CLEVELAND, Ohio — The good news travels fast when the schools of yellow perch finally start biting along the Lake Erie shoreline, and crowds of anglers in small boats were on the scene this week in many of the traditional fishing hot spots.
I joined skipper John Davenport from the Catawba Peninsula and his friends, Keith Deters and Gene Miller, and we didn’t have to go very far to find a pack of perch fishing boats. There were about 50 boats juggling for position off the Marblehead Lighthouse on Wednesday, and Miller predicted their numbers would quickly grow. They did, as Davenport put out the anchor and we baited spreaders and crappie-style rigs with emerald shiner minnows, now available at local bait and tackle shops.
We had gotten an early start and by noon had filled a cooler with four 30-fish limits of the scrappy perch, still wriggling as they headed to the fish cleaning station at Bay’s Edge in Port Clinton.
Fair catches of perch were being reeled in around Cleveland Harbor, according to the Cleveland Metroparks report. The East 55th Street break wall, Edgewater Park and Wendy Park saw the most action on live minnows and bits of worm fished on the bottom on crappie rigs.
Thursday’s fishing was a little bumpy on Lake Erie, but the winds are forecast to settle down Friday and through the weekend.
Ohio & Erie Canal a hot spot this week: The Metroparks hosted the Fall Family Fishing Fest last weekend at the Ohio & Erie Canal ponds just south of Cleveland. While the 600 pounds of stocked channel catfish were hungry, the 1,000 pounds of stocked trout were a little reluctant to bite. Everyone had a ball, and this week will be a great time to return to the Ohio & Erie Canal park off East 49th Street.
It often takes farm-raised rainbow trout a short while to become hungry, after their steady diet of hatchery food, and that should happen in the coming days. The trout will readily take a small jig tipped with maggots or a piece of a worm and suspended under a small float. The catfish are suckers for a piece of shrimp or worms fished along the bottom of the ponds.
Steelheaders gather for the Interstate All-Star Band: The Steelheader’s Ball will make a big return on Friday, Oct. 29 from 7-10 p.m. at The LaSalle Theater, 823 E. 185th St., Cleveland. The iconic fisherman’s party hasn’t been around for a few years, but luring a crowd of anglers will be Steve Madewell and the Interstate All-Star Band, a BBQ food truck, and assorted raffles and door prizes.
The fundraiser is hosted by the Trout Club of the Cleveland Museum of Natural History, and will support a variety of local fisheries projects. Tickets are $25 at the door.
Walleye heading for winter staging grounds: The Lake Erie walleye fishing is starting to heat up as big schools have moved through the Cleveland area, heading for their winter staging waters just east of Kelleys Island and off Huron.
Cranberry Creek Marina owner Bob Hanko reports the walleye have been providing some very good fishing in 30 feet of water off Cranberry Creek Marina, and in 40 feet of water off Ruggles Reef, both just east of the Huron River. The top lures have been Flicker Minnows and Bandits swimming about 125 feet behind the boat with a trolling speed of 2.2 to 2.4 miles per hour.
Very good reports have been coming in from the waters around the Huron and Vermilion dumps, and from Avon Lake to Lorain. In windy conditions, anglers report the Tru-Trip Deep Divers and spoons have been the hot ticket.
Fly fishermen connecting with steelhead trout: By all reports, the river and stream waters are low, but there is more rain in the forecast and good fishing expected from the lower seconds and middle-sections of the Northeast Ohio tributaries of Lake Erie.
Dan Pribanic of Chagrin River Outfitters recommends small pink egg patterns for fly anglers, as well as No. 2 and No. 4 stone flies, psycho princess and pheasant tail flies below a small egg pattern.
With rain forecast for seven of the next 10 days, Pribanic expects some fresh steelhead to make the run from Lake Erie.