Anglers chasing walleye, panfish, cats all over

Posted on July 6, 2006

CENTRAL REGION

Big Darby Creek (Franklin and Madison counties) - Anglers can enjoy wading, bank fishing, or float fishing here on one of the few streams in central Ohio containing all three species of black bass found in Ohio. Smallmouth bass, spotted bass, largemouth bass, rock bass, channel catfish, flathead catfish, sunfish, and carp provide good fishing opportunities. Use hellgrammites and soft craws fished in the pools below shallow riffles for smallmouth bass. Top-water plugs, surface baits, and imitation baits fished near aquatic vegetation work best when fishing for largemouth bass and spotted bass.

Deer Creek Lake (Fayette, Madison, and Pickaway counties) - Saugeye can be caught in the tailwaters using jigs and twister tails, especially after a water release. The Tick Ridge area is a good location to fish for white bass. Use small spinners or live bait to take these fish that measure eight to 12 inches. Areas with cover such as downed trees are good places to fish for crappies using minnows suspended beneath a bobber. Crappies must be nine inches or longer to keep.

O’Shaughnessy Reservoir (Delaware County) - This 845-acre reservoir in northwest Columbus offers excellent summer fishing for largemouth bass and bluegills. Use top-water baits, 6-inch plastic worms, and live bait in areas along the west shoreline that have fallen trees and submerged brush piles. Early morning and late evening are the best times to fish. Bass will measure 12 to 18 inches. Areas with submerged shoreline cover offer good bluegill fishing when using small worms and larval baits fished under a bobber.

Knox Lake (Knox County) - This lake is among the top-rated bass tournament lakes in Ohio, consistently producing the highest catch rates for bass above 12 inches. Knox has a minimum 18-inch length limit on bass, which has created a sizeable population of largemouth and an exceptional fishery. The woody shoreline and areas with aquatic vegetation are the best places to pursue largemouth bass. Areas with shoreline cover are also good places to fish for crappies, bluegill, and channel catfish. Now is a great time to go after catfish using shrimp or nightcrawlers fished along the lake bottom. Five-thousand channel cat yearlings were stocked in 2005. Knox has a 10- horsepower limit.

NORTHWEST REGION

Independence Dam (Henry County) - Flathead catfish in the 25- to 30-pound range have been taken recently. Late afternoons and evenings are the best times. Live bluegill fished on a hook near the dam is what is working the best.

Van Wert Reservoir (Van Wert County) - Great catches of rainbow trout have been reported here. Morning is the time to fish for them. Minnows or power baits have been producing the best catches. The northeast corner of the reservoir is the hotspot. Channel catfish are hitting well, too. Morning is the best time. Still-fishing with night crawlers along the north east shore seems to the best spot.

Pleasant Hill Lake (Richland County) - Saugeye are being caught in good numbers during daytime and nighttime hours. A two- to four-inch piece of worm or a jig are working the best by either drifting or casting. Fish the deeper water areas and keep the bait down between 15 to 24 feet. Crappies are being taken during the daylight hours by fishing a minnow under a bobber. Catfish are being caught in the late afternoon and early evening. Shrimp, liver, or shad fished off of the bottom is working the best. A good spot seems to be around the Baron Road area.

Clear Fork Reservoir (Richland County) - Crappies are being caught in the late afternoon or the early morning hours. Minnows fished under a slip bobber are working the best. Try fishing near the sailboat club or picnic area No. 2 or No. 3. Catfish are being caught as well in the late afternoon or evening. The Bowers Road area is best.

Little Auglaize River (Putnam County) - Bullheads are being caught in the afternoons by fishing nightcrawlers two to three feet under a slip-bobber. Bluegills also are being caught in the afternoons by casting and reeling night crawlers or still-fishing with bobbers. Fishing is best near the Ottoville Quarry.

Grand Lake St. Marys (Mercer and Auglaize counties) — Channel catfish are being caught by anglers using minnows when fishing in shallow water. In deeper water, channel catfish are being caught on shrimp or nightcrawlers fished off of the bottom or tight line along the bottom. Use a No. 2/0 long-shanked hook. Casting from the lake into the rocky areas is very productive for catfish. A particularly good spot is Windy Point along the west bank. Cast into the rocky riprap areas or the mouths of the creeks entering the lake. Bluegills are being a caught by anglers using wax worms on ice jigs. Keep the bait under a bobber and about six to eight inches deep. Fish the bait along the shore, near any type of structure, including the rocky areas and seawalls, and into the channels. Largemouth bass are being caught by anglers using black, black-purple, or pumpkinseed colored jigs. Keep the bait about a foot deep and close to the shoreline in water about two to three feet deep.

Outdoorsman, 419-394-5769

NORTHEAST REGION

Tuscarawas River (Tuscarawas County) - Anglers are catching fair numbers of smallmouth bass, saugeyes, and channel catfish near the Dover dam off of State Route 800. Note that most of the land along the river is in private ownership and access from shore is limited. A public boat ramp has been constructed east of Tuscarawas, Ohio, on Tuscarawas Road. A fair number of eight- to 14-inch smallmouth bass are hitting jigs and crayfish fished on the bottom. Targeting rocky structure just out of the main current or fishing underwater structure are providing good results. Saugeyes averaging 10 to 17 inches are also hitting jigs and curly tails in the deeper pools of water near structure and wooden debris. Tipping a jig with a minnow or earthworm works well, too. Channel catfish between 10 and 16 inches are also being caught in better than average numbers. Fishing with cut bait, stink bait, chicken liver, or earthworms near undercut banks and areas with wooden debris piles has been productive for catfish.

Mosquito Lake (Trumbull County) - Anglers are catching good numbers of walleyes while trolling crankbaits in 14 feet of water. The best place seems to be between the island and the causeway on the north end of the lake. Boat anglers should also trying jigging for walleye in the weed beds. On the west side of the lake, largemouth bass are biting close to shore. There is unlimited horsepower at this 7,241-acre lake. Wheelchair accessible shoreline facilities are available.

Causeway Sporting Goods, 330-637-7076

Spencer Lake (Medina County) - Channel catfish are being caught by shore and boat anglers. Anglers should concentrate their efforts near fishing piers and inshore areas using chicken livers, stink bait, and minnows. The most productive times to fish have been early morning and evening hours; however, some channel catfish have been taken throughout the daytime hours. Fisheries data collected from this lake during 2005 indicated that the largemouth bass population has a considerable number of bass exceeding 15 inches.

SOUTHWEST REGION

East Fork Lake (Clermont County) — Largemouth bass are being caught by using white spinner baits, shiners, large minnows, or four-inch artificial worms colored black. Cast along the points, buck brush, along the banks and in areas with submerged trees or brush. Jig the worm on the bottom. Keep the spinner bait moving in the top two to three feet of water. Channel catfish are being caught by anglers using chicken livers, soft craws, shrimp, or nightcrawlers. Larger channel catfish are being caught on the soft craws.

Boars Head Bait & Carry Out, 513-724-1211.

Cowan Lake (Clinton County) - Crappies are being caught by anglers trolling small minnows and jigs as bait. Fish the bait in five to 15 feet of water. Use a No. 1/0 or a No. 4 hook. Productive spots are back in the coves, down on south bank past the sailing club, and the south beach. Saugeyes are striking on all sorts of artificial and live baits. Good places include Campers Cove and the north shore. Bluegills are being caught by anglers using wax worms as bait. From the shoreline, fish the bait off of the bottom in two to three feet of water and around structure.

Rocky Fork Lake (Highland County) - Crappies are being caught by anglers fishing live crappie minnows, wax worms, or two-inch twister tails in three feet of water or deeper. Use a fine-wire hook in the size range of No. 6 to No. 8. Keep the bait under a slip bobber and off of the bottom. Bluegill and sunfish are being caught by anglers using wax worms as bait. Place the bait on a No. 6 fine-wire hook and cast into areas with submerged trees and brush. Keep the bait under a bobber or slip-bobber and between two to three feet deep. Fish the bait along the shorelines and docks. Channel catfish are being caught by anglers using whole shad, cut shad, goldfish, chubs or chicken liver. Largemouth bass are being caught by anglers using shad, soft craws, rooster tails, Eerie Dearies, blade baits, or nightcrawlers as bait.

SOUTHEAST REGION

Monroe Lake (Monroe County) - Bluegill fishing has been excellent at this 39-acre lake. Largemouth bass are starting to bite on plastic baits; try salamanders, rubber worms, and top-water baits. This lake has an active 15-inch minimum length limit for largemouth bass and a 10 horsepower limit.

Dillon Reservoir (Muskingum County) - Anglers have been reeling in channel cats, sunfish, largemouth bass, and carp at this 1,403-acre reservoir. For great catfishing, try the backwaters and below the spillway; anglers have been catching channel cats in the 18-inch range as well as yellow bullheads. Try cut-bait and chicken livers fished tight-line along the bottom. For sunfish, shore anglers have been successful with a worm fished under a bobber. Largemouth bass have been reeled in at the mouth of the tunnel using worm and bobber, as well as off the shoreline near the marina using green colored spinner baits. For carp, the dock off Route 146 is the hotspot.

Wills Creek Reservoir (Coshocton County) - Fishing in the evenings for catfish in the spillway area below the dam is usually productive for both channel cats and flatheads, employing chicken livers, nightcrawlers, and creek chubs fished tight-line. The tail water area below Wills Creek dam provides a great place for saugeye fishing. Saugeyes concentrate just below the dam during high volume water releases.

LAKE ERIE REGION

Western Basin

Walleye fishing continues to be excellent with many limits being caught. Fishing has been best north of West Sister Island to the Canadian border near Middle Sister Island, two to four miles north of “B” can of the Camp Perry firing range, and along the Canadian border west of North Bass Island. Drifters are using mayfly rigs or worm harnesses with bottom bouncers, while trollers are using worm harnesses with inline weights or bottom bouncers and jet or dipsy divers with spoons. The best yellow perch fishing in the western basin has been around Ballast Island and east of Kelleys Island.

Central Basin

Walleye fishing in the central basin has been good. Fish have been caught three miles offshore from Vermilion to Lorain, five miles north of Cleveland in 42 to 48 feet of water, six miles north of the Wildwood State Park in 60 to 64 feet of water, two to four miles northeast of Fairport Harbor in 45 to 65 feet of water, and two to four miles northwest of Geneva in 50 to 65 feet of water. Fish have been caught on worm harnesses or bloody nose, watermelon, killer bee, and copper back spoons trolled with dipsy or jet divers. Fish are suspended and anglers are fishing down 20 to 40 feet.

Yellow perch fishing has been excellent less than one mile out of Lorain, two miles north of Willowick in 38 feet of water, two miles north of Bratenal in 32 to 35 feet, two miles northeast of Ashtabula in 24 to 36 feet of water, two miles north of Conneaut in 36 to 42 feet of water. Fish have ranged from seven to 11 inches. Perch spreaders with shiners fished near the bottom produce the most fish. Shore anglers are catching yellow perch at Mentor Headlands pier and Fairport Harbor pier. Anglers are using spreaders with shiners. Smallmouth bass fishing has been excellent from Fairport Harbor to Perry in 10 to 24 feet of water. Fish have been caught on tube jigs, jigs tipped with minnows or leeches, or by trolling crankbaits. White bass fishing has been good 1/2-mile north of Eastlake CEI power plant. Anglers are using agitators with white jigs. Shore anglers are catching white bass at the Eastlake CEI pier using agitators with white/yellow twistertails and small spoons.

Lake Erie surface temperatures range from 69 to 70 degrees.

OHIO RIVER REGION

Monroe County - Flathead catfish are starting to hit on chicken livers and cut bait. Some smaller white bass are biting on cut bait, also.

Gallipolis Lock and Dam (Gallia County) - Access the dam and tail waters off state Route 7 at Eureka. Anglers have been reeling in catfish. Try casting cut bait (shad and skipjack) or livers into current where there is cover.

Willow Island Dam (Washington County) - Some saugers have been reeled in this week using two jigs cast into current.

Meigs County - Shoreline anglers are reeling in shovelhead and channel catfish below the Bellville and Racine Dams using cut bait, nightcrawlers and chicken livers.