Chagrin River Steelhead
Copyright 2019 James Marsh
Fly Fishing The Chagrin River Ohio
The Chagrin River runs through areas of suburban
Cleveland. It flows through two Metropark reservations in
Cleveland before entering Lake Erie.  There are two
tributaries, the Aurora Branch and the East Branch.
Thousands of steelhead are stocked each year.

The Chagrin River is a State Scenic River. Although it
flows through suburban areas, its headwaters are
located in protected areas with heavy tree cover. It is a
beautiful river with lots of wildlife, in addition providing
nice runs of salmon and steelhead.  

The Chagrin River is very diverse with all types of water.
There's plenty of pool, run and riffle type water ideal for
steelhead. Most of the bottom consist of gravel and
coble but there's some clay substrate. In some areas,
sandstone and shale exit. It's spring fed in areas which
increases the pH level of the water and in turn provides
plenty of aquatic insects.

The fly fishing methods and strategies used for
steelhead fishing on the Chagrin River are the same as
those used on most other Lake Erie steelhead streams.
Just keep in mind that the distance upstream the
steelhead migrate, mostly has to do with stream levels
as well as the weather conditions. Different water levels
vary the exact location of the majority of the steelhead
and you must keep track of the current location. Local
anglers are a big help in this respect. You don't want to
waste a lot of time casting in water void of steelhead.

Thanks to two parks, access is plentiful. Fly fishing the
beautiful Chagrin River can be a wonderful experience.
This is a prime example of just how a stream can add a
wonderful contribution to the recreational opportunities
and beauty even when a stream is nearby a large meto

The steelhead season is from early Fall to late Spring..
Steelhead can be caught as late as the end of April
depending on the weather.
During the Summer, the water is too low and warm for
salmon or steelhead.
Salmon first enter the river and the steelhead follow.
Steelhead begin entering the Chagrin Riveras early as
middle of September. The fishing is good throughout the
All but the coldest days of Winter can be good for
steelhead. The extremely cold water of January and
February can make the fish sluggish but otherwise,
fishing remains good throughout the Winter.
Type of Stream

Brown Trout (Stocked)
Smallmouth Bass

Medium to large

Northeastern Ohio

Nearest Town

Early Fall to late Spring


Special Regulations
Yes, Make sure you check the
current regulations.

Non-Resident License
State of Ohio

National Weather Service Link

USGS Real Time Stream Data

Fly Fishing Gear, Tackle,
Steelhead and Salmon Flies
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Chagrin River Fishing Report - Archive:
11/21/13 Customer reporting more steelhead caught. Ordering more egg flies and our Giant
Black Stonefly steelhead nymph. Levels at 4.27 and 484 cfs in good shape slightly above
USGS Data:

12/05/13 Local contact reporting the river is in excellent shape. Steelhead are distributed
throughout the river from the marinas upstream. Slush ice can be a problem in the early
12/27/13 The river has been high, off color and even blown out but it has dropped back
down into good shape the last day or two. It is flowing at 327 cfs at 4.01 feet which is the
normal level for this time. It also is clear. We don't have any fish reports of steelhead being
caught but we thing we will very soon.
Fishing Report Updated 10/28/19
(Bottom Of Page)
01/29/14 Ice in the lower river has been causing problems for anglers. Sorry to say that have
not received any good reports within the last several days.
03/21/14 Still no reports of any steelhead being caught and the water is still very cold.
Steelhead season is here and things should improve soon, so please check back.
Options For Selecting Flies:
1. Email us (
with the dates you will be fishing this
stream and we will send you a list of our
fly suggestions. Please allow up to 24
hours for a response.

2. Call us 800-594-4726 and we will help
you decide which flies you need.

3. Email us (
with a budget for flies and we will select
them to match the budget and get them to
you in time for your fly fishing trip.

All orders are shipped free in the
U. S. Orders over $100 are shipped via
Priority Mail.  
06/24/14 Sorry for the lack of reports but we lost our local contact who moved to a western
state. We have a new local that will be fishing each week. Right now anglers are focusing on
Smallmouth. We will resume the reports approximately October 1st.
10/18/14 Some steelhead have moved into the river. The recent rain has helped but more is
needed. One customer reported catching three on our
Veiled Beadhead Crystal egg flies.
11/10/14 Chargin River levels are back down and fishing should pick up. No reports from the
past week.
12/04/14 The flows are a little high but steelhead are being caught swinging flies. Watch the
Great Lake Steelhead flies
12/19/14 South and North Chargin have been producing the past several days. Nymphs and
swinging flies have produced.
01/21/15 Cold water and ice has slowed the fishing down to only those warm weather days
but they are few and far apart.
02/06/15 We only received a couple of good reports during the past month. Ice and cold
water has really slowed things down.
Chagrin River Fishing Report:
11/09/15 Stream levels are running a little high right now and that's good. More steelhead
have moved into the river. The
Veiled Beadhead Crystal egg flies.are producing good for our
customers. The Ginat Black stonefly steelhead nymph is also producing good. Swinging flies
is working as long as the water levels are up. .
Great Lake Steelhead flies
01/01/15 The river has finally dropped down into fishable levels. It has been high for the
past several days. Two good reports came in this past week. We recommend nymphing
versus swinging flies.
01/11/16 Our customers are reporting some good catches. The water is down to a good level
and swinging flies, and nymphing using an indicator is effective.
Perfect Fly steelhead
03/28/16 The stream levels are falling and a little below normal again. Steelhead are in the
river in good numbers and being caught in good numbers. Nymphs and small streamers are
working best with the lower, clearer water.
04/11/16 The river is currently blown out and will take a while to get back to normal.
05/16/16 The steelhead are finished but smallmouth bass fishing is red hot. Check out our
smallmouth flies.
07/18/16 Smallmouth bass fishing has been good for those using the Perfect fly crayfish
patterns. The dumbbell eye version is the best. It isn't long before it will be steelhead
season again. Be sure and check out of steelhead flies.
08/01/16 Stream levels are back up just above normal. Smallmouth bass fishing should be
very good at this time.
08/15/16 The stream levels are high right now, and that should help the overall condition
of the river prior to the steelhead and salmon season.
09/12/16 The weather will be getting a little cooler this coming week and that along with the
higher water levels will help get things started.
Perfect Fly steelhead patterns:
10/10/16 Last week's rain brought a lot of steelhead into the river but it is back down low
and clear. It is still possible to catch some, but more rain in needed for it to be good.
10/17/16 The stream is flowing at 61 cfs at 3.41 foot. There is some chance of rain and it is
badly needed.
10/31/16 The stream levels are in good shape and our customers are catching some nice
steelhead. Swinging is working best with higher levels and nymphs and egg flies best on
lower water levels. Now, it the time to catch steelhead.
11/07/16 More good reports. The stream levels shot up but are back down near normal. A
good number of steelhead are being caught on the Veiled Beadhead crystal egg flies.
11/21/16 The recent rain has brought the stream levels up to about the normal level. It has
been low. This should bring more steelhead into the river. Our customers are catching some.
11/28/16 Up again and falling but more rain is on the way. A few more steelhead were caught
this past week.
12/05/16 The rain brought more steelhead into the river. It is back below normal again. Fish
steelhead nymphs on an indicator for the best results. The Green Sedge larva is a good one.
12/12/16 The recent rain and snow has pushed the level up bringing a lot more steelhead in
the river. The level is back down to normal today. The water is cold, averaging from 35 to
about 37 degrees. Our Steelhead hymphs (Green sedge larva, Black stonefly nymphs,
Cinnamon Caddis larva) are working good. Fish them in the slower water near the bottom.
12/26/16 The stream levels are very high, flowing at 3790 cfs at 7.03. The ice should be
gone and this should bring more fish in but too high to fish at this time.
01/16/17 The stream levels have been high but back to normal and the water warmer, about
35 to 36. We received one report recently. Conditions are good with warmer weather.
01/30/17 The stream level is back to near normal and anglers are starting to catch more
steelhead. Nymphs, such as the Perfect fly Giant Black stonefly steelhead nymph, Green
sedge steelhead larva and others are working. Click to see:
Perfect fly Great Lakes
steelhead flies.
02/06/17 The stream levels were up but back to normal but the water is getting colder with
some slush and bank ice. Fish are still being caught but it has slowed down due to water
temperature. Fish steelhead nymphs for the best results.
02/20/17 Stream levels are running at a normal level and the water is warmer. We didn't
receive any reports this past week, so let us hear from you.
02/27/17 Stream levels are down to a normal level. There is rain and snow in the forecast
but conditions are in general, good.
03/05/17 The stream levels are in good shape, the water a little warmer and our customers
are reporting catching good numbers of steelhead. Swinging, Nymping and Egg flies work.
03/13/17 The levels are down just a little below normal and in good shape. It is getting colder
but still in the upper thirties. We recommend fishing steelhead nymphs like the Black stoneflies.
03/27/17 The river has been turning out some good numbers of steelhead but the stream
levels have just shot up again. Make sure you check the levels. Swinging has been the most
productive method of fishing.
04/24/17 The river level is back to normal and clear. There are steelhead still spawning and a
lot of drop backs being caught. Conditions are very good.
07/24/17 Sorry for the missed reports. Smallmouth bass fishing is very good right now. Fish
early and late. Poppers and Crayfish patterns are working good for our customers.
Key Lime Popper - click to enlarge
Perfect fly Key Lime Popper
08/21/17 Smallmouth bass fishing is still very good. Fish our poppers in the morning and
crayfish patterns during the day. Good numbers of fish are being caught.
09/04/17 We had some good reports on smallmouth the past two weeks from customers.
Popper work good early and late in the day. Our weighted Brown Crayfish work during the day.
It should get even better this coming week.
09/18/17 The river is still low and warm, too warm for any steelhead yet. Smallmouth bass
fishing continues to be excellent. Our customers are using our poppers in the early mornings
and crayfish patters, lead eye and non-weighted, during the day.
09/25/17 The river is very low and warm. Smallmouth bass fishing is excellent.
10/02/17 Low, warm water is still a problem for steelhead fishing. Smallmouth bass fishing
continues to be very good. Now is a good time to get ready for steelhead. Send us an email for a
fly list. We also have custom tied steelhead & salmon leaders & single handed and Spey rods.  
10/09/17 The stream levels are up to 586 cfs at 4.53 ft., which is high but should help the
overall conditions. We still don't have any reports of steelhead being caught.
10/24/17 Steelhead are in the river and some are being caught. The stream is about a normal
level. Send us an email for a fly selection.
10/31/17 Stream levels are running a little below normal levels but some steelhead are being
caught. Send us an email for a recommended fly list.
11/15/17 The river has a lot of steelhead in it and they are being caught as long as the stream
levels and water color is decent. The stream is a little low right now and fish are being caught
mostly on steelhead nymphs and egg flies.
11/22/17 The river has been high this past week but back down to not far above good levels.
There may be some places you could wade safely with caution, but if not, hopefully very
soon. There are lots of steelhead in the river and lots of them being caught.
11/29/17 The stream levels are back down and a little low with no rain in the forecast.
Decent numbers of SH are being caught by our customers. Extaz eggs, Steelhead nymphs
like our Green sedge and Black SF nymph are working good. Send us an email for a list.
12/06/17 The stream levels are still a little low but more steelhead have been caught.
Nymphing and eggs are working good. Send us an email for a recommended fly list.
12/13/17 The river is still low and cold, around 35 to 36 degrees. Steelhead are sill being
caught, mostly on steelhead nymphs. Swinging isn't working well in the cold water.
12/20/17 Stream levels are up some and steelhead are being caught. Swinging flies is working
some, but keep them slow and near the bottom.SH nymphs are working best in the cold water.
01/03/17 Stream levels are a little above normal but in good shape except for being cold.
There is lots of slush ice in the water and that makes it tough. It should warm up a little this
coming week. Use our SH nymphs like the Cinnamon caddis sedge or Black stonefly. The
steelhead are on the bottom and sluggish.
01/16/18 The stream levels are back down in good shape near normal. The water is still very
cold, averaging 32 to 35 degrees. Fish steelhead nymphs like our Black stonefly nymph
under an strike indicator.
01/30/18 Steelhead are being caught by the few anglers fishing. Stream levels are normal and
the water in good shape except it is cold. Fish the slowest seams and areas of water you can
find. Steelhead nymphs are working best.
02/13/18 Steelhead are a little sluggish or lethargic due to cold water temps. There is slush
ice in much of the water. Fish steelhead nymphs like the Giant Black and Green Sedge larva
in the slow water near the bottom.
03/06/18 The river is down to a normal level and in good shape. Steelhead are being caught
Swinging,SH nymphs under an indicator and even egg flies.  Send us an email for a fly list.
03/20/18 The river is a little high due to melting snow. Steelhead are in the river but we didn't
receive any reports from anyone fishing this past week.
04/03/18 4110 cfs at 7.26. Normal flows are about 478 cfs. It is blown out. Check back soon.
04/12/18 Stream flows and levels are at 393 cfs at 3.80 ft. or normal levels. Fish are being
caught in good numbers.
04/18/18 The river is flowing at 754 cfs at 4.31 ft. It needs to come down some more and is
falling rather fast. Good numbers of steelhead were being caught before the high water.
04/25/18 The river levels are normal and the water clear. Some steelhead, some smallmouth
and a few lake run browns are being caught.
05/16/18 Lake run browns and smallmouth bass fishing is good. Try our Perfect fly Crayfish
patterns, stealth bombers and poppers. Write or call us for brown trout flies.
06/20/18 Smallmouth bass fishing has been good. Stream levels are back down in good
shape. Popping bugs and crayfish patterns are working good. Fish early and late in the day.
08/08/18 Smallmouth bass fishing is excellent. Our crayfish patterns and popping bugs are
catching a lot of them, thanks to some good local customers.
09/29/18 There has been a few steelhead showing up. Stream levels are normal levels and
you should do good. Fish near the river's entrance. Send us an email for a fly list.
10/06/18 There are a few steelhead being caught. We still recommend fishing the lower
river near the entrance. Swinging and nymphing are both working. The high flows brought
the fish in but it is still a little high to high but falling fast.
10/16/18 Stream levels are just a little above normal and that is bringing in more fish. Lots
of fish are being caught by swinging flies mostly. Nymphs are working in the deeper runs.
10/23/18 The lower to middle river is turning out some nice steelhead. Swinging and
nymphing methods are working. Stream levels are a little above normal levels.
10/30/18 The river level is still a little high, but steelhead are being caught. There is more
heavy rain and it will likely rise some but then hopefully, fall fast.
11/06/18 The stream is in good shape level wise and good numbers of steelhead are being
caught. We are getting good reports. Swinging, nymphs and eggs are working.
11/18/18 The stream has been down a few days but headed up a little. You can still wade in
a few place mostly around the edges. There are steelhead being caught swinging currently.
11/25/18 Swinging from the banks in a few place will get you some fish but the levels are very
high right now, and wading is out. Boats will have a tough time until it drops some.
12/02/18 The river is still a little high but there are a few places you can fish from the bank
and maybe a few place you can wade near the edge of the water. Swinging should work
12/23/18 The stream levels are back down to near normal levels and steelhead are being
caught in decent numbers. Swinging and our steelhead nymphs are working good. Lots of
choices. All section of the river have steelhead.
01/01/19 Stream levels are high, too high to wade, but falling very fast and should be in good
condition very soon. Steelhead are being caught. The fish are located throughout the river.
01/08/18 Stream levels are down and the river in good shape. Good numbers of trout are
being caught. Send us an email for a recommended fly list.
01/09/18 Stream levels are running at a normal level and the river in good shape. It is colder
and we are recommending using our steelhead nymphs under an indicator.
01/22/19 The river is flowing at 7390 cfs, or blown out. Check back with us soon.
02/05/19 There are few fish being caught. It is still high and dingy. Flows are 1110 cfs at
4.67. Check back with us.
02/19/19 The stream levels are currently normal and in good shape with steelhead being
caught. There is more rain on the way, so check the levels. The cold water has the fish a little
sluggish, so fish slow and using our steelhead nymphs.
02/28/19 The river is flowing at a good level but the water is cold. Steelhead nymphs are
working best. Fish them slow in the deeper pockets and pools.
03/07/19 The river is in pretty good shape except for the very cold water. Keep the steelhead
nymphs in the slow water and in holes on the bottom. We received one good report from the
past week.
03/24/19 The river is running low, so fish the deeper pools and runs. Fish are still being
caught but you need to stay as hidden as possible. We are getting some good reports.
04/23/19 The stream levels are a little high but fishable. We didn't receive any reports from
last week.
05/18/19 Both smallmouth bass fishing and brown trout fishing is good right now. Stream levels
have been high but back down near normal. Send us an email for a recommended fly list.
06/05/19 The river is just a little high now with heavy rain in the forecast. Fishing has been good
when the water levels are down. There are some good hatches and smallmouth fishing is good
as well.
06/20/19 Good reports are coming in from customers fishing for smallmouth bass. They are
being caught on our popping bugs and crayfish patterns. Stream levels are currently high but
06/29/19 More good reports of smalmouth bass being caught.
07/06/19 Smallmouth bass fishing is good early and late in the day near the banks.
07/21/19 If you haven't tried our Perfect fly popping bugs and crayfish patterns for smallmouth
you should. Fish early and late and catch some.
08/30/19 Good reports coming in on smallmouth the past few days from customers. Poppers
are working good early and late in the day. Our weighted Brown Crayfish work during the day.
It should get even better this coming week.
09/10/19 The river is okay shape and good numbers of smallmouth bass are being caught by
our customers.
09/21/19 Our customers are sending in good smallmouth bass reports. Our crayfish fly
patterns work good. Get your gear and flies ready for salmon and steelhead arriving soon.
Send us an email for a list.
10/02/19 Smallmouth bass fishing is still very good. Make sure you have your salmon and
steelhead gear and flies ready. It won't be long before they start showing up.
10/20/19 Steelhead are in the river and being caught by our customers. Send us an email for
a recommended fly and gear list.
10/28/19 The river is running at a normal level and remains in good shape. We continue to
get good reports about Steelhead and some Salmon are also in the river.