Walleye Fall Brawl is almost here

Steve caught a 28-inch steelhead from East 55th Street Marina. (Andy Young, via Cleveland Metroparks)

The Walleye Fall Brawl begins next week, as thousands of anglers hope to catch a trophy fish.

The cooler weather has brought a return of steelhead, which anglers are catching off the rocks at Edgewater and East 55th Street Marina, Wildwood Park, and in the northernmost river sections by the lake, reports Cleveland Metroparks aquatic biologist Mike Durkalec

“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,” Durkalec writes in his weekly fish report.

Anglers are pursuing a mix of warm-water species in the streams, including smallmouth bass.

As for Lake Erie, here’s the Ohio Department of Natural Resources fish report.

Western Basin

Walleye 
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, east of Mouse Island, and the “B” can 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.

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.

Central Basin

Walleye 
Where: Very good fishing in 65 to 75 feet of water north of Edgewater Park, in 65 to 70 feet of water north of Wildwood Park, in 74 feet of water north of Lakeshore Park in Ashtabula, and in 70 to 75 feet of water north of Conneaut. 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.

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.



The Lake Erie water temperature is 66 off Toledo and 69 off Cleveland according to the nearshore marine forecast.

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