***Wednesday May 18 afternoon update: Please note that, due to the children's fishing derbies coming this weekend, Ohio & Erie Canal fishing area is closed to public fishing until 4:00pm on Saturday May 21 and Wallace Lake will be closed until 4:00pm on Sunday May 22. After these dates/times anyone can fish these areas again.***
In late spring, highlight species targeted by anglers in Cleveland Metroparks include largemouth/smallmouth bass, rainbow trout, walleye, steelhead, and panfish. The Rocky River is fairly low and clear at the moment, but there is quite a bit of rain in the forecast in the coming days so river conditions for the weekend will depend on how much we receive. Anglers should consult the flow data prior to heading to the water. Steelhead numbers dropped off notably this past week, although lake-run smallmouth bass numbers in the river have been impressive. Trout are available in the East Branch Rocky River and our local ponds and lakes are also offering good opportunities for largemouth bass, and panfish. Walleye fishing has been good around the Cleveland shoreline after dark and bass fishing has been heating up, too. To monitor the most recent river water level, temperature, and clarity (turbidity) you can check the following links: <Rocky River USGS flow gage data> <Chagrin River USGS flow gage data> <Rocky River NEORSD station with turbidity>
The highlight of the Rocky River fishery in late spring is diversity! Smallmouth bass, steelhead, channel catfish, carp, freshwater drum, and white bass are among the many species you can find around the marina. The river is low and clear at the moment but conditions for the weekend will depend on how much rain we receive in the coming days, so anglers are advised to check the flow gage before heading out for a trip. Steelhead numbers have dropped off notably in local streams this week. I would expect a few straggler steelhead to hang out over the next few weeks, but most anglers are hanging up the steelhead gear for the season and switching focus to other species.
Nosing steelhead out of the spotlight lately are increasing numbers of fat and sassy lake-run smallmouth bass. These fish are present in deeper, rocky holes throughout the main branch of the river. Anglers fishing a jig, wooly bugger, live shiner, or other lures/flies that mimic a baitfish have a shot at hooking "the silver and bronze" (a smallmouth or steelhead) in the same day through the end of May. For targeting smallmouth specifically an olive or dark brown 3-4" tube jig is a great choice. Please consider releasing larger bass, which are on their spawning run. Unlike our steelhead, this outstanding fishery is completely self perpetuating and we want to keep it strong.
Throughout spring, a total of 3,000 pounds of rainbow trout were stocked in the East Branch Rocky River between Route 82 (Royalton Road) and the ford crossing just south of Wallace Lake. although our spring stocking program has concluded, plenty of these trout remain when river conditions are amenable to angling. Additionally, Wallace Lake was stocked with trout throughout the winter and spring seasons, and ODNR Division of Wildlife stocked 2,500 trout in Hinckley Lake and 500 trout in Shadow Lake in April. Wallace Lake and Ohio & Erie Canal fishing area will be stocked with trout the third week of May for a kid's fishing event. Largemouth bass have been biting well at Wallace Lake this week, as well.
Some offerings to consider for trout include PowerBait in a variety of color, small jigs tipped with maggots or waxworms, salmon eggs, worms, waxworms, minnows, and small lures (such as RoosterTail spinners). Please note the current seasonal trout regulations: Lake Erie and all streams 2/day (through May 15, after which time it increases to 5/day) minimum size 12" (this includes steelhead), 3/day no size limit at Wallace, Ledge, Judge's and Ranger lakes, and 5/day no size limit at Shadow Lake and Ohio & Erie Canal.
Spring is a good time of year to pursue pre-spawn panfish and largemouth bass at our inland lakes and ponds, as well as at protected areas along the Lake Erie shoreline of Cleveland Harbor, like Edgewater Harbor and Gordon Park. Northern pike may also be found prowling weedy nearshore areas of the big lake. A white spinnerbait or Husky Jerk are good offerings for spring bass and pike, while a few waxworms suspended under a small bobber works well for sunfish. Crappie bite well on live minnows or small jigs. E55th Marina and Emerald Necklace Marina are now open from 9-5:00pm to supply your bait, refreshment, and general boating needs. The walleye night bite around Cleveland was good this week, with shore anglers with long handled landing nets have been catching walleye on Husky Jerk and Perfect 10 crankbaits.
Spring Children?�+s Fishing Derbies Are Coming on May 21 & 22. Our popular annual kid?�+s fishing derbies are coming up on Saturday May 21 at the Ohio & Erie Canal fishing area and Sunday May 22 at Wallace Lake. 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 21 Fishing Derby Info> <May 22 Fishing Derby Info>.
A New Ohio Record Yellow Perch. A Mentor angler broke the 32 year old Ohio yellow perch record fishing in April. The 2.9 pound perch was caught from the Lake Erie shoreline. Read about it <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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Marcel was fishing the northern Rocky for smallmouth yesterday and got a HUGE surprise- this 20 pound class sheepshead! The big drum, which was released, ate a tube jig. The fish could have potentially eclipsed the 23.5 pound state record! (photos Ken Harper).
Nate and friends have been catching some bruiser smallmouth bass, with a smattering of other species, in the Cleveland harbor this week. Nate is a walleye and multi-species nearshore light tackle/fly fishing guide on Lake Erie (photos courtesy of Nate Stansberry).
Here's something you don't see in Ohio every day- Crocs sandals and steelhead in the same image! (photo courtesy of Jake Kainec).
"Shub" caught a nice Wallace Lake largemouth bass (photo courtesy of Shubhendu Banerjee).
Greg caught this "whiskered steelhead" while learning to cast his new centerpin outfit on the Rock (photo courtesy of Greg Young).
Eric notes that the Rocky smallmouth are hammering hard jerkbaits this week (photos courtesy of Eric Phillips).
Dave shared the following observations and inquiry "I was fishing the Rocky Saturday behind the golf course, on the south end. I caught about a dozen small steelhead, what would appear to be skippers, no adult fish caught. I was wondering if these weren?�+t steelhead, but the stocker trout that were released on the East Branch and might have been washed down with the high water. I attached a couple of pics of the fish I caught. Also, there were still a few adult fish on their beds there. I was using a Mepps Aglia size 2 spinner." Mike's response- based on the proportions and fins, those definitely look like smaller spent steelhead to me (photo courtesy of Dave Coe).
Bill has been tearing up the Wallace Lake largemouth this week (photos courtesy of William Gross).
Dalton shared "I've been slacking on the fishing lately and reading the fishing report. I did end up catching a couple smallmouth recently off the shoreline at E72nd and one in the Cuyahoga River though! The biggest one was caught today (Wednesday), 19" inches and a little over 4lbs!" (photos courtesy of Dalton Hayes).
Brian caught a late season steelhead this week (photo courtesy of Brian).
The Rocky River smallies have approved of Nate's stripped streamer flies this week (photos courtesy of Nate Adams).
Look, I can catch bass without the aid of electricity once in awhile! These trophy bass were caught while fishing the Cleveland harbor shoreline with friend and Lake Erie guide Nate Stansberry for a few hours on Tuesday afternoon. The smallmouth munched a 3" dark olive tube with 1/4 oz jighead and the largemouth clobbered a big white and silver double-bladed spinnerbait. Black Senkos also worked. This fishery is only going to get better in the coming weeks, too. And we saw exactly zero other anglers fishing at the half dozen spots we hit!
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.