Rocky River Ohio

Rocky River (Ohio) Steelhead Fishing Map and Guide

In the shadows of downtown Cleveland there are fish, big fish. It may not be the most idyllic setting for a steelhead fishery but the steelhead that run up the Rocky River from Lake Erie every fall really don't care. Nor should you if you want to hook-up with some chrome. 

The Rocky River is one of five Lake Erie tributaries stocked with Manistee strain steelhead. If you are wondering where to find these magical fish, the Ohio DNR has a pretty good map showing designated steelhead trout fishing areas and public access points along the Rocky River.

Rocky River ODNR Steelhead Trout Fishing Map

Rocky River Steelhead Fishing Map

Fun Fact: Rocky River was named one of the “150 Best Places to fish in America” in the June 2007 issue of Field and Stream magazine.

Best Rocky River Fishing Spots

The Ohio DNR map is great and all but if I'm going to drive 7 hours to fish a river I've never seen, I want to know where I'm going, exactly where I am going. So I created this Google map of Rocky River fishing spots including the 13 Ohio DNR designated steelhead trout fishing areas and public access points.

Included are the Emerald Necklace, Rock Cliff Spring, Madison Pool, Horse Ford, Morley Ford, Lorain Rd Bridge, Blue Bank Pools, Mastic Woods, South Mastic Picnic Areas, Brookpark Overpass, Cedar Point Area and the Lagoon Dam steelhead fishing areas.

Rocky River Steelhead Trout Fishing Map

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Black River (OH): 41.464688, -82.165734
Chagrin River (OH): 41.677119, -81.437258
CHAGRIN RIVER AT WILLOUGHBY OH: 41.630881, -81.403445
Chagrin River (Eastlake Seawall): 41.674737, -81.440698
Chagrin River (Borac's Landing Boat Ramp): 41.665979, -81.422950
Chagrin River (Mitchell Field): 41.661995, -81.422165
Chagrin River (Chagrin River Park): 41.658670, -81.410100
Chagrin River (Gilson Park): 41.649506, -81.407421
Chagrin River (Todd Field): 41.641542, -81.403652
Chagrin River (Daniels Park): 41.628406, -81.400182
Chagrin River (N. Chagrin Reservation): 41.583224, -81.401445
Chagrin River (Rogers Road Field): 41.569557, -81.415172
Conneaut Creek (OH): 41.972512, -80.549560
Conneaut Creek (Lakeville Park Access): 41.893737, -80.574170
Conneaut Creek (Carter Rd Bridge Access): 41.870008, -80.401821
Conneaut Creek (Bridge Access): 41.890732, -80.400929
Conneaut Creek (Gage Road Access): 41.900315, -80.375443
Conneaut Creek (Griffy Road Bridge Access): 41.917513, -80.469075
Conneaut Creek (Rt 6N Bridge Access): 41.916902, -80.452689
Conneaut Creek (Mckee Road South Access): 41.919635, -80.430355
Conneaut Creek (Mckee Road North Access): 41.920554, -80.430480
Conneaut Creek (Rt 215 Bridge Access): 41.920204, -80.398485
Conneaut Creek (Old Bridge Abutment Access): 41.901268, -80.380119
Conneaut Creek (Breakwall): 41.967245, -80.554971
Conneaut Creek (Harbor): 41.970090, -80.551369
Conneaut Creek (Woodworth Road Boat Ramp): 41.952856, -80.542835
CONNEAUT CREEK AT CONNEAUT OH: 41.926944, -80.604167
Rocky River (OH): 41.490138, -81.836897
Rocky River (Lagoon Dam): 41.402561, -81.883992
Rocky River (Cedar Point Area): 41.407087, -81.885956
Rocky River (Morley Ford): 41.459249, -81.822230
Rocky River (Brookpark Overpass): 41.417378, -81.857337
Rocky River (Mastic Picnic Access): 41.432877, -81.848846
Rocky River (Mastic Woods): 41.442988, -81.841123
Rocky River (Blue Bank Pools): 41.443117, -81.829141
Rocky River (Lorain Rd Bridge): 41.452893, -81.824387
Rocky River (Horse Ford): 41.464230, -81.818642
Rocky River (Access): 41.476920, -81.823794
Rocky River (Rock Cliff Spring & Pool): 41.468659, -81.824580
Rocky River (Madison Pool): 41.465670, -81.827760
Rocky River (Emerald Necklace Access): 41.477718, -81.832011
ROCKY RIVER NEAR BEREA OH: 41.406715, -81.887082
Vermilion River (OH): 41.424450, -82.364845
Vermilion Municipal Boat Launch: 41.420143, -82.356567
Vermilion River (Jerusalem Road Access): 41.402325, -82.326515
Vermilion River (Mill Hollow Bacon Woods Park): 41.380497, -82.320000
Vermilion River (Bacon Woods Access): 41.390953, -82.330956
Vermilion River (Peasley Road Access): 41.361187, -82.310860
Vermilion River (Gore Orphanage Road Access): 41.360195, -82.334206
Vermilion River (Schoefle Garden Access): 41.330662, -82.350563
Vermilion River (Wakeman Dam Access): 41.254848, -82.399857
VERMILION RIVER NEAR VERMILION OH: 41.381990, -82.316827
Grand River (OH): 41.719361, -81.228528
Grand River (Mentor Headlands & Breakwall): 41.760390, -81.281791
Grand River (Fairport Harbor Park): 41.758164, -81.275682
Grand River (Painesville City Park & Old Dam): 41.730981, -81.236151
Grand River (Helen Hazen Wyman Park): 41.704904, -81.231036
Grand River (Mason's Landing): 41.726739, -81.185049
Grand River (Indian Point Park): 41.719945, -81.175636
Grand River (Hidden Valley Park): 41.741159, -81.049002
Grand River (Riverview Park): 41.740686, -81.041453
Grand River (Hogsback Ridge Park): 41.744071, -81.030810
Grand River (Harpersfield Dam): 41.756944, -80.943868
GRAND RIVER NEAR PAINESVILLE OH: 41.718934, -81.227879
Ashtablua River (Walnut Beach Breakwall): 41.900924, -80.806789
Ashtabula River (Cedarquist Park): 41.874941, -80.782573
Ashtabula River (Indian Trails Park): 41.855630, -80.762070
Ashtabula River (Olins Bridge): 41.862710, -80.721110
Ashtabula River (Green Hills Rd): 41.852620, -80.727430
Ashtabula River (Benetka Rd): 41.848790, -80.689380
Ashtabula River (Root Road): 41.833330, -80.620020
Huron River (Ohio): 41.394130, -82.554610
Huron River (Rt. 6 Access): 41.390360, -82.552630
Huron River (Valley Resort): 41.355710, -82.557200
Huron River (Private Access): 41.336910, -82.579250
Huron River (Coupling Reserve): 41.324280, -82.588500
Huron River West Branch (Milan Area): 41.286730, -82.642900
Huron River West Branch (Hwy 16): 41.245890, -82.690830
Huron River West Branch (Frank Clark Park): 41.241810, -82.692510
Twentymile Creek-1: 42.260300, -79.781410
Twentymile Creek-2: 42.239820, -79.772420
Twentymile Creek-3: 42.239820, -79.772420
Sixteenmile Creek: 42.240970, -79.833040
Twelvemile Creek: 42.211110, -79.915220
Cascade Creek-1: 42.125550, -80.110500
Cascade Creek-2: 42.118520, -80.117890
Presque Isle: 42.147710, -80.129730
Walnut Creek-1: 42.075310, -80.238110
Walnut Creek-2: 42.065940, -80.228800
Walnut Creek-3: 42.056210, -80.223860
Walnut Creek-4: 42.046970, -80.171950
Walnut Creek-5: 42.056310, -80.142810
Trout Run: 42.058510, -80.272520
Godfrey Run: 42.043830, -80.310210
Elk Creek-1: 42.020950, -80.374670
Elk Creek-2: 42.020060, -80.368090
Elk Creek-3: 42.007150, -80.353200
Elk Creek-4: 42.007150, -80.353200
Elk Creek-5: 42.007150, -80.353200
Elk Creek-6: 41.998200, -80.336530
Elk Creek-7: 41.998200, -80.336530
Elk Creek-8: 41.991790, -80.318810
Elk Creek-9: 41.991790, -80.318810
Elk Creek-10: 41.991790, -80.318810
Elk Creek-11: 41.993160, -80.218560
Elk Creek-12: 41.997110, -80.199450
Elk Creek-13: 42.004380, -80.202600
Elk Creek-14: 42.003700, -80.189260
Elk Creek-15: 42.002740, -80.174050
Elk Creek-16: 41.997260, -80.163780
Elk Creek-17: 42.002510, -80.143040
Crooked Creek-1: 41.994120, -80.419530
Crooked Creek-2: 41.994120, -80.419530
Crooked Creek-3: 41.983490, -80.401950
Crooked Creek-4: 41.983490, -80.401950
Crooked Creek-5: 41.983490, -80.401950
Raccoon Creek-1: 41.989430, -80.480680
Raccoon Creek-2: 41.976400, -80.472230
Raccoon Creek-3: 41.967970, -80.462930
East Branch Conneaut Creek, PA: 41.894380, -80.370240
West Branch Conneaut Creek, PA: 41.867760, -80.471080
NY - Cattaraugus Creek : 42.562121, -79.094267
NY - Chautauqua Creek: 42.202965, -79.591095
Twentymile Creek, PA: 42.263111, -79.784210
HURON RIVER AT MILAN OH: 41.300885, -82.608233
BLACK RIVER AT ELYRIA OH: 41.380324, -82.104593
Canadaway Creek, NY: 42.475496, -79.364646
Cattaraugus Creek (Lower), NY: 42.456067, -78.812560
Cattaraugus Creek (Lower), NY: 42.473846, -78.744743
Cattaraugus Creek (Lower), NY: 42.483415, -78.700132
Cattaraugus Creek (Lower), NY: 42.443692, -78.903905
Cayuga Inlet, NY: 42.368737, -76.554022
Cayuga Inlet, NY: 42.384280, -76.553295
Cayuga Inlet, NY: 42.353973, -76.544816
Cayuga Inlet, NY: 42.347026, -76.540545
Cayuga Inlet, NY: 42.338423, -76.529626
Chautauqua Creek, NY: 42.305822, -79.578375
Eighteen Mile Creek, NY: 42.711456, -78.966497
Eighteen Mile Creek, NY: 42.699249, -78.940697
Eighteen Mile Creek, NY: 42.706650, -78.892991
Eighteen Mile Creek, NY: 43.336163, -78.717152
Eighteen Mile Creek, NY: 43.317312, -78.715370
Cattaraugus Creek 5, NY: 42.536283, -78.457809
Cattaraugus Creek 6, NY: 42.586084, -78.335112
Cattaraugus Creek 3, NY: 42.483438, -78.700132
Cattaraugus Creek 2, NY: 42.455766, -78.812014
Cattaraugus Creek 1, NY: 42.443673, -78.903923
Cattaraugus Creek 4, NY: 42.534669, -78.478240
Cayuga Inlet 4, NY: 42.338428, -76.529602
Cayuga Inlet 1, NY: 42.384159, -76.553304
Cayuga Inlet 2, NY: 42.368737, -76.554031
Cayuga Inlet 3, NY: 42.347040, -76.540539
Cayuta Creek 2, NY: 42.268607, -76.682588
Cayuta Creek 1, NY: 42.227309, -76.611908
Chautauqua Creek 1, NY: 42.305845, -79.578139
Eighteenmile Creek 1, NY: 42.711456, -78.966497
Eighteenmile Creek 2, NY: 42.699340, -78.940677
Eighteenmile Creek 3, NY: 42.706645, -78.892990
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Rocky River Steelhead Fishery

The Rocky River runs through the western Cleveland metro area and is one of five Lake Erie tributaries stocked annually by the ODNR with Little Manistee strain steelhead. The steelhead migrate into Lake Erie during the warm summer months and return back to the river each year in the Fall.

The Rocky River is a meandering river with low to moderate gradient with numerous abandoned river fords that provide ideal steelhead holding water. The river is a mostly shallow (and easily-walkable), mid-sized stream with a varying bottom of shale, rock, silt and mud. The Cleveland Metroparks owns the majority of the river and its surrounding area, and provides unrestricted access to anglers.

Steelhead Alley Outfitters gives us a glimpse of what fly fishing for big steelhead in small Lake Erie tributaries is all about.

When is the Best Time to Fish Rocky River for Steelhead

The main season for the steelhead is September through May. Although rare, steelhead have been caught in the summer months as well, with the exception of July.

Rocky River Flow Chart

The USGS Rocky River flow gauge near Berea, OH provides real-time stream flow data. The chart below shows the stream flow (in cfs) for the past seven days. The Rocky River fishes best when the stream flow is between 150-250 cfs. The average run-off time for Rocky River is 2-3 days.

USGS

Ideal Flow (cfs)

150-250​

Average Run-Off Time

2-3 days​

When the Rocky River flow gage​ reads 300 cfs and is falling, conditions are prime for fishing and it's time to grab your rod and ditch work.

Rocky River Fishing Report

Of course before you run out the door you'll want to check the latest Rocky River fishing report. Mike Durkalec (Ohio DNR) publishes the Cleveland Metroparks fishing report which is an excellent source for the latest conditions on Rocky River.

What You'll Need When You Get There

You can make steelhead fishing as complicated as you like or keep it pretty simple. 

Five rod-and-reel setups that are typical of Steelhead anglers, including spinning, noodle, fly, spey and center-pin setups.  A handful of fly patterns, as well as lures that mimic two of Steelhead Alley’s most fed-upon baitfish – the Emerald Shiner and Gizzard Shad are all you really need to get started.

If you're fly fishing, a single-handed, 9-ft, 6- or 7-wt rod and large arbor reel with a good drag and floating line will suffice.  This setup is great for fishing streamers and tandem nymph rigs as well. If you are into swinging flies, an 11-ft switch rod or 12-ft double-hand spey rod makes life a lot easier.

Visit our DIY Guide to Fishing Steelhead Alley for maps and information on other Lake Erie tributaries that steelhead like to visit.

About the Author Ken Sperry

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 DIY Fly Fishing and the DIY Fly Fishing App to share this information and help you find new places to fish. Have a question? You can get in touch with Ken here.