Lake Erie Region

In mid-January, anglers were catching smelt in the harbor at
Conneaut. The best bite has been coming after dark by still fishing
from the breakwall. Maggots under a bobber has been the successful
set-up, according to Mike Mainhart, who traveled down from Vienna
in Trumbull County to fish the wall.

On Lake Erie proper, there has been very little open water
fishing activity, reports the Division of Wildlife in Sandusky. 
Temperatures are dropping and protected areas of the lake have
started freezing.  Boat fishing is most likely over until spring. 
If temperatures stay low as predicted, ice fishing could begin at
some point in the next month. As of Jan. 23, the surface
temperature was 33 degrees off of Toledo and 33 degrees off of
Cleveland.

As of Jan. 22, large sections of the Rocky River had frozen over
completely or have significant shelf ice.  With that said, there is
still some open water for hardy anglers willing to search for it. 
Lakes and ponds throughout the Cleveland Metroparks district have a
covering of ice at this time, although it’s not yet safe to venture
out on. Steelhead fishing was very good in the lower river reaches
near the marina. Elevated water levels enticed a fresh run of fish
into the lower river, with a good mix of adult and “skipper”
steelhead. Some of the largest fish in recent weeks, though, have
been reported upstream a distance from the lake all the way up to,
and beyond, Cedar Point Road. Overall, there is a healthy mix of
fresh and darker fish all throughout the system, and winter fishing
conditions don’t get much better than they are at the present time.
The situation is currently similar in the North Chagrin Reservation
on the Chagrin River.

Anglers who prefer fishing bait have been doing well with salmon
and trout egg sacks (pink, chartreuse, white, and peach spawn mesh
have all been working well), jigs tipped with maggots (especially
black with some bright orange or gold), and live minnows. Fly
anglers have primarily been dead drifting egg patterns and
streamers with a strike indicator, as well as nymph patterns as the
river clears further. Working flatfish type plugs through the
deeper runs can always produce a few winter steelhead, as well.

While the river was high and muddy in mid-January, many anglers
turned their attention toward pursuing the rainbow trout released
throughout the park district back in late December. Nearly half of
those 1,800 pounds of fish went into Wallace Lake. The remaining
fish were distributed between Shadow, Ranger, Ledge, and Judge’s
lakes. There are another 1,800 pounds of trout scheduled for
distribution in these same areas at the end of January/beginning of
February. All lakes and ponds are currently ice free again, making
fishing easy by traditional means. Salmon eggs, power baits, and
jigs tipped with grubs are just a few baits these trout will hit
well either fished on the lake bottom or suspended under a small
float.    

Cleveland Metroparks, www.clemetparks.com

On Lake Erie, shore anglers have been catching a few walleyes
from the Lakeside pier in Port Clinton on jerkbaits and lipless
crankbaits, reports Maumee Bait and Tackle. Ice guides are hoping
for an extended period of cold temperatures to make hard water out
on the Bass Islands.

The Lake Erie surface temperature as of Jan. 2 was 34 degrees
off of Toledo and 37 degrees off of Cleveland.

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