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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 4, 2012

Posted: 10/4/2012
Posted By: Mike Durkalec

***Sunday October 7 morning update: The river is still elevated in flow and muddy, but it is dropping rapidly and will likely be stained but fishable tomorrow.  Given the weather forecast conditions should continue to improve and offer good fishing prospects into early this week.***

The river level is dropping and the water is still a bit stained, but anglers were hooking a few steelhead in the river this morning.  As has been the case the past fews weeks, weekend fishing prospects are again fully dependant upon how much of the projected rain the region receives.  If precipitation is minimal, the river will be in great shape into the weekend.  Anglers would can keep an eye on the flow and temperature trend at the following link: <river flow gage data>       

Other than the day or so mid-week in which the river was too muddy to fish, the Rocky River offered a seasonally good run of steelhead this past week.  The Rocky River watershed has been fortunate this early fall to get a good amount of precipitation compared to other area streams, and as was also the case last year this has been a recipe for a nice start to the season with a decent early run of steelhead.  The area around the Emerald Necklace Marina/Scenic Park, near the boat ramps, has been a hot spot.  But anglers should not rule out traveling further upstream to look for fish, especially if they want more water to themselves.  For example, I witnessed at least a dozen very fresh adult steelhead near the nature center marina this past Monday during a school fish sampling outing (see photos of a few below).  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 spawn sacks (bright pink and about the size of a nickel were working well in the stained water), 1/32 oz jigs in contrasting bright and dark colors tipped with maggots, and hardware (medium size spoons and spinners with some silver in the finish), although a few have also been hooked by fly fishers on egg and streamer patterns.  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. 

Largemouth bass and panfish opportunities in Cleveland Metroparks lakes and ponds has overall been good 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.  More information on various fishing location around Cleveland Metroparks can be found at the following <link>.  

Lake conditions dependant, Lake Erie boaters out of the Emerald Necklace marina have continued the excellent catches of some very nice size yellow perch this week fishing near the lake bottom with perch speaders and live or salted emerald shiners.  One hotspot is at about 38 foot of water north of the mouth of the Rocky River.  Details can be found in the ODNR Lake Erie fishing report available at the<ODNR Lake Erie fishing report>.    

Steelhead Expo at the Rocky River Nature Center Saturday October 6th   A great way to kick off the steelhead season is to attend the 19th annual Steelhead Expo will be held at the Rocky River Nature Center on Saturday October 6th, 2012.  This event is a collaborative effort between the Ohio Central Basin Steelheaders and Cleveland Metroparks and will offer a full day of expert speakers and seminars, vendors, and other related information to kick off the fall steelhead season. There is no charge for the event but OCBS, a non-profit sportman’s group which is very active in the local fishing and conservation communities, is offering a raffle as a fundraiser so donations or participation in the raffle is encouraged.  More information on this offering can be found on the <Ohio Central Basin Steelheaders website>.   

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,



Lana and Justin caught some jumbo yellow perch this week in 41 foot of water off Bratenahl.  A few of the fish were Fish Ohio specimens of 13.5" (photos courtesy of Lana Holdash).


John caught this chrome steelie in the northern Rocky River on a spawn sack.  He noted it was C&R and had lots of fight for its size (photos courtesy of John Fay).


 Pete (pictured) and Joe were tossing shad colored rattle baits for bass in a marina along the Cleveland shoreline on Tuesday and were surprised to also catch several nice steelhead, including the beauty in the photo (photo courtesy of P.J. Filipowicz at <TheRockyRiver website>.


Jim and "Wild Bill" landed some fine Wallace Lake channel catfish this week (photos courtesy of Mark Fascione).


Ed reports "Here is 1 of 4 that I caught on gold Little Cleo spoons Saturday near the boat docks in under 2 hours.  Missed a couple other hits too.  That kind of bite combined with great weather is hard to come by, so it was a blast."  (photo and report courtesy of Ed Schmitt).


Tommy caught steelhead on spoons in both the Rocky and Cuyahoga rivers this week.  If I see him in that same footwear in the last photo in December I'll consider him the most hardcore steelheader out there!  (photos courtesy of Tommy Benner).


Anthony from <Stinks Bait & Tackle> made a nice catch of yellow perch in 37 foot of water just north of the west lighthouse off the Cleveland breakwall, capped by this 13.5" jumbo specimen (photos courtesy of Anthony Avancini).


Chris caught this chromer by the Puritas Road bridge on the Rock on a white and black feather jig tipped with maggots this past Sunday morning (photo courtesy of Chris Darr).


I shook the dust off my steelhead rod on Sunday morning, as well, and hooked a few fresh steelies in the Rock on bright pink dime size spawn sacks (photo courtesy of Sean Flanigan).


Dan proved once again that he can adapt to just about any fishing conditions and caught this fresh steelie by the marina yesterday morning in very muddy water conditions on a chartreuse spawn sack (photo courtesy of Dan McCutcheon).


Dan, Alex (middle photo), and the other folks at <Chagrin River Outfitters> report that some fish are also present in the east side streams, like the Chagrin, despite having recieved less rainfall than the Rocky watershed in recent weeks (photos courtesy of Dan Pribanic).


On Monday morning, approximately 50 St. Ignatius High School biology students joined us on the river by the nature center to learn about the ecology of the river.   In the catch were over a dozen very fresh adult steelhead.  The students were from the classes of John Cooney (pictured with student) and Tom Bogden (not pictured).


Jim Lampros of <Orvis Cleveland> reports that this Saturday October 6 they will be having a Fall Days event, which he describes as "We'll have free food and refreshments, live folk and bluegrass music, rescue dogs on hand from Geauga Humane's Rescue Village, and representatives from the Western Reserve Chapter of Trout Unlimited. Among them will be fly tier Lance Kekel, who'll be spinning up some fall steelhead flies for you to check out!"  (photo courtesy of Jim Lampros).


Rocky River regulars Tim, Matt, and Tony (respectively in photos above) made their annual pilgrimmage to fly fish the Salmon River in New York recently and caught plenty of chinook (king) and coho salmon.  Tony observes that this year offered an amazing run of salmon which was the best he's seen in 16 years of making this trip (photos courtesy of Tony DeLuca).


At least a few of the little rainbow trout spawned in our streams this past spring survived the heat of late summer, as evidenced by this guy which was one of a handful collected during a stream survey last Friday.


Park visitor Ihor Balaban captured this outstanding image of a great blue heron with a freshly caught goldfish in a marsh next to the North Chagrin Nature Center.  I now consider this bird a valuable Cleveland Metroparks non-native fish management volunteer!  You can see more of Ihor's great imagery on his Facebook site at <Ihor Balaban Photography> (photo courtesy of Ihor Balaban).

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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