Northern Ohio Fishing Report: Walleye bite remains strong, yellow perch slow, catfishing is good

The Lake Erie Walleye bite is hot!

CLEVELAND - The walleye fishing remains strong on Lake Erie as the pack of fish moves east, but the yellow perch bite is slower than usual.  Inland, fish have finally settled into summer patterns.  Let's take a closer look at fishing prospects around the Buckeye State:

Lake Erie

Walleye usually slow down in mid-summer in the western basin, but not this year.  The Port Clinton head boat fleet reports good catches, though they're going further out for them, in some cases almost to the Canadian border.  Our friends at Fisherman’s Wharf tell us fish are being taken on nightcrawler harnesses west of the Bass Islands. Gold is the hot color. Trollers are catching walleyes on spoons and diving cranks in pink, purple, and chartreuse. 

The Shor-Nuf out of Drawbridge Marina tells us good walleye catches are coming from the 25 to 40 foot depths north and northwest of Port Clinton. Gold and green have been the harness colors of choice.  White bass and white perch are in the mix. 

Anglers Supplies in Fremont is reporting good catches of channel catfish in Sandusky Bay and in the Sandusky River.  Cut bait, nightcrawlers, and chicken livers are catching fish.  Some largemouth are being caught in the shallows around structure in Sandusky Bay.  Go with soft plastics to take them.  The western basin smallmouth bass action has cooled off, though a few fish are being taken.

Moving to the central basin, the walleye action remains hot from Vermilion to Conneaut.

Captain Ryan Buddie, one of the top walleye guides and tournament anglers on Lake Erie tells us Lorain, Geneva, and Conneaut are hot.  He says use electronics to find suspended fish and you should catch them.  For more on where Ryan is fishing, check out his website

Craig Lewis at Erie Outfitters in Sheffield Lake says walleyes are hitting inside and outside the bar from Huron to Cleveland. Fish are taking diving crankbaits and nightcrawler harnesses in 26 feet of water and in 45 feet of water. Pink and purple have been the the top producing colors. Yellow perch are becoming more active, some are being caught just off of Avon in 39 feet of water. 

George at George’s Bait in Lorain says good numbers of big walleyes, in the six to ten pound range, are being  taken off of Lorain. Fish are in 22 to 45 feet of water. Harnesses and Reef Runners in pink, purple, and gold are producing. Some white bass and white perch are being caught off the breakwalls.  Yellow perch are just starting to cooperate.  They're hitting emerald shiners in 35 feet of water off the Lorain light.

In Cleveland, Shine’s Bait tells us walleye fishing is excellent everywhere off of Cleveland and Bratenahl in 45 feet of water,  They're taking cranks, harnesses, and some spoons. Blue, pink, and chartreuse have been the popular colors. Very few yellow perch are being caught. White bass are hitting nightcrawlers and minnows from the Cleveland breakwalls.

Wildwood Marina is the home of the head boat Linda Mae. Our friends there tell us yellow perch fishing has been fair.  They've been taking them in 36 feet of water off of Wildwood and Euclid.  Walleye fishing has been productive for trollers pulling cranks like Reef Runners.  Pink, chartreuse, and blue have been effective. Breakwall fishermen are catching white bass and white perch on nightcrawlers, minnows, small spinners, and jigs.

Out in Fairport, Don at Harbor Bait says the walleye fishing has been non-stop. Walleye are being caught on cranks, harnesses and spoons in 28 to 38 feet of water.   Pink, purple, and orange have been the colors of choice.  Don also says the firetiger pattern has been effective.  Yellow perch fishing is starting to pick up with fish being caught in 25 to 38 feet of water.  Smallmouth bass are hitting shiners on drop shot rigs near rock piles in 17 feet of water.

Snug Harbor Bait in Ashtabula says walleye are being taken in good numbers on harnesses, spoons, and cranks in 30 to 62 feet of water. Those fish are suspending at about 25 feet.  Yellow perch are hit or miss, but some schools are being located in 60 feet of water. Good catches of white bass are coming off the breakwalls at Conneaut and at Ashtabula.

Portage Lakes

The largemouth bass fishing is "off the wall" at this popular chain of lakes south of Akron, according to Ron Slater at Portage Lakes Bait and Tackle.  Fish soft plastics, topwater baits, and shallow diving cranks near weed lines, pad beds, drop offs, and docks. Rex, Mud, Turkeyfoot, and Long Lakes are your best bets for largemouth, as is East Reservoir. Good catches of channel cats are being made on chicken livers, nightcrawlers, and cut bait. Try the Turkeyfoot Channel, Long Lake, and Rex Lake for channel catfish.

Jerry at Long Lake Bait tells us excellent catches of channel cats are being made on chicken livers, cut bait, and nightcrawlers throughout the Portage Lakes chain, though he says North Reservoir and Long Lake have been particularly good.  He also reports

good numbers of bluegills and yellow perch on worms.

Nimisila Reservoir

Largemouth bass have been providing fast action at this impoundment in Green. Soft plastics and spinner baits fished near structure both deep and in the shallows will produce. Some anglers have also used long line fished live shiners near weed beds to take big bass.  Excellent catches of channel cats are coming from around the lake on chicken livers, nightcrawlers, and shrimp.  Some walleyes are being taken trolling nightcrawler harnesses near the dam.

West Branch

Mark at Mark’s Bait and Tackle tells us fish have moved into summer patterns at this lake southeast of Ravenna.  Largemouth bass are taking soft plastics and spinner baits around weeds and deep structure.  Some muskies are hitting large trolled crankbaits.  The weed bed walleye bite has slowed down, though some walleyes can still be found deep along the main channel.  Channel cats are hitting everywhere around the lake.  Cut bait, livers, shrimp, and nightcrawlers

Berlin Reservoir

The walleyes are still hitting at this lake on the Portage and Mahohing County border.  Our friends at Les' Bait and Tackle tell us the best time to take those fish is at sunrise and at dusk.  Nightcrawler harnesses trolled in 12 to 30 feet of water have been effective, especially just off the submerged island between the Rte 224 causeway and the railroad bridge.  Fair numbers of walleye are also being caught overnight by causeway fishermen.  Good numbers of channel cats are hitting shrimp, cut bait, chicken livers, and nightcrawlers.  For more on Berlin Reservoir summer patterns check out this article.

Lake Milton

Glenn’s Archery reports fair numbers of walleyes being caught by trollers and drifters fishing from the dam to the hump south of the causeway. Diving cranks fished in 12 to 22 feet of water have been producing. Chartreuse and firetiger patterns are the colors of choice. Fair catches of smallmouth and good catches of largemouth bass have been made around shoreline structure and off the hump south of the causeway.  Channel cats are hitting everywhere.  Large white bass are being reported below the dam at Milton.  There is also a good night time walleye bite there on shallow diving cranks.


Duck & Drake reports good results for big bluegills in shallow weed beds. Walleye fishing has been fair with most being taken by people drifting crawler harnesses south of the causeway.  Good catches of crappies have been made by night fishermen. The channel catfish bite has been outstanding. Use nightcrawlers or cut bait for the cats.

Charles Mill

Dusty at Mifflin Lakes Trading Post says channel cats are hitting everywhere on this impoundment between Mansfield and Ashland. Chicken livers and shrimp have been the most effective. Saugeyes are being caught below the dam on minnows and on jigs. Wiper (white bass/striped bass hybrids) have started hitting above the dam. The Bell Lake area of Charles Mill has been producing. Chicken livers, minnows, and minnow tipped twister tails will catch those wipers. Panfish have been fair.

Pleasant Hill

Cross Roads Trading Post in Perrysville says it's a mixed bag at this lake south of Ashland.  Saugeye are hitting nightcrawler harnesses and crank baits trolled or drifted on the bottom.  Keeping contact with the bottom is imperative to take those fish.  Crappies and white bass are also being caught.  Some smallmouth are hitting jigs or cranks fished around deep structure.  Largemouth bass are going after soft plastics fished shallow in early morning.

Atwood Lake

Eric at Atwood Lake Boats East tells us the saugeye have been hitting well at this reservoir east of Dover.  Use nightcrawler harnesses trolled or drifted over deep structure to take those fish.  Crappies are in the mix for those drifting minnows over deep structure.  Bass have moved into summer patterns.  Soft plastics and spinner baits will catch them early in the day and at dusk.  Channel cats will hit nightcrawlers, cut bait, and chicken livers.

Chippewa Lake

Bob Nemeth at Chippewa Bait and Tackle tells us fair panfish catches are being made on red worms, maggots, or waxworms. Bass fishing has been spotty. Good numbers of catfish are being taken on nightcrawlers, livers, or cut bait.

Cleveland Metro Parks

Our thanks to Mike Durkalec at the Cleveland Metroparks; he’s provided some fantastic information. Good catches of channel catfish and panfish are being made in the various Metroparks lakes.  Some largemouth bass are also being reported.  If you're looking for smallmouth bass, try the deeper pools of the Rocky River with tube jigs.  You can see Mike’s current report here.

Ohio River

It's been an up and down summer on the Ohio River.  Red’s in Columbiana reports good catches of catfish from below New Cumberland dam when water levels and the weather cooperate. Cut bait, live bluegills, and chicken livers will take channel cats and some flatheads. A few sauger and walleye are being caught. Jigs and twister tails, as well as

minnows fished on the bottom have been the way to go.  Hybrid white bass have been caught on spinners and live bait. 


Excellent catches of largemouth bass and panfish are coming from this Portage County impoundment. Soft plastics, top water plugs, and spinner baits will take the bass. Some anglers are fishing large shiners near weed beds to catch bass, too. Large panfish are hitting maggot and waxworms on the deep edges of weed beds. Good numbers of channel catfish are hitting chicken livers, shrimp, and cut bait.


Plenty of walleyes are being caught at this Geauga County impoundment. Trolling nightcrawler harnesses along deep weed edges has been producing.  Good catches of channel catfish are also being taken.  Soft plastics fished around structure will take bass.


Our friends at Tappan Lake Marina tell us the saugeye bite has been excellent at this lake southeast of New Philadelphia, with many fish taking nightcrawler harnesses.  Largemouth and smallmouth bass are into typical summer patterns. Largemouth will take soft plastics fished near shallow structure, while smallmouth are deeper and will hit cranks and jigs, especially around rocky areas.  Good numbers of channel cats are being reported.

Lake Rockwell

Good numbers of crappies are being caught from the causeway area. Minnows fished under a bobber will take fish. Panfish and bass are also in the mix. Some northern pike have been caught on live shiners, as well as spinner baits. Good numbers of channel cats are available.

Piedmont Reservoir

Muskies are still being caught by trollers pulling large crankbaits. Look for those muskies along the deep drops and along the deep side of weed beds. Saugeyes are being caught in the dam area on drifted jigs tipped with nightcrawlers or minnows. Smallmouth and largemouth bass have moved into summer patterns and can be caught on soft plastics. Look for smallmouth near rocky points; largemouth are on the deep weed edges. Good catches of channel cats and shovelheads are being reported. Cut bait and live shiners are the preferred baits.

Alum Creek

Cheshire Market in Galena reports the saugeye are taking drifted nightcrawlers. Crappies are also being caught. Minnows under a bobber will take those crappies. Bass are hitting soft plastics in the shallows and around structure. Good catches of channel cats are being made on cut bait, chicken livers, and nightcrawlers.

Hoover Reservoir

This lake north of Columbus is providing fair catches of saugeyes on drifted minnows and nightcrawlers. Catfish are taking shrimp, cut bait, and chicken livers.  Some white bass are being reported.

Springfield Lake

The bass bite is fair at this Summit County lake. Largemouth bass are being caught along the drops and around weed beds on soft plastic and jigs. Smallmouth bass are being taken along deep structure on diving cranks and live minnows.  Good numbers of channel cats are being reported.  Use livers, nightcrawlers, and shrimp to take the cats.

Cuyahoga River

The folks at Gone Fishing Bait and Tackle in Cuyahoga Falls tell us northern pike continue to take live shiners, spinner baits, and spoons fished in the stretch from Kent to Cuyahoga Falls. Smallmouth bass can be caught on jigs in that stretch, as well as from the area further north around Route 82. Some smallmouth, panfish and catfish are being taken in Cascade Park.

Tuscarawas River

The river has been running high, but when it's manageable smallmouth bass and northern pike are taking spinners, spoons, jigs, and minnows fished in pools from Clinton to Dover. The area around 40 corners between Canal Fulton and Massillon has been productive, as has the Lake Lucerne outflow north of Canal Fulton.  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.

Salt Fork Reservoir

Largemouth bass are hitting soft plastics around deep structure. Catfishing is hot. Shrimp, nightcrawlers, and cut bait will take them. Some crappies are still being caught though they are spread out.

Sippo Lake

There are good catches for Panfish from this Stark County Lake, though size is an issue. 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. A huge bowfin was recently caught at Sippo.

Wingfoot Lake

Bluegills are providing fast action at this lake north of Uniontown.  Worms, maggots, and waxworms are the preferred baits.  Some perch are being caught, too.  Bass fishing has been good on soft plastics and topwater plugs. Fair numbers of catfish are hitting chicken livers and nightcrawlers.

Findley Lake

George’s Bait in Lorain reports panfishing has been good. Excellent numbers of fair sized bluegills are being made in four to eight feet of water on red worms.  Some bass are being

taken on soft plastics and spinner baits.  Channel cats will hit cut bait, livers, and hot dogs.

Wellington Reservoir

The largemouth bass bite has improved at this Lorain County impoundment. Use soft plastics or spinnerbaits to catch them. Good numbers of panfish are also being reported, but their size is only fair. Good channel cat catches are being reported, but their size is running small.

Silver Creek

This lake in southeastern Medina County is turning up good catches of channel catfish on nightcrawlers, chicken livers and cut bait. Largemouth bass are being taken in the shallows on soft plastics. Plenty of bluegills are available, but they are small.

Long Lake Boat Launch

There are reports the Long Lake Boat Launch construction has been delayed.  No word on when it will be ready, though the state had hoped to have it open by the July 4th holiday. 

Lake Erie Walleye

Want to see how one of the top walleye captains on Lake Erie catches fish? We tagged along with him recently. You can see that story here.

Fish Safe to Eat?

We received a question from Dena of Cleveland, and she wants to know:  "Is it safe to eat fish from Lake Erie?"

Dena, the short answer is, it depends on what species of fish, and where you caught it.  In general, the Ohio EPA, which issues consumption advisories says it's safe to eat most fish from Lake Erie, but in to limit the number of meals.  Fish like yellow perch, walleye, and white bass are safe to consume once a week.  For more on fish consumption advisories in Lake Erie and around the state check out this link:

We Want To Hear From You

And, we want to remind you that you can submit photos or videos of your fish catches from local waters, or even fish you caught on vacation in other places. Go ahead, brag a little. We might post the photos or broadcast them on NewsChannel 5. 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.

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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