Ohio Outdoor News Fishing Report – December 2nd, 2016

Central Region

Alum Creek Lake (Delaware County) – As water temperatures decrease, the crappie bite has increased. Use a jig and minnows in and along woody cover or in water six feet or less in coves. Smallmouth bass are being caught off points in the southern basin and along the east shore of the middle basin. For saugeyes, troll crankbaits and worm harnesses just off the bottom in the evening for best results.

Indian Lake (Logan County) – Saugeye should start to be caught along the south bank and around the Moundwood and Dream bridge areas as water temperatures decrease. Try using crankbaits and worm harnesses trolled near the bottom. Vertical jigging around the bridges is also productive for saugeye. Anglers are catching largemouth bass in the canals around cover with buzz baits and tubes. Bluegills are still being caught in the channels on waxworms and nightcrawlers. Crappies are moving into channels, coves, and any remaining lily pads. Use minnows and jigs around any cover in these areas.

Kokosing Lake (Knox County) – This lake of 149 acres in Knox County is limited to outboard motors of 10 horsepower or less. Largemouth bass are being caught around shoreline cover and along the dam using spinner baits and tubes. Bluegills are in shallow areas, try waxworms or nightcrawlers under a bobber. As water temperatures decrease, crappies will move to shallower water. Use minnows or crappie jigs fished under a slip bobber around cover or the old creek channel for best results. Channel catfish can be caught on chicken livers, shrimp, or nightcrawlers fished on the bottom.

Deer Creek Lake (Fayette and Pickaway counties) – Cool water temperatures have fish more active. For crappies, target woody cover in the coves and shallower water; try minnows or jigs suspended under a bobber. Largemouth bass can be caught on spinnerbaits, crankbaits, and plastics. Try fishing points and concentrations of gizzard shad. Bluegills are being caught on waxworms and nightcrawlers. White bass are active around Tick Ridge; look for fish breaking the water surface as they chase gizzard shad. Use spinners and jigs.

Scioto River (Delaware, Franklin, and Pickaway counties) – Smallmouth bass and saugeyes can be caught using crankbaits and plastics below Griggs and O’Shaughnessy reservoirs. Try fishing the upper end of pools where they meet riffles. Channel catfish can also be caught using cut bait or chicken livers around woody cover in pools.

Northwest Region

Van Wert Reservoirs #1 and #2 (Van Wert County) – These two reservoirs are on State Route 127 at the south edge of the city of Van Wert. Anglers should have success catching sunfish at Van Wert Reservoir #1. Anglers should try using wax worms under a slip bobber set to seven feet during the mornings and evenings. Try fishing along the southeast bank. Bass anglers should head over to Van Wert Reservoir #2. Try casting crankbaits around structure from a boat. Boats are permitted on both reservoirs; however, no boat ramps are available. Boats must obtain a permit from the city of Van Wert.

Lake LeComte (Hancock County) – Lake LeComte is situated in northeast Hancock County, three miles southwest of Fostoria on Hancock County Road 23. Decent populations of bluegill, crappie, bass, and channel catfish can all be found in the reservoir; however, Lake LeComte also has a pretty good population of saugeye. As the water temperatures begin to drop, these fish should start to feed more heavily. Boats are allowed on the reservoir, with a 10-horsepower motor restriction.

Beaver Creek Reservoir (Seneca County) – The reservoir is at the intersection of Township Road 196 and County Road 34 in the northeastern part of the county. Boat anglers have been catching nice sized yellow perch and crappie fishing near the bottom using minnows and shiners. Sunfish have been biting as well. Anglers have been using red worms fished under a slip bobber near the bottom. A boat ramp is located on the east side of the reservoir. Boats are limited to electric motors. 

Lake McKarns (Williams County) – Lake McKarns is on the St. Joseph Wildlife Area, south of Montpelier on County Road J and west of County Road 10. The lake is 70 acres in size and right now is a good time to try for some largemouth bass. Try fishing along the edges, particularly in the southwest area of the lake. Anglers should try using topwater lures fished along the structure edges. There is a daily bass limit of three fish, of which only two less than 14 inches and one fish greater than or equal to 20 inches may be kept. The lake features a boat ramp and boats are limited to 10 horsepower engines.

Findlay Reservoir #2 (Hancock County) – Findlay Reservoir #2 is southwest of Findlay on Township Road 207. There is a full boat ramp at the southern shore of the reservoir. Yellow perch and walleyes should be biting. Yellow perch can be caught around structure. The best baits include minnows and red worms fished near the bottom with spreaders or crappie rigs. For walleyes, anglers should try fishing along the shoreline during the morning and evening hours. There is a 9.9-horsepower limit on the reservoir.

Nettle Lake (Williams County) – This natural glacial lake is located on County Road 4.75, off State Route 49. Largemouth bass and crappie should be biting this time of year. Evenings usually produce the best. Bass anglers should focus their efforts along the edges using topwater lures and worms. Large crappies can usually be found near the lily pads in the northwest corner. There is a boat ramp at the southwest corner of the lake. Nettle Lake has no horsepower restrictions; however, there is a no-wake rule (power boaters must operate at idle speed) between the hours of 6 p.m. and 10 a.m. From 10 a.m. until 6 p.m., there are no speed restrictions for power boaters.

Northeast Region 

Cuyahoga River (Cuyahoga, Geauga, Portage, and Summit counties) – Fishing for northern pike is picking up in the Cuyahoga River. Consistently producing regions of the river include the Fuller Park area in Kent, Route 303 bridge area near Shalersville, and the area in and around Mantua. Remember to obtain written permission to wade-fish on private property. As winter gets into full swing and water temperatures drop, pike begin their feeding frenzy, putting away energy reserves for both winter survival and their early spring spawn. Try fishing with large baits and lures that mimic prey fish such as shad, suckers, and chubs. Examples include larger crankbaits, jerkbaits, swimbaits, lipless crankbaits, and large spinners. The use of a small leader will minimize the chances of a pike biting off your line.

West Branch Reservoir (Portage County) – Some major bonus action is taking place for walleye anglers out at West Branch the last couple of weeks. While trolling for walleyes, angler’s rods are being pummeled by some large muskies. This recent bump in activity could provide adrenaline seekers a chance at quite a rush. To specifically target muskies, try trolling cranks, possibly downsizing to match shad, and running the bait in the prop wash. If muskie fishing is too much heart-pumping action for you, you can try and find the crappie bite. Crappie are starting to work in shallower. Most schools are still being found suspended around structure or contour breaks. Small jigs tipped with a minnow have been the way to go lately.

Region wide – Try your hand at last-chance perch before hard-water heads this way. You don’t need to go to the “big water” of Lake Erie to catch perch. Long Lake, Mogadore, Mosquito, and Wingfoot reservoirs offer sandwich-sized perch. Fish just as you would Lake Erie, using shiners on spreaders in deep water. Go to to download and print maps for more information about where to park, where to fish, and history of the location.

Clear Fork Branch of the Mohican River (Ashland County) – What a fantastic time of year to enjoy Pleasant Hill Reservoir where brown trout were stocked in the fall. Anglers can ply the water with flies, small jigs under a float, or an assortment of small spinners. Remember, there is a 12-inch minimum length for harvest.

Southwest Region

East Fork Lake (Clermont County) – Crappies are being caught by anglers using waxworms, tube jigs, or medium to large sized minnows tipped on white or chartreuse jigs. Look for good crappie fishing off points and back into the cove areas, as well as up and into Poplar and Clover creeks. Bluegills are hitting on waxworms and red worms. Keep the bait under a bobber around two to three feet deep. Cast anywhere around the docks, standing wood, or downed trees. Channel catfish are being caught by anglers using nightcrawlers fished along the bottom in the mouths of the creeks.

Mad River (Clark, Montgomery counties) – Trout are being taken on  spinners and rooster tails. Wading in the river and fishing from a kayak are both popular with anglers.

Great Miami River (Miami, Montgomery, and Warren counties) – Smallmouth bass fishing is excellent as the water cools and river conditions remain clear and stable. Look for areas with water deeper than four feet around bridge pilings, submerged logs, and undercut banks. Try drifting a live nightcrawler or minnow fished under a bobber. Plastic crayfish or crankbaits in crawdad patterns. Zulu in pearl or Rapala X-Rap are also effective.

Southeast Region

Dow Lake (Athens County) – Cooler temperatures cause largemouth bass to actively search for food. Try fishing around structure such as weed beds and fallen trees in two-to-eight feet of water using spinnerbaits and crankbaits. Boat access is available from County Road 20 (Stroud’s Run Road).

Seneca Lake (Guernsey and Noble counties) – For crappies, cooler temperatures can work in favor of anglers. Fish minnows under a slip bobber or with jigs over submerged structure throughout the lake. Contact the District 4 office in Athens at (740) 589-9930 for a structure map. Bluegills can be taken over the entire lake by live bait anglers using worms. They are also popular among fly fish anglers using small poppers and rubber spiders.

Jackson Lake (Jackson County) – Check out the old boathouse parking area, as well as the upper shelter house fishing area for great catfishing opportunities. Catfish can normally be caught on chicken livers and nightcrawlers while fishing from shore. The cooler temperatures will start moving the largemouth bass back into shallower water, and fishing success should start to pick up as bass prepare for winter. Spinner baits, rubber worms, crankbaits, and jig-and-pig combinations can all work well.

Slope Creek Reservoir (Belmont County) – Also known as Barnesville Reservoir #3, this lake is located just five miles south of Barnesville off McGinnis Road and is home to many popular sportfish. The cooler temperatures of fall will start moving largemouth bass back into shallower water. Try using spinner baits, rubber worms, crankbaits, and jig-n-pig combinations fished near structure such as fallen trees or weed bed edges. A slot length limit is imposed on this lake, so only bass smaller than 12 inches and larger than 15 inches may be kept. Although not as abundant, bluegill can be found throughout the lake. Electric motors only.

Muskingum River (Morgan County) – Carp and catfish are most active right now. For carp, try casting dough balls or corn. Catfish prefer night crawlers, chicken liver, or cut bait fished on the bottom in the current. Use a heavy sinker to hold the bait on bottom. Saugeye fishing should be picking up. Use a variety of jigs and concentrate effort below any of the 10 lock and dams located between Dresden and Marietta.

Hocking River (Athens and Hocking counties) – The stretch of river by White’s Mill in the Athens area is always a popular and usually successful spot for local anglers. Try casting Rebel craws or other artificial soft craws in the deeper pools of the river for smallmouth bass. The old train station in Nelsonville, Falls Mill, and Kachelmacher Park in Logan are all popular spots for smallie anglers. Concentrate your fishing in high velocity current, where woody structure is present in more than 20 inches of water. Float shallow diving minnow imitation lures, or use white and chartreuse twister-tails on 1⁄8- to 1⁄4-ounce jigs.

Piedmont Lake (Belmont County) – Saugeyes are starting to move into the shallow areas of the lake as the temperatures start to cool in this 2,273-acre lake. Fish the shoreline and road bed in the lower basin of the lake near the dam. Use jerkbaits or crankbaits imitating minnows or shad while doing a steady cast-and-retrieve. In the main lake, cast crankbaits around the shoreline or vertical jig with a minnow and chartreuse twister tail.

Lake Erie Region

• The daily 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.

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

Western Basin


Where: The best walleye reports have come from the Camp Perry reef complex, and between Cedar Point and Vermilion in 40 feet of water and deeper. There have also been reports of walleyes being caught at night along the shoreline from Catawba to Marblehead, and around Huron.

How: Most fish have been caught by trolling with crankbaits.

Yellow Perch

Where: Perch fishing has been good nearshore in 12 to 17 feet of water from Little Cedar Point to Wild Wings Marina, off Lucy’s Point of Middle Bass Island, and near Gull Island Shoal.

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

Central Basin


Where: There were very few walleye reports over the past week. Locations to try include 56 to 66 feet of water north of Gordon Park and 65 to 73 feet of water north of Conneaut.

How: Anglers are trolling with dipsey divers or planer boards with weights or divers, ahead of stick baits or worm harnesses. The best colors have been olive, purple, pink, and green. 

Yellow Perch  

Where: Fish have been caught in 30 feet of water off Cranberry Creek, in 30 feet of water off the Vermilion River, and within one mile of Sheffield. Good fishing was reported in 38 to 45 feet of water northeast of Gordon Park and in 38 to 43 feet of water northwest of Chagrin River. Farther east, fish are being caught in 52 to 53 feet of water northwest of Fairport Harbor, in 45 to 50 feet northeast of Ashtabula, and in 40 to 50 feet of water north of Conneaut.

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

Smallmouth Bass

Where: Fishing has been good in 10 to 30 feet of water around the harbor areas in Cleveland, Fairport Harbor, Geneva, Ashtabula, and Conneaut.

How: Anglers are using drop-shot rigs, tube jigs, spinners, crankbaits, leeches, and crayfish.

In fall highlight species targeted by anglers along the Rocky River, other area streams, and Lake Erie include steelhead, yellow perch, walleye, and panfish. The Rocky River is offering decent fishing conditions and gave up plenty of steelhead this week. The Chagrin River offered good steelhead fishing this week, as well.

The Rocky River and other area streams are low and clear this week, needing rain, which we may receive over the weekend. Fishing had been stale accordingly with a growing accumulations of leaves making things even more challenging. There are lots of minnows in the river by the marina.

The Lake Erie shoreline steelhead bite has been decent at Edgewater and E. 55th this week. Be aware that conditions can be unfishable at most spots along the lakefront when there is a strong northerly wind, though. Suspending a jig tipped with maggots or a minnow under a float or 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. Steelhead fishing will only improve as we receive more precipitation further into fall.

The Ohio & Erie Canal fishing area was stocked with 1,000 pounds of rainbow trout, 600 pounds of big channel catfish, and 1,000 smaller catfish (the latter by DNR Division of Wildlife) about a month ago. The first round of winter trout stocking at Cleveland Metroparks’ inland lakes will take place around mid-December.

The yellow perch bite has been decent off Cleveland this week. Anglers are using perch spreaders and emerald shiners in 30-40 feet of water, with quite a few anglers focusing on the east end of the Cleveland breakwall. The perch size has been very good. Schools of white bass have also been observed roving along the Cleveland shoreline. Night walleye fishing along the Cleveland shoreline was good this week, with a number of great size fish. Walleye anglers are casting or trolling Perfect Ten and Husky Jerk crankbaits around E. 72nd after dark.

Cleveland Metroparks,


Belleville Locks and Dam – Sauger and walleye fishing will pick up in the tailwater section as river temperatures cool. Try white or chartreuse twister tails or swimbaits near the dam and along the walkway. Night and early morning hours are the best times now, although fish can still be caught throughout the day. Hybrid striped bass fishing should remain good; try using spoons, crankbaits, and live bait.

Meldahl Dam (Clermont County) – Fishing for striped bass and catfish continues to be productive. Fish above or below the Meldahl Dam using chicken livers or nightcrawlers fished on the bottom.

Western Ohio River: Anglers are still taking channel catfish on chicken livers and cut bait around warm-water discharges. Carp are biting on dough balls and corn. Hybrids have been hitting Rapalas and rattletraps.

R.C. Byrd (Gallia County) – For saugers, warm-water discharges and stream confluences in the upper pool, as well as the Racine tailwater, are good areas to fish. Try using twister tails jigs and minnows. You may also catch fish on big creek chubs or any deep-diving bait that resembles a minnow. For channel catfish, use cut bait, live shad, chicken livers, or worms in any of the tailwaters.

Eastern Ohio River – Hybrid striped bass and white bass fishing remains consistent in the tailwaters. Popular baits include twister tails and casting spoons. The sauger bite should start picking up as the water temperature continues to drop.

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