Ohio Outdoor News Fishing Report – Dec. 22, 2017

Central Region

Alum Creek Lake (Delaware County) – Anglers are catching a few keeper crappies and bluegills by fishing the docks at this Delaware County lake. Evening hours have reportedly been the best for a good bite. Crappies have ranged up to 11 inches. Successful fishermen are simply using a minnow fished under a bobber. Others are fishing the spillway for saugeyes with some success on jerkbaits and jigs.

Indian Lake (Logan County) – Water clarity has cleared up a bit and fishing pressure is heavy. The bite has reportedly been a tough one but a few anglers are catching saugeyes at Moundwood and Dream Bridge on crankbaits and stick baits. The best bite is coming in the evening hours.

Delaware Lake (Delaware County) – Fishermen are catching limits of crappies here, even though water clarity isn’t the best. There is a 30-fish daily bag limit here with a nine-inch minimum. The successful setup has been a crappie rig tipped with minnows.

Buckeye Lake (Fairfield, Licking, Perry counties) – Saugeyes are hit and miss right now as the bite turns on one place and off in another. Successful anglers have been using swimbaits. The largest saugeye being reported is a 21-incher. Channel catfish, too, can be caught in the later fall months. Try a piece of nightcrawler fished on the bottom.

Northwest Region

Findlay Reservoir No. 2 (Hancock County) – While there was still open water, anglers were fishing for perch and walleyes here with limited success. The popular setup was a jig and shiner combo if you can find shiners. Also, anglers were trying Vib-Es.

Maumee River (Lucas County) – Some anglers are fishing the Maumee at this time of year for white bass and smallmouth bass. Try a crankbait in a shad pattern for best results. Also, tie on a waxworm or minnow to catch some panfish. In addition, some fairly large smallmouth bass are being caught on Lake Erie proper. Some of these bronzebacks have ranged up to 20 inches. Try a drop-shot rig or tube jig for best smallmouth results.

Clear Fork Reservoir (Richland, Morrow counties) – Anglers fishing for muskies here have had some success in recent weeks. Some of the fish have been large, too, up to 35 inches or better. Try a big bucktail fished in the shallows for best results. Crappies, too, are being caught on minnows or waxworms fished under a bobber. For a complete rundown of all the offerings at Clear Fork, see the back page of this issue of Ohio Outdoor News.

Northeast Region

Berlin Lake (Portage, Mahoning, Stark counties) – Anglers fishing this lake have had some success jigging for walleyes. The fall jig bite appears to be on. If you can stay out of the wind for the most part, the bite has been decent.

Mosquito Creek Lake (Trumbull County) – The bite for walleyes has slowed down and so has the fishing pressure. Concentrate efforts on weed edges and rocky shorelines for best results. Anglers are using Vib-Es and jig and minnow combinations.

Pymatuning Reservoir (Ashtabula County) – Anglers fishing this large lake that spans the border between Ohio and Pennsylvania have had good luck catching perch. The good bite is coming on jig and minnow combinations fished fairly deep, 15 to 20 feet. Anglers fishing near the dam are having the best luck. Perch are ranging up to 10 inches.

West Branch Reservoir (Portage County) – Anglers fishing at the dam are catching a good number of smallmouth bass. Some muskies and crappies are also being caught here, according to angler reports.

Southwest Region

East Fork Lake (Clermont County) – Anglers are fishing jigs and minnows for crappies here with some success. A few hybrid stripers are being caught as incidental catches as well. Try a jig and minnow combo or simply a minnow or waxworm fished under a bobber.

Rocky Fork Lake (Highland County) – Anglers fishing the docks here are catching a mixed bag of fish. Crappies, bluegills, yellow perch, and white bass are all being caught on ice spoons tipped with a minnow. Fish the bait between 15 and 20 feet deep for best results. The better bite is coming in the morning hours up until about noon. A few hardy boat anglers have had limited success catching channel catfish, too. Size hasn’t been great, but the bite has been fair.

Caesar Creek Lake (Warren, Clinton, Greene counties) – Anglers are fishing for crappies here with some success. The popular setup has been a jig and minnow fished at between 10 and 12 feet deep.

Cowan Lake (Clinton County) – Anglers are catching a few crappies here on this lake near Wilmington. The popular setup has been either minnows or waxworms fished under a bobber.

Southeast Region

Salt Fork Lake (Guernsey County) – Anglers willing to brave the cold weather have been rewarded with some fine catches of crappies. The setup has been waxworms or nightcrawlers fished under a float.

Piedmont Lake (Belmont County) – Fishermen are catching saugeyes here quite regularly on Vib-Es and Rogues. Saugeyes have ranged up to 19 inches. The best bite is either coming in the early morning hours or late in the evening.

Leesville Lake (Carroll County) – Saugeye fishing is going fairly well on this Carroll County lake. Fish up to 26 inches have been reported by anglers jigging Vib-Es. Practice a slow retrieve in these colder than normal waters. For best results, fish the bait between 15 and 18 feet deep.

Tappan Lake (Harrison County) – Anglers have had some success fishing for saugeyes here recently. The fall bite appears to be on, according to angler reports. Fish a crankbait or a stickbait in a variety of colors. Channel catfish, too, are being caught by fishermen fishing chicken livers on the bottom.

Lake Erie Region

• The bag limit for walleyes in Ohio waters of Lake Erie is six fish per angler. The minimum size limit for walleyes 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.

Walleyes

Where: The best reports have been from the dumping grounds east of Marblehead, from Cedar Point to Huron in 38 to 45 feet of water, and off Cleveland harbor. Fishing at night has been good nearshore for anglers trolling and fishing from piers near Lakeside and Marblehead, from Huron to Lorain, and near Cleveland Harbor.

How: Walleyes have been caught primarily by trolling with crankbaits or by casting jerkbaits at night from piers.

The Rocky River and other area streams are moderately low in level and clear at the moment and will likely continue to clear further into the weekend based on the forecast. Steelhead are well distributed throughout the entire mainstem of the Rocky River as well as both branches, and are up into North Chagrin Reservation on the Chagrin River. Steelhead are also present in good numbers in the Cuyahoga River up to the Brecksville/Route 82 dam, as well as throughout smaller area streams like Euclid Creek. The big trout are averaging 5-7 pounds this year, with very modest numbers of fish reported of Fish Ohio size (28 inches plus). In the clearing water steelhead have been biting on smaller spawn sacks (dime size or smaller), single salmon eggs or beads that mimic them, small marabou jigs tipped with a few maggots or a waxworm drifted under a float, live minnows, flies (egg patterns and baitfish streamers), and lures such as Little Cleo spoons and Vibrax spinners as the water clears further. The fall run is in high gear at this time and prospects will remain good into winter.

The steelhead bite has remained good along the Cleveland lakefront as lake wave conditions allow – especially at Edgewater Park and E. 55th east facing breakwall. Steelhead can also be found off the breakwall at 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 is as good a bet as any for connecting with a lakefront steelhead trout, as is suspending a small jig tipped with minnow or maggots under a bobber.

Complementing the great steelhead fishing along the Cleveland shoreline, excellent numbers of walleyes have been found along nearshore Lake Erie. A monster 14.97-pound walleye caught off Cleveland won the top prize in the Fall Brawl tournament. Shore-based walleye anglers are doing best casting stickbaits (i.e., Husky Jerks and Perfect 10s) and glow in the dark spoons at dusk and after dark. On one recent night, locals reported around 100 big walleyes landed from shore at the E. 55th breakwall.

The Ohio & Erie Canal fishing area off E. 49th Street (down the walking trail from Canalway Center) was stocked with 1,000 pounds of rainbow trout and 600 pounds of farm-raised channel catfish on Oct. 13. The daily limit here is five trout per angler. Trout bite well on PowerBait, small jigs tipped with maggots, and small spinners. Wallace Lake, Ledge Lake, Shadow Lake, and Beyer’s Pond are a few other spots worth exploring in fall into early winter. Wallace Lake was recently stocked with 209 huge bluegills and decent largemouth bass. Oxbow Lagoon in Rocky River Reservation was stocked with 986 largemouth bass and bluegill recently, and Wallace Lake was stocked with the majority of another 449 largemouth bass and bluegill since Oct. 23. These fish were transferred from private golf course lakes. Additionally, Wallace received 300 catchable size coho salmon and a few rainbow trout back in October. Rainbow trout will be stocked in Metroparks lakes around mid-December.

Cleveland Metroparks, www.clevelandmetroparks.com

BEYOND OHIO

Lake St. Clair (Michigan)

The firearms deer season was pretty good when wind and wet weather allowed hunters to get out. Panfish and perch are hitting along the shore on Lake St. Clair. Those using jigs and crappie rigs report a pretty good bite off 11 Mile Road, off Metro Beach, and at Harsen’s Island.

Irish Hills Area (Mich.)

The firearms deer season was decent in Jackson County. Many hunters felt epizootic hemorrhagic disease took a toll on the local deer population before the season opened up. Fishing pressure has been very light on lakes in the area. Most anglers are waiting for first ice. There was no ice in southern Michigan as of last week, but there was colder weather in the forecast.

Lake Orion (Mich.)

The firearms deer season was hot and cold in Oakland County. There was standing corn in many fields at the opener, and mixed with rain and high winds, hunters struggled early. When they could get out hunting was pretty good. Fishing pressure has been very light on inland lakes in Oakland County. A couple of steelhead have been caught on the Clinton River.

Trenton Area (Mich.)

Walleye fishing remains pretty good in the Detroit River. Those jigging with soft plastics report good action, but the bite has been hit-or-miss. The best action has been in clean water.

SOUTHWESTERN LP

Allegan Area (Mich.)

The firearms deer season was slow in Allegan County. Standing corn, high winds, and rain put a damper on hunting and some hunters reported they just weren’t seeing deer. There were some good reports, however, from hunters in the Allegan State Game Area. Steelhead fishing remains decent on the Kalamazoo River. Those fishing below the Allegan Dam with spawn, waxworms, jigs, and spinners have all been taking fish.

Sturgis Area (Mich.)

The firearms deer season was pretty good in St. Joseph County. Several big bucks were taken and hunters reported seeing good numbers of both young and old deer. Fishing pressure has been very light. Most anglers are waiting for ice to form. There has been no ice or snow in the area.

Kalamazoo Area (Mich.)

The gun deer season was pretty good in Kalamazoo County with several nice bucks being taken early in the season. Things slowed down some at the end of the month. No report on fishing activity.

Plainwell Area (Mich.)

The firearms deer season was slow with rain and wind putting a damper on action during the early days of the season. Fishing has been slow on Gun Lake and fishing pressure has been light. Steelhead fishing has been fair on the Kalamazoo River.

Lake Erie and steelhead tributaries (Pennsylvania) – Twenty Mile, Twelve Mile, and Four Mile creeks on the east side, and Elk and Walnut on the west side were fishing well as conditions allowed, but storms wreaked havoc with conditions. In high, discolored water, anglers were using skein and crawlers, and in low, clear water, single eggs and minnows.

Presque Isle Bay (Erie County, Pa.) – Nice-sized perch up to 10 and 11 inches were reported in recent weeks, with the Waterworks Dock, Border Dock, South Pier, and Marina Lake productive. The occasional steelhead was reported, and a few walleyes were hitting off the North and South piers.

Pymatuning Reservoir (Crawford County, Pa.) – Falling water temperatures triggered a walleye bite, and anglers were catching nice fish on blades around dusk, as conditions allowed. Some perch, bluegills, and a few nice crappies were hitting off the Jamestown docks. Numbers of bluegills, perch, and bass were reported on bobbers and jigs cast from shore. Crappies were moving deeper in mid-November and were hitting soft plastic shad patterns, drop-shotted. The Shenango River below the Pymatuning Dam was yielding walleyes and muskies.

Conneaut Lake (Crawford County) – Largemouth bass, including a 4-pound, 2-ouncer taken on a jig, were reported on this large, natural lake.

Shenango Lake (Mercer County)| – Numbers of perch were reported by anglers jigging for walleyes, although sizes were generally running small. Abundant baitfish in the lake made for difficult walleye fishing in recent weeks. White bass and small hybrid striped bass were reported.

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