CLEVELAND, Ohio â€” Cleveland area fishermen have not had to go far to hook up with limits of Lake Erie walleye this week, with hot spots reported just offshore. Trolling has been productive just about everywhere, and many near-shore anglers have returned to the traditional style of drift-and-cast fishing with small spinner rigs and weight-forward spinners to fill their coolers.
Record walleye catches are reported from the Western Basin of Lake Erie to Conneaut, with the Lorain area on fire right now. Trolling with side planners boards, diving planers and small to medium-sized spoons has been productive just about everywhere.
A trolling hot spot the last couple of days has been in 27 to 32 feet of water from the Beaver Park area to the Lorain dumping grounds, about three miles offshore. Many guides around the lake are picking off limits of walleye so quickly each morning, theyâ€™re heading back out in the afternoon with a fresh crew of sport fishermen.
Ohio Division of Wildlife crews are also on Lake Erie and its launch ramps, making sure sport anglers are not double-dipping, or taking more than a single six-fish limit of walleye each day.
Fishermen in small boats have been getting their share of the near-shore walleye, a bonus because of quickly-changing weather conditions in recent days. Many have returning to the traditional drift-and-cast techniques in waters less that 20 feet deep to score limits of fish. While the venerable weight-forward spinners, such as the Erie Dearies, Tomâ€™s Lures and others tipped with a nightcrawler are working, many anglers are casting the small spinner rigs, relying on blades in gold or chartreuse to attract walleye.
Anglers fishing off Cranberry Creek in the Huron area report success whether they hang around the 10- to 12-foot depths, or head to the 35- to 40-foot depths. Fishermen are marking big schools of walleye throughout the area.
The night walleye bite has been surprisingly good, with fishermen casting deep-diving stick baits at dusk from the Huron, Lorain and Cleveland harbor piers and breakwalls.
RIVERS AND STREAMS
The Northeast Ohio rivers and streams are high and muddy right now. Big rains and Lake Erieâ€™s abnormally high water have been a problem.
INLAND LAKES, RESERVOIRS
The steamy summer weather is arriving, and that has provoked a big interest in catching catfish. Well, bring on the hush puppies, because the catfish are biting everywhere.
One of Ohioâ€™s best areas for channel catfish has been Sandusky Bay. Checking both sides of the Old Bay Bridge on Sandusky Bay, hundreds of anglers were dunking nightcrawlers, chicken livers and processed catfish baits to fill coolers with wriggling cats.
Lake Erie is also a top spot for catfish, especially late in the day around the limestone reefs, but the walleye fishing has been so good the catfish are being ignored.
Inland lakes where catfish are king include Mosquito, Pymatuning, Berlin and West Branch reservoirs, and Springfield Lake in Summit County. Wallace Lake and the Ohio & Erie Canal Reservation in the Cleveland Metroparks were recently stocked with large numbers of channel catfish for the annual Kidâ€™s Fishing Derby, and they should still be eager to bite.