Northern Ohio Fishing Report: 'Water, water everywhere'

Despite excess rain, perch bite still hot on Erie

CLEVELAND - Two words:  High water.

All the rain we've gotten has raised water levels in streams and lakes.  Some rivers are unfishable, and down right dangerous.  The best advice before fishing any stream for the next few days is to check it out first, and from a distance.  Even the calmest streams are raging, right now and it will be days before they're back to normal.

As for lakes, in some places the water is above the docks and boat launches.  Be prepared to do a little wading to launch on some lakes.  And where ever you fish, adjust for slightly more depth, as well as murky water.

Even on the big lake, the in shore waters of Lake Erie are muddy.  That is especially true where rivers run into the lake.  That means in some places you'll have to go out farther to find decent water to fish.

If you do want to capitalize on all the rain we've gotten, it's created ideal conditions for catfish.  The water is stirred up and the cat bite is on in a big way every where.

More on that in a moment.

High water or not, the special "Reel Adventures" children's fishing event being put on by Ranger Julie Stone at West Branch Reservoir Saturday July 13 th is still on.  It's an opportunity to help children learn how to fish. 

You may be familiar with Ranger Julie.  This is the second year she's organized the even.  It will run 10 A.M. to Noon at the East Boat Ramp at West Branch.  She and volunteers, many from, will be putting on a program designed to teach kids the joys of sport fishing.  There will be demonstrations of fishing techniques, tackle and bait programs, fun lessons on fish species identification, and fish cleaning demonstrations.  Plus, children will be able to fish, and get expert advice.

Mark's Bait and Tackle and others are donating bait and some tackle.  If you'd like to donate or volunteer, contact Ranger Julie at 330-358-2622.  That's also the number to call if you'd like more information about the event.

Now, let's brave the high water, and take a look at what's biting around the Buckeye State.

Lake Erie

The western basin is muddy.  The Port Clinton head boat fleet is going almost to Canada to find fishable water.  Shore-Nuf Charters has sent their boats about 14 miles north to find clear water.  They're fishing the area near West Reef with moderate success.  Gold has been the color of choice for harnesses and weight forward spinners.

It's a similar story from the folks at Fisherman's Wharf in Port Clinton.  In fact, they say if you have Canadian fishing license, use it.  The best walleye bite is as far north as you can go.  Gold is the color the casters are using.   Trollers are pulling spoons in Jager Bomb and Purple Demon patterns to catch fish. 

Further east in the central basin, the mud line extends out wherever tributaries enter the lake. 

Huron, Vermilion, and Lorain all report muddy in shore conditions.  But, once you get away from those area, the water clears up quickly. 

Craig Lewis at Erie Outfitters tells us the walleye bite is happening north and south of the bar from Sheffield Lake east to Avon Lake.  Fish are hitting in 28 feet of water and 41 feet of water.  Pinks, purples, and whites are the colors of choice.  Nightcrawler harnesses are probably the way to go, though diving cranks will produce, too. 

Craig says the yellow perch fishing is among the best he's ever seen.   The area just out from the stacks in Avon Lake in 41 feet of water has been producing limit catches.  And, the fishing is fast.  Craig reports as soon as a perch rig baited with emerald shiners hits the bottom, it's "fish on!"

Fishing off of Cleveland has been an adventure for the few days since the storm.  The water in shore is muddy.  Shine's tells us a few yellow and white perch are being taken off the breakwalls.  Wind in the Cleveland area has kept a lot of anglers off the lake.  Those who have ventured out have caught yellow perch in 38 to 45 feet of water.  Fishing conditions are expected to improve through the weekend.

At Wildwood Captain Vitas reports excellent fishing for yellow perch, white perch, and white bass.  He's been taking the Linda Mae out to 42 feet of water in front of Euclid Hospital.  Water clarity has not been a problem.  Emerald shiners on crappie rigs or spreaders will catch fish.

Don at Harbor Bait and Tackle in Fairport Harbor tells us the yellow perch fishing is excellent in 41 feet of water, with plenty of big fish being taken.   Emerald shiners are the preferred bait.  Walleye fishing is fair, though anglers are having to go beyond the mud line.  Trolled spoons and nightcrawler harnesses are taking fish.

One of the top walleye fishermen on Lake Erie, Captain Ryan Buddie has been fishing the area around Geneva for walleye.  He's been catching fish.  For more information on where Ryan is fishing and what techniques are working for him, check out his webpage:

Portage Lakes

The water is up at this chain of lakes just south of Akron, but that's just created some more opportunities for bass, panfish, and catfish.  Look for areas where the water meets the shoreline, especially grassy areas.  In many of those spots, the ground is saturated and worms and nightcrawlers are being washed into the water.  Panfish and bass will congregate around those areas and feed actively.   Use nightcrawlers or soft plastics to take fish near those areas.

Bass are also taking soft plastics, spinner baits, and shallow running cranks along weed edges.  Rex Lake, Long Lake, East Reservoir, and Turkeyfoot Lake are your best bets.  If fishing East Reservoir, also work the area near the Main Street Bridge.  In Rex Lake, concentrate on the south shore.

Catfish are also slamming almost anything that comes close to them.  Nightcrawlers, chicken livers, and cut bait will take fish.   Turkeyfoot Lake, Rex Lake, Long Lake, and North Reservoir have been providing fast action for a mix of channel cats and bullheads.

Nimisila Reservoir

Channel catfish are really active at this impoundment in Green in southern Summit Count.  Chicken livers, nightcrawlers, cut bait, and live bluegills are the preferred baits.  The natural gas points and the dam area have been producing. 

Largemouth bass are still hitting early in the morning in the pad beds.  Topwater lures will produce.  Once the sun goes higher in the sky, switch to deep weed edges and use soft plastics, spinner baits, or diving cranks. 

Panfish are cooperating, but you'll have to go deeper.  Target weed beds with red worms, maggots, and wax worms.  Some crappie and yellow perch are also being taken deep

West Branch

The water is way up at West Branch, but that hasn't slowed the fishing much at this reservoir east of Ravenna.  Mark at Mark's Bait and Tackle reports good fishing for walleye in the weed beds.  Jigs tipped with nightcrawlers will take fish.   So will drifting the weed edges with crawler harnesses

Bass fishing is good.  Soft plastics and spinner baits will produce around weed beds.  Shiners fished under floats have been a successful tactic, too.

Mark tells us channel catfish are biting everywhere and will take almost any bait you throw at them, though chicken livers, cut bait, and nightcrawlers work best.

And trollers are catching musky pulling large diving crank baits along deep edges.  They're also finding them suspended in open water.  We're told to look for marks at about eight to 12 feet.


We're told by the folks at Les's that the water at this impoundment west of Youngstown is high.  They haven't seen a lot of fishing activity since the storm.  They say the lake is about three feet above summer pool and that some boat ramps are closed.  Check ahead if you're going to Berlin. Despite the high levels, some walleye are being taken, though they've been harder to find.  The area around the humps between the Route 224 Bridge and the railroad bridge has been producing.

Channel cats are hitting cut bait and nightcrawlers around the lake.


High water here, too.  Some walleye are being taken by trollers working the river channel from the causeway to the I-76 bridge.  Diving cranks and nightcrawler harnesses have been the preferred baits. 

The Bass bite at Milton is improving.   Soft plastics fished along shoreline structure and near weeds are taking largemouth bass.  Smallmouth can be caught on diving cranks, jigs, and live minnows fished around deeper structure and on the deeper sides of the mid-lake shallows.

Mosquito Creek

The water is up at this reservoir north of Warren.  Kathy at Mosquito Lake Marina tells us good catches of largemouth bass are being made along weed beds.  Soft plastics, spinner baits and buzz baits are catching fish. 

Some walleye are being caught fishing the outside edges of weed beds with jigs tipped with nightcrawlers. 

Catfish are cooperating all around the lake.  Channel cats will take chicken livers, nightcrawlers, and cut bait.  Live bluegills are the bait of choice for flatheads.

Further north at Causeway Sporting Goods, they're reporting some catches of crappie from the causeway on minnows.  A few yellow perch are also being taken.

Walleye are being caught by trollers working the creek channel in 15 to 20 feet of water.  Many are using inline weights or bottom bouncers to get nightcrawler harnesses to the right depth. 


Yellow perch and catfish are the story at this reservoir that straddles the state line in Ashtabula County.  Duck and Drake tells us the cats are hitting nightcrawlers and the perch are taking minnows.  Fish almost anywhere in the lake for the catfish, use a spreader deep for the perch. 

The walleye bite has slowed down, probably because of the weather.   

Good catches of panfish and bass are also being made.  They're being taken from water six to eight feet deep near structure.  Use soft plastics to catch bass.  Panfish will take worms, maggots, and waxworms.

Charles Mill & Pleasant Hill

Dusty at Mifflin Lakes Trading Post says the water is up at Charles Mill, though fishing for channel cats has been phenomenal.  They are hitting all on nightcrawlers, chicken livers, shrimp, and dough baits. 

The Wiper bite has been slow.  A few of the white bass/striped bass hybrids are showing up.  They'll take chicken livers or Rooster Tails.

Below the dam at Charles Mill the current has been too strong to fish effectively.  Give it a few days to slow down.

At Pleasant Hill, high water has been a problem.  Some boat launches are underwater.  White bass will cooperate if you can find them.   Drifting or trolling nightcrawlers and minnows will catch them. 

Some Saugeye are being caught trolling nightcrawler harnesses or Flicker Shads off the beach, and in the deep water off of the lodge.  But, you'll have to work for them in the murky water.

Catfish could save the day.  They are readily taking nightcrawlers, cut bait, and chicken livers.

Chippewa Lake

Bob Nemeth at Chippewa Lake Bait and Tackle says worms or waxworms under a bobber will take panfish.

Some bass are being caught.  Soft plastics or live minnows will produce.

Catfish have been taking nightcrawlers and chicken livers, and 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 high and fast.  Use caution if you plan to fish it.  Your best bet is to give it a few days to recede.  Most of the Metro Parks lakes are providing good Panfish catches.  Wallace Lake has been a consistent producer. 

Ohio River

Water levels are high and the current is swift, excercise caution.  Red's in Columbiana tells us the sauger bite is slowing below the New Cumberland Dam.  Some fish are being taken on jigs or minnows fished on the bottom. 

Good numbers of channel cats, and some flathead cats, have been reported.  Cut bait, shrimp, and live bluegills are the baits of choice.


Mogadore Bait and Tackle reports decent  catches of largemouth bass at this Portage County impoundment.  Soft plastics in black or purple have been the top producers.  Also try flukes in the weed beds. 

Bluegills and redears have moved deeper. Look for them in the seven to 10 foot range. They will take 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 all over the lake.  Nightcrawlers and chicken livers will catch fish.


High water is putting a damper on fishing at Tappan.  Channel cats are cooperating, but not a lot else.  Use chicken livers or cut bait to take the cats. 

If you want to try fishing for saugeye, trolling the old road bed near the marina would be a good place to target with nightcrawler harnesses.  Beware,

Atwood Lake

Atwood Lake Boats, Marina East tells us the water is high there and that's affecting fishing.  Some saugeye are being taken on nightcrawler harnesses if you can locate fish.

Bass are being caught around submerged structure.  Soft plastics, cranks, and spinner baits are preferred.

Channel Catfish are the bright spot.  They are taking chicken liver or cut bait everywhere in the lake.

Piedmont Reservoir

High, muddy water has slowed the saugeye fishing, but it's provided a catfishing boom.  Channel cats will take cut bait, dough bait, nightcrawlers, and chicken livers.  Flatheads are hitting live bluegills, shiners, and cut bait in the upper end of the lake. 

The Piedmont Lake Marina  reports musky fishing has been fair near the dam.  Trolling large diving crankbaits has been producing. 

Good catches of Largemouth Bass have been made along the deep edges of weeds.  Smallmouth Bass are taking jigs, crayfish, and crankbaits on rocky points.

Tuscarawas River

A word of advice, give the Tusc a rest for the next few days.  Strong current and high water have blown out many popular fishing locations.  In some places it's dangerous.  Once the water goes down, look for the stretch from Canal Fulton to Dover to produce northern pike, smallmouth, and panfish.  Further north, panfish, largemouth bass, and yellow perch can be caught from Firestone/Tuscarawas Reservoir to Long Lake.

Cuyahoga River

The Cuyahoga is high, fast, and muddy.  It should go down in a few days, but weekend fishing will be difficult.  Gone Fishing Bait and Tackle in Cuyahoga Falls tells us the stretch from Streetsboro to Munroe Falls was producing northern pike. 

Smallmouth Bass fishing should improve below the Gorge Dam once the water recedes.  A note of caution:  Dam removal will take place this month on the stretch in downtown Cuyahoga Falls.  Some areas of the river may not be accessible.

Lake Hodgson

Good catches of panfish are coming from this Portage County Lake.  Waxworms, maggots, and nightcrawlers will take fish.  Work weed areas and structure in four to eight feet of water.

The largemouth bite has been good in the morning.  Spinner baits and soft plastics will produce.

Lake Rockwell

Mark at Mark's Bait and Tackle says the catfish bite is on fire at this water supply reservoir between Kent and Streetsboro.  Channel cats are actively hitting nightcrawlers, minnows, chicken livers, and cut bait.

Mark says work the shoreline with soft plastics and topwater plugs for bass, however the northern pike bite has slowed.

Alum Creek

The water is high and covering a lot of shoreline area.  But, the excess water has not had too much of an impact on saugeye fishing at this impoundment north of Columbus.  Cheshire Market in Galena reports saugeye are being anglers jigging nightcrawlers or drifting nightcrawler harnesses. 

Some crappie are being found near deeper structure, along with bass.  Minnows or jigs will take crappie.  Jigs, spinnerbaits, and diving cranks have been effective for bass.

Good numbers of catfish are also being caught on chicken livers, nightcrawlers, and cut bait.

Hoover Reservoir

This Columbus area lake is high and muddy, though it's producing fair catches of white bass and panfish.   Minnows, nightcrawlers, small spinners, and jigs have caught fish. 

Some saugeye have been reported, though the catching was better before the storms.

Catfish are cooperating on nightcrawlers and cut bait.

Sippo Lake

There are fair 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

Look out for higher than usual water at this lake in Portage County.  Some popular fishing areas were soggy.  Largemouth bass have been hitting well.  Fish soft plastics near the weeds for them. 

Big sunfish are being reported.  They will take wax worms, maggots, and red worms.  The fish can be found in five to eight feet of water.

Findley Lake

We continue to hear good things about the he panfish action at this lake near Wellington. Good 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.

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  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.

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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