Fishing Report: Jumbo perch steady on Lake Erie, steelhead run starting, saugeye hitting inland

Perch, walleye, saugeye, steelhead biting

Cleveland - The jumbo yellow perch bite remains steady in Lake Erie's central basin, and the steelhead run is about to take off.

 Inland, saugeye, walleye, crappie, and bass are all cooperating.

Let's take a closer look at what's biting around the Buckeye State:

Lake Erie

Starting in the central basin, Craig Lewis at Erie Outfitters in Sheffield Lake tells us the yellow perch bite remains excellent.  Limit catches are coming from Vermilion east to Avon Point.  Fish are ranging from 25 to 45 feet deep.  Walleye fishing has been excellent off of Vermilion and Huron.  Craig says fish the top ten feet of water or the bottom ten.  Nightcrawler harnesses have been producing, and so have Reef Runners.  Purples and greens are the colors of choice.  Plenty of smallmouth bass are being taken in the 16 foot range on jigs.  Some steelhead have been marauding the shoreline and staging off of the Rocky and Cuyahoga Rivers.  Silver spoons will take them.

Now is the time to get in on the yellow perch action off of Cleveland.  The folks at Shine's tell us limit catches are coming from 34 to 36 feet of water off of First Energy Stadium, 41 feet of water off of the Gold Coast, and 50 feet of water off of E. 72 nd Street.

Wildwood Marina is the home of the head boat Linda Mae.  They report good catches of yellow perch in 42 to 45 feet of water off of Wildwood and Euclid.  The occasional steelhead is in the mix.   Breakwall anglers are catching some perch, too.

East to Fairport Harbor where Don at Harbor Bait tells us the yellow perch are slamming minnows in 43 to 60 feet of water.  Good catches are being made from Mentor to Perry.  Walleye are being caught in with those schools of perch.  The smallmouth bass fishing is excellent in seven to 21 feet of water, especially around rocky structure.  Jigs, diving cranks, and soft craws will produce.  Good numbers of steelhead are being taking from the Fairport pier, as well as upstream in the Grand River to past Painesville.  Jig and maggot combos have been the top producers though spawn sacks, Vibrex spinners, and spoons will catch fish, too. 

Snug Harbor Bait in Conneaut reports steady catches of yellow perch in 42 to 47 feet of water, though catching a limit has turned into an all-day affair.  Walleye are hitting crawler harnesses and Reef Runners in 38 to 47 feet of water.  Steelhead are staging off of Conneaut Creek, with some fish already in the stream.  Spawn sacks, jigs and maggots, and Little Cleo's will take fish.

In the western basin, the Port Clinton head boat fleet is running perch charters.  They report fair fishing with most of the action coming east toward Kelley's Island.  Walleye fishing has been good.  Fish are taking nightcrawler harnesses and minnow imitations near most of the reefs.  The reefs have also been producing excellent smallmouth bass action.  Jigs, soft craws, and shallow running cranks have been the lures of choice for the smallmouth.

Portage Lakes

The largemouth bass bite remains productive at this popular chain of lake south of Akron.  Ron Slater at Portage Lakes Bait and Tackle reports good largemouth catches are being made on minnow imitations, shallow running cranks, and soft plastics.  East Reservoir, Rex Lake, West Reservoir, and Long Lake have been the top producers.  Anglers have also been finding success with mixed catches of crappie and yellow perch.  They can be found schooled in three to seven feet of water.  They'll hit crappie minnows.  East Reservoir, Mud Lake, and Turkeyfoot Lake are your best bets for crappie and perch.  Good catches of panfish and channel cats are being reported, as well.  Check out the picture in the photo section of the fine mess of panfish and catfish made in the past week on Turkeyfoot Lake by Bill McKinney.    Good numbers of crappie are also being caught from Nesmith Lake.

Nimisila Reservoir

Walleye are being taken near the dam on blade baits either cast or vertically jigged.  Decent catches of largemouth bass are also being made, with most fish coming on Lucky Craft lures, Rapalas, and diving crank baits.  Crappie action has been spotty.  Fair catches of channel cats are being made on chicken livers, cut bait, nightcrawlers, and minnows.

West Branch

Mark's Bait and Tackle in Ravenna tells us the West Branch muskie bite remains steady.  Trolling Boss Shad lures will produce.  Crappie fishing remains good on under the Rock Springs Road bridge, especially at night.   Fair numbers of walleye are being taken vertically jigging blade baits, or drifting  leeches or nightcrawlers.  Bass fishing has been fair.


Water levels are way down  at this popular lake west of Youngstown, and only a few launches are usable.  Despite that, fair catches of walleye are being made by trollers working the river channel.  Flicker Shads, Shad Raps, and Reef Runners have been the lures of choice.  The shallower water has concentrated bass around structure.  Both largemouth and smallmouth will take jigs, soft plastics, spinner baits, and diving cranks.


The walleye bite has picked up at this impoundment west of Youngstown.  Good catches are being made on Flicker Shads, Wally Divers, and Reef Runners in five to 16 feet of water.  Trolling the stream channel has been productive.  Smallmouth Bass have been cooperating on jigs and diving cranks near drop offs.  Some largemouth are being taken around shallow structure and the hump south of the causeway. 

Mosquito Creek

Kathy at Mosquito Lake Marina tells us crappie are hitting in the shallows, especially around docks and submerged timber.  Some decent sized panfish are in the mix, as well.  Walleye fishing has been fair. 

Up the lake the folks at Causeway Sporting Goods report good catches of channel catfish and crappie.  Walleye fishing has been slow.  Some yellow perch are being caught off the causeway.


Walleye are hitting nightcrawler harnesses trolled tight to the causeway, especially at dusk.  Yellow perch are cooperating on minnows drifted or fished under a bobber in the causeway area.  Good catches of crappie are also being made.

Charles Mill & Pleasant Hill

Dusty at Mifflin Lakes Trading Post reports the crappie bite is on fire at Charles Mill.  Minnows fished around submerged timber will produce.   Saugeye are also being taken in good numbers  in the main lake and below the dam.  Jigs tipped with nightcrawlers have been the preferred bait. 

Just to the south at Pleasant Hill Reservoir, excellent catches of saugeye are being made off the beach.  Crankbaits or nightcrawler harnesses trolled in five to 15 feet of water will take fish.  Fair numbers of white bass and crappie are in the mix.  Smallmouth bass fishing is good, especially around rocky points with jigs or crawfish imitations.

Chippewa Lake

Bob Nemeth at Chippewa Lake Bait and Tackle says decent catches of panfish have been coming on worms and maggots.  Some bass are being taken.

Cleveland Metro Parks

The smallmouth bass fishing is excellent in the Rocky River.  Some steelhead are being caught near the river mouth on spoons and jigs, as well as in the river on spawn sacks, jigs and maggots, and small spoons.  Wallace Lake is providing fast action for panfish, though they've been running smaller.  Some bass being caught there, too.   Fair catches of panfish are being reported from Coe Lake.  Ranger Lake is producing decent catches of largemouth bass.  

Ohio River

Red's in Columbiana reports  the sauger fishing  on the Ohio River below the New Cumberland Dam has slowed.  Jigs tipped with minnows are taking some fish.  Some wipers (white bass/striped bass hybrids) are being caught in fair numbers.   Channel cats are still cooperating on cut bait, chicken livers, and nightcrawlers.


The bass bite is good at this Portage County impoundment.  Spinner baits and crankbaits will take fish. Bluegills and redears are hitting. Look for them in the three to 10 foot range. They will hit wax worms and maggots.  Channel catfish are hitting everywhere on the lake.  Nightcrawlers, shrimp, and chicken livers are the preferred baits.


Good numbers of walleye are being taken at this reservoir in Geauga County. Nightcrawler harnesses and deep diving cranks will produce.  Good catches of panfish are also being reported. Waxworms, maggots, and red worms are the preferred baits. Bass fishing is good.  Work shallow cranks and soft plastics near weed lines and submerged structure.


The saugeye are cooperating at this reservoir southeast of Dover.  That's what the folks at Tappan Lake Marina tell us.  Nightcrawler harnesses and diving cranks will take fish.  Channel cats are hitting well. Nightcrawlers, cut bait, and chicken livers are the baits of choice.  Smallmouth fishing is good.  Jigs or diving cranks worked near rocky structure will produce.   

Atwood Lake

Atwood Lake Boats, Marina East reports good catches of saugeye are being made.  They are hitting Flicker Shads, Rapalas, and nightcrawler harnesses.   Bass fishing remains good on points, weed edges, and submerged structure. Soft plastics, jigs, and spinner baits remain the lures of choice.  A seven pound largemouth was taken in the past week by an angler named Pat Bentley.  We're told Pat was trolling a crankbait when he caught the big bass.  You can see a picture of it in the photo section.

Piedmont Reservoir

The folks at Piedmont Lake Marina say the saugeye are cooperating.  Good catches are being made on nightcrawlers in the dam area.  Musky are being taken by trollers pulling large crank baits also near the dam and in the marina bay.  Smallmouth Bass are hitting crayfish, tube jigs, and crankbaits on rocky points.  Good catches of channel cats are being made on chicken livers, shrimp, and cut bait.

Tuscarawas River

The upper stretch that runs through Firestone Metro Park above Long Lake is producing good catches of yellow perch and panfish.  Fish nightcrawlers, maggots, or small jigs in the many pools that run from the Tuscarwas/Firestone Country Club Dam to Main Street to take panfish and perch.   Fair catches of northern pike have been made from Clinton to New Philadelphia.  The Forty Corners area has been especially productive.  Decent numbers of channel catfish catches are being made from Clinton to Dover.   Smallmouth bass are hitting everywhere below Canal Fulton on jigs or spinners.

Springfield Lake

It's all about the channel cats and crappie at this popular Summit County Lake.  Cut bait, shrimp, nightcrawlers, and chicken livers will take the cats.  Crappie will hit minnow fished near shoreline structure.  Bass fishing has been fair.

Cuyahoga River

Good catches of northern pike are being made near Fuller Park in Kent.  Shiners fished under bobbers is the preferred method, though they'll also hit spoons and spinner baits.  Good numbers of smallmouth bass are being caught below the Gorge Dam on soft craws, small inline spinners, twister tails, and tube jigs.  Further downstream, smallmouth have been cooperating near the Route 82 dam.  A few steelhead have shown up there, though you'll most likely find them schooling near the the river mouth in Cleveland.

Lake Hodgson

Walleye are hitting leeches on floating jig heads at this Portage County Lake.  Excellent catches of yellow perch are also being made. Minnows fished near the bottom in 12 to 15 feet of water will produce fish. The bass bite is fair.  Jigs, cranks,  and soft plastics will take fish.

Lake Rockwell

This is an outstanding fishery that few are taking advantage of, especially for crappie, panfish, and bass.   All can be taken from the causeway area.  Channel cats are hitting nightcrawlers, minnows, chicken livers, and cut bait. Excellent catches of largemouth bass are being made on spinner baits, soft plastics, and shallow cranks.

Alum Creek

Cheshire Market in Galena reports good catches of saugeye and crappie are being made drifting or trolling nightcrawler harnesses, minnows, and jigs, and crankbaits on the flats, and near drops.  Bass fishing has been improving, with a number being caught off of deep weed edges using jigs, soft plastics, and spinner baits. Good catches of channel cats are being made on nightcrawlers and chicken livers.

Hoover Reservoir

Good numbers of saugeye are being taken by trollers at this lake near Columbus. Nighcrawler harnesses trolled or drifted will take fish. Good catches of white bass are being made on spinners and on minnows. Channel cats are hitting cut bait, nightcrawlers, and shrimp.

Sippo Lake

There are good 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, crappie, and white perch can also be caught.

Wingfoot Lake

Yellow perch are cooperating at this Portage County lake.  Minnows fished in five to 12 feet of water will take fish.  Crappie are also hitting.  Good catches of bluegill are being made on wax worms and maggots.  Fair catches of bass are coming on blade baits, shallow running cranks, and spinner baits.

Findley Lake

The panfish action at this lake near Wellington is outstanding. 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.

Wellington Reservoir

Good catches of panfish are being made at at this Lorain County impoundment.   Decent catches or channel cats are being made, too.  Chicken livers and nightcrawlers are the preferred baits.

Beer, Pretzels, and Perch! 

Kim from Akron wanted to share a cool recipe with us that includes three of our favorite things.  And the timing is just right since we're at the height of the yellow perch season!  It's a great recipe that includes a fantastic dipping sauce.

Pretzel Fried Perch

1 pound yellow perch fillets

3/4 cup flour

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

2 eggs, beaten

3/4 cup crushed pretzels

vegetable oil


Mix the flour and seasonings in a plastic bag.

Place the beaten eggs and pretzels onto seperate plates.

Dip the fish into the flour, then the eggs, then the pretzels.

Fry in oil until golden brown (About 8-10 minutes)

Beer Mustard Dipping Sauce

 2/3 cup mustard (spicy brown or dijon)

1/3 cup honey

2 teaspoons stout or porter


Mix all ingredients together.  Serve with Pretzel Fried Perch

Thanks, Kim!

We Want To Hear From You

Why don't you share some of your favorite fish and game recipes with us?  Just drop me an email at

And, we want to remind you that you can submit photos of your fish catches, too. Go ahead, brag a little. We might post the photos or broadcast them on Good Morning Cleveland.  Send those photos to .  We also welcome your fishing reports from you home waters, tips, and suggestions.

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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