Increase Text Size Decrease Text Size

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.

Drop Us A Line - Email Us Your Fishing Photos

Rocky River Fishing Report - May 2, 2013

Posted: 5/1/2013
Posted By: Mike Durkalec

The Rocky River is currently exhibiting good fishing conditions, with moderate flow and clearing water.  Based on a dry weekend weather forecast not much should change in the near future.   A number of Cleveland Metroparks lakes and ponds are offering good opportunities for rainbow trout, largemouth bass and various sunfish species.  Anglers can check the latest river flow and temperature trends at the following link: <Rocky River flow gage data> 

The spring steelhead run has begun to taper off quickly this week, with anglers reporting mostly dropback (already spawned) steelhead present and less of the big trout, overall, in the river.  There are still a small number of fresh (not yet spawned), spawning and skipper (15-20" fish) steelhead around, as well.  Dropbacks can be found just about anywhere, but most often frequent deeper pools and runs as they systematically migrate back to Lake Erie.  The last of the run, for all practical purposes, will be filtering out of the river and back to Lake Erie over the next week or so.  If I had to characterize the run this year in a nutshell I would say there was no single large push of steelhead this spring and numbers were down overall, but the chances for a trophy trout of 30" or better was excellent.

The run of smallmouth bass migrating into the Rocky River from Lake Erie is gaining steam, with a number of anglers in the northern river reporting having hooked up with larger bass this week.  "Smallies" will hit live bait (minnows, crayfish, worms), 3-4" tube jigs (olive, brown and white are all good), and baitfish streamer or Woolly Bugger flies (same colors as noted for tube jigs).  This is a special time of year where anglers have a chance to catch a mix of bass and steelhead from some of the same holes.  Anglers are strongly encouraged to release these larger 2-4 pound bass so that they can spawn and perpetuate the population.  Lake run smallies will be around until early June most years.  Suckers are still present throughout the river, as well.
On Monday the final 600 pounds of rainbow trout were stocked in the East Branch Rocky River between Route 82 (Royalton Road) in Strongsville and the river ford (crossing) just south of Wallace Lake in Berea.  These fish round out a total of 3,600 pounds of trout released into this reach of river since mid March.  Additionally, ODNR stocked Hinckley and Shadow lakes with trout on Monday April 1.  Small jigs and ice flies tipped with a few maggots or waxworms, PowerBait, small spinners, and salmon or trout egg sacks have all take their share of trout.  This week marked the final release of trout into the river for the 2013 season.

Largemouth bass and panfish angling has been good in Cleveland Metroparks lakes and ponds, as well.  Some anglers have reported a good largemouth bass bite at Wallace and Hinckley lakes the past few weeks using spinnerbaits, rubber skirted jigs and rubber worms.  Sunfish can be taken in just about any Metroparks lake or pond by dangling a small worm or waxworm on a small hook below a pencil style bobber.

Spring Children’s Fishing Derbies May 18 & 19.    Our highly popular annual kid’s fishing derbies are coming up on Saturday May 18 at Wallace Lake and Sunday May 19 at the Ohio and Erie Canal fishing area.  The event is free, and fishing gear and bait will be provided for those in need at no cost.  For more information, you can check the following link:   <Spring Children’s Fishing Derbies info>  Photos from the 2012 event can be viewed at the following link:  <2012 Fishing Derby photos>.

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,



Congratulations to Ben on catching his first steelhead this week in the Rocky River (photo courtesy of Matt).

Brandon (top) and Matt caught these quality smallmouth bass in the northern Rocky River on a spinnerbait and 3.5" brown tube jig, respectively (photos courtesy of Brandon Aspery).

Congratulations to Ben See, who took up the challenge of swinging flies this season and perservered.  After several trips were he did not connect with steel, he finally hooked three, landing two, on the Chagrin River Saturday afternoon.  If it was easy, everyone would be doing it! (photo courtesy of Ben See of Steelhead Alley Angler).

Bethany, Joshusa, Nathan and Kaelynn had a very successful fishing trip recently, catching 8 rainbow trout ranging from 17" to just shy of 21" between them (photo courtesy of Dorel Stefan).

Craig notes that this Rocky River steelie caught on his fly rod was among his most memorable in awhile, with multiple exciting runs and jumps during the battle (photo courtesy of Craig Delewski).

The quillback (pictured) and common carp appear to outnumber lake-run white suckers in our streams at the current time (photo courtesy of Patrick Murphy).

David landed more bruiser steelies over 30" again this week (photos courtesy of David Diyanni).

Joyce hammered those Rocky River steelies again this week.  Her friend Chris caught some nice fish, as well (photos courtesy of Joyce Smith).

Scott caught this 10" mystery fish in the West Branch of the Rocky on a tube jig.  Although not visible in the photo, he reports thayt the fish had lots of red spots, which would not be found on a rainbow trout or steelhead.  The proportions of the head of this fish does not look quite like a rainbow trout to me, either.  He thought it was a brook trout, but stream reared brown trout can also have red spots.  The fish is more silvery than a typical stream brook or brown trout, although they can be silver based on conditions.  Whatever the case, the mystery cannot be solved from this particular photo since it is not high enough resolution to see any determining characteristics (photo courtesy of Scott Tradke).

Today we have another round of "Guess That Fish" for you.  Chris is new to Ohio and was fishing for steelies with a jig Friday when he accidentally foul hooked three of these guys, each about 10".  He was not certain of identification, but (as a clue) this fish is an important prey species for larger fish in Lake Erie, area streams and many lakes.  Predominantly a filter feeder, they can often be found in large schools and can vary from quarter size to about 16".  They often perish in large numbers during rapid temerature changes in winter.  The black spot behind the gill cover is a giveaway.  If you guessed gizzard shad, you would be correct (photo courtesy of Chris Dankert).

A park visitor was fishing with her husband when she took this neat photo of a muskrat motoring along in the clear water with its shadow following along underneath on the stream bottom (photo courtesy of Cathy Boozer).









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>


Be the first to leave a comment.

Social media and blog policy