Lake Erie Region Fishing Report – December 18th, 2015
• The bag limit for walleye in Ohio waters of Lake Erie is six fish per angler. The minimum size limit for walleye is 15 inches.
• The daily bag limit for yellow perch is 30 fish per angler in all Ohio waters of Lake Erie.
• The trout and salmon daily bag limit is five fish per angler. The minimum size limit is 12 inches.
• For black bass (largemouth and smallmouth bass), the daily bag limit is five fish per angler with a 14-inch minimum size limit.
Where: Walleye have been caught around Kelleys Island, and from Cedar Point to Huron. Fishing at night has been good near Kelleys Island and around Cleveland harbor.
How: Most walleyes have been caught by trolling with crankbaits.
Where: When anglers have been able to get out, fishing for perch has been good east of Kelleys Island and around Marblehead Island.
How: Perch spreaders or crappie rigs with shiners fished near the bottom produce the most fish.
Smallmouth bass and largemouth bass
Where: Smallmouth bass continue to be caught along the shorelines of the Bass islands. Largemouth bass have been caught along the main lake shoreline around Catawba and Marblehead, and in harbors in the same area.
How: Bass have been caught on tube jigs, crankbaits, and drop shot rigs.
Where: There have been very few reports of anglers fishing for walleyes in the Central Basin due to rough lake conditions. A few good walleye reports have come from the sandbar between Vermilion and Lorain.
How: Anglers are trolling planer boards with worm harnesses and crankbaits.
Where: When anglers have been able to get out, fish have been caught two miles north of Huron, two miles north of Vermilion, and near the south end of the sandbar between Vermilion and Lorain. Anglers are also finding fish north-northwest of Gordon Park in 37 to 39 feet of water and north of Wildwood Park in 37 to 38 feet of water. In Ashtabula, try north-northeast of the harbor in 39 to 42 feet of water. Anglers fishing from shore are catching fish off the long pier in the Grand River.
How: Perch spreaders with shiners and minnows fished near the bottom produce the most fish.
Where: Fishing has been good in 15 to 18 feet of water around harbor areas in Fairport Harbor, Cleveland, Ashtabula, and Conneaut.
How: Anglers are using crayfish, jigs, and crankbaits.
Where: Anglers are trolling and casting in harbors, along breakwalls, and in nearshore areas at Conneaut, Ashtabula, Geneva, Fairport Harbor, Eastlake, and Rocky River.
How: Anglers are using spoons, jigs and maggots, and spinners.
In late fall, highlight species targeted by anglers in Cleveland Metroparks include steelhead trout, yellow perch, and walleye. The Rocky River and other area streams are currently flowing moderately well following rain, and a fresh run of steelhead entered the rivers accordingly.
The Rocky and Chagrin rivers finally received some much needed rain, which encouraged a run of fresh steelhead into the streams. There has been a good mix of adult steelhead (24-28 inches) and skippers (14-18-inch steelhead), with some fresh fish having run several miles upstream from the lake. When the water is on the stained side, a dime to nickel size brightly colored spawn sac (hot pink or chartreuse are both good) drifted under a float/bobber is hard to beat. As the water clears other offerings, including live/salted minnows, jigs tipped with maggots/waxworm, salmon-egg mimicking beads, and various flies (eggs, nymphs, and streamers) will begin taking a good share of the fish. Medium-sized silvery spoons and spinners are always worth a try, as well, and require less specialized tackle for newer steelhead anglers. The Cuyahoga River and Euclid Creek also receive some stray steelhead, as do other unstocked streams. Fishing will only improve from this point on through spring, especially if we have the mild winter that is being forecast.
Large numbers of steelhead continue to stage and feed on abundant emerald shiners and small gizzard shad along the Lake Erie shoreline (at Edgewater, E. 55th, and Wildwood parks). Popular methods for targeting Lake Erie shoreline steelies include suspending a jig tipped with minnow or nightcrawler two to five feet below a bobber, as well as casting a spoon (i.e., Little Cleo or KO Wobbler) or spinner (i.e., Vibrax or RoosterTail). Many of these fish traditionally enter the river in greater numbers following a good rain in late November or early December.
Trout and catfish are available at the Ohio & Erie Canal fishing area down the hill from CanalWay Visitor Center off E. 49th Street. In October, Cleveland Metroparks stocked 1,000 pounds of rainbow trout and 600 pounds of farm-raised channel catfish at this location. Note: the daily trout limit at this location is five per angler. Trout bite well on PowerBait, canned corn, small spinners, and jigs tipped with a few maggots/waxworms, and catfish love chicken liver. A nightcrawler worm or piece of shrimp fished right on the canal bottom offers a good bet of hooking either species. The first round of winter trout stockings will occur in our lakes around mid-December.
When conditions have allowed, yellow perch anglers around Cleveland have reported a fair to decent bite in 32-40 feet of water off E. 72nd/Gordon Park and Bratenahl. A few nice catches of perch have also been made by shore anglers on the north facing breakwall at E. 55th. Anglers are using perch spreaders and crappie rigs baited with emerald shiners. The shop at E. 55th is closed for the season, but emerald shiners are available in abundance along the shoreline and in local rivers for anglers who invest in an inexpensive umbrella net. Night walleye anglers are reporting great action off Edgewater and E. 55th/Gordon parks from the shore and from boats casting and trolling stickbaits, with larger Husky Jerks and Perfect 10 models being top producers.
Cleveland Metroparks, www.clevelandmetroparks.com