Northern Ohio Fishing Report: Weather having an impact on perch and walleye; catfish hitting inland

Catfish, bass, and panfish hitting

CLEVELAND - The summer doldrums have set in.  The walleye have moved deep, the perch are slow, bass are holding tight to structure, and about the only thing cooperating are panfish and catfish.  Welcome to August.  But, never fear, there are still places where the fish are biting, if you can get to them, and know how to make them hit.  Let’s take a closer look at fishing around the Buckeye State:

Lake Erie

In the Western Basin, the Port Clinton head boat fleet is reporting fair catches of walleyes when they’ve been able to get on the water.  It’s primarily a nightcrawler harness bite, with the best action coming in 34 feet of water off of Rattlesnake Island. The folks at Fisherman’s Wharf tell us perching has been good. Decent catches have come off the northwest corner of North Bass Island.

Moving east into the Central Basin, George at George’s Bait in Lorain reports fishing has been tough because of high wind and big waves.  But, when boats are getting out they’re catching yellow perch off of Lorain in 43 feet of water.  Some walleyes have been taken off of Lorain, but the emphasis has been on perch. 

Craig Lewis at Erie Outfitters in Sheffield Lake tells us the walleye bite remains steady off of Avon Point, but you’ll have to go north of the sandbar to get them. Reef runners trolled in 45 to 50 feet of water will do the trick.  Pink, green, and chartreuse have been the colors of choice. One other note, be prepared to see many marks, but few of those fish are actively feeding. Walleye limits are possible, but you’ll work hard for those fish.  Yellow perch were biting really well off of Sheffield and Avon before this latest cold front moved through.  They are still there and should begin to cooperate once the weather patterns return to normal.

The latest windy weather pattern has kept most anglers off the lake in Cleveland. Our friends at Shine’s Bait say the perch fishing has been slow for those brave souls who have ventured on to the water. Walleye catches have been almost non-existent, too.  With a change in the weather forecast for the weekend, those fortunes could change. There are some white perch being taken from the Cleveland breakwalls.

Despite the rough waves, The Express, one of the head boats at Wildwood Marina near Euclid has been going out for yellow perch. It’s been hit or miss. Schools of perch are being marked, but they’ve been finicky when presented with bait. For those who prefer fishing from shore, the Wildwood breakwall has been giving up white perch and channel catfish.

Taking a look at Fairport Harbor, Don at Harbor Bait says the weather is keeping boats off the lake there, too.  Perching was fantastic before the winds came early this week. Don expects things to pick up once conditions improve.  That should happen this weekend.

It’s a similar story in Conneaut. Snug Harbor Bait tells us few boats have made it on the water this week because of the wind.  Yellow perch and walleyes were hitting well before this latest weather system moved in.  Perch were being taken in 28 to 40 feet of water, while the walleyes were deeper in 48 to 62 feet of water. 

Portage Lakes

Panfish and channel catfish have been hitting well at this chain of lakes south of Akron. Jerry at Long Lake Bait reports Long Lake, East Reservoir, and Rex Lake have been producing for the channel cats. Use chicken livers or cut bait to take them. Every lake in the chain has been giving up good panfish catches. Wax worms, red worms, and maggots are the baits of choice. Ron Slater at Portage Lakes Bait and Tackle tells us largemouth bass have settled into their summer patterns. Flipping soft plastics around docks, weed edges, and pad beds will produce at sunrise, at dusk, and after the sun goes down.  Some crappies are being reported deep. Fish jigs, small cranks, or minnows in the area around the Turkeyfoot speed lanes early in the morning to take those fish.

Nimisila Reservoir

Good catches of channel cats are coming from this lake in Green. Cut bait and live shad or bluegills have been responsible for a number of large channel catches. Bass are holed up in the weeds, but can be taken early in the day and at night on topwater plugs or soft plastics. Crappies have been fair when you can find pockets of them in deep water. Good catches of panfish are being made, though they have been small in size.

Cleveland Metro Parks

Wallace Lake has been providing good catches of panfish and channel cats.  Some largemouth bass have been reported on soft plastics. It’s a similar story at Hinckley Lake. The Chagrin River and Rocky River hold good numbers of smallmouth bass. Use tube jigs, small spinners, or crankbaits in deeper pools around rock or wood cover.  Early morning is the best time to fish for smallmouth this time

of year. Our friend at the Metro Parks, Mike Dukralec  puts out a regular fishing report.  Here’s the link:  http://www.clevelandmetroparks.com/Main/Fishing-Report-Blog/88.aspx

Cuyahoga River

Some sheepshead are being caught on nightcrawlers from Cleveland upstream to Brecksville.  A number of panfish are also in that mix.  From Peninsula upstream to the Edison Dam in Akron good catches of smallmouth bass are being made on tube jigs and jigs tipped with white twister tails.  Good numbers of northern pike are coming from the stretch between Munroe Falls and Kent.  Gone Fishing Bait and Tackle reports those pike are being caught on live shiners fished under a bobber, or white spinnerbaits.  Some smallmouth bass are being taken from Cuyahoga Falls upriver to Kent.

Tuscarawas River

The river has been running high. Despite that, smallmouth bass fishing has been good from Clinton to New Philadelphia. Fishing jigs, soft plastics, and small spinners in deeper pools should produce. Northern pike have been taken on spoons, spinners, and shiners from Canal Fulton to Massillon. The Butter Bridge Road area has been especially productive. The Lake Lucerne outlet just north of Canal Fulton has turned up fair catches of largemouth and smallmouth bass. A few pike have also been taken there. Good catches of panfish and crappies have also been reported. Some anglers target bowfin in that area. Those prehistoric fish are real battlers and put up quite a fight on medium to light gear. Use cut bait to take those bowfin. Further north, the Tuscarawas flows through Firestone Metro Park in Akron and Coventry Township. That stretch of river is a great place to introduce a child to fishing. The pools through the park hold good numbers of largemouth bass, yellow perch, bluegills, and bullheads. Drift worms or maggots through those pools to take fish.

Pymatuning Reservoir

Channel catfish have been on fire at this lake in Ashtabula County. Duck & Drake reports good catches of channel cats are being made on nightcrawlers, cut bait, and chicken livers. Walleye fishing has been slow. A few bass have been reported. They’re being caught early in the morning on soft plastics fished around structure. Good numbers of panfish are being reported.

Mosquito Reservoir

Some walleye are being taken deep at this lake just north of Warren. Those fish are hitting nightcrawler harnesses and crankbaits fished on lead core line in 25 feet of water in the creek channel.  Some crappies and yellow perch are being taken on minnows fished deep. Good catches of panfish are being made on maggots and worms around weed edges. Channel cats are hitting livers, nightcrawlers, or cut bait all around the lake.

Lake Milton

Smallmouth bass have been taking jigs on the deep side of the mid-lake hump south of the causeway.  Those fish are being caught early in the morning.  Walleye fishing has been poor, with only a few fish caught.  Channel cats have been cooperating around the lake.  They will hit chicken livers, cut bait, and live minnows or bluegills.  Crappies and white bass are spread out, but will take minnows when you can find schools of fish.

Berlin Reservoir

Go deep for walleyes at this lake north of Alliance. Many fish are being marked suspended in 20 to 30 feet of water near the dam. Flicker Shads, Reef Runners, and nightcrawler harnesses fished deep with lead core or weights will trigger strikes. Some crappies are being caught around deep structure. Smallmouth and largemouth bass are taking soft plastics early and late in the day near shallow structure. Channel catfish are aggressively taking a variety of baits, though cut bait seems to be producing best.

West Branch

Channel catfish are hitting well at this reservoir near Ravenna. Chicken livers, nightcrawlers, and cut bait have been working. Night fishing for crappies has been hit or miss. Some bass are being taken around shallow structure and along weed edges early in the morning on soft plastics. Panfish catches have been excellent.

Walborn Reservoir

Soft plastics have been effective for largemouth bass at this in northern Stark County. Many of those fish are being taken at sunrise and sunset near wood and other submerged structure. Good catches of large channel cats are also being reported. Live bluegills and shiners are the preferred baits.

LaDue Reservoir

Fishing has been slow to fair at this Geauga County impoundment. Some yellow perch have been caught by anglers drifting minnows or nightcrawlers. Some crappies have been in the mix, as well.  A few walleye are being reported on nightcrawler harnesses fished deep. Channel cats and panfish have been cooperating.

Ohio River

Now is the time to catch monster flathead catfish below the New Cumberland Dam. Live bluegills have been taking fish. At least two flatheads over 30 pounds have been caught in the past week. Some sauger and walleye are also being caught by fishermen using twister tails or minnows. Smallmouth bass have provided fair action on tubes and spinners at the mouth of

Beaver Creek.

Charles Mill Reservoir

The wiper (white bass/striped bass hybrid) bite is on at this lake between Ashland and Mansfield. That’s what Dusty at Mifflin Lakes Trading Post tells us. He says hair jigs or chicken liver are the baits of choice. Crappies are also hitting well on minnows fished around deep structure. The saugeye bite has picked up below the dam. Minnows fished on the bottom or under a bobber will take them.

Pleasant Hill Reservoir

Smallmouth bass fishing has been excellent at this impoundment near Loudonville. Those fish are aggressive and hitting spinnerbaits and crankbaits near shoreline structure. Those fish are most active near dusk. Some crappies are being taken. Saugeye have started to cooperate. Trolling nightcrawler harnesses or Flicker Shads in the trough near the beach on the north shore will usually produce.

Wellington Reservoir

Our friends at George’s Bait in Lorain report good catches of channel cats and bluegills from this lake. Some crappies are in the mix. Use chicken livers or nightcrawlers for the catfish.

Mogadore

Excellent catches of largemouth bass, channel catfish, and sunfish are coming from this reservoir east of Akron. Mogador Bait and Tackle reports bass are taking soft plastics fished around deep structure. Channel cats will chicken livers or cut bait. Sunfish are being caught on maggots or waxworms fished on pinmans.

Wingfoot Lake

Good catches of yellow perch are being made at this lake north of Uniontown. Those perch are being taken in the gravel pit area near the islands. Channel cats are hitting, too, especially near the cantina. Nightcrawlers, chicken livers, and cut bait have been effective. Some decent sized panfish have also been in the mix. Bass fishing has been fair.

Sippo Lake

This lake just north of Massillon is a great place to introduce a child to fishing. There are family friendly fishing piers along the shoreline, as well as a fishing center and snack bar. Bait is available. As for the fishing, plenty of panfish, catfish, bass, and crappies are available. 

Alum Creek Reservoir

Andy at Cheshire Market in Galena tells us the crappie and saugeye have been hitting at this lake north of Columbus. He says to drift the flats with minnows to take those fish. Fishing chicken livers or cut bait has been effective for channel catfish. Some bass are in the mix. They’ll hit spinnerbaits or soft plastics fished along weed lines and submerged structure.

Hoover Reservoir

Good catches of channel catfish are being made at this lake near Columbus. They’re hitting cut bait, nightcrawlers, and chicken livers. Bass have been chasing swimbaits and spinnerbaits near shoreline structure at sunrise and at dusk. Some crappies, saugeyes, and white bass are being caught while drifting.

Tappan Reservoir

Channel cats have been the story at this lake east of Uhrichsville. They’re hitting everywhere. Cut bait, nightcrawlers, and chicken livers have been effective. Some saugeye are being taken on nightcrawler harnesses trolled deep along the old road bed. Smallmouth bass have been cooperating on jigs and small cranks fished around rocks and cover. Largemouth bass are hitting soft plastics and top water baits near weed edges and submerged timber.

Piedmont Reservoir

This impoundment is one of the top musky lakes in the state, and it continues to produce. Trollers pulling large diving crankbaits are taking good numbers of fish. Piedmont Lake Marina says the areas near the dam, Essex Bay, and the channel near Reynolds Road have all been producing. Some saugeyes are being caught on nightcrawler harnesses and jigs tipped with crawlers near the dam. Flathead and channel catfish are also being reported. Use live bluegills for the flatheads, cut bait or chicken livers for the channel cats. Bass fishing has been slow. Panfish have been hitting well.

Clendening Reservoir

Good numbers of channel cats are being taken from this lake near Cadiz. Flatheads are in the mix, too. Go with live shiners, chubs, suckers, or bluegills for the flatheads. Channel cats will hit nightcrawlers, minnows, cut bait, and chicken livers. Bass fishing has been fair. Swim baits worked around structure early in the day is your best bet for bass. Panfish numbers have been good, but their size is only fair.

Springfield Lake

Look for bluegills in the shallows. Good numbers of them are being caught on maggots at this lake just east of Akron. Bass fishing has been fair. Channel cats are taking chicken livers and cut bait. 

Findley Lake

Crappies have been hitting minnows and waxworms at this lake near Wellington. Largemouth bass will hit soft plastics and spinnerbaits fished around structure. Channel cats will take cut bait and nightcrawlers.

Lake Rockwell

There is good fishing for crappies from the causeway, especially close to dusk. Minnows fished under bobbers will do the trick. Bass fishing has been fair. A few northern pike have been reported on shiners and spinner baits.

Silver Creek Reservoir

Channel cats are providing fast action  at this

lake south of Wadsworth.  Chicken livers have been the bait of choice.  Panfish are also being caught, but size has been a factor.  Most are small.  Bass fishing has been slow.

Chippewa Lake

Bluegills are about all that’s hitting well at this Medina County lake. You can use red worms, waxworms, and maggots to take them. Some bottom fishing has been producing cats. Bass fishing has been slow.

Shreve Lake

This lake south of Wooster is producing decent catches of panfish and catfish. Some bass are being taken on soft plastics around shoreline structure, but they are running small. 

Salt Fork

Crappies are hitting on minnows drifted in deep water at this reservoir near Cambridge. You can find them using electronics. You’ll find them suspended.  Use drop shot rigs or slip bobber rigs to get to them.  Catfishing has been good. Channel cats will take cut bait and chicken livers. Bass have been active in the morning on soft plastics, spinnerbaits, and swimbaits.

Guilford Lake

Largemouth bass are hitting soft plastics, spinnerbaits, and crankbaits around deep structure and submerged timber at this lake near Lisbon. Channel cats are cooperating on chicken livers and nightcrawlers.  Some perch are being taken on minnow and worms. Good numbers of panfish are being caught.

Sandusky River/Sandusky Bay

Good numbers of largemouth bass are taking swimbaits around shoreline structure in the bay.  Big channel cats are also being reported.  Use cut bait, chicken livers, shiners, or nightcrawlers to catch them.  In the river, some catfish are being reported near Fremont.  Bottom fishing nightcrawlers will take them.  Some white perch and white bass are also in the mix.  Smallmouth bass will hit tube jigs fished around rocky cover.

Long Lake Boat Ramp

Good news for anyone who fishes Long Lake in the Portage Lakes.  The only public boat launch on that lake is open again.  It was closed while a new launch was being built earlier this summer.  However, the construction crew ran into problems, and that project was put on hold.  Now, a temporary launch is in place off of Cove Boulevard.  The permanent launch should be completed sometime this fall.

Ballville Dam Proposal

There will be a public hearing August 21st to discuss a proposal to remove the Ballville Dam on the Sandusky River in Fremont.  It will be held by the Ohio EPA at 6 P.M. at Terra College in Fremont.  The dam has been in place for more than 100 years.  Removing it could provide access to more spawning grounds for walleyes, which make the run upstream every spring.  In addition, it could also help to restore numbers of endangered lake sturgeon, by providing them with more spawning areas, too.

Walleyes in the Portage Lakes

I received an email from Dan G. in Akron who told me about two large walleyes he found dead and floating just off of Dusty’s in Turkeyfoot Lake.  He wanted to know how they got there.  I checked with Phil Hillman, the head of ODNR’s District Three in Akron.  He says there are a few possibilities.  The first is that those fish are remnants from the last walleye stocking in the Portage Lakes in 2005.  They could also be fish that made it through the pump house from Nimisila where walleye are currently stocked. 

As for future stocking plans for the Portage Lakes, Hillman says walleye are out of the picture.  They just don’t have a good survival rate in that chain of lakes, so it doesn’t make sense for the state to stock them. 

However, any walleyes you catch in the Portage Lakes are probably going to be good sized if they come from the 2005 stocking.  Walleye can live 15 to 20 years.  A ten year old fish would probably go around 27 inches long!

Lake Erie Panfish

While many of us have been unable to get out on Lake Erie the past week because of high winds and rough waves, there’s still a way to capitalize on the “Big Lake”.  Just ask Scott Reynolds of Lorain.  Recently, my brother and I were fishing out of Lorain for walleyes.  The weather forced us off the lake, but when we got in we found the weather wasn't stopping Scott.  He fished the Lorain Boat Launch with minnows and worms to catch some monster bluegills.  He filled a fish basket with them and took them home for a nice fish dinner.  You can see the pictures in the photo section of this report.

Panfish Tournament

While there are plenty of tournaments for bass and walleye, here’s one that anyone can fish in with just a cane pole and can of worms.  Long Lake Bait in the Portage Lakes is holding a bluegill tournament from 8 A.M.  to 1 P.M. Saturday, August 16th.  There’s a $5 entry fee.  Winners get prizes.   Fishing is restricted to Long Lake and North Reservoir.  If catfish are more your thing, Long Lake Bait also holds a catfish tournament Saturday the 16th, too.  That runs from 6 P.M. to 1 A.M.  The registration fee for that is $15, and there are prizes for the winners.

Send Us Your Big Fish Pictures

Check out our photos section in this report to see the huge bass caught by Ken Frick on East Reservoir in the Portage Lakes. 

That fish weight 6 and a ¼ pounds.  Ken caught it on a four inch wave worm.  Nice catch, Ken!  You can share your pictures and video with us.  Just email it to me at Noleff@wews.com .  We may publish them in our next report or even use them on the air on NewChannel 5.

Contact Us

If any of you want to let us know how things are where you’re fishing, feel free to email me at noleff@wews.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 can also contact me on Facebook by going to the Newschannel 5 Facebook page.

We also welcome your questions about fishing or the outdoors, your recipes, and your suggestions.

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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