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Lake Erie walleye catches outstanding; Brecksville dam removal should boost spawning in Cuyahoga River: Fishing Report

The Plain Dealer  Cleveland logo The Plain Dealer Cleveland 5/28/2020 By D'Arcy Egan, cleveland.com

CLEVELAND, Ohio — Lake Erie walleye fishermen have been flocking to the Western Basin of Lake Erie, where limit catches have been the norm this spring and drift-and-cast and trolling fishermen have been filling their coolers.

The walleye spawning season is over, and the fish are beginning to spread out and feed heavily from the mouth of the Maumee River all of the way to Lorain and Cleveland. While the hot fishing sports are changing from day to day, depending on the wind and weather, the good fishing this week has generally been in 28- to 32-foot depths.

Finding clear water had been the key after the recent heavy rains. In the past week, the muddy waters have begun to mix and clear. Fishermen are doing best targeting walleye feeding close to the surface very early in the day, and probing deeper water when the sun is high overhead.

Cleveland Harbor among best locations for shore anglers: Casting from the Cleveland Harbor shoreline has been good to excellent this week, with daytime fishermen scoring on panfish, yellow perch, rock bass and walleye. A bit of a surprise has been the shoreline fishing for walleye after dark.

Fishermen are casting minnow-style plugs, such as the Bandit, Husky Jerks and Smithwick Perfect 10, after the sun goes down. While some walleye are being caught during the day, or at dusk and dawn, the fishing is more unpredictable. Some limit catches have been reported by after-dark fishermen.

Rock bass, yellow perch, largemouth bass in the spotlight: Small-boat fishermen prowling Cleveland Harbor are catching lots of big rock bass, an underutilized species of game fish. The big ones will give an angler a tussle, and there is no daily bag limit on the panfish. If kept on ice, chunky rock bass fillets are a flavorful fish dinner.

The waters off the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and Burke Lakefront Airport have exceptional populations of rock bass and largemouth bass. Sheepshead, catfish and even northern pike prowl those waters, as well.

This week, shoreline fishermen casting for yellow perch from the East 55th Street breakwall have been picking off a few jumbo perch, but limits are still very hard to catch.

Brecksville Dam removal could trigger good fishing in the future: The removal of the diversion dam under the Route 82 bridge in the Brecksville area has been a long time in coming, and should give Cuyahoga River fishing a major boost.

The dam had been a roadblock to fish coming up the Cuyahoga River to spawn, with only the acrobatic steelhead trout capable of jumping the barrier. With the dam removal, expect to see smallmouth bass, walleye and white bass making their way up the river in springtime.

Demolition began this week. A parallel alternate trail for the Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath has been opened in the construction area, and paddling is closed up and down river near the dam. Paddlers can ferry around the dam using the trail.

More outdoors stories by D’Arcy Egan:

Fishermen crowding Lake Erie, inland lakes

Ohio tackle shops now open as walleye, bass fishing heats up

Non-resident anglers allowed back on Lake Erie

Greater Cleveland fish stockings trigger family outings amid pandemic

Spring trout fishing back on track

Record Ohio walleye run, huge crowds lead to fishing license restrictions, Sandusky and Maumee river closings during pandemic

Are walleye fishermen allowed on Lake Erie if they follow Gov. DeWine’s social distancing mandate?

Fishing in the age of social distancing: Lake Erie is wide open

Lake Erie walleye numbers in stratosphere, future is bright

Coronavirus cabin fever? Fishing, hunting can entertain kids and families away from crowds

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