Time for the Walleye Fall Brawl! Ohio Lake Erie fish report

The 2019 Walleye Fall Brawl starts Friday, Oct. 18. (Laura Johnston, RocktheLake)

The 10th annual Walleye Fall Brawl starts Friday!

And we’ve got lots of fall fishing to look forward to.

In fall, steelhead trout are the highlight in the Rocky and Chagrin rivers, says Cleveland Metroparks aquatic biologist Mike Durkalec. 

The rain in local streams will entice more steelhead to enter the northern portions of the watersheds, Durkalec writes in his weekly fish report.

With the return of cooler weather, anglers are catching an increasing number of steelhead off the rocks at Edgewater and East 55th Street Marina, Wildwood Park, and in the northernmost river sections by the lake.  Casting a spoon (such as a 2/5 oz Little Cleo or KO Wobbler) or spinner (ie Vibrax or RoosterTail) or a bobber with a 1/32 oz jig tipped with minnow or maggots suspend 3-6 feet below are good bets. 

Here’s what Durkalec suggests: “Since an angler can use two rods in Ohio, one strategy is to cast out a bobber rod with bait and watch it while working a spoon or spinner with the other rod.  But be sure to keep a close eye on the bobber rod, as one unlucky angler had his rod pulled in by a jumping steelhead at Edgewater Park this week!”

When the lake hasn’t been too rough, walleye are biting after dark along the Cleveland shoreline. Anglers are connecting by casting Husky Jerk or Perfect 10 stickbaits at dusk.

Good news, for the start of the Brawl: the marina shops at the Emerald Necklace and East 55th are for the first time offering extended hours this fall. Through Nov. 16, the East 55th store will be open on Thursday, Friday and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. The store will be selling minnows, nightcrawlers, tackle and marine fuel for those looking to hook into a trophy walleye or jumbo perch. At the Emerald Necklace Marina through December 19, the store will be open on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursdays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. The store is stocked with minnows, maggots, flies, jigs and other great products to assist in your quest for a chrome steelhead!

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

Western Basin

Where: Walleye fishing in the western basin should continue to get better as the water temperatures continue to fall. The best reports are coming out of Lorain and Vermilion 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, and the “A”,”D”, and “L” cans of the Camp Perry firing range.
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.

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.

Central Basin

Where: Good fishing was reported in 65 to 75 feet of water north of Edgewater Park, in 65 to 75 feet of water north of Wildwood Park, in 65 to 75 feet of water north of Fairport Harbor, and in 68 to 73 feet of water north of Geneva. Fish are suspended and anglers are targeting fishing depths of 40 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 yellow, purple, and bronze.

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.