Lake Erie Region Fishing Report - January 31st, 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.
Where: Ice anglers have been catching walleyes, primarily west and northwest of Catawba Island, and west of South Bass Island around Green and Rattlesnake islands. Be cautious when ice fishing offshore areas of Lake Erie, since ice conditions can change quickly due to water currents and wind.
How: Most Lake Erie ice anglers targeting walleyes use jigging spoons tipped with emerald shiners.
The Rocky and Chagrin rivers are no longer locked up with ice and water level and stain is looking good for weekend steelheaders. Even though the river was still muddy yesterday, Cleveland Metroparks biologist Mike Durkalec received a few reports of steelhead being caught on pink spawn sacks, and conditions will only improve in the coming days. Anglers should be aware that ice slabs stacked up on the riverbank can pose a challenge in getting to the water in some areas, especially around the marina. Please navigate these areas with caution. Also, be prepared for some slush ice and ice in rod guides as the temperatures continue to drop, especially in the mornings. In addition to dime-size spawn sacks, good bets for winter steelhead include 1⁄32-1⁄64-ounce marabou jigs tipped with maggots or a waxworm, three- to four-inch white tube jigs or Gulp minnows, and live minnows. Fly fishers in winter often do well on egg patterns and Wooly Bugger or Egg Sucking Leech patterns, as well as nymphs as the water gets clear.
Lake Erie shoreline open water fishing opportunities are no longer available due to pack ice pushed up along the shoreline and a dangerous coating of ice covering shoreline structures.
On the other hand, solid ice is setting up in protected nearshore areas, such as East 55th and Wildwood marinas and Gordon Park. Edgewater Marina access will be closed off this winter for hurricane damage repairs to the area. These areas offer ice-fishing opportunities for smelt and steelhead, among other species, which will heat up as winter progresses.
Ice fishers have noted the fishing has slowed this week with the fronts moving through. Ice fishing will get a big boost, though, when Cleveland Metroparks conducts its second (and final) round of winter trout stocking. This activity is subject to change based on weather, though, and anglers can check back in on the fishing report those days for updates. The stocking will be a duplicate of the one conducted in early December with a total of 2,000 pounds of rainbow trout stocked as follows: Wallace Lake (900 pounds), Ledge Lake (500 pounds), Shadow Lake (400 pounds), Ranger Lake (100 pounds), and 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). For anglers looking for species in addition to trout, bluegills have also been caught on small ice spoons tipped with maggots or a waxworm, and some largemouth bass have been taken on jigging spoons. Both of these species tend to be more structure oriented in winter than trout.
Ohio and Cleveland Metroparks regulations allow two rods and six tip-ups per angler on the ice. Since the Ohio regs pamphlet does not define a tip-up in detail, some confusion exists among anglers as to what constitutes such a device, so Durkalec offers the following clarification. The Ohio Administrative Code definition of a tip-up per 1501:31-1-02 is as follows: “Tip-up means a device consisting of a hook and line attached to a spring or other device, which is capable of raising a small flag or other signaling device when a fish is biting or is hooked.” Please be aware of this because Cleveland Metroparks received a few complaints about anglers using non-legal versions of tip-ups recently, and its rangers will be out checking.