Ohio Outdoor News Fishing Report — May 12, 2017

Central Region

Buckeye Lake (Fairfield, Licking, Perry counties) – Anglers are still fishing this popular central Ohio reservoir even though water levels have been reduced. Some saugeyes and crappies are being caught on small jigs at Fairfield Beach. A few largemouth bass are being taken at the marsh. Saugeye anglers might try trolling blade baits or crankbaits off the marsh area.

Delaware Lake (Delaware County) – Patient anglers are catching crappies on this reservoir north of the city of Delaware. Successful fishermen are targeting brush piles for the crappie bite. Fish are running large here, up to 14 inches. Remember, there is a nine-inch keeper requirement and a 30-fish daily bag limit.

Alum Creek Reservoir (Delaware County) – Anglers fishing for saugeyes are finding these hybrids in shallow water on this large Delaware County lake. Fish anywhere from five to 10 feet of water for the best bite. The best presentation has been straight minnows on a hook fished vertically. For crappies, fish the coves, anglers are recommending. Again, straight minnows on a hook should do the trick. Find brush piles and you can usually pull three to four fish out of one.

Knox Lake (Knox County) – Areas of woody shoreline cover are good locations to fish for largemouth bass this time of year. Try dark-colored creature baits and jig-and-pigs fished shallow for the best results. Most of these fish measure 12 to 18 inches. There is an 18-inch minimum to keep largemouth at this lake. Use jigs and minnows in brushy areas for crappies. Crappies will be moving shallow as the temperatures warm. For channel catfish, use cut bait, chicken livers, or nightcrawlers fished along the bottom. Some channel catfish weigh up to 10 pounds. Boats greater than 10 horsepower must travel at no wake speeds.

Rush Creek Lake (Fairfield County) – Fish this small, secluded lake northeast of Lancaster for crappies, largemouth bass, and channel catfish. Crappies are located around woody structure. Try using minnows suspended under a bobber or crappie jigs for the best success. As water temperatures warm, fish will move into shallower water. Largemouth bass can be caught using creature and tube baits around woody structure. For channel catfish, fish the east end of the lake around woody cover using nightcrawlers and cut bait for the best results. Outboard motors are limited to 10 horsepower or less.

Deer Creek Lake (Fayette, Madison, Pickaway counties) – In the creek above the lake, use small jigs and twisters or small rooster tails when seeking white bass. Most of these fish will measure eight to 12 inches. The spawning run should start soon and offer great fishing. Crappies can be caught around submerged woody cover using minnows suspended under a bobber. Crappies must be nine inches long or longer to keep. Channel catfish can be taken on chicken livers, shrimp, nightcrawlers, and cut shad.

Madison Lake (Madison County) – For crappies, use jigs or minnows suspended by a bobber around wood to catch a mess of these tasty fish. Fish will move north and shallower as the water warms. Many fish are over 10 inches with some 13 inches long. Channel catfish are also plentiful in this lake. Fish cut bait around wood, and target the creek mouth after a rain event. Only electric motors are allowed.

Northwest Region

Indian Lake (Logan County) – Saugeye fishermen are picking up a few fish by trolling blade baits on this popular Logan County lake. Saugeyes are also being caught on swimbaits, anglers report. Saugeyes have ranged from 15 to 20 inches. For crappies, use a 1⁄8-ounce jig tipped with a minnow for the best bite. Crappies can be caught most anywhere on the lake. Bass fishermen are also doing quite well here, catching fish ranging from 12 to 16 inches. Try jig and pig combinations for the best bass bite.

Van Wert Reservoir #2 (Van Wert County) – The Division of Wildlife recently stocked the reservoir with rainbow trout. Anglers have been having success using red worms, waxworms, and trout nuggets. The mornings and evenings have been the best times to fish. Try fishing the northwest corner. Boats are permitted on the reservoir; however, no boat ramp is available. Boats must obtain a permit from the city of Van Wert.

Pleasant Hill Reservoir (Richland-Ashland County line) – Crappies should be biting this time of year. Try fishing along the rocky ledge on the southern shore near the bend and in the small coves along the southern part of the reservoir. White bass should soon be making a spawning run up the Clear Fork River. A boat ramp and marina are located on Covert Road, right off State Route 95.

Upper Sandusky Reservoir #2 (Wyandot County) – Crappies are being taken using minnows fished under a slip bobber or small twister tail jigs tipped with waxworms. Most fish are in the 9-12-inch range. The best fishing is in and around the standing timber on the north side of the reservoir. Boats are restricted to electric motors.

Ferguson Reservoir (Allen County) – Crappies should be biting in the mornings and evenings. Try fishing along the east bank and north bank near the boat ramp with jigs or slip bobbers with minnows or waxworms underneath. The reservoir has a primitive boat ramp and boats are restricted to electric motors.

Northeast  Region 

Mosquito Lake (Trumbull County) – Anglers are still catching walleyes on this Trumbull County lake using a variety of methods and offerings. Walleyes are ranging from 18 to 25 inches. They are being caught by trolling deep water with Berkley Flicker Shads, according to angler reports. Walleyes are also being caught by fishermen jigging blade baits such as Vib-Es along the channels. The walleye bag is a mixed one with smaller and bigger fish all in the same places.

Pymatuning Lake (Ashtabula County) – Anglers are catching a good number of yellow perch and crappies on this lake that spans the eastern border between Ohio and Pennsylvania. Crappies are coming in anywhere from 15 to 25 feet of water by anglers using minnows under a bobber or waxworms. Yellow perch are biting on the same baits, though they’re tending to be in shallower water.

Mahoning River (Trumbull County) – Anglers are fishing below the dam of the lake where it enters Lake Milton. A few walleyes are being caught, and in the later evenings the crappie bite seems to be turning on. Use swimbaits for the walleye bite and the same offerings will pick up some crappies, too. For a twist, try jig and twister tail combinations.

Charles Mill Lake (Ashland, Richland counties) – Anglers fishing in 10 to 15 feet of water on this lake have been picking up the occasional saugeye. According to angler reports, the ’eyes are suspended about halfway up the water column. Try jigging blade baits for the best bite. Crappies too are being caught on small minnows and waxworms fished in the wood.

West Branch Reservoir (Portage County) – This lake is located just east of Ravenna and offers more than 40 miles of shoreline fishing, as well as two boat ramps, which are both accessible from Cable Line Road. Anglers are reporting that the walleye bite is tough right now, but you might try a blade bait to entice the bite. Muskie anglers are having some success, primarily using big inline bucktail spinnerbaits in the wood.

Leesville Lake (Carroll County) – Leesville Lake is in southwestern Carroll County and is approximately two miles southeast of Sherrodsville on County Road 22 and five miles south of Carrollton on State Route 332. Muskellunge will move into the shallows during the spring to spawn and will hold tight to structure. Cast four- to six-inch sized minnow-imitating crankbaits. A wire leader or very high pound test monofilament leader is a must, since muskellunge have an array of sharp teeth that will cut fishing line instantly.

Nimisila Reservoir (Summit County) – Nimisila Reservoir is in southeastern Summit County and is approximately two miles south of State Route 619, two miles east of State Route 93, and 2.5 miles west of State Route 241. Largemouth bass: Try close to shore using spinner baits, surface lures, or plastic worms. Fishing pressure is high at this reservoir, but catch rates, sizes, and overall bass numbers rank very high based on surveys conducted by the Division of Wildlife. Only boats with electric motors are allowed on this City of Akron reservoir.

Mogadore Reservoir (Portage County) – Mogadore Reservoir is located in southwestern Portage County, three miles east of Akron and six miles south of Kent on State Route 43, one mile south of U.S. Route 224. Fishing from shore is somewhat limited, but the entire reservoir is available for boat fishing. Outward motors are limited to electric only. Largemouth bass: jigs, soft plastics, crankbaits around wood, weed beds, or points. Experiment with slow or aggressive retrieves to determine what the fish want. Crappie: live minnows and jigs fished in water just off noticeable structure are starting to produce nice catches. Sunfish: the bite is slow but expect it to pick up. Fish waxworms, maggots, or small worms on small hooks (# 10 or smaller) or pin-min under a bobber.

Southwest Region

Caesar Creek Lake (Warren County) – Largemouth bass can be caught around shoreline cover and riprap shorelines using crankbaits, jigs, and soft plastic lures. Saugeyes are starting to bite in 6-12 feet of water. Try using jigs with twister tails or a plain jig tipped with a minnow. Some white bass are being caught in Anderson Fork. Use small spinners, white or chartreuse jigs for the white bass.

Grand Lake St. Marys (Auglaize, Mercer counties) – Bass should be biting. Try fishing along the shoreline in less than three feet of water using soft plastics, (pumpkinseed, watermelon) and white spinner baits. The bass are starting to spawn, so concentrate your efforts in the back of channels and bays where there is brush and rock. For panfish, good numbers are being caught with cork and live bait. Try fishing 1-2 feet deep along any rocky or brushy channel. For catfish, try using cut bait, raw shrimp, and nightcrawlers. Fishing tight-line is best.

Lake Loramie (Auglaize, Shelby counties) – Catfish have been biting on red worms and nightcrawlers for anglers who are bottom fishing. The lake is currently very muddy.

Paint Creek Lake (Highland, Ross counties) – Crappies have been biting in three to 10 feet of water on minnows and jigs. Look for wood and rocks. Largemouth bass have been hitting black jigs with blue pork in five- to seven-foot depths. Saugeyes can be caught on chartreuse twisters. White bass are in the creeks. Try minnows and shiny spinners.

Rocky Fork Lake (Highland County) – Bluegills are being taken in two to four feet of water along shorelines with fallen trees and brush. Use waxworms, red worms, or pieces of nightcrawlers fished 11⁄2-2 feet below a small bobber. For saugeyes, fish in five to 10 feet of water near the islands and along shoreline points. Cast silver-colored crankbaits and jigs with twister tails, or try slowly drifting while bouncing a nightcrawler along the bottom.

Ohio Brush Creek (Adams County) – White crappies are being caught on live minnows around stumps and laydowns. Crappies up to 14 inches are being caught.

Southeast Region

Salt Fork Lake (Guernsey County) – The bass bite has been particularly poor so far this spring on this Cambridge-area lake. Muskies are being caught by anglers fishing for bass. Spinnerbaits and crankbaits that will typically work for bass will also entice the muskie bite. 

Monroe Lake (Monroe County) – Productive areas for largemouth bass generally include the areas along submerged weed beds or woody cover. Try using shallow running crankbaits fished at a depth of six feet. Bluegill angling should be good this week as temperatures continue to warm. Anglers should seek out shallow areas in the upper end of the lake in hopes of catching some bluegills on spawning beds.

Piedmont Lake (Belmont County) – Saugeyes in the 15-20-inch range can be taken near the dam by shore and boat anglers. Best fishing is at dusk or dawn, or all day if there is cloud cover. Most fish can generally be caught on jigs and minnows fished six to eight feet deep using a slip bobber. Fair numbers of nice black crappies in the 12-14-inch range can be caught in the same area with minnows fished three to four feet deep. A few largemouth bass from 12-19 inches have been caught on spinner baits fished slowly in shallow water.

Ross Lake (Ross County) – Several areas of submerged structure have enhanced this 143-acre lake. Try casting waxworms or nightcrawlers over some of this submerged structure for good catches of bluegills. Fishing for largemouth bass should be picking up. Try casting plastic worms and crankbaits.

Lake Erie Region

• On May 1, the daily bag limit returned to six walleyes per angler. The minimum size limit for walleye is 15 inches.

• The daily bag limit for yellow perch is 30 fish per angler in all Ohio waters of Lake Erie.

• The trout and salmon daily bag limit is 2 fish per angler. The minimum size limit is 12 inches.

• Black bass (largemouth and smallmouth bass): Closed to possession May 1 through June 23 (catch-and-release is legal). On June 24, the daily bag limit returns to five fish per angler.

Walleyes 

Where: Walleye fishing has been good over the past week when conditions have allowed. Fishing with jigs has been productive on the reefs north of the Camp Perry firing range and nearshore from Turtle Creek to “K” can of the Camp Perry firing range. Walleyes have also been caught by trolling outside of the reefs north of the Camp Perry firing range and west of the bass islands.

How: Most fish were caught by trolling with crankbaits or by jigging with purple hair jigs.

As of May 2, the Lake Erie water temperature was 55 off Toledo and 49 off Cleveland, according to the nearshore marine forecast.

In late spring, highlight species targeted by anglers in Cleveland Metroparks include steelhead trout, stocked trout, panfish, and largemouth and smallmouth bass. The rivers are running clear at the moment, but weekend conditions will depend on how much rain we receive into the weekend. The Rocky and Chagrin rivers have been running clear this week with moderate flow. The tide is turning with the steelhead run, and although quite a few fish are around the majority are spawning and post-spawn (dropback) fish. The Main and East branches of the Rocky River and Chagrin River up to South Chagrin Reservation are all producing fish. A good flush of water following the next hard rain will send quite a few of the dropback steelies back to Lake Erie. Spawning steelhead can be found in shallower riffle and tailout areas, while pre- and post-spawn fish can be found in holes and runs, especially just downstream of spawning fish.  Fly fishers, bait anglers, and hardware chuckers have all been taking a share of the fish.

Complementing the steelhead are great numbers of lake-run smallmouth bass. These fish are present in deeper, rocky holes throughout the Rocky and Chagrin rivers. Anglers fishing a jig, wooly bugger, live shiner, or other lures/flies that mimic a baitfish have a shot at hooking the “silver and bronze” (a smallmouth or steelhead) in the same day for the next few weeks. Note: smallmouth bass may not be kept in Lake Erie or the Rocky River downstream of the Detroit Road bridge between May 1 and June 24.

Cleveland Metroparks recently stocked 600 pounds of rainbow trout in the East Branch Rocky River. Recently DNR stocked trout at Hinckley Lake (2,500 fish) and Shadow Lake (500 fish), as well. These fish will range from 11 to 14 inches in length. Plenty of trout also remain at Wallace Lake. Trout hit well on PowerBait fished near the bottom, jigs tipped with a few maggots/waxworms suspended below a bobber, minnows, and smaller spoons and spinners.

Spring stocking of trout in the East Branch Rocky River began in mid March and concluded recently. These fish are stocked at about a half dozen locations in Millstream Run Reservation between Royalton Road (Route 82) and the river ford (low bridge crossing) just south of Wallace Lake. The final scheduled trout stocking of the season will be at Wallace Lake and Ohio and Erie Canal for children’s fishing derbies in May.

Please note the current seasonal trout regulations: Lake Erie and all streams, two/day, minimum size 12 inches (this includes steelhead through May 15, after which point the limit increases to five/day); three/day, no size limit at Wallace, Ledge, Judge’s and Ranger lakes; and five/day, no size limit at Shadow Lake and Ohio and Erie Canal.

Cleveland Metroparks, www.clevelandmetroparks.com

OHIO RIVER REGION

Cincinnati area and Clermont County – Anglers are reporting some success in the tributaries on worms as well as twister tails tipped with minnows. Catches are mostly bluegills and white bass.

Meldahl Pool Area – Saugers can be caught in the early morning and later in the evening when the temperatures are a little cooler. A simple minnow should be sufficient.

R.C. Byrd tailwaters – Spring is a great time to start reeling in hybrid striped bass in the 10- to 20-inch range. Minnows, flukes, white jigs, and spoons can all be used. Try jigging off the bottom – best spots in previous years have been at the wall and at the end of the riprap. For the angler interested in catching saugers or walleyes, try using white jigs and minnows. Try jigging slowly off the bottom along the riprap.

Willow Island Tailwater Area (Washington County) – Hybrid striped bass and smallmouth bass can be caught on a variety of live baits, crankbaits, and jigs. For channel catfish, try cut bait or chicken livers fished on the bottom. Baitfish will start coming in as the water temperatures warm up with the spring weather.

BEYOND OHIO

Lake St. Clair (Michigan)

Water temperatures on Lake St. Clair are beginning to warm and clarity is improving. Crappie, bluegill, and pumpkinseed are in the canals and marinas. Smallmouth bass have been caught in deeper water off spawning areas when using blade baits and soft plastics. Shore anglers have caught largemouth bass. The boat launch at the Clinton River Cut-Off has been cleared out allowing vessels to launch. The spring turkey season is off to a good start.

Lakeside Fishing Shops, (586) 777-7003

Trenton Area (Mich.)

Anglers are catching good numbers of walleyes in the Detroit River, including some limit catches. Most are using a jig and minnow or Twister Tail. Dark colors like black and purple seemed to work best. Perch fishing has slowed. Panfish anglers have taken a few crappie in the canals.

Bottom Line Bait & Tackle, (734) 379-9762

Trenton Lighthouse, (734) 675-7080

Luna Pier Area (Mich.)

Anglers are still trolling and jigging for walleyes in Lake Erie’s Brest Bay. Most are trolling stickbaits or jigging bucktail jigs with minnows and Twister Tails. The Huron River is starting to produce some white bass at the dam. A few steelhead are still being caught.

Luna Pier Harbour Club, (734) 848-8777

SOUTHWESTERN LP

Allegan Area (Mich.)

Water levels are coming down on the Kalamazoo River but water temperatures are on the rise. Cooler water up near the Allegan Dam is producing steelhead but as the water temperatures rise, that fishery will not last much longer. Toms are gobbling and strutting.

Webber & Sons Marine and Tackle, (269) 673-6294

Grand Rapids Area (Mich.)

Water levels are still high on the Grand River, which makes fishing difficult. Steelhead are still being caught in the Rogue River. Turkey hunting has been good.

Al & Bob’s Sports, (616) 245-9156

Edwardsburg Area (Mich.)

Fishing pressure has been light in southwest Lower Michigan. Most boat anglers on Lake Michigan reported inconsistent catch rates but a few managed to find a decent number of coho. The fish were very deep, well past 150 feet and were hitting small spoons. Pier fishing was slow for coho and brown trout with only a few taken on spawn. St. Joseph River has some fresh steelhead using the Berrien Springs ladder. Water levels were high but were coming back down and clearing up. Toms are strutting, and gobbling off the roost.

The Trading Post, (269) 633-8803

CENTRAL LP

Saginaw Bay Area (Mich.)

It appears that the spring perch runs are just about over for this year on Lake Huron’s Saginaw Bay. Much of the bay remains turbid due to runoff and high winds. Boat anglers are getting walleyes off Spoils Island and off the mouth of the Kawkawlin River when vertical jigging, which still seems to be more effective than trolling. Toms are strutting and gobbling.

Franks Great Outdoors, (989) 697-5341

Weidman Area (Mich.)

A few crappies are hitting on the Martini Chain of Lakes and on Chippewa Lake. A few bluegills have been caught, too. The fish are moving into the shallows on sunny days. Turkey hunting has been very good. There are a lot of birds in the area and toms are strutting and gobbling.

Schafer’s Bait & Sporting Goods, (989) 644-3501

Ludington Area (Mich.)

Surface water temperatures have been about 44 degrees on Lake Michigan. Those trolling the shoreline continue to catch coho, lake trout, and brown trout. Pier anglers have caught a few steelhead and brown trout. The Pere Marquette River still had good steelhead fishing. Down at Pentwater, boats trolling on Lake Michigan in five to 20 feet caught brown trout, a few Chinook, and lake trout. Pier anglers caught brown trout with spawn near the bottom. On Pentwater Lake, those fishing off Longbridge Road caught bullhead, suckers, and the occasional channel catfish on crawlers or spawn fished near the bottom. Boats fishing in 15 to 25 feet caught perch using perch rigs tipped with waxworms. The Pentwater River had good steelhead fishing that should continue for w while.

Captain Chuck’s Fishing, Hunting and Archery, (231) 843-4458

Pennsylvania

Presque Isle Bay (Erie County, Pennsylvania) – Yellow perch were hitting along the bayfront, and anglers were having success at Liberty Park, Dobbins Landing, and the Port Authority building. Minnows were the ticket. Some small steelhead smolts were winding up on hooks, and anglers are reminded to use particular care in releasing them.

Woodcock Creek Lake (Crawford County, Pa.) – The lake was almost to summer pool in mid-April, and the outflow of the dam and Woodcock Creek reopened to fishing with the opening day of trout season. Anglers are required to possess a trout stamp to fish the outflow until midnight May 31, regardless of the species they are targeting.

Allegheny River (Forest County, Pa.) – Northern pike and muskies were hitting from boat and shore in recent weeks. Anglers are reminded that they can access the Sand and Gravel Island from the parking area near the lighthouse and walk to the river or to Tionesta Creek. The confluence of the Allegheny River and Council Run was producing muskies and northern pike.

Tionesta Lake (Forest County, Pa.) – Anglers were catching crappies, yellow perch, and bluegills from the Nebraska Bridge. The boat launch at the bridge is open, and anglers were doing well fishing the shoreline downstream of the bridge. The outflow of the Tionesta dam opened to fishing April 15, and anglers are reminded they must possess a trout stamp to fish this area.

Pymatuning Reservoir (Crawford County, Pa.) – Crappies were reported in recent weeks, with a lot of activity in the spillway and the northern bays. Perch also were hitting in the northern bays. A minnow-tipped jig under a float was the ticket. Walleyes were hitting at the spillway and the bridge of Andover Causeway. Muskies were released below the dam in early April.

Conneaut Lake (Crawford County, Pa.) – Crappies and panfish were reported at the north end.

Kahle Lake (Clarion County, Pa.) – The water level on this drawn-down lake was raised about three feet in early April. Largemouth bass, bluegills, crappies, and yellow perch were reported in recent weeks.

Piney Dam (Clarion County, Pa.) – Piney Dam was about six feet below normal pool in early April. Yellow perch and crappies were hitting.

Redbank Creek (Clarion County, Pa.) – Northern pike were reported below the dam in New Bethlehem.

Allegheny River (Armstrong, Venango counties, Pa.) – Smallmouth bass were reported between Emlenton and Parker and around Oil City, with fish up to 20 inches hitting in nice numbers on jerkbaits. A few muskies and northern pike were released near the confluences of the Clarion River and Redbank Creek.

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