■ Maumee, Sandusky & Portage rivers: The fishing on these waterways has settled back into the late summer mode, with the smallmouth bite a little tougher challenge, while the catfish continue to cooperate for anglers on the Maumee hitting the Rossford Marina area and the deeper holes below the Providence Dam, and the Sandusky River anglers working the downtown Fremont region. Guide Hunter Hayes says olive wooly buggers, olive sculpins, along with rust and olive-colored crayfish patterns, are enticing a few smallmouth bass for the fly fishermen.
■ Lake Erie walleyes: The Ohio DNR reports slow walleye fishing throughout the western basin, and low participation rates among anglers as a result. The best fishing areas appear to be from west of Rattlesnake Island north to the Canadian border, including Northwest Reef and the red bell buoy near the Canadian border. Anglers are either trolling worm harnesses with inline weights, divers or bottom bouncers, and spoons pulled behind divers. Casters and drifters are using mayfly rigs or bottom bouncers and worm harnesses. Coe Vanna Charters reports some spotty catches of decent sized walleyes from the open waters off Huron.
■ Lake Erie perch: The experts at Netcraft say yellow perch fishing is on the upswing as the water cools and the usual fall western basin locations heat up with action. Netcraft reports strong catches of perch being taken in the “Taco Bell” area northeast of North Bass Island, and also east of Kelleys Island, in about 30-35 feet of water. The perch fishing has also been very good around West Sister Island. Wire spreaders and perch rigs are the preferred tackle of most, with some dressed with spinners and others fished naked, or without spinners. Live emerald shiners fished at or near the bottom have proven over time to be the optimal bait.
■ Lake Erie smallmouth: The diligent anglers from Netcraft report that the smallmouth bass out on the lake have been settled into their traditional late summer pattern for a while, and are grouping in certain areas at around 13-18 feet. The best recent catches have come from around Rattlesnake Island, the wagon wheel area around Pelee Island, and to the north around Colchester. Diving crankbaits and drop-shot rigs in perch and shiner patterns have been the best producers.
■ Lake Erie/Michigan: The MDNR reports the yellow perch fishing has been productive near the “E” buoy and off Bolles Harbor in 22-24 feet of water, with even stronger action in 24-26 feet of water near Stony Point. A few walleye are being picked up in the area off the Fermi Power Plant down to Brest Bay in 12-18 feet of water, with crawler harnesses, crankbaits and tube baits in purple, pink and copper colors.
■ Fish safe to eat: The walleyes and yellow perch from Lake Erie are safe to eat, despite the recent algae scare. Extensive testing of fish tissues has indicated no toxins present in the meat.
■ Ohio strip mine lakes: Largemouth bass are active in the mornings and evenings, with topwater baits working well along the brushy shorelines and around the weed beds. According to guide Corneilus Harris, lightweight plastics fished around the timber and stumps have also been productive, with bass in the 3-5 pound range not out of the ordinary.
■ Lake St. Clair: Fred Lederer of Perrysburg reports unusually low water temps for late summer, and slow fishing for big muskies. Lederer plans to hit this vast body again over the holiday weekend, with a focus on the north side of the lake towards Anchor Bay. The MDNR said a mixed bag of walleyes, smallmouth, pike, white bass, yellow perch and an occasional muskie are not uncommon for those St. Clair anglers trolling crankbaits and crawler harnesses in 14-18 feet of water.
■ Irish Hills: The notoriously finicky bluegills in this cluster of lakes have forced some veteran anglers to consider tossing the fish barometer into the drink and relying strictly on their instincts. One day offers smoking hot fishing, while the next is a very tough slog. The best bluegills are being caught near the bottom along the weed lines and near the points, usually in around 20 feet of water. Bass fishermen are covering more water and finding the evenings best, using topwater baits fished around the channels and outlets, or along the edges of the weed beds.
■ Manistee, Pere Marquette rivers: The MDNR reports salmon are showing up in these waterways, but only in fairly modest numbers at this point. Fly fishermen are taking brown trout in the Pere Marquette,where the action should improve.