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 - October 18, 2012

Posted: 10/18/2012
Posted By: Mike Durkalec

***Wednesday October 24 morning update: The river is already back to fairly low and clear this morning.  That was the most rapid drop in level and clearing I've ever seen in the main river in less than a day, and in hindsight was due to very strong localized rainfall north (downstream) of the flow gage at the split in the river, while being very little in the upper watershed.  My observations are typically made near Puritas Road bridge and Morley Ford, which are near the office.  The good news is the flow gage is likely fine.  I would not be surprised if the rapid rise and drop didn't draw a few fresh fish into the lower river.***

***Tuesday October 23 afternoon update: We recieved periods of heavy rain throughout the day and the river is currently elevated and muddy, although this is not showing up on the flow gage at the moment (may be malfunctioning).***

***Monday October 22 afternoon update: The river is currently very low and clear and fishing is challenging.  This will remain the situation until the area recieves some significant rainfall.***

The Rocky River valley is ablaze with the colors of autumn and the river has been running low and clear for the better part of this week.  The low water coupled with wind has also lead to many fallen leaves in the river, making for more challenging fishing conditions.  Based on the current weather forecast, we are looking at a good chance of rain for the next three days, and weekend fishing conditions will be fully contingent on how that plays out.  Before planning a trip anglers would be wise to keep an eye on the flow and temperature trend at the following link: <river flow gage data>

The river is currently low and clear with a growing accumulation of falling leaving making for challenging fishing conditions, but this hasn’t stopped adaptable anglers from hooking steelhead this week.  Folks who offered finesse offerings on lighter 4-6 pound leaders, like small jigs tipped with a few maggots, live minnows, beads that simulate single salmon eggs, small spinners, and beadhead nymph (size 14 is a good bet in clear water) and streamer fly patterns (Clouser minnow patterns have been producing well) have still been hooking up.  It is great to see all the photo submissions (below) from young anglers this week!  Fish have primarily been concentrated in the deeper holes in the clear water, especially around structure like a fallen tree or shale ledge.  If we get more rain into this weekend and the river muddies again, anglers should revert back to offerings like nickel size brightly colored spawn sacks and large contrasting colored flies and jigs.  The fishing will only get better later this fall as we get into the prime time of the season.

Wallace Lake was stocked with 600 pounds of catchable channel catfish last week.  These fish bite well on chicken liver and nightcrawlers fished near the lake bottom along shoreline drop-offs.  The Ohio & Erie Canal fishing area off East 49th Street was stocked with 1,000 pounds of rainbow trout last week.  These fish, ranging from 1-3 pounds, have been biting well on rainbow color PowerBait.  The canal was also stocked with 1,000 yearling channel catfish by ODNR last week.  Please heed clearly posted fishing regulations at these (and other) Cleveland Metroparks fishing locations.

Yellow perch fishing on the big lake north of Cleveland has been excellent this week, with many limit catches of good size fish reported on emerald shiners fished near the lake bottom.  Boaters please take note that the water level near the marina has been low lately and angler with boats over 20’ have been hitting their trailer tires on the cement curb at the end of the underwater ramp (not a big deal but be aware the curb is there and that you should not back your trailer past it).  Details can be found in the ODNR Lake Erie fishing report available at the <ODNR Lake Erie fishing report>.    

Anglers will not tolerate the abuse of their beloved waters!    Following last week’s news of the indictments related to the Rocky River fish kill from this past April, the local angling community expressed relief that the source of the issue was found and dealt with.  Anglers, as is often the case, are very helpful in providing information in such cases.  I would personally like to thank the anonymous angler who spent the better part of the day assisting our Ranger Sgt. Owen Conroy with fish identification on the Sunday that he was the first responder in this investigation, as well as the roughly dozen anglers who either called or emailed me to report their helpful first-hand accounts of observations related to the fish kill.  In fact, anglers were the first to notice and report this incident in the first place.  So thank you, angling community, for keeping your eyes open, reporting your observations back to us, and (most of all) for caring about our waters enough to take action.  D’Arcy Egan summed it up nicely in an article he penned last week in the Plain Dealer, which can be read at the following <link>.

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,



Congratulations to 12 year old Jakob on catching his first steelie ever in the Rocky River this week!  Jake and his father Brad started out fishing the East Branch of the river on Saturday morning and they enjoyed the morning catching a dozen smallmouth bass and watching a resident mink go about his business at the river's edge.  They took a lunch break, and afterwards his father reports that Jake still wanted to fish and continue the pursuit of his first steelhead.  They fished an area near the Nature Center and Jake hooked and landed this first steelie (pictured).  Jake caught the very special fish on a black/white/green jig tipped with a few maggots on his fly rod.  Job well done, Jake! (photo courtesy of Brad Martinez).


David was another young angler who struck silver this week.  David has been fishing for steelies for at least a year and you may remember seeing photos of some of his other trout in past fishing reports.  On Sunday, he hooked his first three steelies of the fall season on the Rock, landing two of them, including the one in the photo above. David's fish took a black jig tipped with a maggot (photo courtesy of David Dorko).


I will never get tired of seeing photos of happy kids holding fish, will you?  Charlie, who you may also remember from fishing reports last season, caught this fresh Rocky River steelie on an orange sucker spawn fly this week.  Nice work, Charlie!  (photo courtesy of Charlie's mom).


Kevin caught a robust chromer on a Clouser minnow baitfish pattern on his fly rod this week (photos courtesy of Kevin Bunch).


George caught some steelies this week many miles upstream of the lake working black Rooster Tail spinners through the holes (photos couretsy of George Harris).


On Saturday 1,244 folks (mostly kids) came out to Ohio & Erie Canal Reservation to enjoy the brisk fall weather at our Outdoor Odyssey event.  You can view a photo album of some of the fish caught at the following <link>.


Chris caught some nice steelies in the Rocky and Chagrin rivers this week, all on jigs.  Black/white/green and black/white colored jigs tipped with a few maggots took his fish (photos courtesy of Christopher Darr).


Koz caught this gleaming chromer in the Rocky River on Sunday morning by quickly stripping a large weighted Clouser minnow through the tail of a pool on a fly rod.  Although he caught two others that same day (one each on an orange egg fly in a pool and black/pink bugger pattern in a run), he notes that the "freight train" hit of this very fresh fish on an actively worked fly was a very exciting experience he'll be trying to repeat again soon!  Koz also points out that he paid special attention to stealth in the clear water conditions, and fished a lot of different spots, and it obviously paid off under tough fishing conditions (photo courtesy of John Kozlowski).


Ryan has been catching some nice steelies in the Rocky River on the fly rod.  He has a group called Ohio Fly Fishing on Facebook (photos courtesy of Ryan McCargar).


Jim caught this surprise king (chinook) salmon recently while fishing for yellow perch at the mouth of the Grand River in Fairport Harbor, Ohio, recently.  Jim and his buddies took turns while reeling the big fish in (photo courtesy of Deb Marcinski).


Matt got a good start to the fall season with this Rocky River steelie (photo courtesy of Andy).


Bob struck Rocky River silver on his second trip of the season late last week (photo courtesy of Bob Brunner).


Mike landed some nice smallmouth bass and steelies quite a distance upstream in the Rocky River Reservation of Cleveland Metroparks (photos courtesy of Mike Kovalski).


Thank you to Eagle Scout candidate Kris Jorgensen (in the red jacket) and his assistants from BSA Troop 252 of Olmsted Falls for designing and installing six fishing line disposal/recycling stations along the Rocky River in coordination with Cleveland Metroparks staff.  Also pictured is Assistant Scoutmaster Pat O'Leary, who oversees the boys with their projects.  We appreciate all the hard work of BSA Troop 252 and others who have worked with Cleveland Metroparks in the past on a number of wondeful community projects to benefit the public (photo courtesy of Pat O'Leary).


Rocky River regular Sean sent in this photo of a big ole king salmon he caught on a trip to New York state this week (photo courtesy of Sean Perron).


Photographer Brad Beavers captured some autumn scenes around Hinckley Lake this week (photos courtesy of Brad Beavers).


A fish population assessment at Ranger Lake on Wednesday revealed mostly modest size pumpkinseed sunfish and bluegill, but did yield a few surprises, including a big yellow perch and huge grass carp.

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