Fighting, landing, and taking photos then releasing...not good. We don't need any more photos...we all know what steel look like.
6/5/2014 9:42:14 PM by Drewski
Can anyone see if that's an umbrella rig in one of the smallmouth pictures? Arent they illegal in ohio?
6/2/2014 6:26:00 AM by Mike
Looks like Jake's catfish might be a flathead too. Mike, what tells you the flathead catfish appears to be expanding its range in Lake Erie and its tributaries?
6/1/2014 10:31:17 AM by Mike Durkalec
The mystery fish is indeed a flathead (aka shovelhead) catfish, a species which appears to be expanding its range in Lake Erie and associated tributaries. The species can exceed 70 pounds in Ohio!
5/29/2014 4:00:28 PM by Steve Z.
Pylodictis olivaris...Flathead Catfish
5/29/2014 3:14:39 PM by Swag
It's a flathead swagfish.

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