BY MARK CAHLIK
This year has been a strange one for Lake Erie walleye fishermen.
While battling the hatching bugs around Western Lake Erie, the smokey haze from the Canadian wild fires up north have also foiled anglers from enjoying Lake Erie fishing.
This week, however, we have had a good bite for walleye while fishing in Ohio. The drift and cast anglers have been working the reefs and rock piles, including Gull Island Shoal and Kelleys Island Shoal. They have been catching fish best with a 10 to 15 count in some areas.
The best way to get a bite is still a slow retrieve after letting a casting harness tipped with a nightcrawler and a 1- to 1 1/2-ounce sinker go to the lake bottom.
Trollers on the Ohio side have been reporting a strong bite right out of Cranberry Creek Marina, just east of the Huron River, in about 32 to 36 feet of water using worm harnesses or crankbaits. During the second half of the week, the bite was much better north of the line. The charter skippers have been going four miles east of Chickanola Reef. Casters are still working the bottom, bringing limits of hefty walleye from that area.
Worm harnesses seem to be doing the best, as well as Tru-Trip diving planers with spoons for trolling, often tipped with worms. Anglers have been running lures 70 to 90 feet behind the boat, which seems to be the sweet spot right now.
Yellow perch fishing is heating up around Western Lake Erie, with many good reports starting to come in. The fish cleaning shops have seen an increase in the coolers of perch, with the Toledo area producing limits right now with the bonus of a quick bite.
An area about two miles straight out of Port Clinton has been producing perch catches around F Can on the Lake Erie Firing Zone. Perch are also biting west and north of the green buoy off Catawba Island State Park and off of the Cedar Point roller coasters this week.
The perch bite is definitely getting stronger every week. Most people are using crappie rigs, vertical perch rigs and traditional spreaders baited with emerald shiner minnows to catch the perch right now.
Catfish success around Sandusky Bay has slowed a bit recently, with the amount of rain we have had stirring up dingy waters. While shore anglers are still catching channel catfish, the best catches have been from boats.