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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 - October 11, 2012

Posted: 10/11/2012
Posted By: Mike Durkalec

The Rocky River valley is just beginning to really blaze with autumn colors this week.  The river water level has dropped to moderate level and the water is becoming clear.  Based on the current weather forecast, this trend should continue into the early weekend, but it does look like a fair amount of rain is possible later into the weekend and conditions could change accordingly.  Anglers can keep an eye on the flow and temperature trend at the following link: <river flow gage data>  

Since Monday, the Rocky River has offered a decent run of fresh steelhead trout.  The area between the Emerald Necklace Marina/Scenic Park to Rockcliff Springs access has been the most consistent producing area.  Anglers should not rule out traveling further upstream, though, to look for fish, especially if they want more water to themselves.  The number of falling leaves in the river has increased this week, especially in slow water and eddy areas.  The fishing will only get better later this fall as we get into the prime time of the season.

Most of the fish are being taken on thumbnail size spawn sacks, 1/32 oz jigs tipped with maggots, live minnows, hardware (medium size spoons and spinners with some silver or gold in the finish), and by fly fishers using egg and streamer flies (woolly bugger and Clouser minnow patterns have been working well).  As a general rule, spoons and jigs under floats work best in the flat, slow water near the marina and eggs and flies work better in flowing water as you move upstream of the boat ramps.  But, as is the case with all rules of thumb, there are certainly exceptions so the wise and adaptable angler will try different tactics until he or she finds what the fish want on a given day on a particular stretch of stream.  As the water continues to clear anglers would be wise to downsize offerings, leader, and other terminal tackle.  I, personally, like a 4-6# fluorocarbon leader of between 18-24” in clear water.

On a related note, thanks to all who attended the Steelhead Expo this past Saturday.  Feedback from the event was overwhelmingly positive, and we would also like to thank the non-profit <Ohio Central Basin Steelheaders>, our partners in hosting this annual event.  We had great weather for the free event and a turnout of 1,230 attendees throughout the day.

Largemouth bass and panfish opportunities in Cleveland Metroparks lakes and ponds has been good overall lately.  Rubber worms and live shiners have been working for bass,and redworms and small nymph flies have been taking panfish.  Wallace Lake, Shadow Lake, and a number of smaller Metroparks ponds are all good bets this time of year.  Furthermore, farm raised channel catfish will be stocked in Wallace Lake by Cleveland Metroparks this afternoon.  More information on various fishing location around Cleveland Metroparks can be found at the following <link>.

Conditions on the big lake have been rough on and off this week, but when things settle down Lake Erie boaters out of the Emerald Necklace marina can expect the good catches of quality yellow perch to resume. 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>

Rocky River Fish Kill Update.    On Wednesday afternoon, the U.S. Attorney held a press conference at the Rocky River Nature Center to announce indictments on four charges in the Rocky River fish kill from this past spring.  The charges cite Federal Clean Water Act violations against a Strongsville business owner who allegedly disposed of a 55 gallon drum of liquid cyanide in a storm drain that leads to the river back in April 2012, as well as obstructing justice during the investigation.  The U.S. Attorney sent a strong message, stating “Clean water is our greatest resource in Northern Ohio.  We will aggressively investigate and prosecute cases in which people pollute Ohio’s stream, rivers and lakes.”  Cleveland Metroparks played an important role in the early stages of this investigation.  The scope of the kill was unprecedented in the river, with a very conservative count of approximately 30,000 fish involved.  For more information you can check the following link <Rocky River fish kill indictments>

Outdoor Odyssey is coming this Saturday!    Come out to the Ohio and Erie Canal fishing area on Saturday October 13 and join us from noon until 4:00pm for Outdoor Odyssey, a free event with a focus on fishing and other kid friendly outdoor pursuits.  Rainbow trout and farm raised channel catfish will be stocked specifically for this event by Cleveland Metroparks and ODNR, respectively, and fishing gear can be loaned out for free for those who need it.  Please note, the OEC fishing area will be clearly posted as closed to fishing until the event and will be strictly enforced by our Rangers.  More information on this event can be found at the following link:  <2012 Outdoor Odyssey Info>    Photos from the 2011 event can be viewed in <2011 Outdoor Odyssey photo ablum>.

Lost and Found on the Rock.   Local fishing guide Monte Casey found a high quality landing net on the Rocky River this week and would like to see it reunited with its rightful owner.  If you contact me and describe the net, as well as any information on when and general area where it may have been lost, I will arrange to get the net back to you.  ***UPDATE:  the custom made net has been returned to its happy owner***

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,



This past Saturday Jacob caught the largest fish of his life in the Cuyahoga River in Brecksville Reservation of Cleveland Metroparks.  The 16 inch smallmouth bass grabbed the worm Jacob was fishing on the river bottom, and he thanks is cousin Stephen for assistance in landing the fine fish (photo courtesy of David Nose).


Mike had a successful outing on the Rocky on Monday and shares this valuable lesson learned:  "
After spending about an hour and a half at a spot where I'd gotten fish in the past, all I caught was one small skipper. Couldn't figure it out, since the water just felt 'fishy'. I left shaking my head. On my second stop, about a half mile downstream, caught the fish in the first photo on, literally, my FIRST cast! Later I moved to a third spot, about 2 miles up stream and, within five minutes, hooked the one in the second photo. Both took the same spinner.  I think from this experience I learned that, if the conditions are right, the fish can be caught. It's just a matter of finding them, not settling on a spot where they 'should' be."  (photos and report courtesy of Mike Sprau).


James had a successful morning drifting spawn sacks on the northern Rock on Tuesday (photos courtesy of Jame Haynik).


Rich kicked off this steelhead season with a good start, landing this silver beauty by the marina this week (photo courtesy of Rich Mihna).


Travis caught this chromer in some fast water by Rockcliff Springs access on the Rocky this week on a brown woolly bugger fly (photo courtesy of Travis Males).


Ken reports from the river:  "This is Ed Brill, an acquaintance from Cincinnati who I first met on the Rock last year.  He drove up recently and caught this one on a white wooly bugger.  I caught a monster on a Kwikfish that cut my line on a rock - Kwikfish is gone!  Also, got another on a jointed Shad Rap - both in the deepest parts of the pool."  (photo and report courtesy of Ken Stein).


Randy caught this football shaped hen steelie in the northern Rock this week on a custom float rod he crafted himself (photo courtesy of Randy Gerrick).


Matt sent in this photo of Dan McCutcheon with yet another fine Rocky River steelie (photo courtesy of Matt).


Dan caught this steelie in the northern Rock on Monday, and reports that he saw several other fish taken on spawn sacks and small jigs tipped with maggots (photo courtesy of Dan McCutcheon).


Outdoor Odyssey, an annual free kid oriented outdoors event, will be held this Saturday October 13 at our Ohio & Erie Canal Reservation.  See the report text for details.


Last Friday while electrofishing a few steelhead by the marina to put on exhibit for the Steelhead Expo, we saw some very nice fish by the boat ramps.


Yesterday afternoon the U.S. Attorney held a press conference at the Rocky River Nature Center to announce federal charges in the Rocky River fish kill from back in April 2012.  See the report above for more.

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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