Autumn Monsters: Lake Erie Smallmouth In Fall

Courtesy Jim Hanley
Courtesy Jim Hanley

If you are a smallmouth bass angler, you know that Lake Erie has become breeding ground for monster bass.  Well, fishing for Lake Erie smallmouth bass in the fall may be the best time to reel in a personal best ever bronzeback.

The bass have had another summer to grow and are fattening up for the winter.

Lake Erie smallmouth in fall

The interesting thing about this article is the discussion of the western end of Lake Erie, west of Cleveland.   Most of your big bass stories these days seem to come out of the Buffalo area.

One of my favorite spots for nice smallmouths is around Ruggles Beach, just east of Huron. Last year I spent some time perch fishing there using ordinary two-snelled No. 6 hooks above a sinker rig baited with emerald shiners, and caught seven smallmouths that weighed up to three pounds.

The Bass Islands gained their name by being a “black bass” hot spot, and nothing has changed. Many times I’ve camped at Kelleys Island State Park and taken a small craft around the west corner there to cast shallow water rocks and boulders in early morning for bass. My usual catch was a mix of bronzebacks and white bass, and in water only a few feet deep. The smallies leaped even more than usual, gyrating like hula dancers in attempts to shake the hook.

The west shore of Kelleys is another good spot, and the now quiet waters of Put-In-Bay should turn up a good catch from territory near the monument to the rocky shores of Gibraltar Island.

Back on the mainland, the equally rocky shoreline of Catawba Island yields some good smallmouths each fall, and don’t forget riprap banks along the many marinas.  Source

Most of your typical smallmouth baits will be productive this time of year such as tube jigs, grubs, in-line spinners and crankbaits.

If you typically fish this part of Lake Erie for smallmouth bass in fall, please leave your comments below and share some pictures here!

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