As we move into late-summer, highlight species targeted around Cleveland Metroparks include walleye, yellow perch, largemouth/smallmouth bass, panfish, channel catfish, and common carp. The river water levels have been low all summer up to this point, although the Rocky received a nice slug of water in early August. 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><Rocky River NEORSD station with turbidity>. Please note: the Fishing Blog is updated once a month in June, July, and August and back to weekly in September.
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). Rock bass are also present in the same river areas as smallmouth, and can be caught using the same offerings listed above. Also, the very first few steelhead of the year tend to show up around mid to late August in the Rocky and Chagrin rivers.
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. Earlier this summer farm raised catfish were stocked at Shadow (700 lbs), Ledge (450 lbs), Ranger (300 lbs), and Judge's (150 lbs) lakes. Good numbers of channel catfish are also available at Wallace Lake and the Ohio & Erie Canal fishing area. Check out the two monster blue catfish caught at Wallace Lake in late July in the photos below! Lots of catfish are available in the northern Rocky River, as well. Catfishing is usually best during lower light conditions using baits such as nightcrawlers, minnows, chicken liver, and processed dough baits.
Large carp will be found throughout the Rocky, Cuyahoga, and Chagrin rivers in summer, as well. Carp can often be caught throughout the day on such bait as canned corn, carp dough baits, worms or crayfish tails. A growing group of fly anglers looking for 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 early 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 Lakefront Reservation are just a few of many places in the Park to wet a line for various panfish species. Largemouth bass fishing is often best in Wallace and Hinckley lakes, although bass can be found in most park waters. The fishing in the north end of Wallace Lake has been very good recently (see images below from a few recent kid outings).
Largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, rock bass, crappie, freshwater drum, catfish, and sunfish species are biting along the Cleveland shoreline of Lake Erie on offerings such as tube jigs and live minnows. Walleye are biting off of Cleveland, as well, with an impressive number of just sub-legal 14" walleye around boding well for fishing in the years to come. Yellow perch fishing has been slow all summer, but reports are picking up in 34-42 feet of water off Euclid and E72nd. 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>
Local Angler Profile: Shaun Cassidy. I met Shaun and his dad while at our ice fishing fundraiser derby two years ago. I was impressed that Shaun was catching more trout than anyone else around him by jigging Swedish Pimple spoons. After he recently landed two big blue catfish at Wallace Lake (images below), I thought folks would be interested in getting to know him. So I sent him some questions and his responses are summarized as follows:
My name is Shaun Cassidy. I'm 32 yrs old and I was born in Cleveland, grew up in Parma where I presently live and I'm profoundly deaf. I do wear one hearing aid which helps me hear sound and speech but I need to see people's faces so I can read their lips and understand what they are saying. My dad introduced me to fishing when I was two years old. I would wander off looking for snakes, frogs and turtles when I got bored. In high school I started to get more serious about fishing.
Dad and I fish mostly at Ranger Lake, Wallace Lake and Bass Lake. We go on a charter every summer in Lake Ontario in Olcott, New York, for salmon and steelhead. We always do really good there. Wallace Lake and Ranger Lake are my favorites because it is close to home and I go every chance I get. About nine years ago I became fascinated with fly fishing, read alot about it and basically taught myself. I fly fish on Rocky River for steelhead and smallmouth bass from September to June. I've caught many steelhead and smallmouth bass. I have the first two large ones I caught mounted- a male and female. I was five the first time I went ice fishing with my dad at Medina Fish Hatchery. We ice fished a few times up at the Lake Erie islands for walleye but mostly we ice fish on Ranger and Wallace lakes. I really enjoy ice fishing.
Ever since I caught big catfish in the Ohio River in 2003 I have longed to catch them in a lake closer to home. I decided this summer to try night fishing on Wallace Lake. This June I caught ~45 channel catfish using hot dogs as bait. Nothing real big. I started night fishing a couple nights a week at Wallace, sometimes with my dad and sometimes alone. We fished from shore and sometimes something really big hit but it broke our lines (we used 12-14 lb line) and didn't know what it was. Snapping turtle or monster fish? I decide to fish in my kayak so I didn't have to move from spot to spot on shore.
July 23 I had two poles in the water. I was watching one on the right that had a bite. Suddenly the kayak started to turn towards the left. The lake was calm and no wind. I grabbed the pole on the other side and it felt really heavy and started to bend and suddenly I was being dragged in the kayak. I fought the fish for about 30 min. I saw the big belly and thought it could be a state record channel cat! I was so excited but nervous I would lose it. Finally the catfish tired. I reeled it in and because I lost my net in the water I had to paddle with one arm and the other holding the fish. I didn't know the weight or length but it was huge! I took a picture (Note from Mike: it was a blue catfish, and this one is in the bottom two images of Shaun below).
July 30 I went to Wallace Lake again with a friend. Jake fished on shore and about 9pm he got a huge hit but the line broke and he lost it. Thirty minutes later I got a huge hit in my kayak . It started to fight and then let me reel it in but as I got it to the top of the water it dove deep into the water and I could feel the drag! I freaked out because it almost tipped the kayak. The cat tried to pull me to a log jam but I paddled backwards and made the cat turn away from the jam. Finally I saw the cat and really freaked out because I knew for sure it was a blue catfish. I got to shore, weighed it and it was 39.24lbs! (images below). Jake helped me take pictures and I released the cat. I was done for the night and extremely satisfied with my catch. However, Jake wanted to stay and fish. It was only 10:15pm but I was so exhausted! I was ready to head home all excited.
The fish don't seem to bite until after 9 or 9:30pm so I wish I could fish longer through the night. I plan on going to Wallace this Saturday night. I caught my two monster fish two Saturdays in a row so I'm going for the "hat trick" with a 20lbs line! Wish me luck!
PS: My goal is to catch a monster blue ice fishing one day! :-) ~Shaun
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 .
Brent caught this fine channel catfish at Ranger Lake on August 1st (photo courtesy of Steve Furjanic).
Jarred wanted to give a happy shout out to his sister Rebecca, who caught this pumpkinseed sunfish at Wallace Lake a week after undergoing brain surgery. Jarred had a great day of fishing at Wallace on August 3rd, landing 6 of 8 largemouth bass he hooked on Senkos (photos courtesy of Jarred Bugg).
The Butram family has been having some late summer fishing fun catching bass and catfish in Wallace and other area lakes (photos courtesy of Corey Butram).
The last two Saturday evenings in July, Shaun caught and released two big blue catfish from his kayak in Wallace Lake. The fish, native to the Ohio River but not Lake Erie drainage, are thought to have been introduced to the lake as smaller fish during stockings of wild caught catfish from the south in the 90's, and grew big in the two decades that followed. This month I included a Local Angler Profile section featuring Shaun in the report above. FYI, anglers can fish Metroparks lakes until 11:00pm (photos courtesy of Shaun Cassidy).
East 55th breakwall is producing a few catches, most notably a cooler full of nice sunfish for an angler fishing waxworms on light tackle straight down alongside the wall.
Randy caught a healthy Rocky River channel catfish, as well as a rare albino catfish in Ledge Lake (photos courtesy of Randy Gerrick).
Brian landed a gorgeous 41", 14 pound, northern pike in the Cuyahoga River using a fire tiger colored Musky Killer spinner (photo courtesy of Brian Ailor).
Jeff and his son have been catching some perfect "eater" walleyes off Cleveland. With all the small walleye around this year remember- they need to be at least 15"! (photo courtesy of Jeff Deluca).
Leroy shows off a great Wallace Lake largemouth bass. His family was there from around the country for the Williams family re-union recently, and caught a bunch of sunfish and bass on the poles he provided for traveling relatives (some from as far away as Texas).
We recently hosted kid fishing outings at the north end of Wallace Lake with Lutheran West High School and The City Mission and the bass and sunfish did not disappoint! I believe every kid there caught at least one fish, and several first time anglers asked me where they could purchase their own fishing pole (we provided gear for the outings).
Jake caught a dandy channel catfish in a Metroparks lake (photo courtesy of Jake Yambor).
Jonathan Jr, (blue) and Jayden (grey) had some summer fishing fun with dad (photos courtesy of John Lusnek).
On a recent after work outing, volunteer Steve and Ranger Captain Sean joined me for some walleye trolling. I prefer to troll diving crankbaits nearshore- I typically don't fill the cooler, but usually get enough ideal size walleyes for a few meals for everyone onboard, as well as bonus fish like the smallmouth bass pictured. Plus, I like to work structure more than open water trolling.
Local angler John was vacationing in Canada and caught and released this brute 6.6 lb largemouth bass on a minnow (photo courtesy of John Fay).
Emma and Sierra show off some nice bass collected from the Zoo lake and released in Wallace and other area ponds, along with a lot of hand-size pumpkinseed sunfish. It's not every day that you are electrofishing in northern Ohio while curious monkeys watch you closely (bottom pic)!
The recent Life in the Day of Euclid Creek and Rocky River Watershed Council Annual Picnic events drew good crowds that were very engaged during the introduction to fishes caught onsite. Lots of kids, in particular, had their first "up close and personal" experience with our various local fish species (photos courtesy of Metroparks photographer Kyle Lanzer and Owen Lockhart).
This was one of several small walleyes sampled in Wildwood Marina recently. These fish are everywhere and bode outstandingly for the future of our walleye fishing. But please remember, they must be at least 15 inches long to keep! (photo courtesy of Owen Lockhart).
Mallory, from Dayton, was visiting her grandfather Fred and wanted to catch a bass, so he took her to Shadow Lake to give it a try. When I ran into them I told her that her rabbit ears were cute, but she corrected me that they were wolf ears!
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.