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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 - June 2013

Posted: 5/29/2013
Posted By: Mike Durkalec

As we move into summer, highlight species targeted by anglers along the Rocky River are smallmouth bass, carp, panfish, and channel catfish.  To monitor the most recent river water level and temperature you can check the following link: <river flow gage data> 

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.  It has been very encouraging to see most anglers releasing the larger bass recently so that these fine gamefish can be caught again.  Also, note that all smallmouth bass must be released immediately if caught downstream of the Detroit Road bridge until June 29rthRock bass are also present in the same river areas as smallmouth, and can be caught using the same offerings listed above.

Channel catfish and large 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.  Good numbers of channel catfish stocked in May also remain to be caught at Wallace Lake and the Ohio & Erie Canal fishing area.  Catfishing is usually best during lower light conditions using baits such as nightcrawlers, minnows, chicken liver, and processed dough baits.  A good number of larger catfish are moving into the river from Lake Erie on their spawning run.   Resident channel catfish are available in the river all summer.

Some large carp (some exceeding 15 pounds) will be found in the northern river reaches throughout the month, 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 early 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.

Summer means family fishing time for many folks, and panfish fit the bill perfectly for a leisurely picnic and fishing outing.  Anglers seeking panfish have experienced decent fishing at most of the ponds and lakes in the Park District in the past week.  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.  Wallace Lake, Shadow Lake, and Beyers Pond are just a few of many places in the Park to wet a line for various panfish species.  Largemouth bass fishing is best in Wallace and Hinckley lakes, although bass can be found in most park waters.

Rock bass, largemouth 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 the Cleveland shoreline, as well.  Anglers can find more information at the <ODNR Lake Erie fishing report>.  

Rocky River Clean-Up Saturday June 8.     The annual Rocky River volunteer clean-up will be held Saturday June 8 from 9:00-noon, to be followed immediately by a hot dog cookout to thank our valued volunteers.  This is a collaborative effort between caring citizens, Rocky River Watershed Council, Cuyahoga Soil and Water Conservation District, local groups (such as Boy Scouts and Ohio Central Basin Steelheaders) and Cleveland Metroparks.  We will be meeting at 9:00am sharp at the picnic shelter at Scenic Park (near the marina) to form into groups and discuss our plan of attack to clean-up the river.   All are welcome at this family/kid friendly event, and don’t forget to come dressed to possibly get a bit wet and muddy!

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,


Charlie, Benji and Patrick display some fine Lake Erie walleye (photo courtesy of Charlie Seibolt).

Twins Nathan and Joshua, 13 years old, had a great day fishing for bass with their father Dorel recently.  Of many largemouth bass landed, they kept 3 between 15-16", as well as a few larger sunfish.  They fish were taken on rubber worms and live worms (photo courtesy of Dorel Stefan).

Nate and AJ have been experiencing some quality smallmouth bass fishing on the river.  Nate reports he has been getting them on both the fly and spinning rods (photos courtesy of Nate Adams).

Gio caught this bruiser smallmouth bass along the Cleveland shoreline on a silver crankbait.  He also reports rhe rock bass bite was hot (photo courtesy of Giovanni Quintana).

Jeff made a catch of quality perch near the Cleveland lighthouse on live emerald shiners (photo courtesy of Jeff Shaw).

Fabio hooked this sheepshead (freshwater drum) on a Clouser minnow pattern in the Rocky River (photo courtesy of Fabio Malaspina).

Nate reports that these carp caught by himself and buddy AJ in the northern Rocky were the "runts" of the group, having sighted many even larger specimens in the clear water (photos courtesy of Nate Adams).

June is a great month to fish along the Cleveland shoreline for a mixed catch of rock bass, largemouth bass, crappie and various sunfish species, to name some of the most common catches.

Ihor caught the carp in the top image in the Chagrin River over Memorial Day weekend on a dough bait made with corn meal.  The bottom image depicts a male rainbow darter in spawning colors, also from the Chagrin (photos courtesy of Ihor Balaban).

Rachel and her father Bob caught some hard fighting carp in the East Branch Rocky River using salted and garlic flavored corn.  She reports that they enjoy viewing the abundant wildlife while fishing, including the bold great blue heron in the photos (photos courtesy of Rachel Brunner).

AJ caught this pretty rainbow trout (photo courtesy of AJ Leonard).

Father and son Scott and Jack enjoying the river together (photo courtesy of Donna Braig).

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>


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