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GLIN==> Lake Erie Fall Fishing Bonanza



News Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 24, 2001

LAKE ERIE'S FALL FISHING IS FABULOUS
 SANDUSKY, OHIO -- Lake Erie anglers are having another fall fishing
bonanza, according the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Division of
Wildlife.
Yellow perch fishing is currently very good with some limit catches of up to
13-inch perch being taken across the lake.  Perch fishing should continue as
long as the weather permits anglers to get out on the lake.
True to tradition for September, bass anglers are also reeling in many
lunker smallmouth bass, especially in the islands area and off the reefs.
Meanwhile, anglers wait in anticipation for walleye and steelhead trout to
take off in traditional fall fashion.
" As water temperatures cool in the fall, fish school up and feed more
heartily to store reserves for the winter months ahead," said Doug Johnson,
fisheries biologist with the Division's Lake Erie Research Unit in Sandusky.
"Fall is an excellent time to fish Lake Erie because it often offers some of
the best action of the entire year, there is less boat traffic, and it
easier to book accommodations because it is the off-season for many Lake
Erie visitors."
Don't own a boat?  Shoreline anglers can get in on the fall action by
fishing for yellow perch and smallmouth bass from piers and breakwalls.
Steelhead trout are taken from Central Basin breakwalls, especially at
Headlands Beach State Park, Fairport Harbor and Conneaut Harbor.  These fish
then move into the lake's Central Basin tributary streams and provide even
more fast action for wading anglers.  In late fall and early winter, a
unique walleye pier fishery occurs on the Western Basin as walleyes move in
close to shore in late night feeding frenzies.  Huron is usually the number
one hot spot for this fishery.
" Besides the great fall fishing for yellow perch and smallmouth bass,
Western Basin anglers should keep in mind that a large school of walleyes
traditionally feed in an area just off Huron in late fall.  Many charter
captains are already making plans to move their boats to the Huron area in
anticipation of this fall fishery, which traditionally produces very large
walleyes," Johnson said.
 Central Basin anglers also enjoy great fall fishing.
"The traditional fall perch fishing activity is well underway and smallmouth
bass action is picking up along the Fairport, Geneva, Ashtabula and Conneaut
breakwalls," said Kevin Kayle, supervisor of the Division's Lake Erie
Research Unit at Fairport Harbor.
"We are expecting another fantastic fall steelhead season as cool rains
drive steelhead into the rivers within the next several weeks.  Steelhead
were biting with a vengeance on the open lake earlier this summer, and
traditionally when that occurs fall stream fishing that follows is excellent
as well.  This fishery continues to get better and better each year."
During the early portion of the spawning run, the lower stretches of the
rivers hold the majority of the fish.  As the season progresses the region
gets more rain, the steelhead move further upstream and the action picks up
in the tributaries of the main channels.  The fishing remains good
throughout the entire winter as long anglers can find an open pool in the
ice.
 Weather conditions are always a big factor for Lake Erie fishing and
fall is no exception.  Strong winds and heavy wave action can keep anglers
off the lake for several days at a time.  Colder water temperatures and
rough lake conditions can spell disaster for unaware and unprepared  small
boat operators and their passengers.  Anglers should get a Lake Erie marine
forecast before traveling to the region and again before venturing out on
the water.
 Depending on individual angler preferences, there's a mixed bag of
quality opportunities in store for fall anglers.  To access the Division of
Wildlife's recorded Lake Erie fishing report, call toll-free 1-888-HOOK FISH
(1-888-466-5347).  In the local Sandusky exchange area call 625-3187.
####
Contact:  ODNR Division of Wildlife,
Melissa Hathaway or Doug Johnson (419) 625-8062
or Kevin Kayle (440) 352-6100
Lake Erie's mixed bag of fishing opportunities include:

YELLOW PERCH -- Perch seekers descend upon Sandusky Bay, the island areas,
and the reef complex in the Western Basin.  Central Basin angers fare very
well in nearshore waters 1 to 4 miles offshore.  However, anglers should
keep in mind that schools of yellow perch can be found anywhere in the lake.
Fall also provides excellent perch fishing opportunities for shore-bound
anglers.  Some of the best shore fishing locations include public fishing
piers at Metzger Marsh, Catawba State Park, the Mazurik and Dempsey fishing
accesses, and breakwalls at Port Clinton, Sandusky, Huron, Lorain,
Cleveland, Fairport Harbor and Mentor Headlands State Park.
Perch spreaders or crappie rigs tipped with shiners or minnows are the tried
and true methods for this popular table fare fish.  Most catches are in the
7- to 13-inch range with Central Basin perch slightly larger.  Anglers
should note the daily bag limit for yellow perch is 30 fish per angler.

SMALLMOUTH BASS -- Increased weed growth from increased water clarity and
several excellent
hatches in recent years have boosted yet another great fishery for Lake Erie
anglers -- smallmouth bass.  Fall bass fishing is particularly good around
the Bass and Kelleys islands areas, Western Basin reef complex, Sandusky
Bay, along rocky shorelines in the Western Basin, Ruggles Reef, and along
harbor breakwalls from Cleveland to Conneaut.  The live bait of choice is a
softcraw, but anglers also use leeches large minnows, or work jigs along
rocky shoreline areas.
 Most fish are in the 14- to 17-inch range.  There is a daily catch
limit of five smallmouth bass per angler with a minimum size length of 14
inches.

 WALLEYE - - The current state record walleye (16.19 pounds) was caught off
Cleveland in November 1999 by an angler who was perch fishing.  Western
Basin walleye anglers drift with worm harness rigs, cast weight-forward
spinners fitted with a bottom bouncer, or cast or troll crankbaits,
especially over reefs.  Central Basin anglers troll with worm harnesses,
dipsy divers, spoons, and deep diving lures.  Most catches measure 18 to 28
inches.
 The number one hot spot in late fall is an area off Vermilion to
Huron.  As the season progresses, these walleyes will move to shore after
dark in pursuit of bait fish seeking out warmer shoreline waters.  Many
anglers take advantage of this shoreline walleye fishery and line up along
piers and breakwalls across the Western Basin and Cleveland area throughout
November and December.  Anglers cast vibrating, noise-producing lures that
imitate baitfish.  This fishery is very unpredictable with no way of
predicting when the feeding frenzy will turn on.  When it does, however, it
usually lasts only a few minutes, but the rewards are huge with very large
fish hooked.

STEELHEAD TROUT -- More Central Basin anglers are targeting steelhead trout,
especially when the walleye fishing is challenging.  By late October, these
fish move into Central Basin tributaries to begin spawning runs, providing
wading stream anglers a quality trout fishery during the cold-weather
months.  The Division of Wildlife stocks a total of 400,000 steelhead
annually into the Rocky, Chagrin and Grand rivers, and Conneaut Creek.
 Steelhead catches typically measure 19 to 28 inches.  In the early
fall, anglers should pursue steelhead from piers, beaches and lower parts of
the rivers (near river mouths).  With a spinning rod, use spoons, spinners,
or hair jigs tipped with maggots under a bobber.  With a fly rod, use a
larger weighted fly pattern such as nymphs and streamers.
After cooler weather and fall rains, anglers should follow steelhead
upstream and fish with spawn bags (trout or salmon eggs tied together in a
mesh bag).  As the season progresses, spin-casters also use jig and maggot
combinations and minnows.  Fly rod anglers use yarn flies, egg patterns,
nymphs and streamers. The daily bag limit for steelhead is two fish
September 1 through April 30 with a minimum size limit of 12 inches.  For
more information on Central Basin Steelhead fishing, access the Fairport
Fish Station's web site at
http://www.dnr.state.oh.us/wildlife/fishing/fairport/

####


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