Walleye madness: Lake Erie fishing report July 10

Luther caught a beautiful walleye at the Wendy Park pier at the mouth of the Cuyahoga River (Luther Williams, via Cleveland Metroparks).

Lake Erie is stuffed with walleye. Anglers are reaching the six-fish-per-person limits.

How? Cleveland Metroparks aquatic biologist Mike Durkalec writes in his July fish report that trolling spoons, crawler harnesses and crankbaits are good bets to catch walleye. “But equally effective many days, and lots of fun, is casting and slowly retrieving a weight forward spinner like an Erie Dearie tipped with a whole or half nightcrawler.”

The biggest walleye schools off Cleveland have been 20-30 feet below the surface. Some anglers still making some catches from shore after dark, as well. 

The Cleveland Harbor was muddy much of June, thanks to all the rain. But July is looking clearer. Rock bass, largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, white bass, northern pike, catfish, freshwater drum and sunfish species, as well as walleye, can all be found along the Cleveland shoreline of Lake Erie, Durkalec writes. 

Smallmouth bass are typically found in the deeper, rocky river pools during the day in summer, and often move to the heads of such pools in the early morning and evening hours to feed actively.  A dark olive or brown tube jig of 3-4″ length is one of the best producers of bass in the river.  Rock bass are also present in the same areas as smallmouth, and can be caught using the same offerings, Durkalec writes. Channel catfish can also be found in deeper holes along the Rocky, Cuyahoga and Chagrin rivers. 

Here’s the full Ohio Department of Natural Resources fish report:

Western Basin

Walleye  
Where: Fishing remains good, however following two large mayfly hatches last week, angler success has declined in the far Western Basin.The best fishing continues to be from Huron west to Lorain in 30 to 55 feet of water. 
How: The majority of anglers trolling are using spoons behind dipsy or jet divers, as well as crankbaits at speeds of 2.5 to 3.0 mph. Anglers are also having success trolling worm harnesses with in-line weights or bottom bouncers at 1.0 to 1.2 mph. Anglers drifting worm harnesses or weight forward spinners are also having success. 

Largemouth Bass  
Where: Largemouth bass fishing has been excellent in various marinas and harbors in the Western Basin, as well as Sandusky Bay in recent weeks as water temperatures have been increasing. 
How: Anglers have been doing well casting crankbaits, jigs, and various soft plastic riggings including tubes, Texas rigged worms, creature baits, and Ned rigs at shoreline structure. 

Yellow Perch  
Where: nglers are starting to turn their attention toward yellow perch with some good reports coming from the Toledo Harbor Light in 20 to 25 feet of water. 
How: Minnows fished under a perch spreader continue to be the presentation of choice for perch anglers, but consider trolling small crankbaits behind a bottom bouncer to locate active fish in loose aggregations. 

Catfish  
Where: The bite in Sandusky Bay continues to be good, with many fish weighing over ten pounds. Shoreline access to the bay is available at the old Route 2 bridge in Bay View and Port Clinton, the Dempsey Fishing Access, and various locations in downtown Sandusky. 
How: Anglers have been fishing the bottom with shrimp, night crawlers, and cut bait. 

Central BasinWalleye 
Where: Excellent fishing continues in 40 to 50 feet of water north of Rocky River, in 45 to 55 feet of water northwest of Edgewater Park, in 45 to 55 feet of water north of Fairport, and in 50 to 60 feet of water north-northeast of Conneaut. Fish are suspended, and anglers are targeting fishing depths of 25 to 40 feet. 
How: Walleye have been caught trolling using crankbaits or worm harnesses with planer boards, dipsy and jet divers. Anglers are also casting and drifting worm harnesses and weight forward spinners. Good colors to try are green, yellow, black, and pink and purple. Anglers fishing from shore are catching fish off the piers in Cleveland using spinners and stick baits. 

Smallmouth Bass  
Where: Excellent fishing has been reported in 17 to 22 feet of water around harbor areas in Cleveland, Fairport Harbor, Geneva, Ashtabula and Conneaut. 
How: Anglers are using crank baits, tube jigs, spinner baits, drop shot rigs tipped with night crawlers, golden shiners, crayfish and leeches.

Catfish  
Where: Anglers are catching fish off the Cleveland and Fairport Harbor piers.
How: Most anglers fish the bottom or drift with baits on the bottom. Common baits include nightcrawlers, cut bait, and frozen shrimp. 

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