Catching steelhead and walleye off Gordon Park. (Michael Kostur, via Cleveland Metroparks)

Get excited for fall fishing!

Anglers in the Rocky River and other streams are targeting smallmouth bass, carp, panfish, and channel catfish, as well as early returning steelhead trout, says Cleveland Metroparks aquatic biologist Mike Durkalec. Lake Erie anglers are primarily fishing for walleye.

Early steelhead first show up around off the rocks at Edgewater and East 55th marinas, Wildwood Park, and in the northernmost river sections by the lake, Durkalec writes in his weekly fish report

“Overall, the steelhead run is stalled due to low water and hot temperatures,” he writes. “Upon the return of cooler weather and more rain greater numbers of steelhead will be enticed to enter the streams.”

The Lake Erie water temperature is 71 off Toledo and 71 off Cleveland according to the nearshore marine forecast.

Here’s the full Ohio Department of Natural Resources Lake Erie fish report.

Western Basin

Where: Walleye fishing remains consistent with limits of smaller fish being reported near Locust and Cone reefs. Fishing continues to be good 3 to 6 miles east of Kelleys Island, north of Cedar Point, out of Huron and Vermilion in 28 to 32 feet of water, and Lorain in 45 to 55 feet of water.
How: Most anglers are trolling spoons behind dipsy or jet divers, as well as crankbaits at speeds of 2.5 to 3.0 mph.

Yellow Perch 
Where: Yellow perch fishing remains inconsistent with the occasional good report. The best bite has been west of the Catawba Peninsula in 20 feet of water.
How: Vertical crappie rigs seems to be producing better where baits can be presented at different depths. Yellow perch are feeding heavily on small invertebrates right now, so small ice fishing plastics or wax worms might be worth trying.

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.
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.

Smallmouth Bass 
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.

Central Basin

Where: Excellent fishing continues in 68 to 75 feet of water north of Edgewater Park, in 68 to 75 feet of water north of Wildwood Park, in 70 feet of water north of Fairport Harbor, and in 70 to 75 feet of water north of Lakeshore Park in Ashtabula. Fish are suspended and anglers are targeting fishing depths of 50 to 60 feet down in the water column, above the thermocline.
How: Walleye have been caught trolling using crankbaits or spoons with planer boards, dipsy and jet divers. Try using bright colors including blue, purple, and bronze.

Yellow Perch  
There have been a few reports of anglers catching perch off Conneaut in 30 to 40 feet of water.
How: Anglers are using spreaders and crappie rigs tipped with minnows. Try different depths near the bottom until you locate the fish.

Smallmouth Bass  
Where: The best locations to try are around the 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, Ashtabula, Conneaut, 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.