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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 - May 16, 2013

Posted: 5/16/2013
Posted By: Mike Durkalec

The Rocky River is currently exhibiting low and clear conditions and based on the weather forecast this scenario is not likely to change into the weekend.  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>

Smallmouth bass running up the Rocky and Chagrin rivers from Lake Erie was a highlight this week. "Smallies" will hit live bait (minnows, crayfish, worms), 3-4" tube jigs or rubber crayfish (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 dropback 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.  Anglers are still reporting a few late steelhead mixed in with the bass this week.

Quite a few large carp are in the Rocky and Chagrin rivers, as well.  Hard fighting carp bite well on baits like canned corn, worms, doughbaits and crayfish fished on the river bottom in holes.  Gaining in popularity is the challenge of catching carp on the fly rod, with a few local outfitters even offering seminars on this topic from time to time.  The best strategy is to spot visible carp slowly moving with nose down and tail up in runs, often trailed by a muddy plume, all of which indicate feeding behavior.  Cruising carp, on the  other hand, will rarely bite a fly.  Since carp have a great sense of smell but poor eyesight, the fly should be gently dropped a few feet ahead of a feeding fish and only twitched ever so slightly as the fish approaches.  Strikes are so subtle they are often not even felt, but are indicated by a pause in the fish's movement.  Some equate this syle of fishing to that employed by bonefish anglers on the tropical flats, even earning carp the nickname of "golden bonefish" among fly anglers.  In fact, bonefish style flies like a Crazy Charlie work well for carp, as do nymph, bugger and crayfish patterns.  If you are up for the challenge take out the steelhead fly rod and give it a try this year.

The Ohio & Erie Canal fishing area was stocked with rainbow trout by ODNR on May 3, and this area and Wallace Lake are being stocked with farm raised channel catfish and trout for the Children's Fishing Derbies this weekend.  Also recently (at the end of April), 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.  Please note that Wallace Lake and the Ohio & Erie Canal fishing area are clearly posted as closed to fishing until after the Children's Fishing Derbies this weekend and our Rangers will be regularly checking in to make sure folks are following this rule.  Plenty of catfish and trout will still be around for the general public following the event.

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 this weekend 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,


Laura and Mark had a great week of smallmouth bass fishing on the Chagrin River.  They both landed their personal best smallies, displayed above, with Laura's 15" bass taking a live worm and Mark's 18.5" bass taking a rubber worm worked along the river bottom (photos courtesy of Mark Warren).

A.J. had a great week on the Rock, landing some fine smallmouth bass and a late season steelhead (photos courtesy of A.J. Leonard).

Kevin caught this trophy smallmouth bass on the Rocky.  He usually uses 4" rubber worms (photo courtesy of Kevin Sweeney).

Chris landed some big carp in the Rock drifting sweet corn on his centerpin rig, including the unique mirror carp in the top two photos (photos courtesy of Chris Dietrich).

Ken easily made the transition from steelhead to smallmouth bass over the past two weeks, although he notes a few fresh steelies are still around (photos courtesy of Ken Harper).

Nathaniel also caught a mix of smallmouth bass and bonus steelhead in the Rock this week (photos courtesy of Nathaniel Watkins).

The Ken Mantkowski Annual Handicapped Fishing Outing this past weekend at Ledge Lake was a success, with a number of trout and quality sunfish cooperating for the attendees.  Thank you to the Cuyahoga County Board of Developmental Disabilities and Ohio Central Basin Steelheaders for teaming up with Cleveland Metroparks to make this event a success (photos courtesy of Donna Leech).

Pat enjoyed some great walleye fishing on Lake Erie this week, complete with bonus smallmouth bass (released) and soothing sunset (photos courtesy of Pat Thauvette).




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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