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

July 2014

Posted: 6/26/2014
Posted By: Mike Durkalec

As we move into the heart of 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. 

Summer means family fishing time for many folks, and panfish fit the bill perfectly for a leisurely picnic and fishing outing.  Anglers seeking panfish can give any of our ponds and lakes in the Park District a try, with Wallace Lake being one of many popular locations.  Hinckley Lake and E55th Marina area have facilities nearby and bait/refreshments for sale, while places like Beyer's Pond offer a quiet setting a bit off the beaten path.  On a related note, I caught my first fish ever (a bluegill) in Hinckley Lake in a rented rowboat with my father when I was 5 years old, and we still rent rowboats (with or without electric motor), canoes and kayaks for fishing at the lake.  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. 

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, as evidenced by the reader submitted photos following this report.

Channel catfish and 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.  Lots of farm raised catfish have been stocked around the park this year, as detailed in the highlight section below. Catfishing is usually best during lower light conditions using baits such as nightcrawlers, minnows, chicken liver, and processed dough baits.  
Some large carp (some exceeding 15 pounds) will be found in the northern river reaches throughout summer, 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 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.

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 for boating anglers, 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>.

Fishing Program Gets a Big Boost in 2014 Thanks to Fishing Fund donations!   In an ordinary year, Cleveland Metroparks purchases 2,000 pounds of farm raised catfish to release at two locations associated with children's fishing events.  Thanks to the generosity of donors, this program was greatly expanded in 2014.  In May and June, a total of 4,400 pounds of catfish were stocked in 8 of our public fishing areas, and we will be stocking an additional 600 pounds for a kids' event in October.  Locations stocked include Wallace, Shadow, Ranger, Ledge and Judges lakes, Beyer's Pond, Oxbow Lagoon, and Ohio & Erie Canal fishing area.  This reflects a 150% increase ($9,150) this year, with the extra fish covered by wholly by Fishing Fund donations.  Additionally, sterile grass carp ($525, also from the Fishing Fund) were stocked at six locations to help control aquatic vegetation to enhance anglers access and minimize herbicide use.  Thank you very much to all the individuals, groups and businesses that support our fisheries program!

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,


Jerud Jr and Jerud Sr had a great Father's Day together on the Rock (photo courtesy of Jerud Barker).

Jake and friends have been catching some quality largemouth bass along the Lake Erie shoreline of Cleveland and at Ohio & Erie Canal.  Several of the bruisers slammed Jake's top-water frog lure, which is about as exciting as it gets photos courtesy of Jake Powers).

Al Reinke Sr was shocked to tie into this 36", 12 pound, northern pike while pitching tube jigs for rock bass along the Lake Erie shoreline.  His son, a skilled taxidermist, is mounting the fish.  The fish looks a bit like a musky in the photo because it was pale from being dispatched and in his cooler (photo courtesy of Allen Reinke).

Jaret and friends have been successfully chasing river bass and Lake Erie walleye (photos courtesy of Jaret Hoch).

Shadow Lake recently played host to a Village of Oakwood community fishing derby.

Justin reports catching lots of quality 2 pound+ largemouth bass from his kayak at Hinckley Lake lately (photo courtesy of Justin Koenig).

Pat Campbell, owner of Fishers of Men Outfitters, caught some bruiser smallies fly fishing the river recently.  You can find all Metroparks permitted fishing guides following this report (photo courtesy of Pat Campbell).

Pat caught this beauty Erie walleye at dusk (photo courtesy of Pat Thauvette).

Chris caught this 27" longnose gar just north of Morley Ford on the Rock (photo courtesy of Chris Dankert).

Jeff, who works for our Lakefront Reservation, enjoys taking friends out on the boat chasing walleye after work.  as you can see, he's pretty skilled at it, too (photos courtesy of Jeff Shaw).

John truly enjoys and appreciates all the Rocky River fishery has to offer.  His most recent exceptional catch was this 20" Fish Ohio smallmouth bass (photos courtesy of John Fay).

"Wild Bill" caught and released this 21" Wallace Lake largemouth bass on a rubber crayfish (photos courtesy of Mark Fascione).

Jeff is the Park Manager at Big Creek Reservation, and like many Metroparks employees enjoys coming back to resource with his son in his leisure time (photos courtesy of Jeff DeLuca).

Pat landed this huge smallmouth on the Rock by Rockcliff Springs (photo courtesy of Pat Cramer).

Nate marches to the beat of his own drum...a freshwater drum (bottom image) in this case!  His latest challenge has been attempting to catch a Rocky River gar on the fly (photos courtesy of Nate Adams).

In 2014 so far we have stocked 4,400 pounds of farm raised channel catfish in seven of our fishing areas thanks to donations to our park Fishing Fund.  See the report highlight section for details.

Matt caught some nice smallies in the river, but had some competition from this northern water snake, which successfully hunted a stonecat (photos courtesy of Matt Brigidir).

Pete hoists a big Lake Erie smallmouth for the camera (photo courtesy of Pete Surace).

I am yet another Metroparks employee who likes to fish after work!  In this case fellow employee Al Reinke, volunteer extraordinaire Steve Nyetrae and I filled a cooler with tasty rock bass and also enjoyed catching some bonus largemouth and smallmouth bass in the process.

The top photo of this series depicts non-native cattails at Ranger Lake impeding angler shore access.  This summer, through a combination of spraying herbicide and crushing the cattails down with our amphibious Argo vehicle, access has been dramatically improved, as evidenced in the bottom image.

I thought some readers might enjoy these images of a few of the brook trout caught on a recent trip to northwestern Ontario with a friend.  We saw ice remaining in a deeply recessed cliff face at the end of June!

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>


7/14/2014 9:40:42 AM by Mike Durkalec
Mike, yes indeed we sampled a 40 pound flathead catfish at Wallace Lake this week. I will include a photo in the updated report in August.
7/13/2014 6:53:20 PM by Mike H.
Hey Mike, did you hear about that huge flathead cat, that they caught in Wallace Lake a few weeks ago. The thing was absolutely humongous! See if you can get your hands on a picture. I saw it on my Facebook newsfeed, but can't find it anymore.
7/13/2014 12:37:16 PM by Adam - N. Ridgeville -
Great report Mike, very happy to have recently moved to the area. I am very impressed at the abundance of fishing opportunities and beautiful scenic venues the CM's provide. Well done!
7/3/2014 7:36:06 PM by matthew
Those are some nice brookies! i'm going to ontario about half hour south of algonquin park next week. However I don't see brookies like that up there! Thanks for those pictures :)
6/26/2014 7:12:47 PM by Tony- Parma Ohio
Thank goodness you guys cleaned those cattails out of ranger lake. It was making accessing the lake pretty hard. But Mike what's more getting to drive the Argo? Where do I sign on???

Social media and blog policy