Pleasant weather provides grand finale to season | News, Sports, Jobs
After a spell of autumn’s mid-season nasty weather, there is nothing like a few days of unseasonable weather to light the fuse on fishing’s fall fireworks.
The forecast shows 70-degree weather, which means prime time action for just about all of the popular game and panfish in northeastern Ohio and western Pennsylvania.
This weekend is shaping up as a great opportunity to hook up with walleyes, crappies, largemouth and smallmouth bass, and Lake Erie steelhead trout.
Walleye are local anglers’ favorite species in the spring, but by the time we get to October many of us are preoccupied with football, hunting and other fall activities.
That’s a shame, because great walleye fishing is happening right now from Erie to the Ohio River, including our reservoirs on the Mahoning drainage.
Berlin, for example, yields lots of autumn walleyes to anglers dragging jigs and working Vibes and other heavy-metal lures. As the water cools and the lake’s baitfish join up to form super schools easily identified on sonar, the walleye experts set up over the bait and pop Vibes vertically.
The metal jigging lures also work great on the walls of the New Cumberland Dam on the Ohio River. Savvy river anglers know the walleyes gang up in the turbulent water and feed on the baitfish tossing in the current.
Berlin and the Ohio River also deliver excellent smallmouth fishing in October. Anglers chasing smallies hook up by casting crankbaits and topwater plugs around hard bottom areas on points and offshore structure.
Crappies are a fall favorite for many local anglers. October brings the peak of crappie fishing at several local waterways, especially Mosquito Creek Lake.
One of the most popular crappie hot spots is the state park marina, where anglers are permitted to fish from the docks. The vertical posts and overhead cover hold numerous keeper-size crappies throughout the fall months.
Steelhead continue to grow in popularity among anglers who take a break from watching football to prowl the Lake Erie tributaries.
The rivers and streams in Ohio from the Vermillion to Conneaut Creek, including the Cuyahoga in Cleveland, experience runs of the fat and spunky steelhead when the water cools in the fall. Trout of 10 pounds and heftier migrate into the streams where they will spend the winter.
Three basic techniques work on Ohio and Pennsylvania steelhead.
Shorebound anglers cast spinners and spoons from the breakwaters near the river mouths and from marina walls, docks and other access areas. They also drift jigs sweetened with larvae, minnows and roe.
Boaters hook up by trolling spoons and diving plugs off the harbor walls and in the rivers themselves. Baitfish migrate into the harbors in the fall and the steelhead literally gorge on the bounty.
As the season advances, trout move upstream where wading anglers hook up with flyrods and centerpin outfits. Popular fly patterns mimic stone flies and other nymphs and brightly colored eggs.
Whether you like walleye, crappies, bass or steelhead, the year’s best fishing is happening right now and will be hot for another month.
Jack Wollitz’s book, “The Common Angler,” explores the fun stuff that makes fishing a passion for so many people. He appreciates emails from readers. Send a note to email@example.com.