***NOTE: The Fishing Report Blog is back to regular weekly Thursday updates from September-May!*** As we begin our approach to fall, highlight species targeted by anglers along the Rocky River and other area streams include smallmouth bass, carp, panfish, and channel catfish...with a watchful eye looking for the first returning steelhead trout. On the morning of this report the Rocky River exhibited a muddy stain from recent rain. To monitor the most recent river water level and temperature you can check the following link: <Rocky River flow gage data> <Chagrin River flow gage data>. Lake Erie anglers are targeting yellow perch, walleye, white bass, smallmouth bass and panfish, and inland lake/pond anglers are primarily pursuing largemouth bass, channel catfish and panfish.
I have not yet personally witnessed early steelhead returning to Metroparks streams, although the timing is about right and there are rumors of a few of the big trout at the lakefront and northernmost river reaches in the early mornings (see "First Steelhead Contest" info further down the report). The past several years I witnessed the first steelhead in the Rocky River from mid-late August. Early steelhead also tend show up around the river mouths and off the rocks at Edgewater and Wildwood parks. Casting a spoon (ie Little Cleo or KO Wobbler) or spinner (ie Vibrax or RoosterTail) at these locations are as good a bet as any for connecting with an early steelhead trout. Anglers are also pursuing a mix of warmwater species in the streams. 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. 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).
Channel catfish, carp, sheepshead and several sucker species are also present in some of these same areas in the river, especially around the marina on the Rocky, and fishing for them can be a laid back and relaxing way to enjoy some time on the water. Catfishing is usually best during lower light conditions using baits such as nightcrawlers, minnows, chicken liver, and processed dough baits. Catfish often bite best following a rain when the water is a bit murky. Carp can often be caught throughout the day on such bait as canned corn, carp dough baits, worms or crayfish tails. 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.
The yellow perch bite has been improving recently following a slow summer. Anglers are using perch spreaders and live or salted shiners, although local bait shops have had golden shiners and fathead minnows in place of hard to find emerald shiners lately. Boating anglers have found perch this week off Cleveland and Euclid in 48-52 feet of water. Rock bass, largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, crappie, freshwater drum and sunfish species are also found along the Cleveland shoreline in summer and can be caught on offerings such as tube jigs, dropshot rigs and live bait. Walleye schools are primarily still in deep water offshore, although a few locals have reported walleye caught at E72nd St after dark this week. White bass fishing, which is typically good in late summer, has been slow lately. The ODNR Division of Wildlife weekly Lake Erie fishing report can be viewed <here>. Anglers/boaters can view current lake conditions off Cleveland at the following link: <City Of Cleveland Water Intake Crib Cam>.
First Steelhead Of The Season In Cleveland Metroparks Contest! I have rounded up a prize (6 Mepps trout spinner assortment valued at $25- see image below) for the first documented steelhead caught in Cleveland Metroparks this fall. To qualify please email me a photo of you holding the steelhead (or salmon or brown trout) at a location clearly identifiable as within our Metroparks with a newspaper (or other timely item) from that date. Sorry for the extra hurdles, but we want to keep things honest. Winner will be the first one I receive (validity of the catch at my discretion)- not necessarily the earliest caught.
Former Aurora Golf Club Fisheries Project. The former Aurora Golf Club was recently sold (it was no longer destined to be a golf course) and, fortunately, the 192 acre site will be restored back to a natural state by Chagrin River Watershed Partners and Enviroscience, Inc. To eliminate water withdrawls from the high quality Aurora Branch Chagrin River, a several acre lake onsite was drained. Being recognized as local fisheries experts, Cleveland Metroparks was recruited for an opportunity to salvage fish for release into our public fishing areas. On four dates between May and August, 2015, we collected a total of 1,728 fish valued at $7.7K. The catch included largemouth bass (with several trophy size specimens), bluegill, redear sunfish, channel catfish, and white crappie (see a few photos below). The fish were distributed between Wallace Lake, Shadow Lake, Ledge Lake, and Beyer's Pond. For more on the site restoration you can check <here>.
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 email@example.com .
Luis shared this wonderful father-daughter experience- "My daughter Amarilys' last fishing trip of the summer before she heads back to college. 32" long 10+ lb channel cat. Caught it on a night crawler on 6lb line in Lake Erie. This is by far the biggest fish she ever caught, she was thrilled and worried the entire time it would break her line." (photo courtesy of Luis Nazario).
Ryan shares- "I recently had some family in from upstate NY and I took them out on the upper Rocky to fish a little bit. We did well and caught a mix bag of bluegill-cats-carp-and smallies. They are good kids and huge outdoor enthusiasts. Now I just need to get them here sometime in the spring for steelhead!" (photos courtesy of Ryan McCarger).
Cassie caught this nice carp on the Rocky River (photos courtesy of Chuck Mechling).
Chris caught this dandy 9 lb, 27" channel catfish from the Lake Erie shoreline using shrimp for bait (photo courtesy of Chris C).
Kevin had fun reeling in this Rocky River carp, which was hooked using corn (photo courtesy of Kevin Kerchenski).
Nick has been making some fine catches of channel catfish in smaller Metroparks lakes (photos courtesy of Nick Zarzeczny).
This pike was recently caught in the Cuyahoga River in Cleveland Metroparks (photo courtesy of Chuck Slusarczyk Jr).
Even an arm in a sling could not hold Nate back from hooking the Rocky River Trifecta- carp, smallmouth bass, and steelhead (photos courtesy of Nate Adams).
Photos from the fish collection at former Aurora Golf Club lake as detailed in the report highlight section above.
You can win this Mepps trout spinner assortment for catching the first documented steelhead of the season in Cleveland Metroparks waters. See contest rules in the report above.
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, firstname.lastname@example.org (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, email@example.com www.steelheadguide.com
- #19-005 Jeffery Liskay, Silver Fury Guide Service & Schools, firstname.lastname@example.org (440) 781-7536
- #19-006 Mario Chance, Chagrin River Outfitters, email@example.com (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.