In summer highlight species targeted around Cleveland Metroparks include largemouth and smallmouth bass, walleye, yellow perch, panfish, channel catfish, and common carp. 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.
Fishing can be a challenge in the warm waters of mid to late summer, and fishing early or late in the day are best bets. Channel catfish and carp are among the species that thrive in warm water and fishing for them can be a laid back and relaxing way to enjoy some time on the water. In mid-late June farm raised catfish were stocked at Shadow (800 lbs), Oxbow Lagoon (350 lbs), Ranger (200 lbs), and Ledge (150 lbs), and Judge's (100 lbs) lakes. Good numbers of channel catfish stocked in May also remain to be caught at Wallace Lake and the Ohio & Erie Canal fishing area. Plenty 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.
Carp will be found throughout local rivers, as well. Carp can often be caught throughout the day on such bait as canned corn, carp dough baits, worms or crayfish tails. Fly anglers looking for a challenge can sight fish to feeding carp, targeting them with nymphs and crayfish imitations. 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.
Smallmouth bass are typically found in the deeper, rocky pools of the river during the day in early summer, and often move to the heads of such pools in the early morning and evening hours to feed. A dark olive or brown tube jig of 3-4" 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 and largemouth bass are also present in the same river areas as smallmouth, and can be caught using the same offerings listed above.
Summer means family fishing time for many folks, and panfish fit the bill perfectly for a leisurely picnic and fishing outing. 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 aquatic weeds or shoreline brush is always a good bet. Wallace Lake, Shadow Lake, Oxbow Lagoon (in Rocky River Reservation), Lege 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 best in Hinckley and Wallace lakes, although bass can be found in most park waters.
Rock bass, largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, white bass, northern pike, catfish, freshwater drum and sunfish species can all be caught along the Cleveland shoreline of Lake Erie on offerings such as tube jigs, crankbaits, spinners, and live minnows. Walleye fishing has been fantastic and yellow perch are biting in the nearshore waters of Cleveland, as well. The ODNR Division of Wildlife weekly Lake Erie fishing report can be viewed <here>.
Recent Stocking Update.
On four dates over the past month we have stocked 1,975 sportfish in our local lakes. The fish consisted mostly of bluegill and good number of largemouth bass with a healthy peppering of crappie, bullhead cafish, other sunfish species, and white suckers. Photos of some of the better quality specimens are offered below. The fish were a result of collaboration with other parks that were required to drain their ponds for dam repair or restoration project work. Fish from one lake at Richfield Joint Recreation District and three ponds at a former golf course taken over by Metroparks Serving Summit County were released at a number of locations, including Shadow and Wallace lakes, Oxbow Lagoon (in Rocky River Reservation), Strawberry Pond, Camp Cheerful pond (a summer camp for handicapped children), and Camp Forbes pond (a city of Cleveland summer camp). Thank you to our partners for allowing this infusion of much appreciated sportfish into our fishing areas!
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 .
Proud father Todd reports "Hi Mike, my ten year old daughter Ella caught this channel cat in the oxbow lagoon today. We released and she had fun!"
(photo courtesy of Todd Murphy).
A lad poses with a yellow bullhead catfish caught in Wallace Lake (photo courtesy of Corey Butram).
Nathan caught some nice smallmouth and rock bass in the Rocky River fishing with dad recently, but lost a huge smallmouth too. well, that'll be the one that keeps him coming back (photos courtesy of John Diez).
Camp Forbes is a city of Cleveland summer camp that our wonderful Youth Outdoors staff work closely with. Fishing is an important part of their programming in the pond onsite.
Ken reports "Despite the sun and heat, we had a lot of activity at Oxbow Lagoon! Bill (orange shirt) caught his first fish ever and a big largemouth. Unfortunately, the largemouth got away before we could get a picture. Kenji caught a number of bluegill and a nice catfish. I caught a carp, my first, plus some bluegill. All were caught on night crawlers except for one bluegill that took a kernel of corn."
(photos courtesy of Ken Sakaie).
Tudor recently caught and released this Fish Ohio award size largemouth bass in Wallace Lake on a wacky rigged Senko worm (photos courtesy of Tudor St Stephen).
Lana caught this bruiser sheepshead recently at E55th access on Lake erie (photo courtesy of Lana Cardiko).
John and his girlfriend had some great angling for catfish in a smaller Metroparks lake. Check the report above for details on where farm raised channel catfish were recently stocked (photos courtesy of John Paul Duff).
Jeff rshared regarding the images above "A giant sheephead, the big walleye of the day (24” and 4+ lbs), and my wife, Michele, and her 30” 12+ lb catfish that took 15 exciting minutes to bring to hand. Her biggest fish ever and she was cool as a cucumber through the entire fight."
(photos courtesy of Jeff Schimelpfenig).
Brian accepted some risk taking his kayak 3 miles from shore to the Cleveland Crib water intake, but was rewarded with a nice catch of walleye and white bass (photos courtesy of Brian Franko).
Think sunfish are easy to ID? Well, how about these sunfish caught in the Rocky River and Wallace Lake by a local angler? The first four are hybrids with parent species including green sunfish, bluegill, and pumpkinseed sunfish. The fifth fish is an oft mis-IDed warmouth sunfish. And, of course, the largemouth bass is easy (photos courtesy of Mike Brady).
My brother Mark and his friend enjoy catching non-game fish species in the East Branch Rocky River. Pictured are a common carp and golden redhorse sucker (photos courtesy of Mark Durkalec).
Tim reported recently "Here is a picture of a couple 22 inch walleye I got Sunday and I also got my 6 within an hour caught a total of 12 in a couple hours got too hot and left all on spoons couple on double willow worm harness. All caught in 55 to 60 foot of water off Rocky River"
(photo courtesy of Tim).
Well into summer friends and I were catching wallleye and tackle busting sheepshead right along the Cleveland shoreline. Pictured with me above are Moe and Nadia Slyman, Greg Young, and Graham Montague.
We recently stocked 1,600 pounds of farm raised channel catfish between 5 Metroparks lakes. See the report for details.
Over 4 dates over the past month we've collected 2,000 sportfish from lakes being drained (not on Metroparks property) and released them around Cleveland Metroparks. See the report highlight for details.
I was recently fishing a local public lake and caught two bass at the same time on a white and silver spinnerbait!
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.