***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 afternoon of this report the Rocky River was starting to rise from 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> <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. 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. The cooler rain we just recieved should entice a few early steelhead into the streams.
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 has been turning up some fine specimens of all of these types of fish lately, as evidenced in the photos below. Ledge Lake, Shadow Lake, and Beyer's Pond are just a few other spots 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. Yellow perch fishing off Cleveland has been heating up off Wildwood Park in 32-38 foot odf 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>
Hooked on Fishing Fisheries Program Update on September 12th.
We still have a couple openings for the Hooked on Fishing program on Wednesday September 12th where we will provide attendees a nice meal (and have drinks available), give an update on the Cleveland Metroparks fisheries program, you can meet the Metroparks CEO, and you get a chance to fish a spot where fishing is not normally allowed. The event will be held at the North Chagrin Nature Center from 5:30-8:00pm and will be of no cost to attendees. The event is capped at 100 folks and we only have about a dozen spots left. The catch is you must RSVP at firstname.lastname@example.org
by 5:00pm on Frodat September 7th! The spots remaining will be given in the order of RSVP reciept. More on the event here <Hooked on Fishing event>.
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
Dr. Justin Chaffin is a leading researcher on algae and nutrient issues on Lake Erie out of OSU Stone Lab. He sent me the following "My 2-year old niece, Gabby Chaffin, caught her first fish on her first ever cast from the Rocky River. It was a decent largemouth that hit a chartreuse jig tipped with a frozen shiner. The first picture is Gabby holding her barbie rod and the second is Gabby and her dad Troy with the largemouth bass."
Congratulations Gabby! (photos courtesy of Justin Chaffin).
John shares "Hi Mike, here is a couple of pix of my grandson. We were at Wallace Lake earlier this summer and had a great time. 'Jumpin Johnny' caught a few bluegills at and a few hours later he polished of his plate of breaded fillets. He was fishing with Grandpa John."
(photos courtesy of John Adkins).
The "Butram Boys" have been catching fish around Cleveland Metroparks this summer (photos courtesy of Corey Butram).
Nathan caught some fine smallmouth bass fishing the Rocky River with dad (photos courtesy of John Diez).
Jeff shared "I'm 43 and used to fish with my dad growing up, and I don't know I just decided to take some vacation and start fishing again. Still had my old Mitchell 308S, got a decent medium-light rod and some fancy new woven line. Poked through my old lures and picked out a little crayfish crankbait. Started at the head of the Rocky River and went upriver from the launch at the beginning of the parkway. First day I got a very brave war-mouth bluegill I call them, not sure if that's correct, lol (Mike's note: that's a green sunfish). Between that day and the next I made it down to the Hilliard bridge and that was it, and that's all the fishing I did on the vacation as weather decided otherwise. Both trips were in the morning, but not too early, 9am-noon or so, walking in the river. Well, I was a little disheartened, but I got a chance this evening after about 5pm, and started heading south from the parking just north of the Lorain Rd bridge. And whaddya know, there's a bit of a deep spot just after the bridge with some water features (submerged tree) and bang! I nailed a fighter! My first real fish in 20 years! I get stuck not wanting to cross deepish water and have to walk a ways above the wall by the golf course, but eventually I found a way down and worked my way back. Some potential pockets in there under the steep bank, and one produced my 2nd fish! Both strong little fighters, maybe 12-14 inches. Question, I think these are both smallies, but the eyes and patterns suggest some distinction between the two, no? Or just within normal variation? (Mike's note: both are indeed smallmouth bass and are nice examples of variation within the species)"
(photos courtesy of Jeff Goddin).
Fred caught an early steelhead in a Metroparks creek. He was using a small jig (photo courtesy of Fred Miranda).
An angler displays a pair of big northern pike at E55th (photo courtesy of Rico Mixon).
This bruiser freshwater drum, aka sheephead, also came from the inner wall at Edgewater Park by the boat launch (photo courtesy of Anthony Schuessler).
Luke caught some nice Ledge Lake channel catfish on raw shrimp and chicken sprinkled with garlic powder. Heck, grill that up and you might catch me! Please note: Ledge Lake is catch and release only until further notice (photos courtesy of Luke Glasko).
Michael and a buddy got a limit of walleye and bonus steelhead off Cleveland recently (photos courtesy of Michael Whiteacre).
John displays a jumbo Cleveland yellow perch (photo courtesy of Joe Tonich).
Andrew and Nick caught some bruiser sheephead while watching the air show at E55th breakwall. Andrew also displays a young walleye spawned this past spring. These little walleye are plentiful this year, boding well for the future of the fishery (photos courtesy of Nick Milkovich).
Speaking of young walleye, and angler netting minnows for bait by Daniel's Park on the Chagrin caught a dozen baby walleye, indicating they could
be spawning in the river (photo courtesy of Elvaid Rexhaj).
Brad and a buddy got a limit of walleye and bonus sheephead trolling crankbaits along the CLE breakwall (photos courtesy of Brad Gardner).
Although it's unpredictable from day to day, anglers are catching some yellow perch among the mixed catch at E55th breakwall. When I stopped by earlier this week a few anglers had about a half dozen keepers each.
Dana and her husband had a great weekend- watching the air show from their boat while making great catches of jumbo perch three days in a row. They did best in 32-35 feet of water off Wildwood Marina (photos courtesy of Dana Daugherty-Klonowski).
The Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District has turned up some neat fish during sampling in Metroparks streams lately, including an early steelhead, a 9 pound bowfin, and a bunch of juvenile steelhead (rainbow trout) (photos courtesy of Mark Matteson at NEORSD).
We do lots of educational fish collection outings with local institutions- this recent one being with my undergraduate alma mater at Baldwin Wallace University. We always take a group photo at the end- one serious and the other making "fish faces" just for fun.
Note: The fishing report is updated monthly in June, July, and August and weekly every other month
2018 Cleveland Metroparks Registered Fishing Guides (name, company, contact)
#18-001 Monte Casey, The Steelhead Guide, firstname.lastname@example.org www.steelheadguide.com
#18-002 Jeffery Liskay, Silver Fury Guide Service & Schools, email@example.com (440) 781-7536
#18-003 Josh Trammell, Steelhead Alley Outfitters, www.steelheadalleyoutfitters.com (888) 453-5899
#18-004 Joseph Beno, On The Swing, Joseph93935@hotmail.com (440) 667-2278
#18-005 Daniel Bennett, Steelhead Alley Outfitters, www.steelheadalleyoutfitters.com (888) 453-5899
#18-006 Brad Dunkle, Wildwood Anglers LLC, firstname.lastname@example.org (419) 540-8585
#18-007 Nathan Miller, Steelhead Alley Outfitters, www.steelheadalleyoutfitters.com (888) 453-5899
#18-008 Justin Pribanic, Chagrin River Outfitters, email@example.com (724) 799-5011
#18-009 Patrick Robinson, Steelhead Alley Outfitters, www.steelheadalleyoutfitters.com (888) 453-5899
#18-010 Travis Larson, Hatch Run Fly Fishing, firstname.lastname@example.org (814) 706-1958
#18-011 Mario Chance, Chagrin River Outfitters, email@example.com (330) 984-3086
#18-012 Don Mathews, Steelhead School, www.steelheadschool.com (330) 565-5457
More information on Cleveland Metroparks Fishing Guide Permit requirements, including the permit application, you may check the following link: Fishing Guide Permit Program
Cleveland Metroparks Fishing Fund
Cleveland Metroparks Fishing Fund helps provide a rewarding fishing experience to Northeast Ohio anglers through the stocking of rainbow trout, channel catfish, largemouth bass, and other sport fish. The Fund also supports children's fishing derbies and creation and restoration of essential habitat in the ponds, lakes, and rivers within Cleveland Metroparks.
For more information or to make a gift to Cleveland Metroparks Fishing Fund, including a web donation option, please visit: <Fishing Fund Donations Online>