CLEVELAND - The Lake Erie walleye bite is on. The popular gamefish have moved into their late spring/early summer patterns and that should have anglers along the north coast very excited.
A check on the head boats out of Port Clinton finds good numbers of fish are being caught, as long as the weather cooperates.
Mark Wolf at Fisherman's Wharf in downtown Port Clinton reports that their boats have been catching walleye drifting nightcrawler harnesses. Mark does not think the cooldown we expect on Friday will affect the fish, and that the weather this weekend should be perfect.
Other Port Clinton head boat operators Shore-Nuf, Tibbels, and The Sassy Sal are providing similar reports. The head boats drift for their catch, but trollers in the Western Basin are also taking fish. They are pulling Shad Raps, spoons and harnesses with success. They have been targeting the areas north Kelleys and near Niagara Reef.
In the Central Basin it is a similar story. Craig Lewis at Erie Outfitters tells us trollers are taking fish from Sheffield to Vermilion. Fish are running from 32 to 42 feet deep. Boats trolling Reef Runners and crawler harnesses in pink and purple are catching Walleye. Most of the trolling is being done off of planer boards.
Closer to Cleveland, the folks at Shine's say trollers and drifters are catching Walleye off of Rocky River on harnesses and weight forward spinners tipped with nightcrawlers. Some breakwall casters are also picking up fish on diving cranks.
The Lake Erie bite comes just after the Walleye fishing started to pick up on inland lakes. It is still going strong there, too. Good Walleye catches are being made at Lake Milton, Mosquito Creek, Berlin, West Branch, and Pymatuning. Trolling crankbaits or nightcrawler harnesses will take fish. For Saugeye, try Tappan, Piedmont, Pleasant Hill and below Charles Mill Dam. Trolling Flicker Shads or drifting crawlers or minnows will trigger bites on the first three lakes, fishing a minnow under a float will work below Charles Mill.
Let's take a look around northern Ohio to see what else is biting:
The Yellow Perch have started to cooperate when boats can make it on the water. Weather conditions have not been consistently good, but when they are, Perch are being caught. Over on Cleveland's east side, the folks at Wildwood Marina are running Perch trips on their head boat. Catches have been hit or miss, but the size of the fish has been good. Emerald Shiners fished on spreaders or Crappie rigs are preferred. Fish are being caught in 33 to 35 feet of water from Euclid Hospital to Bratenahl.
In the Western Basin, the folks at Tibbels tell us anglers have been taking Yellow Perch near Kelleys Island on minnows and jigging spoons.
Smallmouth Bass have been hitting jerk baits and crankbaits in rocky areas near Cranberry and Ruggles Reef. The Smallmouth activity has really picked up in the past week.
The Crappie bite is slowing a bit in this popular chain of lakes just south of Akron. But, the panfish action is heating up. Jerry at Long Lake Bait and Tackle says the big Bluegills and Red Ears are on the nests. Maggots, waxworms, and red worms presented slowly on the bottom or under a bobber will catch fish. The emphasis is on "slowly". These fish are not interested in actively feeding, so baits fished at a relaxed pace in the beds will trigger reflex bites.
Ron Slater at Portage Lakes Bait and Tackle says Largemouth Bass are also very active. He suggests using four inch plastic worms in East Reservoir and Mud Lake. Bass are also being reported out of Turkeyfoot and Rex Lake.
Good catches of Channel Catfish are being made. Chicken Livers and nightcrawlers are the baits of choice. Long Lake, North Reservoir, and Turkeyfoot have been producing.
Nimisila Reservoir has been producing Crappie and Largemouth. Fishing brush and structure has been productive. Also, there have been scattered reports of Walleye being caught at Nimisila, as well.
Crappies are also still hitting at West Branch. Alvin at Ron's West Branch Bait says minnows are catching a lot of fish. They are also catching plenty of White Bass, too. Muskies are also being taken on large spinners cast near weed beds. The Walleye bite has also picked up, especially for trollers dragging crankbaits and spinners tipped with crawlers.
Berlin & Milton
Good catches of Walleye are being reported at these two lakes just west of Youngstown. Trollling nightcrawler harnesses and diving crankbaits have produced. Work the crawlers in shallower areas and on humps. Use the diving plugs for suspended fish in deeper water. Plenty of Smallmouth are also being caught at Milton. White Bass
have also been cooperating with some very large fish being taken by trollers.
Walleye have finally turned on at this impoundment just north of Warren. Crankbaits, crawler harnesses, and jigs tipped with minnows seem to be triggering the most strikes. Causeway Sporting Goods tells us the west side of the lake by the cemetery has been producing. Crappies are also hitting well, too. Tube jigs and minnows fished around brush in the shallows are producing fish.
Charles Mill & Pleasant Hill
These two reservoirs near Mansfield and Ashland are good producers of spring Saugeye. Dusty at Mifflin Lakes Trading Post reports good numbers of Saugeye are being taken at Pleasant Hill. Areas in front of the beach and near the Mohican Lodge have been good for trollers and drifters fishing diving crankbaits and crawler rigs. Saugeye are hitting minnows below the dam at Charles Mill. Fish them on the bottom or under a float. Above the dam, Charles Mill is producing good catches of Wipers, which are Striped Bass-White Bass hybrids. Jigs and twister tails, as well as chicken livers are the preferred baits. The Crappie bite is still on there, too.
The Walleye bite has picked up south of the causeway at this popular Ashtabula County reservoir. Anglers are trolling and drifting nightcrawlers to catch fish. Minnows are taking Crappie in the shallows. Channel Catfish are hitting shad and doughballs. Chicken livers will work for the Catfish, too.
This popular lake south of Medina is open to the public, again. Panfish are being taken in good numbers. Largemouth Bass are also hitting. Bob Nemeth at Chippewa Lake Bait and Tackle reports an 8.5 pound Largemouth was caught recently. White Perch and Channel Catfish are also being caught.
Cleveland Metro Parks
Most of the Metro Parks lakes are producing nice Panfish catches. The Rocky River is also providing good results for Smallmouth Bass. Fishing jigs and plastics near structure are the key.
Jigging spoons are catching a lot of Sauger below the New Cumberland Dam in Columbiana County. Twister tails and other baits fished near the bottom are also taking fish. Limited numbers of Channel Cats are being caught, as well.
This is one of the top Panfish lakes in northeast Ohio, and it is producing, as usual. Good catches of Sunfish and Crappie are being made. Mogadore Bait and Tackle reports the big Red Ears are on the nests. Maggots, waxworms, and red worms will produce. Some Yellow Perch and Largemouth are also being taken.
Smallmouth Bass and Northern Pike are being caught in the stretch from Canal Fulton south to Dover. Crankbaits and jigs are catching both species. Sauger and Saugeye are available from Dover south.
The Cuyahoga above Cuyahoga Falls is providing good action for Bass and Northern Pike. Spinner baits, spoons, and crankbaits will catch fish.
Kids Fishing Derby
We want to let you know about a great opportunity to take the children in your life fishing this weekend.
Check out the picture of Jim D. of Millersburg in the photos section of this article. Jim latched on to two huge Wipers below Charles Mill last weekend. Nice job, Jim!
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.
This report will be updated through the week to reflect the most recent fishing conditions.