Ohio Outdoor News Fishing Report – Oct. 27, 2017

Central Region

Buckeye Lake (Fairfield, Licking, Perry counties) – Anglers are catching wipers here by tightlining chicken livers or shrimp on the bottom, much like you would fish for catfish. For saugeyes, cast a crankbait in perch patterns for the best results. Saugeyes have been ranging up to 20 inches. Anglers are also catching catfish, crappies, and bluegills by fishing live bait.

Alum Creek Lake (Delaware County) – Muskie anglers are having some success here by fishing swimbaits. The largest muskie being reported recently was 46 inches. Find wood and fish it hard. Cooler temperatures in the forecast should also trigger a better bite for saugeyes and crappies. Troll Flicker Shads for the best results on these two species.

Deer Creek Lake (Pickaway, Fayette counties) – Anglers are catching saugeyes here, but sizes have been smallish, in the 10-12-inch range. Fishermen are also catching white bass on jig and minnow combinations. Crappies, too, are being caught on the same bait.

Hoover Reservoir (Delaware, Franklin counties) – Limits of crappies are being caught by anglers fishing jigs tipped with minnows. Some are also slow trolling for the successful crappie bite with the same baits. Fish the bait between 10 and 15 feet deep for best results. White bass, too, are being caught by slow-trolling anglers.

Indian Lake (Logan County) – Anglers are catching saugeyes by trolling Flicker Shad in eight to 15 feet of water. Largemouth bass can be enticed to bite in the lake’s pads and weeds on topwater baits. Evenings have reportedly been the best time to fish here. Also, some nice channel catfish are being taken.

Northwest Region

Lima Lake (Allen County) – Anglers are fishing this reservoir hard for yellow perch with some success. Try a jig and minnow combination or just a minnow under a float. Fish the bait fairly deep for the best perch bite. Successful anglers might also tie on a crappie rig baited with minnows to pick up some perch and/or crappies.

Van Wert Reservoirs (Van Wert County) – Fishermen are trying for panfish here with decent results. Tie on a crappie rig and bait it with minnows to make the most of your catch. Fish the bait between eight and 12 feet deep for best results.

Bresler Reservoir (Allen County) – Anglers are drift fishing live bait rigs with leeches, nightcrawlers, and minnows to pick up some white bass and crappies. Fish the bait between 10 and 12 feet deep for better results. Some catfish, too, are being caught by anglers fishing cut baits on the bottom.

Northeast Region 

West Branch Lake (Portage County) – Fishermen at this lake are targeting crappies with some success. The best crappie bite is coming in six to 12 feet of water. Anglers are catching them on plastics as well as live bait such as nightcrawlers, minnows, or waxworms. Muskie reports have been few and far between. The largest muskie reportedly caught recently was a 30-incher.

Pymatuning Reservoir (Ashtabula County) – Fishermen are catching channel catfish in this large Ashtabula County lake. Crappies and rock bass, too, are biting on minnows fished under a bobber. Find the crappies and rock bass near wood in the lake. Fish the bait at medium depths. Others are fishing for walleyes with limited success.

Nimisila Reservoir (Summit County) – Jig and minnow combos are producing crappies, bluegills, and redears for anglers. Fishing a dropshot over the side of the boat is also producing some perch, anglers report. For perch, fish the bait between nine and 14 feet of water.

Mosquito Creek Lake (Trumbull County) – Anglers are catching crappies here by drifting minnows. The best area to fish has been south of the causeway. Bluegills, too, are biting on these same offerings. Fish the bait between six and 12 feet deep for best results. Walleyes have been hard to come by.

Southwest Region

Rocky Fork Lake (Highland County) – Fishermen here are catching largemouth bass with some regularity. Plastics are working better than any other bait. Cast anywhere along the shoreline with topwater baits or swimbaits for better results. Catfish, too, are an option here and this a decent lake for channels. Fish chicken livers tightline on the bottom for a successful catfish bite.

Paint Creek Lake (Highland County) – Anglers are fishing the spillway area of this lake for saugeyes and crappies with some success. The successful setup has been live bait such as nightcrawlers or minnows fished under a float.

Grand Lake St. Marys (Mercer County) – The crappie bite has been good recently on Grand Lake St. Marys. Anglers are fishing straight minnows or waxworms under a float for the best bite. Sizes have ranged up to a respectable 13 inches. The state has stocked perch here in recent years, so that may be an option for anglers, although, perch reports are few and far between on this lake it seems.

Caesar Creek Lake (Warren, Clinton, Greene counties) – Anglers are doing their best to catch crappies here. Some are fishing timber with decent results. Fish a minnow in five to 10 feet of water for best results. If you go the artificial route, keep mixing it up until you find one that crappies like. Fishermen, too, are fishing for muskies here. Again, fish the timber in the shallows with spinnerbaits or swimbaits for best results.

Southeast Region

Salt Fork Lake (Guernsey County) – Anglers will continue to fish this Cambridge-area lake hard until drawdown in November. The catfish bite has been a popular pursuit in recent weeks. Fish the typical tightline on the bottom with chicken livers for best results.

Hocking River (Hocking County) – Anglers are fishing the area of the river at White’s Mill to pick up some catfish. Both channels and flatheads are reportedly being caught. The popular setup has been a chub fished tightline on the bottom. When weather conditions permit, this can be a good place to fish for a variety of species.

Burr Oak Lake (Morgan, Athens counties) – Anglers fishing for bass here have had success in recent weeks. The popular pattern has been a deep-diving crankbait in a variety of colors. Fish points and rocky areas in 13 to 18 feet of water for the best results.

Lake Erie Region

• The daily bag limit for walleye in Ohio waters of Lake Erie is six fish 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 two fish per angler. The minimum size limit is 12 inches.

• Black bass (largemouth and smallmouth bass): The daily bag limit is five fish per angler with a 14 inch minimum size limit.

Western Basin

Walleye 

Where: The best reports have come from Locust Reef, near the Canadian border from North Bass Island to Gull Island Shoal, southeast of Kelleys Island, and three miles east of Kelleys Island.

How: Walleyes have been caught by casting mayfly rigs tipped with worms, or by trolling with crankbaits, or divers and spoons.

Yellow Perch

Where: Fishing has been good near the Maumee Bay lighthouse, near buoy 16 of the Toledo shipping channel, around the Toledo water intake, near “G” can of the Camp Perry firing range, north of Rattlesnake Island, west of Catawba Island, between South Bass and Kelleys islands, and off the Marblehead lighthouse.

How: Perch spreaders with shiners fished near the bottom produce the most fish.

Smallmouth Bass

Where: Fishing has been good nearshore around Kelleys and South Bass islands, and on the reefs of the Camp Perry firing range.

How: Anglers are casting tube jigs or using drop shot rigs.

Central Basin

Walleye 

Where: Good fishing was reported four to six miles north of Huron (north of the dumping grounds), five miles northeast of Vermilion, in 50 to 55 feet of water north of Edgewater Park, in 54 feet of water north of Chagrin River, in 50 to 70 feet of water north of Geneva, and in 62 to 75 feet of water north-northeast of Ashtabula.

How: Walleyes have been caught by trolling crankbaits, spoons and worm harnesses with planer boards or divers. The best colors have been green, white, gold, black, and copper.

Yellow Perch

Where: The best reports have come from two miles north of Beaver Creek. Farther east rough water limited fishing opportunities over the past week, so the best spots from previous weeks are listed. A few fish were caught in 38 to 40 feet of water north-northwest of Gordon Park. Good fishing was reported in 64 to 73 feet of water northeast of Conneaut near the state line.

How: Perch spreaders with shiners fished near the bottom produce the most fish.

Smallmouth Bass

Where: Fish have been caught in 10 to 30 feet of water around the harbor areas in Cleveland, Fairport Harbor, Ashtabula, and Conneaut.

How: Anglers are using dropshot rigs, tube jigs, spinners, and crayfish.

Steelhead Trout

Where: Fish are being picked up by anglers trolling for walleyes from Geneva to Conneaut.

How: See section on Central Basin walleye.

As we begin our approach to late fall, highlight species targeted by anglers in Cleveland Metroparks includes steelhead, yellow perch, and landlocked coho salmon (the latter recently stocked in Wallace Lake). The Rocky River and other area streams finally received an increase in flow following the recent rain and the steelhead followed. Anglers have been making good catches of fresh steelhead in the northernmost miles of the Rocky River and other area streams. The steelhead bite has remained good along the Cleveland lakefront, as has the night walleye bite.

Catches of fresh steelhead were reported throughout the Rocky River north of Lorain Road over the past few days, and fresh fish are also present in the Chagrin River, Euclid Creek, Cuyahoga River, and other area tributaries. The silvery trout, averaging 5-7 pounds as of late, are biting on brightly colored dime to nickel size spawn sacs, beads that mimic salmon eggs, small marabou jigs tipped with a few maggots or a waxworm drifted under a float, flies (egg patterns and baitfish streamers), and lures such as Little Cleo spoons and Vibrax spinners. This is just the beginning as more steelhead can be expected to migrate into the streams following every cool rain that bumps stream flow.

The steelhead bite has remained very good along the Cleveland lakefront – especially at Edgewater Park. Steelhead are also showing up off the breakwall at E. 55th and E. 72nd, the pier at Wendy Park at the mouth of the Cuyahoga River, off the breakwall at Wildwood Park, and off the jetties at Huntington Beach. Casting a spoon (i.e., Little Cleo or KO Wobbler) or spinner (i.e., Vibrax or RoosterTail) at these locations are as good a bet as any for connecting with a lakefront steelhead trout, as is suspending a small jig tipped with a minnow or maggots under a bobber. Make sure to bring a long-handled landing net when fishing the lakefront for steelhead!

In addition to steelhead, largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, panfish (rock bass and sunfish), freshwater drum, and northern pike can be found along the Cleveland shoreline in early fall and can be caught on offerings such as tube jigs, crankbaits, dropshot rigs, and live bait. Nice catches of walleyes (15-20 inches) have been found in water only 16-24 feet deep in the Cleveland area. Shore-based walleye anglers are doing best at dusk and after dark. White bass and yellow perch fishing has been slow lately.

Cleveland Metroparks, www.clevelandmetroparks.com

OHIO RIVER REGION

Racine Pool Anglers are managing to catch wipers and largemouth bass here. The wipers are biting on chicken livers fished on or near the bottom. Hit the rocks for the best bass bite.

Greenup Dam Fish for hybrid stripers here like you would fish for catfish. These wipers will hit chicken livers and cut bait fished on the bottom.

Pike Island – Saugers are being caught by anglers fishing quarter-ounce jigs tipped with minnows. Others are casting spoons against the rocks without much success.

New Cumberland Lock and Dam – A few anglers are managing to catch some saugers here. The popular setup has been a jig and a skirt in either chartreuse or pumpkin color. Cast the jig out and wait a few pauses until it nearly hits bottom, then employ a slow retrieve.

BEYOND OHIO

Lake St. Clair (Michigan)

Perch were being caught with minnows on Lake St. Clair. Those fishing in 17 feet of water near Grassy Island did very well. The perch action was spotty but a few decent catches were reported near Selfridge and the 400 Club on minnows and crawlers fished in seven to eight feet of water. The largemouth and the smallmouth bass action was not good. Muskie anglers did not have much luck either, but the action should pick up with cooling temperatures.

Irish Hills Area (Mich.)

Fishing activity has been slow on Wamplers Lake. Panfish were caught by those anchored and using a worm in waters up to five feet deep. Archery deer season got off to a good start in Jackson County before a heat wave arrived and chased hunters out of the woods.

Trenton Area (Mich.)

Some decent sized yellow perch were caught on the Detroit River around the islands. A few walleye were caught at the mouth and the south end of Grosse Ile with a jig and crawler or when trolling a crawler harness. Bass fishing has been good with some large fish taken on tube baits or when dropshotting.

Luna Pier Area (Mich.)

Anglers report a good perch bite on Lake Erie, especially early in the mornings. Hot spots were the E Buoy outside of Bolles Harbor, north of Buoys 1 and 2 up to Fermi, and about a half-mile out from Stony Point. Those drifting because of strong winds did well with minnows on perch rigs along the bottom. Those targeting walleyes did best when trolling or casting.

SOUTHWESTERN LP

Coldwater Area (Mich.)

Gillead Lake is producing good action for bluegills and the perch are finally starting to turn on. The archery deer season got off to a warm start. The opener was cool, but recent summer-like temperatures have kept many hunters from the field. Fall turkey hunting has been good but hunting pressure has been light.

Kalamazoo Area (Mich.)

Bass, bluegills, and pike are being reported from Long Lake, Barton Lake, and Portage Lake. Bluegills are schooling in 16 to 20 feet of water. However, they are roaming and tend to come and go from one location to another. A few anglers were having success using Bo’s Bluegill Busters working between two marker buoys and catching fish on each pass. Pike are being caught on most area lakes right now. Small perch or bluegills suspended under a slip bobber are working well when fished near weedlines and deep water. Bowhunting got off to a good start on the opener, but slowed when warm weather moved in.

Grand Rapids Area (Mich.)

Those fishing the Rogue River caught fair numbers of coho salmon and steelhead. On the Grand River anglers reported very little action. Water levels are very low and water temperatures were too warm. The bow season got off to a decent start and should improve as cooler weather moves into the area.

Plainwell Area (Mich.)

The early archery season got off to a decent start, but unseasonably warm weather kept deer movement to a minimum. A few bluegills and perch have been caught on Gun Lake and a couple anglers report fair walleye and pike action. Most anglers are switching over to hunting.

CENTRAL LP

Saginaw Bay Area (Mich.)

In general, the perch were just not biting very well on Lake Huron’s Saginaw Bay. A few were taken off Quanicassee in 14 to 17 feet of water. Some walleyes were caught about four miles northeast of Spoils Island, off the Callahan Reef, and the middle of the Slot. Shore and pier anglers in the Sebewaing Marina caught bluegills, crappie, and the occasional bass or pike. The archery deer season got off to a good start, but unseasonably warm weather put a damper on the action. There are a lot of turkeys in the area.

Lansing Area (Mich.)

Water levels are low on the Grand River. A couple of salmon were spotted at Webber Dam. A few pike and smallmouth bass have been caught. The catfish action was hit-or-miss. Some nice bluegills were caught below the dam at Moore’s Park. Bowhunting has been slow with unseasonably warm weather for the opening week of the season.

Grand Haven Area (Mich.)

Boat anglers found the salmon and trout action to be slow on Lake Michigan with only a few caught 40 feet down in 100 to 175 feet of water with orange and green spoons. Lake trout were caught on yellow Spin-N-Glos fished near the bottom. Pier fishing was slow with only a couple of coho caught. Bowhunting has been decent.

Lake Erie (Pennsylvania) – The perch bite picked up in late September, with big numbers hitting off Walnut toward Ohio. Nice catches were coming in 75 feet off Shade’s Beach, and in 64 feet off Shorewood and Twelve Mile Creek. Walleyes were hitting in about 70 feet off Shade’s and elsewhere around the lake. A slower perch bite was reported out of North East Marina, although the walleye bite was reportedly good in 60 feet over 105 to 110 feet. A few smallmouth bass were reported on tubes and grubs. Steelhead were hitting in the lower parts of the creeks, but water was too low and clear in late September for movement into the streams.

French Creek (Erie, Crawford, Venango, Mercer counties, Pa.) – Bass were biting in the low water levels of late September, and while conditions were too low and warm for walleyes, prior to a heat wave that ended the month, one angler caught a 20-inch walleye on a large creek chub in a suspended float presentation.

Pymatuning Reservoir (Crawford County, Pa.) – Anglers had to deal with a carp die-off in recent weeks, and warm conditions at the end of September that made for tough walleye fishing. The crappie bite was slow, but some catches were reported by night anglers fishing off the causeway, and crappies and perch were being caught in nine to 11 feet on the north end. The north end also was yielding largemouth bass on jigger craws from around pads and wood cover. Shore anglers were catching largemouth bass on jigs at the north end. Smallmouths were taking crankbaits. Some large catfish and a 49-inch flathead were reported around the lake, and anglers fishing in the Shenango River below the dam were catching walleyes.

Woodcock Creek (Crawford County, Pa.) – A few smallmouth bass up to 22 inches were reported by shore anglers, with a Jitterbug successful for one.

Canadohta Lake (Crawford County, Pa.) – This natural lake was yielding northern pike and small muskies to boaters trolling spoons. Crappies were biting minnows off brush piles.

Lake Wilhelm (Mercer County, Pa.) – Some crappies and a few largemouth bass were reported through the end of September, but conditions made for a poor walleye bite.

Shenango Reservoir, Shenango River (Mercer County, Pa.) – White bass and hybrid striped bass were feeding on shad in low water in late September, and topwater action was good. Shad-pattern crankbaits either cast or trolled were effective. Numbers of smallmouth and largemouth bass also were hitting, as were catfish. Crappies were scattered, and walleyes were spotty in warm conditions. The Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission planned to move the Oct. 2 trout stocking originally scheduled for below the Shenango Dam to the Shenango River upstream of the reservoir, from New Hamburg to upstream of Big Bend. The commission stopped stocking the water immediately below the dam because PCBs were found in the fish there.

Allegheny River (Venango County, Pa.) – Bass in mixed sizes up to 18-plus inches were hitting in late September, with black Jitterbugs productive for some anglers. Floating weeds were a problem, which some anglers tried to avoid with bottom-crawling baits.

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