Western basin walleye hatch second best ever! Ohio Lake Erie fish report Sept. 20

Nando Fanta shows off a catch from the Cuyahoga River. (Nando Fanta, via Cleveland Metroparks)

Hooray! The spring 2019 walleye hatch was even better than last year, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources. It’s the second-best ODNR’s Division of Wildlife has ever recorded in surveys of the western basin.

The yellow perch hatch was also strong, well above its long-term average.

See the full story at cleveland.com/rock-the-lake.

Lake Erie anglers are primarily targeting walleye, according to Cleveland Metroparks aquatic biologist Mike Durkalec.

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 Lake Erie, Durkaelc writes in his weekly fish report.  “Reports of a few early steelhead slipping into in the northern river reaches have surfaced the past few weeks, although a return of cooler weather and more rain is needed to entice greater numbers of steelhead into the streams.  Most steelhead are still mixed in with walleye out in deeper water.”

And a few angler events:

Raise a Glass for the Rocky, Sept. 21

The Rocky River Watershed Council is having a fundraiser from 5 to 8 p.m. at Burntwood Tavern in North Olmsted, 6500 Great Northern Blvd.

For $38 attendees get unlimited appetizers and drinks and can partake in a silent auction and 50/50 raffle, all to benefit watershed protection efforts! 

Chagrin River Outfitters Fall Fly Fishing Weekend, Oct. 5-6

Chagrin River Outfitters hosts a weekend of free shop classes focused on steelhead fishing, highlighted by New York fly fishing author Rick Kustich. 

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

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. Try fishing in traditional fall areas like between South Bass and Kelleys islands and be prepared to move frequently to locate active 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 continues in 65 to 75 feet of water north of Edgewater Park, in 65 to 75 feet of water north of Wildwood Park, in 70 to 75 feet of water north of Fairport Harbor, and in 65 to 70 feet of water north of Lakeshore Park in Ashtabula. Fish are suspended and anglers are targeting fishing depths of 45 to 55 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.

The Lake Erie water temperature is 71 off Toledo and 72 off Cleveland according to the nearshore marine forecast.