In late spring highlight species targeted by anglers in Cleveland Metroparks include smallmouth bass, stocked trout, panfish, walleye, and largemouth bass. With the previous warm weather and spike in river flow this week many steelhead have exited the river for the season. On the plus side, lake-run smallmouth bass are going strong in the rivers. Walleye are hitting along the Cleveland shoreline, and largemouth bass and panfish have been biting in inland lakes. Some stocked trout in the East Branch Rocky River and Wallace, Hinckley, and Shadow lakes are also still available. Anglers can monitor the latest river flows and temperature at the following links: <Rocky River flow gage data> <Chagrin River flow gage data>.
After a spike in flow earlier this week the Rocky River is back to low and clear conditions. Many steelhead exited the river and returned to the lake with that bump in flow. Although a few stragglers will likely be around through May, the run is essentially done for the year, and what a spring it was! On the other hand, the lake-run smallmouth bass fishing has been a highlight, with a 3-4" dark brown or olive tube jig being a very effective offering much of the time. Many of these bass are 2-4 pounds and even larger. Please consider releasing these big bass as they are the future of our self-sustaining smallmouth fishery! A spinner, live minnow, or baitfish crankbait can catch both smallmouth and bonus steelhead-- often from the same hole.
Channel catfish and carp are beginning to show up in the northern reaches of local rivers, as well. Catfish hang out in deeper holes, especially those with some woody cover in the water and bite best at dawn and dusk, unless the water is muddy under which conditions they'll bite throughout the day. Catfish bite best on the river bottom with an egg slip sinker holding down baits such as nightcrawlers, chicken liver (it lasts much longer if tied up in mesh spawn sack style), fish cutbait, and shrimp. Some steelhead anglers use their drift gear and floats for catfish, which works quite well as long as you set your depth to be very close to or on the river bottom.
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. The best strategy to do this 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 style 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 Crazy Charlies work well for carp, as do nymph, bugger and crayfish patterns. If you are up for a challenge take out the fly rod and give it a try.
Some trout remain to be caught at Wallace Lake, Hinckley Lake, and Shadow Lake. PLEASE NOTE: Wallace Lake north of the swimming area and the Ohio & Erie Canal fishing area are clearly posted as closed to fishing until after (4:00pm) the children's fishing derbies this Saturday and Sunday, respectively. Trout often bite on small jigs tipped with bait (maggots, waxworm, minnow, corn) suspended under a float, spawn sacks, small to medium size spinners (RoosterTail spinners are good), and Power Bait (rainbow and other bright colors have been best) about the size of a marble near the lake bottom with a small sinker. Please take note that the daily trout limit is 3/day in these waters, with the exception of Shadow Lake which is 5/day. Trout can be expected through May until the weather warms appreciably. As an added bonus, just shy of 1,500 quality size bluegill, largemouth bass, and white crappie were stocked in Wallace and Shadow lakes in April, as well.
Anglers fishing the Cleveland shoreline of Lake Erie shoreline are pursuing walleye, steelhead, crappie, largemouth bass, northern pike and a menagerie of panfish species. Many fish can be found prowling the marinas and other nearshore areas. The post-spawn walleye shore night bite and daytime boat bite have been good along the Cleveland shoreline, with Edgewater Park, E55th/E72nd (Gordon Park), and Wildwood Park all worth a look. Anglers are primarily casting Husky Jerk, Rattlin Rogue, and Perfect 10 crankbaits for walleye from the shoreline rocks. Be sure to bring a long handled landing net and a headlamp. The Ohio Division of Wildlife Lake Erie fishing report may be viewed <here>.
Spring Children?�+s Fishing Derbies This Weekend. Our popular annual kid?�+s fishing derbies are this weekend on Saturday May 16 at Wallace Lake and Sunday May 17 at the Ohio & Erie Canal fishing area. The event is free, fish will be stocked for the event, and fishing gear and bait will be provided for those in need at no cost. For more information, you can check the following link: <May 16 Fishing Derby Info> <May 17 Fishing Derby Info>. Photos from the 2014 event can be viewed at the following link: <2014 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 firstname.lastname@example.org .
Outdoors/conservation writer Matt Stansberry caught this fine brace of walleye just off the Cleveland shoreline on crankbaits this week (photo courtesy of Matt Stansberry).
Evan caught his first smallmouth bass of the year in the Rock this past Sunday. He was using swimbaits (photo courtesy of Evan Smith).
Gabriel and his nephew Lucius had a memorable week fishing the last of the spring steelies in the Rock (photo courtesy of Gabriel Venditti).
Tim noted that he had fantastic smallmouth bass fishing, with a few steelies mixed in, with very little company on the river this week (photos courtesy of Tim Maher).
Dale and friends have been catching some bruiser walleye just off the Gold Coast (Lakewood) on Reef Runner crankbaits and crawler harnesses (photo courtesyof Dale Sante).
Ed of Berea shares the following tip "I wanted to pass along a good tip to the website readers that cost me 6 months of barely catching any steelhead. If you remember, I had emailed a couple months back frustrated at the numbers of steelhead in the Rocky. (Which isn't true, it was my fishing that had changed) For years I had fished with 8 lb 100% fluoro on my whole spool with no leader needed. I would catch trout on most trips when conditions were good. At some point last year I could barely catch a trout and was skunked on almost every trip and couldn't figure out why...Then I realized that I had switched to 8 lb mono with a 3-4 ft leader of fluoro. Well, as soon as I switched back to all fluoro with no leader, boom...I've caught trout and smallmouth on my last five trips in April and May. Somehow the mono that floats, drifts, and casts better is too visible on top of the water even with an invisible leader. Maybe this tip will help a few anglers out there, and I also attached a pic from last week" (photo courtesy of Ed Schmitt).
Greg has been catching some football size smallies along the Cleveland shoreline on small crayfish crankbaits (photos courtesy of Greg Young).
Nate a multi-species fly fisher in the truest sense! Can you name (in the comments section) the seven different species he caught this week from the 13 photos above? (photos courtesy of Nate Adams).
Eddy caught some nice trout and largemouth basin Wallace Lake earlier this spring while he enjoyed viewing the local wildlife (photos courtesy of Eddy Repjar).
Note: The fishing report is updated monthly in June, July, and August and weekly every other month
2019 Cleveland Metroparks Registered Fishing Guides
(name, company, contact)
- #19-001 Jim Lampros, floodplainsmag.com, email@example.com (216) 513-6011
- #19-002 Joseph Beno, On The Swing, Joseph93935@hotmail.com (440) 667-2278
- #19-003 Daniel Bennett, Steelhead Alley Outfitters, www.steelheadalleyoutfitters.com (888) 453-5899
- #19-004 Monte Casey, The Steelhead Guide, firstname.lastname@example.org www.steelheadguide.com
- #19-005 Jeffery Liskay, Silver Fury Guide Service & Schools, email@example.com (440) 781-7536
- #19-006 Mario Chance, Chagrin River Outfitters, firstname.lastname@example.org (330) 984-3086
More information on Cleveland Metroparks Fishing Guide Permit requirements, including the permit application, you may check the following link: <Fishing Guide Permit Program>
Learn how you can support recreation opportunities through a donation to the Cleveland Metroparks Fishing Fund.