Fishing Report: Lake Erie perch bite is on

Perch hitting on Lake Erie, crappie hitting inland

CLEVELAND - Think big.

In fact, think JUMBO!

We are talking jumbo yellow perch season on Lake Erie and it has started. Perch fishing is outstanding from Crane Creek to Conneaut with bigger ones being caught the further you move east. The season should peak in mid-October. 

As for the rest of the state, inland lakes are providing good action for saugeye, walleye, and panfish. And, the crappie bite is picking up, too.

Let's take a closer look at what's biting around the Buckeye State:

Lake Erie

The Port Clinton head boat fleet is running perch and walleye trips in the western basin. Fisherman's Wharf and Shore-Nuf Charters are reporting good catches of yellow perch north of Niagara Reef and east of D Can.  Walleye are also cooperating. They're being taken off the kidney bean and near Northwest Reef on nightcrawler harnesses and Reef Runners. Go with gold on the harnesses, green or purple on the runners.  The smallmouth bass bite is on, too. Anglers dropshotting, gulp minnows, leeches or softcraws have been picking good numbers of smallmouth off of rock piles and near the Bass Islands.

Further east, Craig Lewis at Erie Outfitters in Sheffield Lake says the yellow perch fishing is about as good as it can be. Craig tells us the perch are hitting in 40-45 feet of water from Huron to Rocky River. The walleye bite has tapered off, but should pick up once cooler weather moves in. Smallmouth bass are being taken in 16-26 feet of water near structure on jigs and dropshot rigs. A higher than usual number of largemouth bass are being caught by breakwall and pier fishermen. They're hitting cranks, minnows or nightcrawlers.

Closer to Cleveland, Shine's tells us the perching is fantastic. Fishing the 40-50 feet of water will produce.  Good spots to try are off of FirstEnergy Stadium, East 55 th Street, and East 72 nd Street. Some perch are even being taken off the breakwalls.

Wildwood Marina is the home to the head boat Linda Mae. The folks there are reporting limit catches this week. Fish are taking emerald shiners in 4-52 feet of water off of Euclid Beach, Euclid Hospital and Villa Angela-St. Joseph High School. Breakwall anglers are catching some perch, too.

The yellow perch bite is excellent off of Fairport Harbor. That's the word from Don at Harbor Bait in Fairport.  Fish are being  caught in 40 to 50 feet of water  near the hump. Walleye fishing has been fair to slow. Look for them in 52-60 feet of water. They're taking spoons and cranks. Chartreuse and Silver have been the colors of choice. The smallmouth bass fishing has been excellent near the Fairport breakwall, the mouth of the Grand River, and in the river itself. They're hitting tube jigs and soft craws. The steelhead are staging near the river mouth. A number have been caught in the past week off the short pier in Fairport. Anglers are throwing Little Cleos, Vibrex spinners and jigs tipped with maggots.

Off of Conneaut, Snug Harbor Bait reports limit catches of yellow perch in 52 feet of water. Walleye fishing has been good in 62-72 feet of water. Reef Runners have been the lure of choice.

Portage Lakes

We checked with Ron Slater at Portage Lakes Bait and Tackle to see how the fishing is at this popular chain of lakes south of Akron. His answer:  "Fantastic!" Ron tells us the fall bass bite continues. Good catches are being made on shallow running cranks, blade baits, spinner baits, and soft plastics.  Rex Lake, Long Lake, East Reservoir and Turkeyfoot Lake have all been producing. Crappie are starting to become more active.  They're taking minnows in eight to 12 feet of water near submerged timber and along weed edges. Some yellow perch have been in the mix with them. East Reservoir, Long Lake and Rex Lake are your best bets for crappie. Channel cats are hitting everywhere. Chicken livers, nightcrawlers, hot dogs and cut bait will produce. Some good panfish catches have been reported from East Reservoir and Miller Lake. Maggots, waxworms or red worms will take panfish.

Nimisila Reservoir

Crappie have started hitting at this impoundment in southern Summit County. Anglers have been catching them near the dam on minnows fished in five to 12 feet of water. Crappie jigs or twister tails fished under a bobber and popped will also take them. Largemouth bass fishing is improving. Soft plastics fished near weed lines will take fish early in the day. Shallow running cranks or blade baits will also catch largemouth marauding through schools of shad. Some walleye are being caught vertically jigging blade baits in seven to 15 feet of water near the dam. Good catches of channel cats are being made around the lake on chicken livers, cut bait, minnows, and small live bluegills.

West Branch

Mark at Mark's Bait and Tackle in Ravenna tells us the musky continue to hit at this reservoir east of Ravenna. Good catches are being made by trollers on Boss Shad lures around the lake.  Some musky are also being caught by fisherman throwing big bucktail spinners near weed

beds. Crappie fishing has turned on under the Rock Springs Road bridge, especially at night. Good numbers of walleye are being taken vertically jigging blade baits, leeches, or nightcrawlers. Channel cats are hitting everywhere on West Branch. Chicken livers, cut bait, nightcrawlers and minnows will take fish. Bass fishing is improving. Spinner baits, soft plastics, and shallow running cranks fished near structure or weed beds will produce.


Water levels are way down at this popular lake west of Youngstown, and only a few launches are usable.  Les's Bait and Tackle tells us walleye fishing has been slow. Some fish are being taken by trollers working the river channel from the causeway to the railroad bridge. Bass fishing is picking up. Largemouth are being caught on shallow running crank baits, spinner baits, and soft plastic. Points have been producing smallmouth bass on tube jigs and diving cranks.  


North Coast Bait and Tackle reports the crappie bite remains good at this Mahoning County lake. Minnows fished around structure in seven to 12 feet of water have been producing. The walleye bite is good. Fish are being caught deep on Flicker Shads, Wally Divers and Shad Raps along the river channel. Some trollers are using inline weights or lead core line to get the lures deep enough. Channel catfish are hitting well, and will take nightcrawlers, chicken livers, cut bait and dough baits. The laregemouth bite is good in the morning on topwater lures, shallow diving crankbaits and soft plastics. Smallmouth fishing has been improving off the deep side of the hump on the south side.

Mosquito Creek

Joe at Mosquito Lake Marina tells us walleye are being caught on the south end by trollers pulling nightcrawler harnesses and diving cranks deep.  Bass fishing has been good with fish being taken in the early morning and at dusk on spinner baits and shallow running cranks.

Up the lake at Causeway Sporting Goods, they report  good catches of crappie on minnows drifted in eight to 18 feet of water. Walleye are also being taken by trollers pulling diving cranks or nightcrawler harnesses. Causeway anglers have been making scattered catches of perch and channel cats.


Duck and Drake reports the yellow perch bite is hot at this Ashtabula County reservoir. Those fish are coming from the south side on minnows fished in about 12 feet of water. Some walleye are being caught on nightcrawler harnesses in 10-15 feet of water. Crappies have been taking minnows around submerged structure. Good numbers of channel cats are also being caught.

Charles Mill & Pleasant Hill

Dusty at Mifflin Lakes Trading Post reports crappie are hitting well at Charles Mill. Minnows fished around submerged timber will produce. The wiper (white bass/striped bass hybrids) bite is on, too, at this lake between Ashland and Mansfield. Twister Tails and Rooster Tails, and Rattle Traps will catch them. Chicken livers will work for the wipers, too. Look for them chasing schools of baitfish near the surface. Channel cats are taking cut bait, chicken livers, and nightcrawlers. The saugeye fishing is on below the dam at Charles Mill. Minnows fished on the bottom or under bobbers will catch them.

Just to the south at Pleasant Hill Reservoir, the saugeye bite has turned on. Saugeye are being caught off the beach. Crankbaits or nightcrawler harnesses trolled in deeper water will take fish. Fair numbers of white bass are in the mix. Bass fishing is good. Work rocky points with jigs and crawfish imitations for smallmouth.  Some crappie are being caught on minnows near downed trees.

Chippewa Lake

Bob Nemeth at Chippewa Lake Bait and Tackle says catfish have been taking nightcrawlers and chicken livers. Panfish are being caught in good numbers. Some bass are being taken.

Cleveland Metro Parks

The smallmouth bass fishing is excellent in the Rocky River. Some steelhead are being caught near the river mouth on spoons and jigs. Wallace Lake is providing good action for bass, channel cats, and panfish. Fair catches of panfish are being reported from Coe Lake. Ranger Lake is producing good catches of largemouth bass.  

Ohio River

Red's in Columbiana reports excellent fishing for sauger on the Ohio River below the New Cumberland Dam. Minnows fished near the bottom are catching fish. Good numbers of channel catfish, as well as a few shovelheads are being caught. Cut bait, shrimp, and live bluegills are the baits of choice.


The bass bite is good at this Portage County impoundment. Early morning and dusk are better than other times of the day. Soft plastics, spinner baits, and crankbaits will take fish. Bluegills and redears are hitting. Look for them in the five to 10 foot range. They will hit wax worms and maggots. The north end of the lake, and the Lansinger Road area have been best for the panfish. Channel catfish are hitting everywhere on the lake. Nightcrawlers, shrimp, and chicken livers are the preferred baits.


Fair numbers of walleye are being taken at this reservoir in Geauga County. Trolling or drifting nightcrawler harnesses and deep diving cranks has been productive. Good catches of panfish are also being reported. Waxworms, maggots, and red worms are the preferred baits. Bass fishing is good. Work shallow cranks and soft plastics near weed lines and submerged structure.


Channel cats are hitting well. Nightcrawlers, cut bait, and chicken livers are taking fish. Some flatheads are being reported in the mix. The folks at Tappan Lake Marina tell us saugeye have started to hit well. They'll take nightcrawler harnesses or diving cranks trolled deep. Largemouth bass have been hitting soft plastics and crankbaits fished near submerged structure and timber. Smallmouth fishing is fair. Work rocky areas with jigs or diving cranks for smallmouth. Some largemouth are being caught early in the morning and at sunset on spinner baits and cranks.

Atwood Lake

Atwood Lake Boats, Marina East says the channel catfish bite is hot. They are taking chicken liver or cut bait everywhere in the lake. Saugeye catches are improving. Diving cranks and nightcrawler harnesses will take them. Bass fish remains good on points, weed edges, and submerged structure. Soft plastics, jigs, and spinner baits remain the lures of choice.

Piedmont Reservoir

Musky are being taken by trollers pulling large crank baits near the dam and in the marina bay. Piedmont Lake Marina tells us the saugeye bite is good in the dam area. Drifting or trolling nightcrawler harnesses deep will take fish, so will deep diving crank baits. Good numbers of channel cats are being caught all around the lake on nightcrawlers and cut bait. Shovelheads are hitting, too. Live shad or bluegills are the bait of choice for the shovelheads. A 35-pound shovelhead was caught in the past week. Good catches of largemouth bass are being made along deep weed edges. Smallmouth Bass are hitting crayfish, tube jigs, and crankbaits on rocky points. Work weed edges with spinner baits for largemouth bass.

Tuscarawas River

The upper stretch that runs through Firestone Metro Park above Long Lake is one of the best urban fisheries in northeast Ohio. It has been producing good numbers of yellow perch and panfish. Fish the deeper pools with minnows or nightcrawlers. Good catches of northern pike have been made from Clinton to Massillon. Decent numbers of channel catfish catches are being made closer to Dover.  There are a huge number of small bass and good sized bluegills at the Lake Lucerne outflow just north of Canal Fulton.

Springfield Lake

The bass fishing has been hot at this Summit County lake. Laregemouth bass are hitting shallow running cranks, spinner baits, and soft plastics. Smallmouth will take tube jigs, cranks, and crawfish near submerged structure. Channel cats are also cooperating. They'll hit cut bait, chicken livers, and dough baits. Crappies are taking minnows in 12 feet of water near submerged structure.

Cuyahoga River

Good catches of northern pike are being made near Route 91 and back through Munroe Falls. Shiners fished under a bobber is the preferred method, though they'll also hit spoons and spinner baits. Good numbers of smallmouth bass are being caught below the Gorge Dam on soft craws, small inline spinners, twister tails, and tube jigs. Further downstream, smallmouth have been cooperating near the Route 82 dam.

Lake Hodgson

Excellent catches of yellow perch are coming from this Portage County Lake. Minnows fished near the bottom in 12 to 15 feet of water will produce fish. Walleye are also cooperating. They are hitting drifted jigs tipped with nightcrawlers. Panfish are taking waxworms, maggots, and red worms. The largemouth bite is good. Spinner baits and soft plastics will produce.

Lake Rockwell

Crappie are hitting near the causeway, especially after dark. This is an outstanding fishery that few are taking advantage of. Channel cats are taking nightcrawlers, minnow, chicken livers, and cut bait. Excellent catches of largemouth bass are being made on spinner baits, soft plastics, and shallow cranks.

Alum Creek

Cheshire Market in Galena reports good catches of saugeye and crappie are being made drifting or trolling nightcrawler harnesses, minnows, and jigs, and crankbaits on the flats, and near drops. Bass fishing has been improving, with a number being caught off of deep weed edges using jigs, soft plastics and spinner baits. Good catches of channel cats are being made on nightcrawlers and chicken livers.

Hoover Reservoir

Good numbers of saugeye are being taken by trollers at this lake near Columbus. Nighcrawler harnesses trolled or drifted will take fish. Good catches of white bass are being made on spinners and on minnows. Channel cats are hitting cut bait, nightcrawlers and shrimp.

Sippo Lake

There are decent catches for Panfish from this Stark County Lake, though they are running small. If you are looking for a

great place to introduce a child to the great sport of fishing, Sippo is a good location. It offers a nice fishing pier, boat rentals, a bait shop, and a snack bar. Bass, catfish, crappies, and white perch can also be caught.

Wingfoot Lake

Good panfish catches are being reported at this lake in Portage County. They will take wax worms, maggots, and red worms. The fish can be found in three to 12 feet of water. Some perch are being caught, too. The bass bite has gotten better. They can be caught around structure and weed edges early in the morning on soft plastics, topwater lures and cranks.

Findley Lake

The panfish action at this lake near Wellington is outstanding. Excellent numbers of fair sized bluegills are being made in four to eight feet of water on red worms. Some largemouth bass are also in the mix on soft plastics.

Wellington Reservoir

Channel cats have been hitting well at this Lorain County impoundment. Chicken livers and nightcrawlers are the preferred baits. Good catches of panfish are being made, too.

Help Our War Vets

We wanted to let you know about a special event coming up on Saturday, Sept. 14 to benefit wounded warriors. It's a catfishing tournament at Charles Mill Reservoir. Call Mifflin Lakes Trading Post at 419-368-3956 for more information.

We Want To Hear From You

And, we want to remind you that you can submit photos of your fish catches. Go ahead, brag a little. We might post the photos or broadcast them on NewsChannel5. Send those photos to . We also welcome your fishing reports from you home waters, tips, suggestions, and even recipes that we can share.

If any of you want to let us know how things are where you're fishing, feel free to email me at . You can also find me on My handle there is TopCat, and you can send me a personal message. You can also follow me on Twitter @gnoleff . You may have seen a series of questions I've been answering about catfishing on there recently. I always welcome your questions on Twitter, too.

If there's a body of water you fish, and we're not covering it, let us know and we'll keep you informed about the latest conditions there. Plus, feel free to send us your fishing questions. We'll try to get them answered.

This report will be updated through the week to reflect the most recent fishing conditions.


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