Jon Brauer caught this monster sheepshead on Lake Erie this week. (Jon Brauer, for Cleveland Metroparks)

Weather is warming up, and the boat launch ramps are in the water at the Cleveland Metroparks.

In the Metroparks’ weekly fish report, aquatic biologist Mike Durkalec said smallmouth bass are now swimming in the Rocky, Chagrin and Cuyahoga rivers.

Note: you can’t keep smallmouth/largemouth bass caught in Lake Erie or the Rocky River north of the Detroit Road bridge, Chagrin River north of the Route 283 bridge, or Cuyahoga River north of the Harvard Avenue bridge between May 1 and June 29.

On Lake Erie, the Cleveland shoreline breakwalls are offering a hot post-spawn night bite for walleye right now, Durkalec says.  You can also find northern pike, steelhead, and panfish in the marinas. Best spots:  Edgewater, Wildwood, and East 72nd/Gordon Park boat ramp areas.  For almost any of these fish, a medium size silvery spoon or spinner is a good all-around choice.  

Here’s the Fish Ohio report from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.


Where: Locust and Niagara reefs continue to boast high catch rates. A lot of anglers are reporting limits in two hours or less. Anglers are also reporting success jigging near the mouth of the Vermillion River and near Ruggle’s Reef, and trolling nearshore from Cleveland and farther east.

How: Anglers have been jigging 5/8 to 1-ounce hair jigs in 8 to 20 feet of water, with purple and black reported as the best colors. In addition, anglers jigging blade baits have also been successful. Anglers trolling have been having success using deep diving crankbaits and spoons at 35 to 55 feet back. Some anglers have started to switch to trolling harnesses with intermittent success.

Smallmouth Bass  

Where: Largemouth and smallmouth bass will be moving up shallower to spawn in the coming weeks. Anglers are beginning to target largemouth in some of the harbors and tributaries, while reports of smallmouth bass have been trickling in from the lake. Reports of incidental catches have been reported near the Islands, the mid-lake reef complex, and near Vermilion.

How: Texas-rigged soft plastics and wacky worms usually produce well for largemouth bass. For anglers targeting smallmouths, tubes often work well, though plenty of fish are being taken on hair jigs and blade baits, as well as trolling crankbaits.


Where: Look for fish starting to move into harbors and river mouths in the coming weeks as they begin staging to spawn. Anglers have reported intermittent success, but the warmer weather should start to bring fish into shore.

How: A 1/16 or 1/32-ounce jig and minnow fished under a slip bobber is the most common technique this time of year. Casting small crankbaits or jigs and plastics also work well.