Fishing Report: Walleye, saugeye bite picks up inland, mixed bag on Lake Erie

Walleyes cooperating, big cats caught


The walleye and saugeye bites are picking up on a number of inland lakes. That’s a sure sign that fall patterns are starting. 


Even though water temperatures are still high, baitfish are schooling for their fall migrations, and that means the walleye and saugeye aren’t far behind them. Those minnow schools are also targets for largemouth bass. That means on a lot of lakes soft plastics are being replaced by spinner baits, shallow cranks, and blade baits to take advantage of it.


Meanwhile, on Lake Erie the yellow perch fishing has slacked off depending on where you’re fishing, and the walleye bite is hit or miss, too.


Panfish and crappie are also starting to cooperate. 


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


Lake Erie


In the Western Basin the Port Clinton head boat fleet is running trips for both perch and walleye.  Shore-Nuf Charters out of the Drawbridge Marina tells us they are primarily targeting perch.  Their boats are picking up good numbers to the east of Port Clinton.  Over at Fisherman’s Wharf, their boats have been catching good numbers of walleye.  Tim at Fisherman’s Wharf says the bite is good west of northwest reef and off the rock piles near Toussaint Crib and off of Kelley’s Island.  It’s primarily a drift and cast harness bite, though trollers are taking fish, too.  There’s also good walleye fishing, right now just north of the Canadian border.  Be sure you have an Ontario fishing license if you plan on going up there


Further east in the Central Basin, Craig Lewis at Erie Outfitters in Sheffield Lake tells us the walleye continue to cooperate both inside and outside the bar.  Walleye are being taken from Vermilion to Avon Point by trollers pulling crawler harnesses fished deep.  Those fish are in 36 feet of water inside, and 42 feet of water outside.  Yellow, green, pink, and purple are the preferred colors.  Yellow perch fishing has been spotty, but some fish are being taken off of Sheffield and Avon. 


Our friends at Shine’s in Cleveland say it’s been slow.  Some yellow perch are being caught in 44 feet of water off of Cleveland.  Very few walleye are being reported.   


Just to the east, the perch fishing has been mixed for the folks at Wildwood Marina.  The Linda Mae is the perch head boat that runs out of Wildwood.  Some good catches have come off of Euclid.  Breakwall fishermen are catching white bass at Wildwood, and also off of East 55th street.


Don at Harbor Bait and Tackle in Fairport Harbor says perching is good northwest of  “The Hump” in 47 to 50 feet of water.  Limit catches are being reported.  Move deeper to follow the yellow perch pack as the day goes on.  Some walleye are being taken just beyond the perch in 56 to 58 feet of water.  Good numbers of smallmouth bass are in the Grand River and taking jigs, crawfish, and craw imitations.  Trollers dragging cranks near shore are also catching smallmouth, with the occasional steelhead thrown in for good measure.  Remember, the steelhead will be staging off of river mouths in about a month, and those early fish are moving in now.


Snug Harbor Bait and Tackle in Conneaut reports the yellow perch bite is on fire in 58 to 62 feet of water.  Walleye are mixed in with the perch schools, and are found farther out as well in 62 to 70 feet of water.  Look for them suspended at 22 to 35 feet.

Bait is always a concern during a holiday weekend on Lake Erie.  Most bait shops are reporting good numbers of emerald shiners, so it doesn’t appear it will be a problem this weekend.



Portage Lakes


This popular chain of lakes south of Akron remains a hot spot for largemouth bass. Ron Slater at Portage Lakes Bait and Tackle tells us bass are hitting soft plastics and shallow diving cranks.  Blade baits will also work well, especially if you can find schools of shad moving around the lakes.  Cast those blades right into and around the shad schools.  The best lakes for bass right now are Rex Lake, Turkeyfoot, Long Lake, and East Reservoir.  Crappie are also starting to get more active.  Minnows fished near deep submerged wood or deepwater docks should produce.  Channel cats are providing fast action.  Some huge cats were taken out of Rex Lake in the past week.  Check the photo section for pictures of those.  Chicken livers, cut bait, and nightcrawlers are the preferred baits.  A lot of anglers targeting cats are getting their lines stripped by panfish if they’re using crawlers.  Speaking of panfish, good catches of sizable fish are being made in Rex Lake, Mud Lake, and East Reservoir.


Nimisila Reservoir


The largemouth bass bite is fair at this impoundment in Green in southern Summit County.  Some fish are being taken early in the morning on soft plastics and spinner baits.  Channel cats are cooperative.  They will hit nightcrawlers, cut bait, and chicken livers.  Walleye have turned on again.  They’re being caught near the dam by trollers pulling diving cranks or nightcrawler harnesses.  Another method that’s been effective is anchoring near humps and vertically jigging blade baits.  Red has been the color of choice.


West Branch


Mark’s Bait and Tackle in Ravenna reports the musky continue to hit at this reservoir east of Ravenna.  Good catches are being made by trollers on Boss Shad lures, especially in firetiger patterns.  Crappie fishing has turned on under the Rock Springs Road bridge, especially at night.  Walleye have slowed down, though a few are being caught on jigs tipped with nightcrawlers or crawler harnesses.  Channel cats are hitting everywhere on West Branch.  Chicken livers, cut bait, nightcrawlers, and minnows will take fish.  Bass fishing is fair. 




Water levels are good, but the drawdown has started at this popular lake west of Youngstown. Our friends at Les’s Bait and Tackle tell us walleye fishing has been fair.  Trollers working deep water between the railroad bridge and the causeway have been catching some fish on nightcrawler harnesses. Channel catfish are being taken on chicken livers and nightcrawlers.  Largemouth and smallmouth fishing has been slow.




The walleye bite at this Mahoning County reservoir has picked up.  Fish are being caught deep on Flicker Shads, Wally Divers, and Shad Raps along the river channel.  Some trollers are using inline weights or lead core line to get the lures deep enough.  Channel catfish are hitting well, and will take nightcrawlers, chicken livers, cut bait, and dough baits. The laregemouth bite is good in the morning on shallow diving crankbaits and soft plastics.  Smallmouth fishing has been slow.


Mosquito Creek


Joe at Mosquito Lake Marina tells us the channel cat fishing has been excellent.  Cut bait, chicken livers, and Some bass are being taken at sunrise and at dusk on small soft plastics.  Some walleye are turning up for trollers and drifters, but not in great numbers.


Up the lake at Causeway Sporting Goods, they report the walleye bite is back on.  Good numbers of fish have been taken trolling the creek channel south of the causeway with diving cranks and harnesses.  Yellow perch are being caught by drifters fishing with waxworms and minnows in 12 to 15 feet of water.  Good catches of channel cats are being made off the causeway and under the bridge on chicken livers, nightcrawlers, and stinkbaits.  Big bluegills are being taken off of deep weed beds on maggots and red worms.




Walleyes are being caught in 14 to 16 feet of water at this Ashtabula County reservoir.  Duck and Drake tells us those fish are hitting nightcrawler harnesses and diving crankbaits.  Channel cats are being caught all around the lake on nightcrawlers, chicken livers, or cut bait.  Bass fishing is good, and panfish are providing good action.


Charles Mill & Pleasant Hill


Dusty at Mifflin Lakes Trading Post reports crappie are starting to light it up on tube jigs at Charles Mill.  The wiper (white bass/striped bass hybrids) bite is on, too, at this lake between Ashland and Mansfield.  Twister Tails and Rooster Tails will catch them.  Chicken livers will work for the wipers, too.  Look for them chasing schools of baitfish near the surface.  Channel cats are taking shrimp, chicken livers, and nightcrawlers.  Good numbers of cats are being caught  The saugeye fishing has picked up below the dam when the flow is up.  Minnows fished on the bottom or under bobbers will take saugeye.  Wounded warriors sept 14th, cat tourney call dusty. 


Just to the south, good numbers of saugeye are being caught off the beach and near the lodge at Pleasant Hill Reservoir.  Crankbaits or nightcrawler harnesses trolled in deeper water will take fish.  Some white bass are in the mix.  Bass fishing is fair.  Work rocky points with jigs and crawfish imitation for smallmouth


Chippewa Lake


Bob Nemeth at Chippewa Lake Bait and Tackle says catfish have been taking nightcrawlers and chicken livers.   Panfish are being caught in good numbers.  One note: This lake gets a lot of pleasure boating traffic, so your best bet is to fish it early.


Cleveland Metro Parks


The Rocky River is running normal.  Tube jigs and crayfish imitation will take smallmouth bass. Most of the Metro Parks lakes are providing good Panfish catches. Wallace Lake has been turning up good catches of largemouth bass and channel cats.


Ohio River


Red’s in Columbiana reports excellent fishing for sauger on the Ohio River below the New Cumberland Dam.  Minnows fished near the bottom are catching fish. Good numbers of channel catfish, as well as a few shovelheads are being caught.  Cut bait, shrimp, and live bluegills are the baits of choice. 



The bass bite is good at this Portage County impoundment.  Early morning and dusk are better than other times of the day. Soft plastics, spinner baits, and crankbaits will take fish.  Bluegills and redears are hitting. Look for them in the five to 10 foot range. They will hit wax worms and maggots. The north end of the lake, and the Lansinger Road area have been best for the panfish. Channel catfish are hitting everywhere on the lake. Nightcrawlers, shrimp, and chicken livers are the preferred baits.




Walleye are being taken at this reservoir in Geauga County.  Trolling or drifting nightcrawler harnesses and deep diving cranks has been productive.  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.




Channel cats are hitting well.  Nightcrawlers, cut bait, and  chicken livers are taking fish.  Some flatheads are being reported in the mix.  The folks at Tappan Lake Marina tell us saugeye have started to hit well.  They’ll take nightcrawler harnesses or diving cranks trolled deep.  Largemouth bass have been hitting soft plastics and crankbaits fished near submerged structure and timber.  Smallmouth fishing is fair. Work rocky areas with jigs or diving cranks for smallmouth.  Some largemouth are being caught early in the morning and at sunset on spinner baits and cranks.


Atwood Lake


Atwood Lake Boats, Marina East says the channel catfish bite is hot. They are taking chicken liver or cut bait everywhere in the lake.  Saugeye catches have been scattered.  Bass fish remains good on points, weed edges, and submerged structure.  Soft plastics, jigs, and spinner baits remain the lures of choice.


Piedmont Reservoir


Musky are being taken by trollers pulling large crank baits near the dam and in the marina bay.  Piedmont Lake Marina tells us the saugeye bite is good in the dam area.  Drifting or trolling nightcrawler harnesses deep will take fish, so will deep diving crank baits.  Good numbers of channel cats are being caught all around the lake on nightcrawlers and cut bait.  Shovelheads are hitting, too.  Live shad or bluegills are the bait of choice for the shovelheads.  Fair catches of largemouth bass are being made along deep weed edges. Smallmouth Bass are hitting crayfish, tube jigs, and crankbaits on rocky points.  Work weed edges with spinner baits for largemouth bass.


Tuscarawas River


The upper stretch that runs through Firestone Metro Park above Long Lake is one of the best urban fisheries in northeast Ohio.  It has been producing good numbers of yellow perch and panfish.  Fish the deeper pools with minnows or nightcrawlers.  Good catches of northern pike have been made from Clinton to Massillon. Decent numbers of channel catfish catches are being made closer to Dover.



Springfield Lake


We are getting reports of good numbers of channel cats from this Summit County lake.  They’ll hit cut bait, chicken livers, and dough baits.  Crappies are taking minnows in 12 feet of water near submerged structure.  Largemouth bass are being caught in fair numbers along weed edges on soft plastics and spinner baits.


Cuyahoga River


Gone Fishing Bait and Tackle in Cuyahoga Falls tells us the Cuyahoga is down to a trickle through Cuyahoga Falls after the dam demolition.  It’s dropped water levels along a good stretch of the river and that’s had a negative impact on traditional fishing spots.  Upstream, some bass, and pike are being caught around Munroe Falls.  Smallmouth are being caught below the Gorge Dam.  Use tube jigs or small spinners to take them.


Lake Hodgson


Excellent catches of yellow perch are coming from this Portage County Lake.  Minnows fished near the bottom in 12 to 15 feet of water will produce fish.  Panfish are taking waxworms, maggots, and red worms.  The largemouth bite has improved. Spinner baits and soft plastics will produce. 


Lake Rockwell


Big bluegill and crappie are hitting near the causeway, with the crappie bite turning on at night.  This is an outstanding fishery that few are taking advantage of.  Channel cats are taking nightcrawlers, minnow, 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. The fish are relatively shallow.  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 decent 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, crappies, and white perch can also be caught.


Wingfoot Lake


Good panfish catches are being reported at this lake in Portage County. They will take wax worms, maggots, and red worms. The fish can be found in three to 12 feet of water.  Some perch are being caught, too.  The bass bite has gotten better.  They can be caught around structure and weed edges early in the morning on soft plastics, topwater lures, and cranks.


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


Channel cats have been hitting well at this Lorain County impoundment.  Chicken livers and nightcrawlers are the preferred baits.  Good catches of panfish are being made, too.


Help Our War Vets


We wanted to let you know about a special event coming up on September 14th to benefit wounded  warriors.  It's a catfishing tournament at Charles Mill Reservoir.  Call Mifflin Lakes Trading Post at 419-368-3956 for more information.


We Want To Hear From You


And, we want to remind you that you can submit photos of your fish catches. Go ahead, brag a little. We might post the photos or broadcast them on Good Morning Cleveland.  Send those photos to (Check out the huge channel cat pic posted this week!). 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.  You may have seen a series of questions I’ve been answering about catfishing on there recently.  I always welcome your questions on Twitter, too.


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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