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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 - July 2013

Posted: 6/27/2013
Posted By: Mike Durkalec

As we move into mid-summer, highlight species targeted by anglers along the Rocky River watershed are smallmouth/largemouth bass, carp, panfish, and channel catfish.  To monitor the most recent river water level and temperature you can check the following link: <river flow gage data> 

Smallmouth bass are typically found in the deeper, rocky pools of the river during the day in summer, and often move to the heads of such pools in the early morning and evening hours to feed actively, especially during very hot periods.  A dark olive or brown tube jig of about 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 healthy number of trophy fish up to (and over) 20 inches in length. Rock bass are also present in the same river areas as smallmouth, and can be caught using the same offerings listed above.

Channel catfish and large carp are also present in some of these same areas in the river, and fishing for them can be a laid back and relaxing way to enjoy some time on the water.  Channel catfish are also being caught at Wallace Lake and the Ohio & Erie Canal fishing area.  Catfishing is usually best during lower light conditions using baits such as nightcrawlers, minnows, chicken liver, and processed dough baits. 
Carp can often be caught throughout the day on such bait as canned corn, carp dough baits, worms or crayfish tails.  A growing number of fly anglers seeking a challenge are targeting carp with nymphs and crayfish imitations, as well.  The key to fishing for either carp or catfish is fishing on (or very near) the river/lake bottom.  In addition, freshwater drum (sheepshead), white perch, and bullhead catfish are also abundant in the northern river reaches (north of Morley Ford) in summer.  For the angling generalist, any of the species thus far can be effectively targeted by fishing a nightcrawler worm right on the river bottom with a sinker.

Summer means family fishing time for many folks, and panfish fit the bill perfectly for a leisurely picnic and fishing outing.  Anglers seeking panfish have experienced decent fishing at most of the ponds and lakes in the Park District in the past week.  Crappie, bluegill, and other sunfish species can be taken with a number of offerings, but a waxworm or redworm on a small hook (or tiny jig) suspended under a stick float and fished around a weedbed or shoreline brush is always a good choice.  Wallace Lake, Shadow Lake, and Beyers Pond are just a few of many places in the Park to wet a line for various panfish species.  Largemouth bass fishing is best in Wallace and Hinckley lakes, although bass can be found in most park waters.  Canoe and rowboat rentals are available for anglers at Hinckley Lake, as well.

Rock bass, largemouth bass, crappie, freshwater drum, channel catfish, and sunfish species are biting along the Cleveland shoreline of Lake Erie on offerings such as tube jigs and live minnows.  Yellow perch and walleye are biting off Cleveland, as well.  Anglers can find more information at the <ODNR Lake Erie fishing report>.  

Completing the Emerald Necklace:  Cleveland Metroparks moves to the Lakefront!     Almost 100 years following the original vision set forth by park founder William Stinchcomb, his Emerald Necklace series of parks encircling Greater Cleveland has finally come to full realization.  As of early June Cleveland Metroparks has taken over management of a series of six lakefront parks formerly managed for decades by the state of Ohio.  The parks span from Edgewater Park to the west in Cleveland to Wildwood Park to the east in Euclid and exceed 400 total acres.  Look for great improvements at these parks in the future, including projects with anglers in mind.

We lost a Great One.
    On June 4th the local angling community experienced a great loss in Don Mayer passing at the age of 95.  He was the senior patriarch member of the Ohio Central Basin Steelheaders and was always friendly and thinking about others.  Don was also a skilled fly tier.  When I was in the hospital this past spring due to an accident, Don sent me a wonderful card which included the fly he caught a memorable fresh run steelhead on in the Rocky River the previous autumn (photo below), both of which are displayed in my office.  I speak for many of your friends, Don, when I say you will be missed and that we are all better people for having had the good fortune of knowing you.  

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,


Kelly shares "My daughter Lisa caught her first largemouth bass on Memorial Day at Wallace lake. It was 12 inches and was caught using a nightcrawler. Momma is so proud of her." (photo courtesy of Kelly Davisson).

Quinn caught this 31", 10 pound, channel catfish (which looks almost as big as him) on a pre-Father's Day outing with his family on the Rocky River.  The fish bit a Fay's Catnip jig tipped with a minnow (photos courtesy of Jeff Sutliff). 

PJ landed this bruiser Rocky River smallmouth bass in the Rock recently.  PJ maintains the popular website.  (photo courtesy of PJ Fillipowicz).

Chris landed this enormous channel catfish on the northern Rocky River (photo courtesy of Chris Dietrich).

Frank displays proof that you don't need anything more than a live worm to catch a good size Wallace Lake largemouth bass (photo courtesy of Mark Fascione).

Brother and sister Lucius and Cecilia had a great time fishing their favorite Metroparks pond with their father, who reports that Lucius dubbed the place "Hawgtopia" (photos courtesy of Mickey Venditti).

A few weeks ago Colin was still catching some trout, as well as other species, in Wallace Lake.  The top fish is a unique golden yellow "palomino" rainbow trout.  He has also been catching some fish in the East Branch Rocky River (photos courtesy of Colin Rich).

Tom, who works in our Zoo marketing depatment, made a very unique catch (given the time of year) on June 15 while casting a Rapala minnow plug into the Cuyahoga River at our Ohio & Erie Canal Reservation.  A fresh run 20" steelhead!  It was his first steelhead and he reported several jumps from the well as himself.  Tom capped off a fine morning by spotting a mink along the riverbank and appropriately summed it up as "a good day" (photo courtesy of Tom Robatin).

Andrew recently landed this fine bass (photo courtesy of Karen Kannenberg).

Justin caught this handsome largemouth bass while casting off the shoreline at Edgewater Park and reported (due to the filming of the Captain America movie in nearby downtown) that it was a unique experience fishing with the sound of machine gun fire coming from the city (photo courtesy of Justin Marconi).

Jakob recently caught (and released) this bruiser bass on the Booyah jig tipped with rubber crayfish displayed above (photo courtesy of Jakob Martinez).

Andrew has been sampling what the Rock has to offer, which has included a nice size rock bass and a late season rainbow trout (photos courtesy of Andrew Colucci).

Bill was fishing Wallace Lake with his son and buddy Sisqo catching some catfish when he hooked this 31" whiskered beast.  The fish bit on uncooked shrimp (photo courtesy of Bill Mantle).

Buddies Nate and AJ have been taking full advantage of what the summertime Rock and Metroparks lakes have to offer.  They have been catching smallmouth bass, carp, and even a few very late steelhead in the river and some fine crappie and largemouth bass in Oxbow Lagoon.  Nate notes that when the river is freshened by a rain and starts to recede the smallie bite has been best lately, and that when it was really hot out that downsizing to tiny size 16 nymph flies kept the bass biting (photos courtesy of Nate Adams).

DeAngelo caught this chunky largemouth bass (photos courtesy of DeAngelo Williams).

Joe reports recently catching about a dozen large catfish in the Ohio & Erie Canal fishing area on chicken livers (photos courtesy of Joseph Kroetz).

Thanks to a turnout of about 70 volunteers, the June 8 Rocky River clean-up was a big success, with two full pick-up loads of trash removed from the river.  The volunteers were thanked with a hotdog cookout following their hard work.

Ken and his son worked with local anglers Jeff Liskay, Craig Delewski and Mike Sprau to romove some very large trash items during the clean-up (photos courtesy of Ken Saike)

Local angler Don Mayer, who recently passed at the age of 95, will be missed greatly by the fishing community.  When I was in the hospital this spring following a devastating vehicle accident, Don raised my spirits with a wonderful card complete with a hand-tied fly that he caught a particularly memorable Rocky steelie on this past autumn.  I am a better person for having known Don.

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>


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