By JOHN WISSE|
ODNR, Division of Wildlife
Some of the best fishing action of the year has hit full stride across portions of Lake Erie, particularly the central basin.
Anglers are reporting strong catches of walleyes, yellow perch, and even white bass. Steelhead fishing is rated as fair. In about another month or so, smallmouth bass action should improve as it customarily does in early fall around the reef complex and islands in the western basin.
While many anglers it seems have been bagging limit and near-limit catches of yellow perch in the nearshore waters off of Cleveland, Fairport Harbor, and in other areas of the central and western Lake Erie basins, it’s the walleye action that is now giving a much needed boost to the current sportfishing season.
"Typically, this time of year sees an improvement in fishing success for walleyes and yellow perch. Later this fall, the steelhead runs will begin in some of the Lake Erie tributaries of northeast Ohio such as the Grand River," said Division of Wildlife Chief Mike Budzik.
We’re not talking small steelheads, but fish that commonly run in the 16 to 28-inch range. Central basin walleyes also tend to run bigger in the central basin compared to the western Lake Erie basin and often measure 20 to 28 inches. Lake Erie water temperatures have been slightly below normal this year and may be one of a number of factors now leading to improved fishing success.
Anglers are trolling a worm harness, dipsy divers and spoons, Hot ‘N Tots, and other deep-diving lures and crankbaits to take walleyes and steelhead in the central basin. The top locations are 12 to 24 miles offshore at depths of 30 to 50 feet in waters that run about 70 feet deep north of Fairport Harbor, Geneva, Ashtabula and Conneaut. Anglers in the Cleveland area around Wildwood and Edgewater parks are having excellent success in taking white bass and yellow perch. It’s time to get into fall fishing action at Lake Erie and catch a memory.