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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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December 5, 2013

Posted: 12/5/2013
Posted By: Mike Durkalec

***Wednesday December 11 morning update:  The Rocky River is very slushy this morning.***

***Tuesday December 10 afternoon update:  A total of 1,000 pounds of rainbow trout were stocked between Wallace and Ranger lakes today, with most going in Wallace.***

***Monday December 9 afternoon update:  A total of 1,000 pounds of rainbow trout were stocked between Shadow, Ledge and Judge's lakes today. 

Highlight species targeted by anglers around Cleveland Metroparks in early winter include steelhead trout, with anglers also pursuing yellow perch, walleye, stocked rainbow trout and panfish.  The Rocky and Chagrin rivers are currently moderately low in level and clear, but that could change with appreciable precipitation.  During transitional weather anglers would be wise to check the most recent river water level and temperature at the following links: <Rocky River flow gage data> 
<Chagrin River flow gage data>

Steelhead fishing in the Rocky and Chagrin rivers was fair for most anglers over the past week.  The big trout are well distributed throughout the systems from the marinas to the reaches well upstream, although most of the minnows have vacated the marina area over the past week and there appear to be less steelhead hanging out there, accordingly.  Most fish this week were reported by float fishers drifting live minnows, small spawn sacks and small 1/32-1/64 oz marabou/hair jigs (various colors) tipped with a waxworm or a few maggots or 2-3" white tube jigs/Berkley Gulp minnows.  A few fish are still being reported on spoons and spinners despite the colling water, as well.  Fall fly fishers typically score best using egg pattern flies, streamers (Woolly Bugger and Clouser minnow patterns), spey patterns for swinging and size 14-12 nymph patterns.  The river will often have slush in the mornings when night temperatures dip into the mid twenties and below, but it often burns off as the day goes on.  Anglers should also expect ice in their guides on those cold mornings.  A little Chapstick rubbed on the guides can help remedy this issue. 

Steelhead and walleye fishing opportunities from the shore at Lakefront Reservation are available depending on Lake Erie wave conditions.  Anglers can view current lake conditions off Cleveland at the following link: <City Of Cleveland Water Intake Crib Cam>.  The huge schools of emerald shiners the fish were chasing along the shoreline have largely relocated to marina areas over the past two weeks, but some steelhead are still being taken along the rocks at Edgewater Park, the east facing wall at East 55th Street and the Wildwood Park breakwall.  Anglers have been catching the big trout most consistently on an offering dubbed "The Smorgasbord" by the locals, which consists of a small 1/32 oz marabou jig or painted jighead tipped with several maggots and one or two small emerald shiners suspended a few feet under a bobber.  It sounds a bit wacky, but I have personally witnessed plenty of fish fall victim to this offering!  Spoons and spinners can also be productive for steelhead.  Walleye action has also been reported at dusk and after dark off the rocks at Edgewater Park and East 72nd Street/Gordon Park access on Husky Jerk, X-Rap, Rattlin Rogue and Rattle Trap crankbaits.  For both fisheries, the action tends to come in spurts and anglers need to bring a long handled landing net and should be very careful on wet and slippery shoreline rocks. 

The Ohio & Erie Canal fishing area was stocked in October with 1,000 pounds each of rainbow trout and farm raised channel catfish.  Trout typically bite well on PowerBait and catfish like chicken liver, although a nightcrawler will catch either species.  The first round of winter trout stockings in Cleveland Metroparks lakes and ponds is scheduled for early next week.

2013 Sportfish Donation Project Summary.   Between September 13 and November 19, 2013, Natural Resources staff coordinated the donation of 2,794 catchable size sportfish valued at $12,494.87 to the Park District.  Fish originated from seven private properties, six of which were new relationships formed this year, and consisted primarily of quality size largemouth bass and bluegill sunfish.  Much of the labor on this project was provided by sixteen volunteers working a combined 210 hours.  Fish were distributed among seven Metroparks public fishing areas, two broodstock ponds, as well as provided to the Zoo for exhibit specimens and feeder fish. This year's effort builds upon a novel program that was initiated in 2008, since which time a total of 19,619 sportfish valued at $81,976  have been collected and released into Metroparks public fishing waters.  These fish complement the rainbow trout and channel catfish purchased annually to offer a high quality public fisheries program.

Noteworthy Reports of Fishing Success around Cleveland Metroparks.    Justin Marconi caught a coho salmon on a jig in the Rocky River this week (photos below).  There are a handful of chinook (king) salmon taken from the river every fall, but this is the first coho I've seen in the river in years, making it a particularly unique catch.

Two lucky anglers caught colorful buck brown trout in the Rock this week.  Christopher Dietrich caught his on a jig and Steve Kuklica caught his on a Rooster Tail spinner on his last cast of the day!  As if that wasn't unusual enough, Chris kept his fish (he releases the vast majority of what he catches) and found a half dozen maple samaras, aka "helicopter" seeds, in his fishes' belly!  Photos of both fish and the one trout's unusual meal choice are provided below.

If you have a photo or information 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

Tight Lines,


Steve reports "Came up from Columbus Monday morning to fish the gin clear low flow water. Fished around Rockcliff and ended by the Black Wall by the marina where I knew the water was deeper and a chance of hooking up would have better odds. Landed this nice bonus brown trout on my LAST cast of the day! Fished eggs for an hour with no luck. Switched to my go-to Rooster Tails and made the commitment to fish that the rest of the day (same lure all day). It paid off!" (photo courtesy of Steve Kuklica). 

Justin made a really rare catch on the Rock this week...a coho salmon!  The double hook jawed salmon bit a Gulp Minnow on a jig (photos courtesy of Justin Marconi).

As if Chris' Rocky River brown trout catch wasn't unusual enough, he found another surprise when he cleaned the fish.  The colorful buck brown had no less than a half dozen maple seeds in its stomach!  Chris releases the vast majority of the fish he catches (photos courtesy of Chris Dietrich).

A few steelies are still biting along the lakefront parks, as evidenced by this one caught at E55th Street on Sunday.  Most of the big trout along the shoreline have been caught on an unusual offering called "The Smorgasbord", which consists of a small 1/32 oz jig tipped with several maggots and one or two small emerald shiners.

Jeff caught this 28", 8 pound, hen steelie in the Rock on Sunday while using a Fay's Layla jig (photo courtesy of Jeff Sutliff).

Scott reports "Hi Mike!! It's Scott Deere, been doing very well this year so far. About 30 on the shore thus far, 2nd year out. Here are a few shots. Chris in the Camo, Don in the yellow mid-fight, me in the black. Been getting a lot at the Chagrin and the Cuyahoga. Eggs and jigs have been working well. Cold, cold days very slow presentation has been key. Been wanting to get on the Rocky but only have been out once and scored 2. Thanks for your updates it's always good!" (photos courtesy of Scott Deere).

Chris has been striking silver on small jigs drifted under a float in the clear water this week (photos courtesy of Chris Levicki).

Corey has caught fish ranging from dark and colorful to mint bright while fly fishing the Chagrin River this week (photos courtesy of Corey Bockhoff).

Dan is still hooking up on white trout worms and tiny egg sacks in the clear river.  For those who are unaware, Dan is such a fixture on the Rocky by the marina that he has a boulder on the riverbank named after him in that area, as indicated in the photo above.  It is debatable whether the boulder or Dan spends more time down there on the river bank!  Photo touched up by yours truly (photos courtesy of Dan McCutcheon).

Chris and his uncle fished the Rock this week and did quite well despite some other reports of fair to slow fishing (photos courtesy of Chris Dietrich).

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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