CLEVELAND, Ohio – Lake Erie’s big schools are finally moving to their spring spawning grounds in western Lake Erie, and anglers are reporting that the sometimes pleasant fishing weather has been a late-season bonus.
There’s also been a lot of trophy stuff lately. These walleye lunkers, which had been hard to find during the recent Lake Erie walleye fishing derbies, are now showing up in anglers’ coolers.
Despite some windy weekend days in the forecast, depths of 36 feet have provided exceptional catches from Cleveland to the Lake Erie Islands.
Although strong winds are forecast along the Cleveland coast, better fishing weather is just around the corner. Don’t look for shore ice to be a problem. Cleveland’s water temperatures hovered around 50 degrees heading into the weekend, cooling to Toledo’s 39 degrees.
Anglers should keep an eye on the weather, though. These water temperatures are very complicated and do not allow for mistakes.
The best walleye fishing continues to be very early and late in the day, with walleye moving into shallow water to feed after dark. Trolling with diving plugs such as Dead-Eye, Bandit and Perfect 10 crankbaits are working in tandem with flatboards. Some anglers are trolling spoons and tipped spinner rigs with a nightcrawler.
Ice fishing adventures should begin soon – it’s time to get out the ice fishing craft to wet a line during the winter from small ponds and lakes, as well as from the waters of western Lake Erie when the good returns winter fishing ice. Thin ice and strong winds will be a problem early in the ice fishing season.
Fall Brawl and Walleye Slam fishing derbies are official: The Fall Brawl and Walleye Slam fishing derbies on Lake Erie that ended Nov. 27 are now official, with the help of metal detectors and detector testing lies Like many of the popular derby competitors, winner James Holton of Holly, Mich., participated in both derbies, capturing both titles with a single 13.62-pound walleye caught in Lorain. Holton’s fish won the top boats in each derby, a Ranger 622FS Pro in the Fall Brawl worth $125,000 and a Warrior V238 Boat in the Walleye Slam.
Tammy Stanton of Hartville, Ohio finished second in both derbies, winning a Ranger 622FS Pro worth $110,000 in the Fall Brawl and $50,000 in the Walleye Slam with her weight of 13.44 pounds. Finishing third through fifth in the Walleye Slam and Fall Brawl derbies, their combined earnings were: Shannon James, Powell, Ohio, 12.74 pounds, $90,000; James Trent, Amherst, Ohio, 12.22 pounds, $80,000; and Raymond Withers, Streetsboro, Ohio, 12.22 pounds, $60,000.
“I think the efforts of the derby sponsors had a lot to do with the success this year,” said Craig Lewis of Erie Outfitters in Sheffield Lake, who weighed in the Walleye Slam entries. “The lie detector tests and all the added security after last year’s cheating scandal got the anglers in good spirits and encouraged entries. We enjoyed the excitement and attitude of the anglers d ‘this year”.
Steelhead trout fishing heads east: Low water in the Chagrin and Rocky rivers has slowed steelhead fishing in those streams, but better flows in the Grand River and Conneaut Creek are helping fly anglers and turn to catch steelhead trout.
Fly anglers report that shiny bug eggs, white wooly bugs and white zonkers are the top flies for hooking big trout, guides from Chagrin River Outfitters report. Spinner anglers are wading in to float marabou machines and worms and small spawn bags tied with colorful mesh.
Cuyahoga River Dam Finally History: Ohio will contribute $25 million to support the long-awaited Cuyahoga River Dam Removal Project. It will remove about 900,000 cubic meters of contaminated sediment, restore fish and wildlife habitat and restore more than a mile of the river for recreational use.
“Improving water quality across the state has been a key focus of my administration, and generations of Ohioans will benefit from the improvements that will be made with the removal of the Gorge Dam,” said the Governor Mike DeWine. “This project will return the Cuyahoga River to a free river from Kent to the mouth of Lake Erie, greatly improve water quality in the Cuyahoga River, and pave the way for recreation, tourism and development opportunities economical in this area.”
Gorge Dam was originally built in 1913 to provide hydroelectric power, but hydroelectric generation ended at the dam in 1958. In the spring of 2009, the dam’s power generating plant was washed away. The 58-foot-tall, 425-foot-wide dam, which has no necessary use today, prevents the river from flowing freely, causes sediment build-up and negatively affects water quality and fisheries.