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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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November 14, 2013

Posted: 11/14/2013
Posted By: Mike Durkalec

Highlight species targeted by anglers around Cleveland Metroparks in fall include steelhead trout and yellow perch, with anglers also pursuing largemouth bass, stocked rainbow trout and panfish.  The Rocky and Chagrin rivers currently have moderate flow and light stain.  Before making a trip anglers are advised to monitor the most recent river water level and temperature, which can be done at the following links: <Rocky River flow gage data>  <Chagrin River flow gage data>

Steelhead fishing in the Rocky and Chagrin rivers was fair overall this week, with fallen leaves in the water adding to the challenge.  The big trout are spread out throughout the systems from the marinas to the reaches well upstream.  Fish this week have been reported hooked on live minnows, dime to nickel size spawn sacks (pink and chartreuse have been producers) spinners/spoons and small 1/32-1/64 oz marabou/hair jigs (various colors) tipped with a waxworm or a few maggots or 2-3" white tube jigs suspended under a small float.  Fall fly fishers typically score well using egg pattern flies, streamers (Woolly Bugger and Clouser minnow patterns) and size 14-12 nymph patterns.  Expect the steelhead run to really begin gaining steam from mid November onward.

Steelhead fishing along the lakefront has been good overall this week, although getting lucky and being there at the right time has been an important part of the equation.  Steelhead are feeding on schools of minnows along the rocks at Edgewater Park, the east facing wall at E 55th Street and the Wildwood Park breakwall and anglers have been catching them on spoons (Little Cleo 2/5 ounce with silver has been working well), spinners and minnows or small jigs tipped with a few maggots suspended under a bobber.  Fish tend to provide action in spurts on the good days, with several fish hooked between anglers in short order interspersed between lulls in the action.  A light chop seems to equate to a better bite.  Remember to take a long handled landing net when fishing these locations.  Anglers trolling the river mouths and shallow nearshore areas with crankbaits are also reporting some steelhead success.  The north facing wall at E 55th has been producing yellow perch, including a few limit catches of larger fish, for anglers fishing emerald shiners on the bottom.

Largemouth bass and sunfish fishing prospects in Metroparks lakes and ponds are good, as natural populations of fish in these waters have been supplemented with stockings of over 2,600 catchable size bass and sunfish, many of trophy size, since mid-September.  Stocking activities are expected to continue throughout November depending on weather.  Wallace, Ledge, Ranger, Shadow, Judges and Bunns lakes, as well as Oxbow Lagoon (Rocky River Reservation) and Ohio & Erie Canal fishing area, have all been beneficiaries of some of these fish recently. 

The Ohio & Erie Canal fishing area was stocked in October with 1,000 pounds each of rainbow trout and farm raised channel catfish.  Trout typically bite well on PowerBait and catfish like chicken liver, although a nightcrawler will catch either species.  The first round of winter trout stockings in Cleveland Metroparks lakes and ponds is scheduled for mid-December.

Anglers out of Lakefront Reservation, Euclid Reservation and the Emerald Necklace marina on the Rocky River are making some great catches of larger yellow perch as lake conditions permit, with many 9-12" fish and an impressive number up to 14".  A few productive spots have been 39 FOW off the Gold Coast and Lighthouse and 49 FOW off Wildwood.  The north facing wall at E 55th Street has also been producing yellow perch for shore anglers fishing minnows on the bottom, including a few limit catches of larger perch up to 12" plus.  The walleye night bite along the Cleveland shoreline has been heating up recently, with trollers hooking fish off E 72nd Street in 38-40 FOW on Reef Runner, Rattlin Rogue and Husky Jerk crankbaits.  Walleye are also available for shore anglers casting after dark at Edgewater and E 72nd Street, as well, using those same types of crankbaits, as well as Rat-L-Traps.

Saying Goodbye to "Shadow Lake Andy".   Anyone who has fished Shadow Lake enough must have met Andy Lesniak at some point.  He was likely the most dedicated trout ice fisher on the lake.  Andy was one of those folks who makes serving the fishing public a total pleasure; he was always so friendly in general and was openly appreciative whenever we stocked trout.  Because of the fact that he routinely called in accurate and detailed fishing reports from that side of town I called him "my guy on the east side".  I was recently informed that Andy passed away late this summer, and I will not only miss interacting with him in the line of my work, but will also miss his friendship greatly.  His widow Dana was kind enough to provide some photos of Andy's more recent trout catches (provided below).  Rest in peace, friend, and may the ice on the lakes where you are now always be solid and safe.

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 .

Good Fishing,



Little David was back at it again this past weekend showing the grown ups on the Rocky River how it's done by hooking three steelhead in an hour!  The fish took a small dark colored jig tipped with maggots (photos courtesy of Dave Dorko).

Chris relays "Had a great day last Sunday at Rockcliff with my son, Adam - would have been better if we caught any fish.  Adam has been going with me for 2 years now and he has had a couple hooked up, but hasn't landed one yet.  I got the steelie attached in 11/9 - caught and released from at Rockcliff - my first steelie of the year!  It was probably my 10th time out."  (photos courtesy of Christopher Darr).

A lot of steelhead were landed on the east facing wall at E 55th Street at Lakefront Reservation on Sunday and Monday.  Most fish bit jigs tipped with emerald shiners suspended about 4 feet under a bobber.  The top photo depicts Sarah, an Army veteran, with a fine steelhead on Veterans Day.

Chuck caught his first fly rod steelie in the Rock on a chartreuse egg pattern with some assistance from his buddy Mike Spanulo.  Mike was rewarded with a nice chinook salmon from the river (photos courtesy of Chuck Mechling).

Donnie caught this pretty hen steelie on a sucker spawn fly (photo courtesy of Donnie Obrycki).

Jim, from Medina, displays one of his first steelies from the Rock (photo courtesy of Ken Harper).

Mathew reports "Our son John caught (and released) his first steelhead. He was thrilled as he has been trying for years also. He caught it by the rock ledge up near the Marina on a Husky Jerk lure. He caught a second one on a Rooster Tail and I caught one on a crankbait. He lost three others. This was our best day of steelhead fishing. Thanks to Bill who gave us the lure the day before that he caught one on. Also thanks to Erie Outfitters who have given us alot of free advice along with setting up our rods the past few years. Hopefully our other son will get his first one this year. Really enjoy your page and glad you are back fishing" (photos courtesy of Mathew McCarty).

Steve from Columbus visited the Rock again and was rewarded with two fine hen steelies that bit his Rooster Tail spinners (photos courtesy of Steve Kuklica).

John reports "These photos are from last weekend on lower Rocky River. Caught them on Fay's Sticky Fingers and Hawkeye jigs tipped with maggots. Last three were caught on Sunday. The third fish I almost lost to a hawk that came within 15 feet of the fish as I was landing it. Fish on" (photos courtesy of Jeff Sutliff).

Emmanuel struck silver on the northern Rock again this week (photos courtesy of Emmanuel Roman).

Jake experienced a productive week on the upstream reaches of the Rocky River (photos courtesy of Jake Powers).

Brian stopped by Wallace Lake to test some new lures one evening this week and caught and released this 14" largemouth bass (photo courtesy of Brian Kich).

Rest in Peace "Shadow Lake Andy".  You will be missed (photos courtesy of Dana Lesniak).

A scenic vista of the fall river valley (photo courtesy of Nate Adams).

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>


11/18/2013 5:53:35 AM by Patrick
I love you Andy!!!!!!!!!!!!!

11/15/2013 2:03:44 PM by marsha jaworski
Rest in peace I. Know your fishing and hunting in heaven Andy is my brother. On law
11/15/2013 12:15:05 PM by Mike Durkalec
You are very welcome Judy. Patty, the bag limit of trout at Shadow Lake is 5 per day since it is a location jointly stocked by ODNR.
11/15/2013 5:07:03 AM by Patty
what is the daily bag limit on Shadow Lake?

Thank you for the great reports!
11/15/2013 2:35:20 AM by Judy litwinowwicz
Shadow Lake Andy is my brother....thanks you so much for the beautiful tribute....he would be so proud. He is sorely missed!

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