Catching walleye using Erie Dearies. (Via Cleveland Metroparks)

Kick off the steelhead season with the annual Steelhead Expo at the Rocky River Nature Center on Saturday, Sept. 21. 

The Ohio Central Basin Steelheaders and Cleveland Metroparks will host the free day of expert speakers and seminars, vendors, and more. OCBS, a non-profit sportman’s group, is offering a raffle as a fundraiser.

Early steelhead first show up around off the rocks at Edgewater and East 55th Street Marina, Wildwood Park, and in the northernmost river sections by the lake, Cleveland Metroparks aquatic biologist Mike Durkalec writes in his weekly fishing report.  Casting a spoon (ie Little Cleo or KO Wobbler) or spinner (ie Vibrax or RoosterTail) at these locations are as good a bet for catching one.

Smallmouth bass are typically found in the deeper, rocky pools of the river, Durkalec writes. A dark olive or brown tube jig 3-4″ length is one of the best producers of bass in the river.  “Smallies” also bite well on live bait (ie: minnow, crayfish, and leeches), lures (ie: spinners and minnow plugs), and flies (ie: crayfish patterns, Clouser minnows, dark brown or olive sculpin or muddler minnow patterns). 

Also in the river? Channel catfish, carp, sheepshead and several sucker species, especially around the Emerald Necklace Marina. 

Catfishing is usually best during lower light conditions and following a rain when the water is a bit murky, Durkalec writes. Carp can often be caught throughout the day on such bait as canned corn, carp dough baits, worms or crayfish tails.  “For the angling generalist, any of the species thus far can be effectively targeted by fishing a nightcrawler worm right on the river bottom with a sinker.”

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

Western Basin

Where: Walleye fishing has slowed. The best bites have been 3 to 6 miles east of Kelleys Island, north of Cedar Point, and out of Huron/Vermilion in 28 to 32 feet of water, or 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 has slowed, with only a few reports coming in. Try traditional fall areas like between South Bass and Kelleys islands and be prepared to move frequently to locate fish.
How: Vertical crappie rigs seems to be producing well where baits can be presented at different depths up to 3 feet off the bottom.

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 was reported in 65 to 70 feet of water north of Gordon Park, in 60 to 72 feet of water north of Wildwood Park, in 20 to 30 feet and 70 to 75 feet of water north-northeast of Fairport Harbor, in 70 to 73 feet of water north of Geneva, and in 65 to 75 feet of water north of Lakeshore Park. Fish are suspended and anglers are targeting fishing depths of 40 to 50 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 bronze, purple, red, and blue. Anglers fishing from shore are catching some fish off the piers in Cleveland and Fairport Harbor using spinners and stick baits.

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: Good fishing reported 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, 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.

The Lake Erie water temperature is 70 off Toledo and 71 off Cleveland according to the nearshore marine forecast.