CLEVELAND - Mid-spring in Ohio; the walleye runs on the Sandusky and Maumee are tapering off; the white bass runs are just starting, and crappie are hitting everywhere. But, the big news is what's happening right now with walleye on Lake Erie.
Lake Erie Walleye Tactics Working Now
Noted walleye guide and tournament fisherman Captain Ryan Buddie tells us the area from the Bass Islands to Kelleys Island is loaded with fish. Those walleyes are still taking trolled crank baits, but they are moving to a spinner/crawler combo bite. Captain Buddie says the fish are spread through the water column, with most of them at mid-depths and lower. Once you find them on your electronics, spread your baits through the water column to improve your odds. Speed and water clarity are also factors. Buddie tells us slow trolling, one mile an hour or less is vital. Also, he says to look for milky colored water. You can get more information on his website, ryanbuddie.com .
Now, let’s take a closer look at what’s biting around the Buckeye State:
Let’s start out west. A few walleye continue to be taken in the Maumee and Sandusky Rivers, though the run’s practically over. There are native populations in both rivers that can be caught year round, and they’ll hit jigs, cranks, or live bait. The white bass run is officially on. Jig and twister tail combos are working. Downsize to 1/8th ounce jig heads and go with twisters in pink, white, or chartreuse.
The Port Clinton head boat fleet is running jigging trips for walleyes and catching fish when the weather cooperates. The fish they are catching are coming from the reefs, and they’re good-sized. The folks at Fishermen’s Wharf tell us the colors of choice have been black, purple, pink, and white. Trollers have also been taking fish pulling cranks. Slow is the name of the game for those fish, with boat speeds throttled way down.
Further east, yellow perch have been cooperating from Lorain to Cleveland in 20 to 40 feet of water. Emerald shiners are the preferred bait. Craig Lewis at Erie Outfitters in Sheffield Lake says the night time walleye bite has started off the breakwalls and pierheads. Craig suggests Husky Jerks in purple and pink.
There are similar reports from Lorain. George’s Bait and Tackle tells us walleye are being taken by casters from the Lorain Pier at night. Yellow perch can be had off of Lorain in 25 feet of water.
Husky Jerks and Skinny Sticks have been doing the trick off the Cleveland breakwalls. Our friends at Shine’s say pink and purple have been the colors of choice. They also report fair to good catches of yellow perch off the lighthouse in about 38 feet of water.
The Linda Mae is the head boat that runs out of Wildwood Park. They tell us they’ve made fair to good catches of yellow perch when the weather has cooperated in the past week. The Linda Mae is fishing emerald shiners in 30 feet of water off of Wildwood and Euclid.
It’s a mixed bag in Fairport. Don at Fairport Bait and Tackle reports good catches of steelhead are being made in the Grand River. Most of those fish are being taken on flies over gravel bottom. Smallmouth bass have also been cooperating in the river, hitting tube jigs and live shiners. White perch can be taken in the mouth of the river.
Further east in the Ashtabula area, Snug Harbor Bait tells us steelhead and smallmouth bass are readily taking jigs in Conneaut Creek. Those steelies will also take flies and even emerald shiners fished in deep holes.
The crappies are going wild at this popular chain of lakes south of Akron. Ron Slater at Portage Lakes Bait and Tackle says crappie are crushing minnows, jigs, and Gulp minnows in every lake in the chain wherever you can find cover. The top producers have been East Reservoir, Turkeyfoot Lake, and Rex Lake. In many of those lakes you can find yellow perch mixed in with the crappies. Here’s a tip, if you can find rosy-red minnows, get them. The crappies seem to prefer them. Largemouth bass fishing has been fair. Cranks and spinners fished on the drops have taken some fish. Catfish have been slow, but the first of the monthly catfish tournaments put on by Long Lake Bait and Tackle was held this weekend. Top prize went to Steve Gray whose catfish catch totaled six pounds 11 ounces. Panfish have been fair, but should improve as the water warms.
Minnow have taken good numbers of crappies from this impoundment in Green. Look for cover or structure and you should find crappies. Largemouth bass have been slow. Some walleyes have been taken jigging near the dam.
Mark at Mark’s Bait and Tackle in Ravenna say the West Branch crappies have turned on. Minnows fished around structure should
do the trick. Walleyes are cooperating, especially around rocky areas. Mark says to go with a Husky Jerk to take them.
Les’s Bait and Tackle reports fair to good catches of walleyes at this reservoir northeast of Canton. Flicker Shads trolled in 17 to 22 feet of water along the river channel have been taking fish. Some walleyes and crappies are being caught by jiggers in the willows.
We checked with the folks at Glenn’s Archery near Lake Milton. The news is good. The walleyes have started hitting at this Mahoning County impoundment. Jigging the deep side of the flats south of the causeway has turned up some fish, while trolling diving cranks between the bridges has produced others. Some smallmouth bass are being caught, too, as well as the occasional muskie. Crappies and catfish have been slow.
Kathy at Mosquito Lake Marina tells us walleye are being caught on the south end by waders jigging the shallows. Tip those jigs with a minnow. Further up the lake, Causeway Bait reports good catches of crappies on minnows drifted in 17 feet of water. Some walleyes are in the mix with those crappies.
It’s been a mix of crappies and yellow perch at Pymatuning. Our friends at Duck & Drake say minnows drifted on the south side have been taking fish. Some walleyes are being taken on the north side flats and near the causeway. Crank baits have been productive, though spinner-nightcrawler combos have taken some fish, too.
Charles Mill & Pleasant Hill
Dusty at Mifflin Lakes Trading Post reports fantastic catches of saugeye below the dam at Charles Mill. Yellow and pink twister tails are the baits of choice. Crappie are also cooperating, hitting jigs and minnows above the dam on the main lake.
Just to the south at Pleasant Hill Reservoir, the saugeye bite is fair. They’ve been taken on drifted minnows, as well as diving cranks in the beach area. White bass are in the north end of the lake and running up the river. They can be caught on jigs, minnows, and small spinners.
Bob Nemeth at Chippewa Lake Bait and Tackle says crappies are hitting well. Minnows are the ticket. Some panfish are in the mix, too. A few northern pike have taken cranks and spinners. Bass fishing is slow.
Cleveland Metro Parks
Our thanks to Mike Durkalec at the Cleveland Metroparks; he’s provided some fantastic information. Mike reports good catches of steelhead in the Rocky and Chagrin Rivers. Rainbow trout have recently been stocked in a number of Cleveland Metroparks lakes including Wallace Lake, Hinckley Lake, and Shadow Lake. Those fish will take PowerBait, small spoons, small spinners, and flies. The bass and panfish bites should improve as the water temperature climbs.
Red’s in Columbiana reports fair fishing for sauger and walleye on the Ohio River below the New Cumberland Dam. Minnows fished near the bottom are catching fish, as are jigs.
Crappies have been cooperating at this Portage County reservoir. Minnows or jigs fished around cover will take crappies. Some largemouth bass have been reported tight to the shoreline. Minnow cranks and spinner baits have been productive. Some redears have moved into the shallows and have been hitting maggots.
Fair numbers of yellow perch and good numbers of crappies are being caught at this reservoir in Geauga County. Some walleyes are in the mix. Bass fishing should improve as the water warms.
There are crappies everywhere, and not a lot else. That’s the word from Tappan Lake Marina. Crappies are taking minnows around structure. Saugeye, bass, and catfish have been slow.
Crappie are hitting near the causeway, especially after dark. This is an outstanding fishery that few are taking advantage of. Bass are starting to move. They’ll hit minnow imitations.
Good catches of crappies are being made at this lake south of Uhrichsville. Piedmont is also an excellent muskie lake. Large spinner baits and jerk baits worked around shallow weed beds will take fish.
Cheshire Market in Galena reports good catches of crappies in 4 to 9 feet of water. Drifted minnows and minnows fished under a bobber will produce. Saugeye are in the mix, too. They’ll hit diving cranks like Flicker Shads and Shad Raps.
This lake north of Columbus is about a month behind. Fair catches of crappies have been made. Saugeye fishing is yet to pick up.
The crappie bite is on at this Summit County lake. Some panfish are also being taken. Bass, both largemouth and smallmouth, have been slow.
The folks at Gone Fishing Bait and Tackle in Cuyahoga Falls tell us northern Pike have been hitting well in the reaches from Kent to Stow. Large shiners, spinner baits, spoons, and crank baits have been productive.
Northern pike and smallmouth bass are being caught from Canal Fulton to Massillon. Jigs, spinners, and cranks fished in pools and at the end of
riffles have been productive. Some crappie and panfish are being taken from the area around the Lake Lucerne outflow. Further upstream, the river runs through Firestone Metro Park. It provides a fantastic urban fishery for panfish, yellow perch, and largemouth bass. Drifting worms or maggots through pools will catch fish.
There are fair 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. Crappies are hitting minnows. Some perch are being caught, too. The bass bite is improving.
The panfish action at this lake near Wellington is good. 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. George’s Bait and Tackle in Lorain says crappies are also hitting well. Minnows fished under a bobber will catch them.
Decent crappie catches are coming from this Lorain County impoundment. Some perch and panfish are also being caught.
We Want To Hear From You
And, we want to remind you that you can submit photos or videos 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.
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.