CLEVELAND - Sometimes the unexpected happens. Just ask Corey Zelinsky of Medina. He'd heard about the fantastic bowfin catches being made at the Lake Lucerne outflow into the Tuscarawas River just north of Canal Fulton. He and a friend thought they'd try to catch one of the toothy prehistoric critters there on Wednesday. But, instead of a bowfin, Corey came up with a four pound largemouth bass. You can see the picture in our photo section.
That was a surprise. What isn't a surprise is that some fisheries in Ohio are picking up, while others are still stuck in the summer doldrums. It's that time of year. So, how's the fishing where you like to wet a line?
Let's take a look at what's biting around the Buckeye State:
The Western Basin is a mixed bag, right now. The Port Clinton head boat fleet is running yellow perch and walleye trips. Shore-Nuf charters out of Drawbridge Marina reports fair perch fishing, and better walleye fishing. The walleye have been hitting drifted nightcrawler harnesses off of Green Island and Rattlesnake Island. Gold is the preferred color. Fisherman's Wharf tells us the perching has tapered off for them, but the walleye bite remains good. They're catching most of their fish on drifted and cast harnesses off of West Sister Island.
Moving into the Central Basin, the wind has made fishing conditions difficult in the past week. Craig Lewis at Erie Outfitters in Sheffield Lake reports good catches of yellow perch off of the Rocky River in 41 feet of water and off of Lorain in 36 feet of water. The walleye bite is on in 28 feet of water off of Huron, 41 feet of water off of Vermilion, and off of Avon Point in 40 feet of water.
Closer to Cleveland, Shine's tells us only a handful of boats have made it out in the past week because of the wind. Yellow perch are probably there, but no one's been able to fish for them. Scattered catches of rock bass and white bass are being made off the Cleveland breakwalls.
The Linda Mae is the head boat out of Wildwood Marina, and it fishes the areas off of Cleveland, Bratenahl, and Euclid. The folks who run that boat say perching has been fair, and should improve once the lake lays down. That should happen this weekend. The other concern is bait. Emerald shiner netters can't get on the water at night when the lake is kicking. That means we could see a bait shortage along the north coast this weekend.
Don at Harbor Bait in Fairport Harbor tells us the water has been rough, but those who have braved it have been rewarded with good catches of yellow perch. They're in 52 feet of water just off of Fairport. Walleye are mixed in with the schools of perch. A number of walleye have been caught by perch anglers this week, though fishermen targeting walleye have found success in 56 to 60 feet of water. It's primarily a nightcrawler harness bite, right now.
Off of Conneaut, Snug Harbor Bait reports limit catches of yellow perch for boats able to make it out on the water. You should find them in 52 feet of water. Walleye fishing has been good in 56 feet of water.
One of the top walleye captains and tournament fishermen on Lake Erie is Captain Ryan Buddie. He tells us the walleye bite is excellent from Ashtabula to Huron when you locate fish. Check out the photo of a ten pound walleye caught on one of his charters off of Avon on Thursday. Ryan says the fish are migrating west, again. For more on where Ryan is fishing, his website is ryanbuddie.com.
The fall bass bite is on at this popular chain of lakes south of Akron. That means spinner baits, blade baits, and shallow running cranks. Soft plastics will catch the largemouth, too. Ron Slater at Portage Lakes Bait and Tackle tells us East Reservoir, Turkeyfoot, and Rex Lake have been the top producers. Many good sized bass are being taken, right now. Check out the picture of the largemouth Ron recently caught out of East Reservoir in our photo section. Panfish action has been fast with good numbers of large fish reported from Turkeyfoot and East Reservoir. Maggots fished on pinmans or panfish jigs are the go-to baits. Crappie are showing up in increasing numbers. Fish minnows around submerged wood to catch them. The channel catfish bite remains stellar. Rex Lake is the top producer. Several cats over 5 pounds have come out of there recently. Chicken livers, nightcrawlers, and hot dogs are the top baits.
The largemouth bass bite is improving at this impoundment in Green in southern Summit County. Spinner baits, soft plastics, and shallow diving cranks will catch fish. Good catches of channel catfish are being reported. Chicken livers and cut bait are taking fish. The crappie bite has been slow. Good catches of panfish are being made.
Mark's Bait and Tackle in Ravenna reports tells us the musky continue to hit at this reservoir east of Ravenna. Good catches are being made by trollers on Boss Shad lures, especially in firetiger patterns fished near the dam. Many of the catches are being made early in the morning or later in the afternoon to evening. Crappie fishing has turned on under the Rock Springs Road bridge, especially at night. The walleye bite has picked up. Harnesses on bottom bouncers fished along the creek channel have been effective. Channel cats are hitting everywhere on West Branch. Chicken livers, cut bait, nightcrawlers, and minnows will take fish. Bass fishing is fair, but 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. Les's Bait and Tackle tells us walleye fishing has been slow to fair. Trollers working deep water between the railroad bridge and the causeway have been catching some fish on deep diving cranks. Channel catfish are being taken on chicken livers and nightcrawlers. Largemouth and smallmouth fishing has been slow.
North Coast Bait and Tackle reports the crappie have turned on at this Mahoning County lake. Minnows fished around structure in eight to 15 feet of water have been producing. The walleye bite is fair. 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.
Joe at Mosquito Lake Marina tells us some walleye are being caught on the south end by trollers pulling nightcrawler harnesses and diving cranks deep. Bass fishing has been fair with some 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 8 to 18 feet of water. Some walleye are also being taken by anglers targeting crappie. Good catches of decent sized panfish are also being made off of weed beds on the south side. Causeway anglers have been making scattered catches of perch and channel cats.
We checked with the folks at Duck and Drake, and they tell us 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 to 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, along the eastern shoreline, and near the lodge at Pleasant Hill Reservoir. 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.
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, and it's just a matter of time before steelhead move in. Wallace Lake is providing decent action for bass, channel cats, and panfish. Some decent catches of panfish are being reported from Coe Lake. Ranger Lake is producing fair catches of largemouth bass.
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.
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 Boats, Marina East says the channel catfish bite is hot. They are taking chicken liver or cut bait everywhere in the lake. Saugeye catches have been scattered. Bass fish remains good on points, weed edges, and submerged structure. Soft plastics, jigs, and spinner baits remain the lures of choice.
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.
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.
We are getting reports of good numbers of channel cats from this Summit County lake. They'll hit cut bait, chicken livers, and dough baits. Crappies are taking minnows in 12 feet of water near submerged structure. Largemouth bass are being caught in fair numbers along weed edges on soft plastics and spinner baits. Smallmouth bass have been very active lately. Work structure near drop offs for them.
Gone Fishing Bait and Tackle in Cuyahoga Falls tells us the Cuyahoga is down to a trickle through Cuyahoga Falls after the dam demolition. It's dropped water levels along a good stretch of the river and that's had a negative impact on traditional fishing spots. Upstream, better catches of bass, and pike are being made around Munroe Falls. Smallmouth are being caught below the Gorge Dam. Use tube jigs or small spinners to take them.
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 beginning to cooperate. Panfish are taking waxworms, maggots, and red worms. The largemouth bite has improved. Spinner baits and soft plastics will produce.
Big bluegill and crappie are hitting near the causeway, with the crappie bite turning on at night. 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.
Cheshire Market in Galena reports good catches of saugeye and crappie are being made drifting or trolling nightcrawler harnesses, minnows, and jigs, and crankbaits. The fish are relatively shallow. 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 September 14th 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 Good Morning Cleveland. Send those photos to Noleff@wews.com . 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 email@example.com . You can also find me on ohiogamefishing.com. 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.