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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 21, 2013

Posted: 11/21/2013
Posted By: Mike Durkalec

***Friday November 22 morning update:  The Rocky River is currently offering excellent fishing conditions.  Anglers out yesterday reported a good run of fresh steelhead in the river.  Anglers would be wise to monitor the flow gage links following today's rain prior to making a weekend trip to the river.***

Highlight species targeted by anglers around Cleveland Metroparks in fall include steelhead trout, with anglers also pursuing yellow perch, largemouth bass, walleye, stocked rainbow trout and panfish.  The Rocky and Chagrin rivers are currently offering good fishing conditions with moderate stain and flow, but that could change with the rain over the following days
.  Before making a trip, especially during transitional weather as we are now experiencing, 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 much improved over the past two days, although weekend fishing prospects will be dependant upon how much rain we recieve into the weekend.  The big trout are well distributed throughout the systems from the marinas to the reaches well upstream, although most reports of angler success over the past two days have been in the northern few miles of river closer to the lake.  Fish this week have been reported hooked on spinning and float fishing gear using dime to nickel size spawn sacks (pink and chartreuse have been producers), live minnows, spinners/spoons (Rooster Tail 1/8-1/4 oz and Little Cleo 2/5 oz have been consistent producers) 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 best using egg pattern flies, streamers (Woolly Bugger and Clouser minnow patterns), spey patterns for swinging and size 14-12 nymph patterns.  Cold temperatures and fallen leaves in the water will add to the challenge this weekend if the streams end up being fishable after the rain subsides.  The fall steelhead run has predictably gained some steam this week and should only continue to get better in the coming weeks.

Steelhead and walleye fishing opportunities from the shore at Lakefront Reservation are available depending on Lake Erie wave conditions.  Steelhead have been feeding on schools of minnows along the rocks at Edgewater Park, the east facing wall at East 55th Street and the Wildwood Park breakwall and anglers have been catching them most consistently on minnows or small jigs tipped with a few maggots suspended under a bobber.  Spoons and spinners can also be productive.  As a point of interest illustrating how heavily these fish are feeding, I kept a 10 pound steelhead last week for a filleting demonstration at the Rocky River Nature Center and was amazed to find at least 150 small emerald shiners (1.5-2.0") in this one fish's gut!  Walleye action has also been reported at dusk and after dark off the rocks at Edgewater Park and East 72nd Street/Gordon Park access on Husky Jerk, X-Rap, Rattlin Rogue and Rattle Trap crankbaits.  For both fisheries, the action tends to come in spurts and anglers need to bring a long handled landing net and should be very careful on wet and slippery shoreline rocks.

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 nearly 3,000 catchable size bass and sunfish, many of trophy size, since mid-September.  A dedicated bass fisherman at Wallace Lake reported landing his best largemouth of the year at 5 pounds this week on a cold day with 25 mph wind when he was the only person on the lake.  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.

Hardy boating anglers out of Lakefront Reservation, Euclid Reservation and the Emerald Necklace marina on the Rocky River are still making catches of yellow perch as lake conditions permit.  Schools of perch have been shaken up due to recent storms and a little searching will likely be required to find them, although 40 FOW is a good starting point this time of year.  Walleye trollers are also reporting some success, especially after dark.

Ohio Central Basin Steelheaders support local Kids and Handicapped Fishing Events.
   I would like to extend a special thank you to the Ohio Central Basin Steelheaders for securing $8,600 in grant funds to support four large children's and handicapped fishing events to be held by Cleveland Metroparks in 2014.  The grants are through the ODNR Consevation Club Sponsorship Agreement Program.  Additional funds were secured by the club to sponsor similar events in Medina and Lake county park systems, as well.  In particular, I would like to thank OCBS Treasurer Dan Kammer, who did much of the work on these grants.  In addition to these funds, this non-profit club always supports children's fishing events with volunteers and are second to none in offering social gatherings and steelhead fishing information programs for all experience levels to its members.  Anglers interested in learning more about this outstanding sportsman's club can check out <OCBS website> 

Lost and Found on the River.   Local guide Monte Casey found some fishing gear left behind in a parking lot at the marina area earlier this month.  If you lost anything on the river, please contact me with a description of the item(s) and if it's a match I'll arrange to return the items to you.

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,



Lance had a great outing on the northern Rock yesterday, hooking seven fish (of which he landed two) including this beatifully colored buck brown trout, which is most likely a stray from PA or NY waters of Lake Erie.  Lance usually fishes spawn or jigs on a centerpin float rig (photos courtesy of Lance Masarik).

Andrey (top) had a great morning today on the Rock, landing all seven of the steelies he hooked on white tube jigs, including this 29" hen (his personal best).  His cousin hooked his first steelhead ever, as well.  For any frustrated beginning steelheaders out there, let Andrey be an inspiration to you.  Last year he'd contact me routinely thinking he was doing everything right, yet wasn't hooking into steelhead like those around him.  I advised him be to keep at it, get as much experience on the water as he could and continue to take in any info he could about steelhead fishing, and that success would come eventually.  After another year on the water and soaking up info like a sponge at the last two Steelhead Expo events, Andrey is now hooking up as much as anybody out there (photos courtesy of Andrey Gutsulyak).

Brian caught this 26" steelie using a gold spoon in the Rock, and the bottom photo illustrates the teamwork involved in landing a steelie off the wall at Morley Ford (photos courtesy of Brian Gaski).

Miles caught this chrome beauty while drifting a nightcrawler in the Cuyahoga River near the Route 82 dam, and his wife Cathy caught some deer on film (photos courtesy of Cathy Boozer).

Bill was perch fishing in 42 FOW out of Rocky River on Saturday and was surprised to hook this bonus 27" walleye on a minnow on a spreader rig.  They also caught 32 nice size yellow perch (photo courtesy of Bill Marquard).

Matt, who is learning the ropes of steelhead fishing, was tickled to land two fine steelies on the northern Rock yesterday.  He credits Jeff Abbott with giving him the spawn sacks and advice that helped him hook up.  Jeff hooked 8, landing 5, yesterday afternoon himself and reports the steelhead moved in just before dark (photos courtesy of Jeff Abbott).

DeAngelo has been hooking some fine walleye after dark by East 72nd Street at Lakefront Reservation.  He hooked up on a Rapala X-Rap crankbait.  Often the hottest bite is betwwen dusk and 11:00pm (photos courtesy of DeAngelo Williams).

Jose dreamed up this handsome spey fly pattern, which he calls The Green Monster, and followed it up with a successful test on the water! (photos courtesy of Jose Sanchez).

The brisk fall weather has not been a deterrent to bass enthusiast Brian Kich, who has been catching his largest bass of the year in Wallace Lake lately.  He notes that his best bass come from the same spots year after year, which illustrates the benefits to spending the time getting to intimately know your home waters (photos courtesy of Brian Kich).

Dane had a great outing drifting spawn sacks on the Rock yesterday.  He landed 6 of the 7 he hooked and reports the fish he hooked were in fast water (photos courtesy of Dane Albright).

Local legend Ken Harper with a gorgeous hen steelie from the Rock this week.  Fisherman have been lining up to see what Ken has been catching all his fish on, and he's never been one to turn his back to a fellow angler in need of some info! (photo courtesy of Ken Harper).

A few of the quality sportfish transferred to Cleveland Metroparks public fishing waters from private lakes.  The bruiser largemouth bass Lana is holding in the top photo was estimated at between 7-8 pounds!

A tranquil fall scene from the East Branch Rocky River (photo courtesy of Gabriel Venditti).


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>


12/4/2013 10:52:12 PM by Cleveland Amateur Anglers Club
I really wish Wallace lake could be made into catch and release only for a few years. I hate seeing the amount of fish people take from there. Seems anything and everything leave in buckets and coolers from that place.
11/23/2013 5:03:34 AM by Ivan
Thanks for the best reports online!
It looks like the Metroparks are really up to date.
Thanks for stocking those large mouth.
11/22/2013 7:33:57 PM by Mike Durkalec
Kevin, yes indeed. I have coordinated the stocking of several hundred catchable size largemouth bass in Oxbow Lagoon in Rocky River Reservation in the fall of 2012 and 2013.
11/22/2013 3:00:18 PM by Kervin Sweeney
Mike, did you stock Oxbow? Kevin
11/22/2013 3:00:17 PM by Kervin Sweeney
Mike, did you stock Oxbow? Kevin
11/21/2013 6:23:09 PM by Mike Durkalec
Thank you for clarifying, Brian. Corrections made.
11/21/2013 5:37:47 PM by Brian Gaski
Thanks Mike for posting! Although not a big deal, one minor correction with the 2nd set of pictures: the caption listed this week may be a bit confusing to people because it is what I sent last fall when I had a pic taken of my first steelie. These got mixed up.

The fish I'm holding is the same one as the middle pic laying by the net - a nice 26 inch fattie caught on a gold spoon downriver of the Morley Ford. Fish on!

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