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I'll be honest that when I moved up to Northeast Ohio I felt a little intimidated in regards to figuring out Lake Erie and the other lakes. This summer I invested a large sum upgrading gear thinking that the gear I already had was too inadequate to catch walleye and steelhead.

Last night I went fishing for walleye out of edgewater park in Cleveland. When I headed out I knew the odds were stacked against me. The wind was coming out of the south and most of the walleye were still being caught offshore in 70 feet of water. I threw bandits and smithwicks p10s for several hours with no luck. I then decided to switch to my rod that I bought for saugeye over a year ago and threw on a 2.75 silktreuse big joshy. Not 20 minutes later I catch a foot long walleye. It wasn't a huge fish but it was significant to me because when I held that fish I realized I had been overthinking things. I then understood that I should return to basics and that shoreline fishing for lake Erie walleye isn't that much different from Alum Creek Saugeye.

I apologize for the long read just for one dink walleye but I wanted to share this with you guys. I also want to thank you guys who have contributed to this thread which has helped me become a successful angler.
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Lets get some more learning going on here... September can be tuff at times,as well as the beginning ofOctober. Actually my best fishing dont normally pick up until the week of the deer gun hunt,then continues well into December and sometimes keeps going strong all the way through the spawn.
What do you guys do this time of year to catch saugeye? Imo in the lakes they are just really spread out with the shad. There are shad EVERYWHERE this time of year. They cover the lakes surface out in the main lake and back in the coves and channels.
So I like to cover ground with a blade bait or lipless crank during the day. And i will note any area where the shad might be grouping up tighter then the rest of them. I will spend more times in these areas and try different techniques before giving up on them. Then i will come back to those areas at different times to try to figure out the feeding windows. One day get there at sun up. Tge next mid dayd,the next as the suns going down.
And i always revisit these areas at night. If i see any fish boiling on shad i will throw a floating stickbait like a original rapala or rebel. Or a scatter rap. Hard twitches why letting the bait float to the surface in between twitches. They usually hammer it as its floating up resembling a topwater bass strike. It's pretty cool,and a very exciting way to catch them. If none of this works I will start bridge hopping and vertical jig red eye shads or ripnraps at night.
This could just be me,but I swear at times this has called in fish to eat. Lipless cranks make ALOT of noise when vertical jigged. And I can recall 3 different trips where things were dead. No wind,little bait,and no bites. So me an a friend hit a nearby bridge that we knew held shad earlier that week. He starts violently jigging his red eye shad,and it takes a few minutes. But he finally pops one. I get next to him an start tossing my floater in the same area where fish have to funnel thru to get to the commotion. And pick them off as he keeps jigging picking this off. We have done this at both the popular shallow lakes.

To me the rivers are definitely the first to fire off real good. So if your struggling in the lakes give the rivers a shot. Again floaters work well,but as fishslim has proven,they will hit a suspending stickbait all year long. And dint just fish the spillways. 90%of my river fish last year came a mile+ from the nearest spillway. I find them really stacked. up at times in huge eddys. Usually slower current eddys.

What little different things do you guys do in early fall to catch a few extra?
 

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You got it pretty well figured Saugeyefisher. The lakes have been hit and miss for me over the years for September. If I am not hitting Saugeye by Labor day I figure there will be no big fall bite on the lake. I take note of the shad in the lakes and I agree if there are lots of shad schools forget September lake fishing. The only exception is heavy rain cold fronts. When you see one and especially one with wind, get the rain gear ready. If you don't mind getting you, your gear and the boat soaked get out right before the front and tough it out right into the storm. hurricane remnants can be big, but if you wait for them to arrive or are gone your too late. However, with that said, if you ever notice there are no shad schools on your lake in late August then gas up the boat it's gonna be fun. Those old sows are gonna want to put on winter fat and they will be on the prowl and hungry. About five years ago Rocky Fork was like this and I would hook up the boat and head to the lake about 4:30 -5:00 and some evenings I'd be home for a late supper at 6:30 -7:00. One evening I had a limit in 20 minutes and all over 20". I hope for this every year, but It seems to maybe happen every 5-6 years. That year the bite went clear into December. Oddly, I rarely saw anyone trolling, they were all floating crappie bobbers.

Outside of good lake bites, 95% of my efforts are on stream fish this time of year. They will start to move to deep winter holes and they will stack up at bottlenecks that also hold forage. I will be mobile at these times as each spot usually only gives up a couple fish. I do have a couple spots that are big physical barriers in low stream flows and I have hammered them there. Heads of riffles seem to do well. I will hit some deep water, but typically the deep winter holes aren't productive until Late December early January. I like rock walls and outcroppings a lot. I think they are like the bridges you talk about, they attract shad for the algae and the shad attract Saugeye. Typically I hit a spot and take a couple Saugeye then I leave it alone for 2-3 days and come back. I throw all crank baits in September and most of October, I will turn to Joshys come mid November. In November I also start throwing minnows on jig heads with no plastics, just naked jigs with a minnow reeled slowly across or just above the bottom.

I hit spillways when we get those big rains and big flows, but most are turned down so low they are stagnant pot holes and few fish moving. Yet you can still pick some nice ones up, but don't expect to go get a limit. It's more like get one or two this time and nothing the next two trips. They are usually nice big ones, but it's a lot of effort for little return.
 

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Hard night at Indian only shorts on jerkbait and had 3-4 inch bluegills on another rod to try it out. Had 3 takers on the gills but 2 came of and missed hookset one one, probably need to let set longer. I really could use some tips for catching fish after dark, i lose all confidence about 30 minutes after sunset.
 

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Brandon, don't feel bad about after dark success. I rarely ever fish more than 20 minutes after dark. It seems like there is a lull after dark, but in the past I used to fish a lot at night. what I found then is the bite picks up about 2-3 hrs after dark again. This old man like being home in his favorite spot on the couch or in bed by then. I think each system is different
 

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Hard night at Indian only shorts on jerkbait and had 3-4 inch bluegills on another rod to try it out. Had 3 takers on the gills but 2 came of and missed hookset one one, probably need to let set longer. I really could use some tips for catching fish after dark, i lose all confidence about 30 minutes after sunset.
Just keep trying. Try not to lose confidence, it's hard I know,but keep doing the same things. Swims,sticks,traps blades.
In my experience early on in the fall the day bite rules,an the nite bite gets better as it cools down. But I say that ,and plenty of other guys kill them at night.
 

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The colder the water gets the better the night time bite, I've been fishing Indian since they put them in. Probally caught 300 plus last fall, 90% after dark. I teach and deer hunt so 90% of my fishing is after dark. There will be nights where you'll hit 20 -30 fish a night! Stickbaits will kick ass in the next week or so. When water hits 50ish get ready for fish to turn on! If you want fish now vibes and swim baits are producing! If you like easier going fishing, tight lining on the bottom with minnows will always put fish in your cooler!
 

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Any river reports?

My brother and I have been picking up a few fishing the head and tails of riffles. Best spots seemed to have a channel running through them.

Deep diving shadow raps have been producing well. Pulled and pause through current right around the deeper channels. We’ve also got a few on vibes, steady reeled or rolled, swimbaits tight against the bottom and red eye shads.

Nothing huge, but it will only get better from here.











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There really starting to get that fall time spunk in them! Had a couple about rip the rod out of my hands today steady reeling a clown vibe in shallow water.
Last week I found them in a little deeper water schooled up picking off the shad on the surface. But they wasnt there today so had to make a move then just cover ground walking an casting a vibe.
As soon as these temps drop again it should really be fun!
 

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How you guys catching them lately?
My bites have all been on a fast steady reeled joshy and vibe as soon as it hits the surface. I still havnt found the eyes grouped up in one spot. The shad are still acting like its mid sept except a few schools starting to form in a couple areas.
So I've been making LONG casts covering lots of water. I'm catching 50/50 13" fish or 17/18"fish.
If this rain makes it into the lake it will bring in more fish I imagine,but the warm up might make them kinda shy. I hope not.
It's been a decent October for me,but I'm really really looking forward to colder water and bigger fish! And a more consistant stick bait bite on my end. I know others getting them good on sticks,they just havnt worked out for me quite yet.
Good luck guys and gals
 

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good thread!
 
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