Steelhead run winding down in northeast Ohio -Lake Eire Region Report
• The daily bag limit for walleyes on Ohio waters of Lake Erie is 6 fish per angler. The minimum size limit for walleye 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 5 fish per angler through Aug. 31. The minimum size limit for trout and salmon is 12 inches.
• It is illegal to possess black bass (largemouth and smallmouth bass) in Ohio waters of Lake Erie from May 1 through June 29. The season re-opens on Saturday, June 30, with a daily bag limit of 5 fish and a 14-inch minimum size limit.
Walleye fishing improved recently. Trolling with crankbaits and worm harnesses from the outer buoys of the Camp Perry firing range to the east side of Kelleys Island has produced fish.
Yellow perch fishing has been slow, but fish have been caught on minnows off Marblehead, Kelleys Island, and Vermilion.
Walleyes have been caught off Cleveland at night in 10-15 feet using Rapalas and Husky Jerks. During the daytime, anglers are fishing suspended in 42 feet of water and using crawler harnesses.
Yellow perch fishing has been fair to average in 25 feet at the Gordon Park light on the east end of the Cleveland break wall, 37 feet north-northwest of Wildwood State Park, 28-40 feet north of Mentor Lagoons and 43-47 feet north of Ashtabula. Perch spreaders with shiners fished near the bottom produce the most fish. Shore anglers are catching fish off the Cleveland piers and at Headlands Beach pier in Mentor out at the lighthouse.
Anglers are using spreaders with shiners and the mornings have been best. Shore anglers are also catching rock bass off the Cleveland piers.
Smallmouth bass fishing has been very good in 15 to 25 feet around harbor areas in Cleveland, Fairport Harbor, Geneva, Ashtabula and Conneaut. Fish are being caught using drop-shot rigs with rubber worms, soft-craws, leeches, tube jigs and crankbaits. Anglers are also catching fish in the Grand River up to the Painesville dam using tube jigs and golden shiners.
The Rocky River is muddy from recent rain, but will continue to drop and clear. The river temperature is creeping up and the end of the spring steelhead run is fast approaching. For all intents and purposes, the steelhead run in the Rocky River has reached its end for the season. A few stragglers will likely continue to be around for the next week or two, but their numbers have declined sharply with the warmer temperatures. As veteran angler Ken Harper put it so well recently, in reference to our steelhead run this past season, “The Rocky River doesn’t owe anybody a thing this year.” I think a lot of anglers would agree with Ken’s statement.
Lake-run smallmouth bass currently offer the highlight fishery in the river. Many of these fish are of quality size at 2-4 pounds, with a few even larger trophy bass available. These fish are the backbone of a popular and naturally sustaining fishery, so anglers are strongly encouraged to release them unharmed. Smallmouth bass are mostly in deeper holes with the steelhead currently and bite well on 3-4-inch olive or dark brown tube jigs (which look like a goby) or rubber crayfish bumped along the bottom, live bait (minnows, crayfish, leeches), weighted flies in the same colors, and sizes as reference for jigs (woolly buggers and sculpin/goby patterns work well). For anglers who want a nearly equal chance of hooking a big smallmouth or dropback steelhead, fishing a silver and white spinner, minnow or crayfish plug, or live minnow are all good bets.
The last regularly scheduled stocking of rainbow trout occurred on April 30, with 650 pounds of larger trout going into Wallace Lake. Trout have also been recently stocked in Hinckley and Shadow lakes (by ODNR) and in Wallace Lake, Ledge Lake, and the East Branch Rocky River. Trout stocked by Cleveland Metroparks are larger than the ones ODNR has been stocking, but the smaller ones are great for kids or for a fresh trout dinner. Trout have been biting on PowerBait fished near the bottom, small spinners, jigs tipped with maggots suspended under a small bobber, and spawn sacs.
As a reminder, the limits on trout (including steelhead) in Cleveland Metroparks are as follows. Five trout per day per angler, no size limit, at Hinckley and Shadow lakes and the Ohio & Erie Canal fishing areas. Three trout per day, no size limit, in Wallace, Ledge, Ranger, and Judges lakes. Five trout per day, minimum size of 12 inches, in any rivers of the park. Please remember that you may continue fishing to catch and release after keeping your limit, but you cannot keep or give away any trout beyond that.
Rounding out the fishery, the river is offering a increasing numbers of channel catfish, carp, suckers and panfish to keep anglers busy. For the equal opportunity angler, a worm fished near the river bottom can account for just about any fish species in the river currently.
Panfish (bluegills, other sunfish and crappies) and largemouth bass fishing has been heating up in Cleveland Metroparks lakes and ponds lately. The democratic angler who wants to catch just about anything that swims in these areas can dunk a worm about 2 feet under a medium size bobber. This is a great plan for the family with kids who wants to enjoy some fishing during a family picnic to a place like Wallace or Hinckley lakes. Bait is available for purchase at the newly renovated boathouse at Hinckley Lake, which is as of recently under Cleveland Metroparks management (instead of a lessee).
Cleveland Metroparks, www.clemetparks.com