Reese Lecon caught a 12-pound walleye in April. (Matt Lecon)

Summer is winding down. The water is warm — about 76 degrees in the central basin of Lake Erie. The days are getting shorter. And pretty soon the kiddos will be in school!

If you’re looking to plan one last summer fishing trip with the family, here’s what you need know, from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.

Western Basin

Where: Fishing remains good, though most of the larger fish have moved east to find cooler water, smaller fish remain plentiful. Reports of limits are still coming from Toledo east to the islands, as well as straight out from Huron and Vermilion.


How: Anglers trolling spoons behind divers have been doing well, as well as those trolling worm harnesses. There have been a few reports of anglers trolling crankbaits during low light hours and having success in shallower water, 15 to 20 feet deep. Anglers around the islands have been throwing weight forward spinners with some success as well.

Yellow Perch 

Where: Fishing for yellow perch has been excellent near the islands, with the best reports coming from south of Green Island in 30 feet of water. Anglers are still doing well near the Toledo Water Intake, West Sister Island, and “A” can of the Camp Perry firing range.

How: Perch spreaders with shiners fished near the bottom produce the most fish. Fish have also been taken on maggots.

Black Bass  

Where: Anglers fishing for largemouth have been doing exceptionally well in the Portage River mouth, East and West Harbors, and Sandusky Bay, as well as picking up the occasional fish around Catawba. Smallmouth fishing has been good, with anglers targeting 8 to 20 feet of water near Kelleys Island and the reefs around the islands.

How: Texas rigged soft plastic and wacky worms usually produce well for largemouth bass. For anglers targeting smallmouths, tubes and drop-shot rigs have been working well, as well as weighted wacky worms.

Where: Anglers targeting catfish are doing extremely well in Sandusky and Maumee bays. Shoreline fishing opportunities are available from the Jackson Street Pier, Shoreline Park, Battery Park, or Meigs Street Pier in Sandusky, and the Sandusky Bay Bridge access.


How: Shrimp is a popular bait in Sandusky and Maumee bays, though fish have also taken on shiners, nightcrawlers, and stink bait. Most anglers fish a Carolina rig or three-way rig. Fish can also be taken below a bobber suspended just off the bottom.

Central Basin

Where: Excellent fishing reported in 40 feet of water northeast of Rocky River, in 60 feet of water north-northeast of Gordon Park, in 65 to 74 feet of water northeast to northwest of Fairport Harbor, and in 71 to 75 feet of water north-northwest of Ashtabula. Fish are suspended, and anglers are targeting fishing depths of 35 to 55 feet while trolling.

How: Walleye have been caught by trolling crankbaits, spoons and worm harnesses with divers. Good colors to try are purple, green and white, orange, black, watermelon and chartreuse. Anglers fishing from shore are having the best luck in the evenings catching fish using spinners and stick baits.

Smallmouth Bass  

Where: Fishing has been good in 20 to 27 feet of water around harbor areas in Cleveland, Fairport Harbor, Ashtabula and Conneaut.

How: Anglers are using drop shot rigs with crayfish and leeches, small spoons, and night crawlers.


Where: Fishing for channel catfish has been good on the Grand River, Fairport piers, at the Route 535 bridge, and the Grand River landing.

How: Anglers are using live baits such as night crawlers, leeches and shrimp.

Steelhead Trout  


Where: Anglers are picking up steelhead while trolling for walleye off Geneva and Ashtabula in 71 to 75 feet of water.