WEST ERIE COUNTY, DWCO Randy Leighton, WCO Brook Tolbert|
A mixed bag of reports has become the norm for the season. Conditions on lake Erie have been rough with high wind and wave conditions pounding the shoreline early this week. With the lake temperature hovering in the high 70s, and the tribs even warmer, steelhead migration may not be as early as last year. The lake temperature at this time last year was only 72 degrees and nightly ambient temperatures were much cooler than this season. To top this, rain fall has been light this year compared to last season. Of course this is Erie, and in as little as a week, the tribs can cool rapidly and be flowing hard with a little help form Mother Nature.
Walleye fishing has been sporadic with no one location being best. Anglers are still catching a good number of short fish to get a few legal size walleye. (of course catching is half the fun). Steelhead have been hitting well in the deeper waters. As of this writing, there is still no major evidence of staging near the tributary mouths.
Perch fishing has been fair to good depending on who you talk to. When the lake is calm, anglers have been doing well in 52 feet of water due North of the Walnut Creek Access.
Current Lake Erie water temperatures as of this writing are 75 degrees off Toledo, 76 degrees off Cleveland, and 78 degrees off Erie. Current tributary conditions as of this writing are very low and very clear.
Boating Safety Tip of the Week:
The Fall season often brings some of the most beautiful boating weather. Prepare for the cooler and often unexpected conditions by wearing several layers of light clothing and keeping rain gear on board. Never wear hip waders in a small boat.
No Luck With Perch or Walleye?
Higher than usual water temperatures typically do not have much effect on hungry panfish. With water temperatures seemingly having effect on the Lake Erie fishing, now may be a good time to target panfish in and around Presque Isle Bay. Presque Isle Bay is a great place to fill the cooler with slab gills and sunfish and often will will be a calm place to fish when the Lake is nasty. Good local "Gill spots" include areas along the south side of Presque Isle Bay, Edinboro Lake, and the State Line ponds just south of I-90 at the Ohio line. Bluegill will eat anything they can get into their mouths. Worms and crickets are anglers favorite baits, but bluegill will take small poppers, flies, small spinners and jigs. At times they will even hit cheese baits and corn. Bluegill are gregarious, so when you catch one, there are usually more in the same place. A bluegill on light tackle can provide as much fun as a Lake Erie Walleye on a stiff dipsey rod. A frying pan full of fresh filleted bluegills and sunfish are mouthwatering table fare and will rival the best Lake Erie Perch.
A Few Reminders:
With optimism for an early steelhead season, we remind anglers of a few of the regulations specific to the Erie Area.
Designated as Nursery Waters are Trout Run and its tributaries, Godfrey Run, Orchard Beach Run and Crooked Creek (where posted). It is unlawful to fish, wade or possess fishing equipment while in or along Lake Erie tributary streams designated as Nursery Waters.