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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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September 12, 2013

Posted: 9/12/2013
Posted By: Mike Durkalec

As we transition into early fall, highlight species targeted by anglers around Cleveland Metroparks are smallmouth bass, largemouth bass and panfish, with a chance at an early steelhead trout.  Lake Erie anglers are making good catches of yellow perch.  Overall, the Rocky and Chagrin rivers are running low and clear at this time.  To monitor the most recent Rocky River water level and temperature you can check the following link: <Rocky River flow gage data>  

The hot weather and lack of rain this week did not help early season steelhead prospects in the Rocky and Chagrin rivers.  Still, a few of the big trout were taken over the past week (see photos below).   Few anglers are targeting steelhead yet, but those who are giving it a try are focusing on mornings and evenings.  Early season offerings most likely to produce include spoons (Little Cleo spoons being a good choice) and spawn sacks.  Any steelhead taken before October should be considered a bonus, as the run really won’t begin to gain steam until fall.  As an early reminder for those wishing to learn the ropes of steelhead angling, the annual free Steelhead Expo will be at the Rocky River Nature Center on Saturday October 5 from 9:00am-5:00pm.

Smallmouth bass fishing in the river has been good lately.  A dark olive or brown tube jig of about 3-4” 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 few rare resident trophy fish up to (and over) 18 inches in length.  Anglers are always encouraged to release the larger bass so that these fine gamefish can be enjoyed again.

Largemouth bass and sunfish have been biting fair in Metroparks lakes and ponds this week.  Wallace, Hinckley, and Ledge lakes, as well as the big pond at Acacia Reservation, have all produced a few bass on rubber baits and shad crankbaits recently. 

Lake Erie boaters out of Lakefront Reservation and the Emerald Necklace marina on the Rocky River have been making very good catches of 8-10” yellow perch fishing near the lake bottom with perch speaders and live or salted emerald shiners in 40-42 FOW off the Cleveland shoreline and 48-51 FOW off Euclid.

New Lake Management Plans Available.   For anglers interested in the behind the scenes of fisheries management in Cleveland Metroparks, there are two new lake management plans for Ledge and Ranger lakes available on our Natural Resources website.  For these, as well as other documents, reports and presentations of potential interest to anglers you can check the following link:  <Natural Resources Division Publications>   

Fish ID Mobile App Available.
   University of Wisconsin Sea Grant has devised a neat mobile fish identification application containing 174 species, most of which are also found in Ohio.  Interested folks can check it out here:  <Wisconsin Fish ID App>    There are a number of search options useful to ID the unknown fish you have just caught.  It's like having a fish field guide that fits in any pocket!

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  Cleveland Metroparks, you may contact Aquatic Biologist Mike Durkalec at (440) 331-8017 or .

Good Fishing,


Brian reports "This is a photo of a steelhead my son, Kyle Davis, caught on September 6th of 2013. He caught it while fishing for Smallmouths in the Rocky River with his ultra light rod and 4 lb. test with a 1/16th oz. jighead and grub body."  It was Kyle's first steelie landed and was taken all the way upstream by the Nature Center (photo cortesy of Brian Davis).

Nate finally reached his goal of hooking and landing an early season steelhead, which he did on Tuesday which was one of the hottest days all year!  Nice job Nate.  He also got a mix of smallmouth bass and white suckers (photos coutesy of Nate Adams).

Gary reports that has been one of the best years for smallmouth on the Rock that he and other Cleveland Amateur Anglers Club members have ever had.  Fellow member Keith slipped knee deep into the water while fighting this big freshwater drum and Eric gives the thumbs up with a trophy bass.  Gary welcomes folks to check out the Club's Facebook page (photos courtesy of Gary Rehner).

Our naturalist staff host a number of kid's and group fishing outings every summer (photos courtesy of Tim Krynak).

Julia displays two big largemouth bass and a trophy white crappie from a fish population assessment conducted at our Ohio & Erie Canal fishing area yesterday.  All fish were released following data recording.

In this installment of "Know Your Fish", Jeff sent in this image of a mystery fish he found washed up on a Lake Erie beach last week.  Please give your guesses in the comments section, and I will post the answer there tomorrow (photos courtesy of Jeff Shaw).

Daniel caught and released this healthy smallmouth bass twice in a one week period in the Chagrin River, which is a testament to the practice of catch and release.  Many anglers feel that quality fish like this are too valuable a resource to only go around once (photo courtesy of Daniel Holmes).

Sean and his daughter enjoyed a fly fishing outing on the Rock recently, catching a mix of largemouth bass, carp, rock bass and white crappie (photos courtesy of Sean Brown).

Runners can register for the September 28 Steelhead Run five mile race (and recieve a shirt with this cool logo) at the following link: 
<Steelhead Run>.  Runners, as well as non-runners, can also register for a $10 dinner featuring walleye at the finish (you'll find me there cheering on my runner wife and friends waiting for that tasty walleye).

Mark reports from the Rocky "Just wanted to share a few pictures of the smallies I've been catching lately. They've been hitting Torpedos and shallow diving crankbaits like no other!" (photos courtesy of Mark Baker).

PJ is one of our more versatile anglers, enjoying fly fishing the Rock for smallies and rock bass one day, and then hitting Lakefront Reservation (Edgewater) casting for bruiser smallmouth and largemouth bass.  His buddy Brian Muraco displays a large freshwater drum, aka sheephead.  PJ runs the popular website and Facebook page (photos courtesy of PJ Filipowicz).

While conducting fish sampling with the public at Acacia Reservation this past Saturday, the group was amazed to watch this osprey fly away with a large, bright orange goldfish in its talons!  We saw the bird overhead first, then fly away with the freshly caught fish, but we missed the actual feet first dive to snatch it.  Seeing as goldfish are a non-native species in our waters, we welcome the efforts of this upstanding member of the avian community (photo courtesy of Ken Sakaie).

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>


9/20/2013 12:29:51 AM by Bill Marquard
Hey Mike~
I spotted an osprey last Monday while making my rounds. He (she) was flying up the river and was just above and in front of me at Puritas bridge.
Also, perch (mixed bag... small to jumbo) north of Rocky River in 46 to 49'. Pulled 45 on Wednesday above 8". Took awhile though.
9/14/2013 1:49:02 PM by Mike Durkalec
The mystery fish is in fact a burbot, not a bowfin (dogfish), although they are similar in appearance. See my post several responses down for more info regarding this interesting species.
9/13/2013 8:53:19 PM by Capt MIKE REED
this comment is for the girl at the canal. Those are awesome bass and a monster crappie for the canal. I usually fish right next to that spot but down at the Cuyahoga river ya know by those rocks with the pour out. GLAD to see pretty fish being pulled out of the 49th area
9/13/2013 6:39:09 PM by Capt MIKE REED
Yeah I caught a bowfin out of the Cuyahoga river and it looks very similar they are pretty cool fish and not many people know about them
9/13/2013 3:38:22 PM by Christine Seibolt
Catfish slayer
9/13/2013 1:18:08 PM by Scott Kramer
Dogfish....I caught one in Michigan before
9/13/2013 11:53:34 AM by Mike Durkalec
Brian, the text of the report is quite specific regarding what's working for different species. Not everyone who submits a photo say what the fish were caught on, on the other hand. You can always call or email me for advice, as well.
9/13/2013 4:47:41 AM by brian
more detail on what is being used for connecting with fish.
just a picture and a smile doesn't help anglers.
like telling someone they need minnows when you just have too many of them and need to get rid of.
9/12/2013 5:14:33 PM by Mike Durkalec
Yes, you got it Michael. Aka a "lawyer" or "eelpout" this fish is actually a type of freshwater cod that likes the deeper and colder waters of Lake Erie. The single chin whisker is a dead giveaway. They are occasionally taken on minnows near the bottom by perch anglers but, unfortunately, are becoming quite rare due to sea lamprey parasitism in the lake. They look a bit like a bowfin (aka dogfish), and are sometimes confused, but live in very different habitats since bowfin like shallow, weedy waters.
9/12/2013 4:07:27 PM by Michael Boc
The mystery fish is Burbot.

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