Fishing Season: Spring

Rocky River - OH

Fishing Outlook & Conditions

Water Temp:


Orvis Westlake's Tip of the Week

Spring smallmouth is off to a great start . Fishing when you have the time will be important in the coming weeks. On the water focus your efforts on the lower river to have your best opportunity at fresh fish and good numbers.

Directions open in app

Map of Rocky River

Water Flow Data

Tidal Conditions

5-Day Outlook as of 5/9/22

Spring showers will have water levels back up this week. Keep an eye on USGS gauge and weather reports.

Techniques & Tips as of 5/9/22

Sculpin, crayfish and baitfish patterns work best this time of year to attract smallmouth. Poppers will also draw fish but remember when fishing them to vary pause lengths and how long your strips are to make the popper seem as natural as possible and to give the fish time to locate it.

Local Species Available Spring

  • Fish Icon

    Smallmouth Bass

Orvis Westlake's Recommended Fly Patterns

"Must-have" fly fishing patterns in descending order of importance:

Name: Colors: Size(s):
Zonker White 4,6,8
Krystal Bugger White, Black, Olive 8,10,12
Schultzy's S3 Sculpin Black, Olive 2
Clouser Minnow Olive/White, Gray/Wh 6
Lefty's Deceiver White, Olive/White, Blue/White 2
Conehead Rubber Bugger Olive, Black 4


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Orvis Westlake's Recommended Gear

Description: About Rocky River

The Rocky is a medium-sized tributary of Lake Erie similar in character to its Eastern neighbor, The Chagrin River. It receives excellent runs of Lake Erie steelhead from October through April in most years, and its close proximity to Cleveland’s Eastern and Western suburbs make it a very popular destination for fly anglers. In 2007 Field and Stream Magazine named the Rocky River one of the 150 best places to fish in America. The Cleveland Metroparks provide excellent public access along the Rocky and its branches, and several fords along the river force migrating steelhead to pause in their upstream movement, creating excellent fishing opportunities. Like the other shale-bottomed rivers in Northeast Ohio, the Rocky rises and falls dramatically after a precipitation event, so monitoring its flow in cubic feet per second is critical to being successful as an angler. Also like the other northeast rivers, it fishes best with a slight green stain, which usually corresponds to flows between 150 and 350 cubic feet per second. During the summer months, the Rocky provides excellent warm-water fly fishing opportunities for smallmouth bass, carp, and panfish. A 9 ft. 5 or 6 weight rod is perfect for casting the flies needed to bring these fish to hand.

Nearest Airport:

Cleveland Hopkins Int'l Airport (CLE), Cleveland-Akron-Canton (CAK)


Baitfish and sculpin patterns are the primary forage to imitate on this river. Stoneflies, woolly buggers, and egg patterns are great when nymphing.

Best Time to Fish:


Best Stretch:

Lower and middle access points

Best Access: