Cuyahoga River is a large, shale-bottom tributary to Lake Erie that receives a spring run of Little Manistee steelhead. The Cuyahoga is probably best known as the "river that caught fire" helping to spur the environmental movement in the late 1960's and ultimately to the passing of the Clean Water Act.
Water quality in the Cuyahoga has improved dramatically since the days when it used to burn (it actually caught fire 13 times). If fact, the Cuyahoga River was named as one of 14 American Heritage Rivers in 1998.
While the history of the Cuyahoga River is interesting, that's not why you are reading this article. You want to know where to catch steelhead that make an annual run up the Cuyahoga, right?
Fortunately for you, the Ohio DNR has published a map of designated steelhead fishing areas on the lower Cuyahoga River. Public access points include the Rt. 82 Dam (Brecksville) and Gorge Park (Cleveland Metroparks).
The Cuyahoga River fishes best when stream flow is 250-350 cfs. The USGS Cuyahoga River stream gauge at Independence, OH provides real-time stream flow data and is a good indicator of river conditions. Bear in the mind the Cuyahoga River is large river and may take a week or more to clear and return to normal flows following a rain event.
Ideal Flow (cfs)
Average Run-off Time
1 week or more
Ken is an avid fisherman of 40+ years who loves to explore and is on a quest to map the best places for fly fishing in America. He created the DIY Fly Fishing App to share this information and help you find new places to fish.
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