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Lake Erie Fishing Report - January 17th, 2014

Posted on January 16, 2014

• The daily bag limit for walleyes on Ohio waters of Lake Erie is six fish per angler.  The minimum size limit for walleyes is 15 inches.
• The daily bag limit for yellow perch is 30 fish per angler on all Ohio waters of Lake Erie.
• The trout and salmon daily bag limit is two fish with a minimum size limit of 12 inches.
• The black bass (largemouth and smallmouth bass) daily bag limit is five fish per angler with a 14-inch minimum size limit.
Lake-wide
Winter weather has limited fishing opportunities on the main lake as frozen harbors have restricted access to open water.
Anglers are cautiously beginning to venture onto the ice at smaller Cleveland Metroparks lakes and ponds, as well as at the Edgewater launch ramp area. Lake Erie shoreline open water fishing opportunities have come to a halt due to ice covering the shoreline and pack ice in the water
Steelhead fishing opportunities in the Rocky and Chagrin rivers are currently very limited due to slush and ice, and given the forecast there is no immediate end in sight. Up until the latest freeze, anglers had been catching steelhead with spawn sacks and jigs drifted under floats being top producers. A highlight has been a few more stray brown trout mixed in.  An option worth a look at the moment is the Cuyahoga River, which is slower to freeze up in winter than some of our other streams. Overall, the steelhead run this fall and winter has been below average in area streams according to most anglers.
Steelhead and walleye fishing opportunities are available from the shore at Lakefront Reservation depending on wave conditions. Although action has slowed over the past month, the east facing wall at East 55th Street access has still been producing some steelies.  When the shoreline rocks are not coated with ice, anglers can also check Edgewater Park, Wildwood Park, and Huntington Reservation for shore fishing access.  Anglers have been catching lakefront steelhead most consistently on an offering dubbed "The Smorgasbord" by the locals, which consists of a small 1⁄32-ounce marabou jig or painted jighead tipped with several maggots and two or three small emerald shiners suspended a few feet under a bobber. Most walleyes have been taken after dark off East 72nd Street/Gordon Park access on Husky Jerk, X-Rap, Rattlin Rogue, and Rattle Trap crankbaits. For both the walleye and steelhead shoreline fisheries, the action tends to come in spurts and anglers need to bring a long handled landing net and should be very careful and avoid ice covered shoreline rocks.  A set of ice cleats is a very good idea this time of year.
On the other hand, ice fishers are excited about the forecast.  Although anglers are not on the ice quite yet, the forecast leading into the weekend is promising. To enhance ice-fishing opportunities, in early December a total of 2,000 pounds of rainbow trout were stocked in five Cleveland Metroparks lakes. The fish were distributed as follows: Wallace Lake (900 pounds), Ledge Lake (500 pounds), Shadow Lake (400 pounds), Ranger Lake (100 pounds), Judge's Lake (100 pounds). The trout range from 1-4 pounds, with about 10 percent of those stocked being a bright yellow variation of rainbow trout that are known as golden rainbows or  "palominos". Trout have been biting on PowerBait fished near the bottom, small jigs tipped with maggots or a waxworm suspended below a small bobber and jigging spoons (smaller size KastMaster, Forage Minnow and Swedish Pimple have all been producing). 
Most state conservation agencies recommend at least four inches of solid ice before anglers should venture out to ice fish, and in Cleveland Metroparks it is the angler's responsibility to check. One method is to drill a hole near shore and check the ice thickness, and if it is greater than four inches, then walk out a little farther and check again. Ice is often thinnest right at the water's edge and around inlets and outlets of the waterbody. Other safety tips are to always fish with a friend, let someone know where you’ll be, and focus on areas near where other anglers are already fishing.
Cleveland Metroparks, www.clevelandmetroparks.cm

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