All summer, you can catch a multitude of fish behind Cleveland’s breakwall: largemouth bass, rock bass, smallmouth bass, white bass, catfish, freshwater drum and sunfish species, as well as walleye, Cleveland Metroparks aquatic biologist Mike Durkalec writes in his monthly fish report. Offerings such as tube jigs and live minnows appeal to the widest variety of species.
The walleye fishing off Cleveland has slowed somewhat this month, but that’s relative after the phenomenal summer we’ve had. A good bet to catch your limit is to troll spoons, crawler harnesses and crankbaits, Durkalec says. You can also try casting and slowly retrieving a spinner like an Erie Dearie tipped with a whole or half nightcrawler. The biggest schools off Cleveland have been in approximately 40-55 feet of water, with fish typically suspended 30 feet down.
In the Chagrin, Cuyahoga and Rocky rivers, fish for smallmouth and rock bass in the deeper, rocky pools. A dark olive or brown tube jig of 3-4″ length is one of the best producers of bass in the river.
You can find plenty of channel catfish in deeper holes in the rivers too. Catfishing is usually best during lower light conditions using baits such as nightcrawlers, minnows, chicken liver, shrimp and processed dough baits.
Where: The best bite has been 3 to 6 miles east of Kelleys Island, out of Huron and Vermillion in 28 to 32 feet of water, or Lorain in 45 to 55 feet of water. North and west of West Sister Island near the Canadian line continues to provide some fish, but catch rates are falling with the increasing water temperatures.
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.
Where: Anglers have been doing well near the “B” can of the Camp Perry firing range, as well as between Perry’s Monument and Kelleys Island with occasional limits being reported. Sizes have been excellent, with fish averaging 9 inches, and several fish over 11 inches.
How: Vertical crappie rigs seems to be producing well where baits can be presented at different depths up to 3 feet off the bottom.
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.
Where: A few good reports of fish being caught around the island areas in 10 to 14 feet of water, especially around Middle Bass, Rattlesnake, and Kelleys islands.
How: Tubes and dropshots in rocky areas continue to produce, but anglers have also been throwing spinnerbaits and swimbaits around weed edges with some success.
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.
Where: Excellent fishing continues in 40 to 52 feet of water north-northwest of Edgewater Park, in 35 to 55 feet of water north of Wildwood Park, in 32 to 35 feet and 72 to 76 feet of water north of Ashtabula, and in 70 to 75 feet of water north of Conneaut. Fish are suspended and anglers are targeting fishing depths of 20 to 55 feet.
How: Walleye have been caught trolling using crankbaits or spoons with planer boards, dipsy and jet divers. Anglers are also casting and drifting worm harnesses and weight forward spinners. Try using bright colors including lemon, chartreuse, orange, green, and pink and purple. Anglers fishing from shore are catching fish off the piers in Cleveland using spinners and stick baits.
Where: Good fishing reported in 17 to 22 feet of water around harbor areas and rock piles in Cleveland, Fairport Harbor, Geneva, Ashtabula, and Conneaut.
How: Anglers are using crank baits, tube jigs, drop shot rigs tipped with night crawlers, golden shiners, leeches, and crayfish.
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.
The Lake Erie water temperature is 77 off Toledo and 74 off Cleveland according to the nearshore marine forecast.