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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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August 2014

Posted: 7/31/2014
Posted By: Mike Durkalec

As we move into late 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, white bass, 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.  

Due to the late spring and high water we had this year, as well as the cool summer, a small number of steelhead remained in the river all year, an observation which was a first for me.  See a photo of one of these fish found in late July below.  The fish seen this summer have all been lingering steel (dropbacks) from spring.  In most years we see the first few fresh steelhead of beginning of the fall run around mid August in the northern Rocky.  This year that could even be earlier, and I would not be surprised to see a small number of lingering dropbacks overlapping with the first fresh run fish in the next few weeks, which would be another first for me in almost 30 years of steelhead fishing in Ohio!

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.

White bass have been providing great action for lucky anglers who encounter the schools along the Cleveland and Euclid shorelines of Lake Erie.  An agitator/rattle bobber with trailing jig or small spoon can be a highly productive way to catch them.  Rock bass, largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, crappie, freshwater drum and sunfish species are also found along the Cleveland shoreline in summer and can be caught on offerings such as tube jigs and live minnows.  Yellow perch are biting well off Cleveland and Euclid in 30-40 FOW and walleye are biting in around 60 FOW 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>.

Kickin' It With Kenny Segment.  I recently had the opportunity to fish with Kenny Crumpton of Fox 8 News again and teach him the basics of fly fishing at Wallace Lake for a Kickin' It With Kenny segment, which may be viewed <here>.

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,


DeAngelo caught this bruiser white bass at Euclid Beach recently (photo courtesy of DeAngelo Williams).

Grandpa and grandson Danny and Dexter had a great trip to Edgewater.  It was Dexter's first time there, and they had a blast catching sheepshead and perch on minnows, as well as over 100 white bass on rattle bobbers and small spoons (photos courtesy of Corey Butram).

Ryan caught this sheepshead at Lakefront Reservation (photo courtesy of Laura Pepera).

Charlie has been making the most of his summer fishing opportunities, from Lake Erie walleye to Rocky River smallmouth bass (photos courtesy of Charlie Seibolt).

John caught (and released) this big bass at his "secret" Metroparks fishing hole recently, which was one of four Fish Ohio specimens he's caught locally so far this season (photo courtesy of John Lusnek).

Stephen, Bob and Justin have been catching some bruiser Rocky River smallies on tube jigs this summer (photos courtesy of Stephen Czekalinski).

Ben was fishin' with grandpa when this whiskered beast ate the worm at the end of his line (photo courtesy of Matt Deiotte.

My volunteer Katie went smallmouth fishing for the first time with my other volunteer Steve after work and caught six bass on live crayfish.  A big one also broke her line.  Steve called her "a natural" (photo courtesy of Steve Nyetrae).

We recently electrofished this surprise 40 pound class flathead catfish in Wallace Lake.  It was the first incidence of this species recorded in the lake, and most likely slipped in with a shipment of catfish from the south in the 90's, which was also likely the case with two 30 pound blue catfish turned up in the lake since 2011.  The flathead was released.

Owen caught this fine largemouth bass in a local pond (photo courtesy of Charlie Seibolt).

Joe is fishing all over Cleveland Metroparks this summer, from Lake Erie to Acacia Reservation,  And he has caught all kinds of species of fish, ranging from largemouth bass, white bass, white perch, bluegill and freshwater drum (photos courtesy of Joe Greve).

Jarred caught this dandy Rocky River channel catfish on a worm (photo courtesy of Jarred Bugg).

13 year old Nick caught a surprise late steelhead on a tube jig in the Cuyahoga River (photos courtesy of Brian Rossi).

In another surprise Cuyahoga River catch, John caught this 28" flathead catfish on his last cast of the evening.  He was also catching white perch using worms (photo courtesy of John Chapek).

This big channel catfish was taken in Lake Erie recently.  Anglers sometimes mistake big, darker channel catfish, which often have a bluish cast, as blue catfish...but no blue cat population exists in Lake Erie (photo via text from unnamed angler).

Nate has been pursuing the river's bounty this summer, including carp, a surprise brown trout, and great white shark.  Hey, wait a minute here...something smells fishy! (photos courtesy of Nate Adams).

In this installment of Know Your Fish, can you name the finny fellow with the cool camo pattern?  Please give your guesses in the comments section below and I'll post the answer there by mid-month (photo courtesy of Owen Lockhart).

"Alabama Jim" has been catching some feisty channel cats in Metroparks lakes this summer (photos courtesy of Mark Fascione).

Ben recently caught an albino channel catfish in Wallace Lake, a rare catch (photo courtesy of Ben Apathy).

John is yet another angler who appreciates the summer fish diversity in the Rock (photos courtesy of John Fay).

Blue colored yellow perch turn up from time to time on Lake Erie, but are a rare catch.  The blue color is caused by an interaction on the skin from a harmless bacteria (photo courtesy of Carl Bactel).

This very late spawned out steelhead was caught by the Rocky River Nature Center during a biology summer camp electrofishing outing on July 18.  I have now officially observed adult steelhead in the river every month of the year.  The yellow coloration is quite unique, and can likely be attributed to the extended time spent in warmer water. 

...And speaking of steelhead, here is a wild juvenile steelhead (rainbow trout) sampled during another recent field outing (photo courtesy of Owen Lockhart).

Local angler Nick Zarzneczny made a trip to Glacier National Park, Montana, recently and shared a few photos of the cutthroat trout (2 strains), bull trout and brookies he caught in the beautiful mountain surroundings (photos courtesy of Nick Zarzeczny). 

They say a sucker is born every minute, and Exhibit A above provides evidence of two of them! (photo courtesy of John Chapek).

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>


8/16/2014 10:58:50 PM by ghost
Jarred, that cat at your' lap will taste great with some iodine and some antibiotics. Great Eating!
8/16/2014 6:52:12 PM by Larry
Spotted Bass I have caught many years ago in WV
8/10/2014 10:35:08 AM by Mike Durkalec
The mystery fish is a rock bass that is more distinctly patterned than usual.
8/9/2014 11:58:01 PM by George
8/5/2014 7:53:34 PM by Tom
I don't see any pigmented lines radiating from the mystery fish's eye, so I'm going to half to say it's an unusually colored Rock Bass. And that yellow steelhead is awesome.
8/2/2014 3:13:14 PM by Steve Z.
Ambloplites rupestris.. Rock Bass
8/2/2014 10:54:02 AM by aaron
yeah warmouth
8/2/2014 10:35:22 AM by joe
shadow bass and flatheads are been pulled up non-stop in the cuyahoga this year. right under the 82 damn they are pretty thick. i brought in 3 on my centerpin and have seen multiple others landed. been going there for years and never saw one until this summer.
8/2/2014 9:57:18 AM by Nick M
Looks to be a rock bass, but I've never seen one with the dark blotches so distinct!
7/31/2014 11:02:21 PM by Nick Zarzeczny
Looks like a war mouth to me
7/31/2014 11:02:19 PM by Nick Zarzeczny
Looks like a war mouth to me

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