Ohio Lake Erie fish report Jan. 11-13

8-year-old Hunter caught his first perch at East 55th Street Marina this week. (Paul Palagyi, via Mike Durkalec)

We’re still nowhere near ice fishing weather.

The Lake Erie water temperature is 36 off Toledo and 38 off Cleveland, according to the nearshore marine forecast. 

The Rocky River, other area streams and the lake are currently muddy from recent rain, but will be in good shape in time for the weekend, said Cleveland Metroparks aquatic biologist Mike Durkalec. Steelhead are spread throughout, though the consensus is that this steelhead season has been somewhat below average. The past several weeks have offered some of the best fishing of the year, and steelhead numbers can be expected to peak into March-April, Durkalec writes in his weekly fishing report.

This week, anglers along the Cleveland lakefront were catching some jumbo yellow perch on the north-facing breakwall at East 55th St. Marina, using live and salted emerald shiners on the lake bottom using crappie rigs.  Anglers were reporting a few walleye from the East 55th/72nd areas, although that has slowed down quite a bit over the past two weeks.  At the same locations some steelhead were caught on nightcrawlers or small jigs tipped with minnow suspended between 4-6 feet under a bobber, as well as for anglers casting spoons. 

New for 2019, a Lake Erie fishing permit is required for nonresidents from Jan. 1 to April 30, to fish in Lake Erie or rivers immediately upstream of the lake. 

See the full Ohio Department of Natural Resources fish report here

Where: Fishing has been good for anglers that have been able to get out. Most anglers are focusing their efforts from Cleveland to west of the Bass Islands. Anglers have been targeting 30 to 50 feet of water. 

How: Anglers have been trolling deep diving crankbaits 80 to 100 feet back at speeds of 1.0 to 1.4 mph unassisted, or adding snap weights up to 2 oz. 40 feet back to get down to the fish. Anglers have also reported success jigging lipless crankbaits and spoons tipped with shiners, like ice fishing presentations. 

Yellow Perch  
Where: Fishing effort for yellow perch has been low, but some anglers are still targeting and catching fish near harbor mouths in the Cleveland area. 

How: Perch spreaders with shiners fished near the bottom produce the most fish. 

Steelhead Trout  
Where: Good fishing reported from anglers trolling inside the Fairport Harbor break wall and inside the Conneaut break wall. Anglers fishing from shore are catching fish off the Edgewater, Gordon Park, Fairport Harbor, and Painesville Township piers, and the Fairport Harbor break wall. 

How: The best baits have been small spoons and crankbaits for anglers trolling fishing from boats, and jigs tipped with maggots fished under a bobber or small spoons for anglers fishing from shore.