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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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Rocky River Fishing Report - December 12, 2012

Posted: 12/12/2012
Posted By: Mike Durkalec

***Tuesday December 18 morning update: The river is elevated and muddy from overnight rain and still on the rise.  Anglers should keep an eye on the flow gage and look for a dropping trend before making their next trip to the river.***

The Rocky River has just dropped to fishable level today, although still stained with fairly strong flow, and will only get better in the coming days.  A good run of steelhead will be available to anglers into the weekend.  Anglers can check the latest trend in river flow and temperature at the following link: <river flow gage data>

The Rocky and Chagrin rivers received a much needed bump in flow this week, and if this morning was any indicator a good run of fresh steelhead took notice.  Although the river was still flowing fairly hard this morning, it is still dropping and fish were taking bright nickel to quarter size spawn sacks in the stained water.  Look for conditions to be prime in the coming few days, and the weekend should also offer good fishing prospects.  The fish are well distributed throughout the main river, as well as both branches, at this time.  As the water continues to clear, small jigs tipped with a few maggot or waxworms and live (or salted) minnows will work well, as will the standard fly fishing fare (egg, nymph, and baitfish streamer patterns).  Some folks have been hooking up with rubber baits (worms, minnows, and tube jigs, with white being a good color), crankbaits (wobbling and minnow styles), and medium size spoons and spinniers (such as Little Cleo spoons and Roostertail spinners). 

A total of 2,000 pounds of rainbow trout were stocked between Wallace, Shadow, Ledge, Judge’s and Ranger lakes on Monday and Tuesday (December 10 & 11).  About half the trout went into Wallace, being the largest of these lakes.  The trout averaged about a pound and a quarter, although they ranged from ¾ up to 4 pounds.  A handful of golden rainbow trout and a few trophy brown trout were also released to add some diversity to the mix.  The fish were biting eagerly the same day we stocked them on thumbnail sized nuggets of brightly colored PowerBait fished near the lake bottom with a small sinker, small jigs tipped with a few maggots or a waxworm suspended 2-3 feet below a small bobber, and small spinners.  Stripping streamer flies would also be a good bet for fly anglers.   

Anglers have also been catching a few largemouth bass and bluegill in Cleveland Metroparks lakes and ponds, many of which have been stocked with pond fish in recent months.  A small jig tipped with maggots will catch any of these species, as well as trout.

The Lake Erie fishing report can be found at the following link: <ODNR Lake Erie fishing report>.   

ODNR’s Wild Ohio television show filmed fishing the Rocky River today.   This morning Cleveland Metroparks teamed up with ODNR to film an episode for the <Wild Ohio> television program about steelhead fishing in the Rocky River.  The show host, Travis Hartman (ODNR Fisheries Biologist and walleye pro) had a good morning fishing with me despite the river still being stained and flowing hard, hooking four steelhead his first time ever fishing for them.  We even landed a larger “Fish Ohio” steelhead pushing 10 pounds on film.  I don’t have an air date for this show (yet), but Wild Ohio airs on PBS and you can check for your local station <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 .

Good Fishing,



David had a great afternoon of steelhead fishing the Rocky River with his father this past Sunday, as evidenced by the photos above.  His father notes, jokingly, "Don't ask how I did, it's not important"  (David regularly outfishes his father).  The lad hooked his fine trout on a black jig tipped with a few maggots (photos courtesy of David Dorko Sr.).



Dan landed this fresh buck, and few others, on the Rocky this morning drifting nickel size pink spawn sacks.  We filmed Dan fighting and landing this fish for the Wild Ohio program mentioned in the report.  Always generous, Dan assisted a newer angler (Eric, photo below) with some advice and some bait, leading to the young man landing his first steelhead.  That is why we call Dan the "King of the Rock"...not only does he always catch fish on the river, but he is an all around class act.



Dan McCutcheon assisted newer steelhead angler Eric with some advice and even gave him some bait, and Eric promptly hooked and landed his first steelhead under Dan's tutelage.  It may not be a bruiser, but it's a fish he will never forget (photo courtesy of Dan McCutcheon).



Travis (top) and Sisqo each hooked two steelhead, landing one each, at Rockcliff Springs on the northern Rocky before it blew out on Saturday.  Travis's fish is a brute! (photo courtesy of Travis Males).



Matt caught this impressive 18" rainbow trout at Judge's Lake on Tuesday afternoon (photo courtesy of Rich Svoboda).



Ed reports "Ever since I found the shad swimbaits made by Creme Lures, they have been outfishing everything in my tackle box for both steelhead trout & bass.  Even in the cold water of Wallace Lake where winter bass are hard to catch on artificials, I had 5 bites and landed 3 fish on Saturday plus 3 more on Sunday in just an hour and a half." (photos and report courtesy of Ed Schmitt).



Chad displays a pretty Chagrin River hen steelhead, the first steelhead he ever caught on a fly.  The fish bit a white zonker pattern (photo courtesy of Scott Heidrich).



ODNR fisheries biologist Travis Hartman releases a Fish Ohio chrome buck steelie I caught this morning on the Rock while filming a segment for the Wild Ohio television show.  This was the largest of several fish we hooked in the stained water (photo courtesy of Steve Nyetrae).



The trout were biting well very soon after we stocked them in five Cleveland Metroparks lakes this week.  See the report for further details.



Bill caught and released this bruiser 35" buck steelie in small creek this week while the main rivers were high and muddy.  Wow! (photo courtesy of Bill Gillcon).

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>


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