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Paint Creek crappie, saugeye fishing highlights report

Posted on March 1, 2012

DISTRICT 1-Central Region

Deer Creek Lake (Madison, Fayette, and Pickaway counties) – Heading into late February, anglers were still catching saugeyes in the 15- to 20-inch range below the spillway. Jigs and tails in white, chartreuse, and pink are producing a good bite.

Mary’s Bait Shop, 740-869-3597

Buckeye Lake (Fairfield, Licking and Perry counties) – Saugeyes are being caught at the north shore boat ramp right before dark and right after dark, reports Bob Mathie at Bob’s Outdoor Supply in Newark. Successful anglers are using Smithwick Rogues and Rapala Husky Jerks in a variety of colors. “A lot of it depends on being at the right place at the right time,” Mathie said. At Thorn Fork, anglers are catching crappies and bluegills using small ball jigs. Fairfield Beach and behind the park office should be productive spots when more water is let into the lake. Some fishermen are reporting incidental catches of catfish while fishing for saugeyes. If you’re seeking catfish here, try cut shad, Mathie recommends.

Bob’s Outdoor Supply, 740-349-0992

Alum Creek Lake (Delaware, Franklin County) – A good bite is on below the spillway at this central Ohio reservoir. Anglers are throwing Husky Jerks to catch the spillway’s saugeyes and even some muskies. Saugeyes are running from 16 to 26 inches and muskies are running from 25 to 29 inches.

Piedmont Lake (Belmont, Harrison, Guernsey counties) – The saugeye bite was good for a while in February but on and off again skim ice and high winds cooled things off. Elsewhere in the region, anglers were catching smallmouth and saugeye in the Tuscarawas River from the Dover/New Philadelphia area all the way down to its junction with the Muskingum River.

Pitstop/Star Fire Express, 740-633-3170

DISTRICT 2 - Northwest Region

Grand Lake St. Marys (Mercer and Auglaize counties) – There is a bit of fishing taking place at St. Marys. Most fishermen are targetting the back channels for bluegills and crappies and catching a few. Not many anglers are fishing the main lake. Popular set up has been ice jigs tipped with wax worms or maggots. Anglers can cast from shore there, though, in anywhere from 4 to 6 feet of water.

Outdoorsman, 419-394-5769

Indian Lake (Logan County) – Anglers are catching good numbers of saugeyes and big bluegills at Long Island, although the bite was reported spotty. Shad Raps, Smithwick Rogues or jigging blade baits tipped with a minnow has been the preferred presentation. Anglers have also been catching decent numbers of saugeye at the spillway. The Moundwood area has also been getting some pressure, although the water has been muddy and catches have been reported off and on.

Lakeside Pro Bass Shop, 937-843-2488

Findlay Reservoir No. 2 (Hancock County) – Fishermen have been taking yellow perch on emerald shiners and bluegills on wax worms or spikes at this northwest Ohio impoundment in the city of Findlay. For a twist, try a glow jig tipped with a worm. The bite over the past few weeks has been reported extremely slow, however. The fish that are being caught have reportedly been of good size – crappies and perch. A better bet might be to try Willard Reservoir, where anglers are reporting a decent panfish bite.

district 3 - Northeast Region

Pymatuning Lake (Ashtabula County) – Anglers have been catching both walleyes and muskies at this reservoir that spans the Ohio, Pennsylvania border. Anglers are jigging blade baits such as Vib-Es to entice the bite. Muskies are being reported as incidental catches by anglers fishing for walleyes.

Mosquito Creek Lake (Trumbull County) – Patchy ice is covering much of Mosquito with mostly open water south of the spillway. Anglers will begin wading in about another month for walleyes when water temperatures warm a bit.

Causeway Sporting Goods, 330-637-7076

Mogadore Reservoir (Portage County) – Anglers are catching good numbers of bluegills, crappies and some yellow perch off Congress Lake Road. The odd bass is also showing up in the angler creel. Tip any small ice jig with a wax worm or a meal worm for best results. Others are fishing off Palm Road where they are catching bluegills and perch. Keep the bait close to the bottom as reports indicate this is where most of the action is occurring.

Division of Wildlife, www.wildohio.com

Berlin Lake (Portage, Mahoning, and Stark counties) – Anglers are fishing north of the Route 224 bridge with some success. The best reports seem to be that catfish are biting on glow jigs tipped with a worm. Also try a jigging Rapala to entice the panfish or catfish bite.

Division of Wildlife, www.wildohio.com

district 4 - Southeast Region

Lake Rupert (Vinton County) – Anglers fishing here are catching a smorgasbord of fish. Reports indicate that bluegills, perch, and saugeyes up to 15 inches are being caught. Reported baits include jig and minnow combos and small jigs or hooks tipped with a wax worm or two. Fish are suspended in 5 to 6 feet of water.

Division of Wildlife, District 4, 740-439-1427

Seneca Lake (Guernsey and Noble counties) – The saugeye bite on Seneca Lake is currently the best thing going in the area. Anglers are catching them around the dam area and on the deep, outside sections of the creek channel. Fishing close to large schools of shad seems to be crucial. Most saugeyes will be holding tight to the bottom, so vertical jig blade baits, spoons, or a jig and minnow combination for best results.

Division of Wildlife, District 4, 740-439-1427

Lake Snowden (Athens County) – Anglers have been catching some decent size yellow perch at this Athens County reservoir. Anglers fishing for saugeyes or perch should try a jig and minnow combination or a Husky Jerk. The perch have ranged from 6 to 11 inches, according to reports.

Dillon Lake (Muskingum County) – Water levels have been up and down due to rain, according to Bob Mathie at Bob’s Outdoor Supply in Newark. Anglers are catching crappies and bluegills at the main marina. Some crappies and bluegills are also being caught below the spillway, reports Mathie. “They haven’t been catching them in quantities but they are catching a few.”

Division of Wildlife, District 4, 740-439-1427

Bob’s Outdoor Supply, 740-349-0992

DISTRICT 5 - Southwest Region

East Fork Lake (Clermont County) – Anglers have been fishing on the back bays and harbors of East Fork. Anglers have reported nice catches of black and white crappies in the coves. Try a small hook tipped with a wax worm in anywhere from 4 to 6 feet of water.

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

Paint Creek Lake (Highland and Ross counties) – Anglers are reporting success catching crappies in both Paint Creek Lake and nearby Rocky Fork Lake. The campground area of Paint Creek Lake has been the best bet, according to reports from Cole’s Bait and Tackle. Baby Shad lures have been the hottest ticket. Anglers concentrating their efforts at Plum Run are also catching crappies on minnows and tube baits. Below the spillway, anglers are catching a smorgasbord of species. Saugeyes, crappies, catfish, and even some white bass have been in the mix. One angler fishing the beach area recently loaded up on channel catfish,  Cole’s reports.

Cole’s Bait and Tackle, 937-365-1436

Kiser Lake (Champaign County) – Anglers are catching good numbers of bluegills, primarily on the east side of this Champaign County lake. Size has ranged from 5-9 inches. Try a jig tipped with a wax worm or maggot for best results. The crappie bite has been reported slow this winter.

Lake Erie Region

• The daily bag limit for Lake Erie walleye is six fish. The minimum size limit is 15 inches.

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

• The steelhead daily bag limit is two fish per angler with a minimum size limit of 12 inches.

• The Lake Erie black bass (largemouth and smallmouth) daily bag limit is 5 fish and a minimum size limit of 14 inches.

Walleyes have been caught by trollers fishing around the Camp Perry firing range buoys when the weather has allowed. The northern buoys have produced the most fish with Reef Runners and Rapala Husky Jerks being the best lures.

The water temperature as of Feb. 21 was 34 degrees off of Toledo and 34 degrees off of Cleveland, according to the nearshore marine forecast.

Steelhead Trout: For the steelhead fishing report, see the ohiodnr.com web site.

Anglers are encouraged to always wear a U.S. Coast Guard-approved personal flotation device while boating.

The Rocky River is currently ice free and on the rise due to rain and snowmelt, but for the time being, at least, still have a nice green stain. River conditions will be highly dependant upon how much more rain we receive, so wise anglers will keep an eye on the flow data before planning a trip. Although the river is currently on the rise, most of this week water conditions were fairly low and clear and steelhead fishing had been challenging accordingly. Steelhead recently have been hooked on spawn sacs (trout and salmon eggs) about the size of a dime to a nickel, marabou or hair jigs (1⁄32- to 1⁄64-ounce are popular) tipped with maggots or wax worms, 3-inch rubber trout worms and tube jigs (white is often productive), various fly patterns (GloBugs, sucker spawn, beadhead nymphs, woolly buggers and baitfish streamers), live or salted minnows, and wobbling Flatfish style plugs. With all the high water this year, fish are as spread throughout the system as they’ve ever been, with fish in pods from the marina all the way up to Berea Falls on the East Branch Rocky River, as well as being well up into the West Branch, too. The river is completely ice free and should remain so for a while.

Toward the end of January, a ton of trout (2,000 pounds) were stocked between five Cleveland Metroparks lakes and they have been biting great. These include Wallace (900 pounds), Shadow (450), Ledge (450), Judges (100), and Ranger (100) lakes. The size range of these trout varied from 12 inches to some trophy fish up to 4-plus pounds, with a good percentage of quality fish in the 16-18-inch size class. A few bonus brown trout were mixed in with the rainbow trout. These fish complement a similar stocking conducted in the same lakes in mid-December. Since our lakes are, amazingly, still ice free anglers are fishing from the solid ground of fishing platforms, docks, and areas where the shoreline drops immediately into deeper water. Offerings worth trying include PowerBait, small jigs tipped with maggots, jigging spoons (such as a Swedish Pimple or Forage Minnow), live minnows, corn and even Velveeta cheese. The limit per angler is five trout per day at Shadow Lake and Ohio & Erie Canal fishing area (we default to ODNR’s trout limit at these two jointly managed locations that they help stock), three per day in all other lakes and ponds managed solely by Cleveland Metroparks, and two per day in the river this time of year.

Cleveland Metroparks, www.clemetparks.com

OHIO RIVER REGION

Western Ohio River: Anglers are still taking channel catfish. They are being caught on chicken livers and cut bait around warm water discharges. Carp are biting on dough balls and corn. Hybrids are hitting Rapalas and Rat ‘L Traps.

Some anglers are catching walleyes, sauger and striped bass at the Pike Island dam. The popular bait is a jigging spoon fished on the south side of the dam. You might also try jig and minnow combinations or jig and Twister Tail.