Lake Erie Region Fishing Report – January 1st, 2016
• The bag limit for walleyes in 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 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: Walleyes 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 the 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 early winter, highlight species targeted by anglers in Cleveland Metroparks include steelhead trout, stocked trout, and walleyes. The Rocky River and other area streams are currently flowing low and clear, and fishing is stale accordingly.
Between low water in the streams and an abundance of baitfish along the Lake Erie shoreline, the steelhead don’t have much reason to enter the rivers quite yet. It doesn’t look like much should change into the weekend, although there is a lot of rain in the extended forecast. Anglers are experiencing the most consistent success near the marina and river mouth areas. Some anglers are wading the river upstream and finding a few willing fish in the deeper holes. Overall, there has been a mix of adult steelhead (24-26 inches) and skippers (14-18-inch steelhead), with few fish over 28 inches being reported so far this season. Under clear-water, pressured conditions it behooves anglers to be versatile with their offerings, including live/salted minnows, small jigs tipped with maggots/waxworms, smaller spawn sacs in varied colors (including blue), salmon egg mimicking beads, rubber baits (white three-inch tubes can be hot), and various flies (eggs, nymphs, and streamers). Medium size 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.
Good numbers of steelhead continue to stage and feed on abundant emerald shiners and small gizzard shad along the Lake Erie shoreline (especially at E. 55th and Edgewater 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 from late fall onward.
A total of 3,000 pounds of trout were stocked in Metroparks lakes recently, as follows: Wallace Lake (1,250 pounds), Shadow Lake (700 pounds), Ledge Lake (550 pounds), Judge’s Lake (250 pounds), and Ranger Lake (250 pounds). The size of the trout varies from 3⁄4 pound to over 3 pounds, and the fish are extra colorful as a result of Cleveland Metroparks’ supplier changing their diet to include more beta carotene. Along with the predominantly standard rainbow trout are several dozen golden rainbow trout, a few brown trout, and even one cutthroat trout stocked at Wallace. The second (and final) round of winter trout will go into the same lakes around late January/early February 2016. Trout are also available at the Ohio & Erie Canal fishing area down the hill from CanalWay Visitor Center off E. 49th Street. Trout bite well on PowerBait, canned corn, small spinners, and jigs tipped with a few maggots/waxworms, and nightcrawlers or shrimp fished right on the bottom. Please note the current seasonal trout regulations: Lake Erie and all streams is two/day with a minimum size of 12 inches (this includes steelhead); three/day, no size limit at Wallace, Ledge, Judge’s and Ranger lakes; and five/day no size limit at Shadow Lake and Ohio & Erie Canal.
Night walleye anglers are reporting great action off Edgewater (in particular) and E. 72nd/Gordon parks from the shore casting and from boats trolling stickbaits, with larger Husky Jerks and Perfect 10 models being top producers. Keep in mind that this fishery can be “feast or famine,” with one night producing a limit catch in short order and the next, under seemingly identical conditions, not producing a hit, so persistence pays off, according to Mike Durkalec, fisheries biologist for Metroparks.
Cleveland Metroparks, www.clevelandmetroparks.com