***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 early returning steelhead trout. On the afternoon of this report the Rocky River was stained and muddy from rain this week but is dropping into fishable shape. 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>
. Lake Erie anglers are targeting walleye, yellow perch, smallmouth bass, and panfish, and inland lake/pond anglers are primarily pursuing largemouth bass, channel catfish and panfish.
Early steelhead first show up around off the rocks at Edgewater and E55th, Wildwood Park, and in the northernmost river sections by the lake. The lake has been fishable with mostly moderate size (3 foot or less) waves the day leading up to this report. 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. Local rivers are still muddy from rain this week, but the Rocky River is just in the process of dropping into fishable shape today. The cooler rain we just recieved this week will surely entice some early steelhead into the streams, but any fish caught this early should be considered a bonus. Things traditionally start to heat up with the steelhead fishing into October.
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.
Anglers at our inland lakes and ponds are catching catfish, largemouth bass, and panfish. Wallace Lake, Ledge Lake, Shadow Lake, and Beyer's Pond are a few spots worth that can be worth poking around in late summer.
Rock bass, largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, crappie, freshwater drum and sunfish species can be found along the Cleveland shoreline in summer and can be caught on offerings such as tube jigs, dropshot rigs and live bait. Some good eater size walleye (15-20 inches) have been found in water as shallow as 16-24 feet deep by Cleveland area boating anglers, although more consistent catches are being made in 68-70 FOW. Yellow perch fishing off Cleveland has been heating up off Wildwood Park in 32-38 foot of water. The ODNR Division of Wildlife weekly Lake Erie fishing report can be viewed <here>
Steelhead Expo at the Rocky River Nature Center Saturday September 22ndh.
A great way to kick off the steelhead season is to attend the annual Steelhead Expo, which will be held at the Rocky River Nature Center on Saturday September 22nd. This event is a collaborative effort between the Ohio Central Basin Steelheaders and Cleveland Metroparks and will offer a full day of expert speakers and seminars, vendors, and other related information to kick off the fall steelhead season. There is no charge for the event but OCBS, a non-profit sportman's group which is very active in the local fishing and conservation communities, is offering a raffle as a fundraiser so donations or participation in the raffle is encouraged. You can check out the OCBS website and find out details regarding the event at this link: <Ohio Central Basin Steelheaders website>
Rocky River Watershed Council Fundraiser at Slim & Chubby's on September 22nd.
Immediately after the Steelhead Expo the Rocky River Watershed Council is having a fundraiser at Slim & Cubby's in Strongsville (12494 Prospect Road) from 5-8:00pm. For only $35 attendees get unlimited appetizers and drinks and can partake in a silent auction and raffle all to benefit watershed protection efforts! RSVP at www.myrockyriver.org
and walk-ins are welcome. Make a full day and stop by after the Steelhead Expo!
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
Note: The fishing report is updated monthly in June, July, and August and weekly every other month
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.