Delaware Lake (Delaware County) – Crappies are active again in this lake north of Columbus. Minnows fished under a bobber around woody cover can put these fish in the boat. Crappies must be nine inches or longer to keep. Largemouth bass are also around woody cover and points. Use creature baits and spinnerbaits to catch these fish. A large population of channel catfish can be caught on shrimp, cut baits, and chicken livers.
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. The fall saugeye bite will start after the water temperature falls closer to 60 degrees. Troll crankbaits and worm harnesses just off the bottom in the evening for best results.
Indian Lake (Logan County) – Saugeyes 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 saugeyes. 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.
Deer Creek Lake (Fayette, 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. White bass are active around Tick Ridge. Look for fish breaking the water surface as they chase gizzard shad using spinners and jigs.
Rush Creek Lake (Fairfield County) – Channel catfish can be caught in this lake east of Lancaster. Use cut shad, shrimp, or nightcrawlers fished in the east or south ends for best results. Bluegills are providing some action around cover in the east end. Use waxworms or red worms fished under a bobber. Crappie action is picking up. Use minnows or jigs suspended by a bobber around woody cover. There is a 10-horsepower limit on the lake.
Kiser Lake (Champaign County) – This 394-acre lake in Champaign County is perfect for a quiet day on the water since no motors are allowed. The lake has a good population of largemouth bass; try plastics, light colored spinnerbaits, and crankbaits along the lily pads or in cover on the north side of the lake. Crappies will become more active as the water cools this fall. Fishing with minnows in the old creek channel, along the lily pads, or around woody cover is best. Bluegills are also being taken around aquatic vegetation and cover using waxworms and red worms.
Pleasant Hill Reservoir (Richland-Ashland county line) – Good numbers of crappies from nine to 10 inches can be found. Try fishing with minnows under a slip bobber in eight to 12 feet of water near submerged trees. The lake also has excellent populations of largemouth bass, saugeye, and yellow perch. For saugeye, trolling a jointed 21⁄2-inch, 1⁄4-ounce lure about 10 to 15 feet deep is usually very effective. At nighttime, try trolling in 10 to 15 feet of water in front of the beach with a jig tipped with a live minnow. Smallmouth bass can be caught in the deeper, lower end of the reservoir while more largemouth bass are caught in the shallower upper end of the lake.
Paulding Reservoir (Paulding County) – Located at Reservoir Park in the village of Paulding, this reservoir provides good opportunities for anglers pursuing bluegills this time of year. Try using nightcrawlers or waxworms on slip bobbers set to five- to six-feet deep during the mornings and evenings anywhere in the reservoir. Only boats 16 feet or less may be used. Electric motors may be used, but no gasoline engines are allowed. A lifetime “boat license” is required from the Village of Paulding.
Upper Sandusky Reservoir #2 (Wyandot County) – The shoreline of this reservoir consists of rocks, a wetland shelf, and sand beach area, which all provide a lot of cover for largemouth bass. Try fishing along the west side as well as in the standing timber. Bluegills have also been biting recently. Try using shrimp or bits of nightcrawlers.
Willard Reservoir (Huron County) – Walleyes should be biting now. As the water temperature begins to cool, fish for walleyes along the contour breaks located throughout the reservoir. Try casting diving crankbaits and jigs with minnows or vertical jigging blade bits. Yellow perch are usually found in the same areas as walleyes. The best baits for open water fishing are minnows and worms. There is a boat ramp available, but only electric motors may be used. A boat permit must be obtained from the city of Willard at city hall.
Auglaize River (Paulding County) – Anglers have been catching channel catfish and crappies in the river over the past couple of weeks. For crappies, try fishing four- to six-feet deep using crappie rigs or crappie jigs tipped with minnows. The best successes have come in the mornings and evenings.
Killdeer Plains Reservoir (Wyandot County) – Located 10 miles southwest of Upper Sandusky along State Route 67, Killdeer Reservoir features a floating boat ramp and 241 acres of fishable water. Smallmouth bass should be biting again this month. Overcast mornings and evenings usually produce the best results. Try fishing the rocks along the island and the south shore, as well as the reefs. Cast the shoreline using crayfish, crankbaits, or soft baits. There is a 10-horsepower limit on the reservoir.
Van Wert Reservoirs #1 and #2 (Van Wert County) – These two reservoirs are located 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 waxworms 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.
Tappan Lake (Harrison County) – This 2,131-acre lake is known for its excellent fishery. A wide variety of fish species can be caught, including crappies, largemouth bass, bluegills, channel catfish, white bass, and saugeyes. Fall fishing in this lake should not be ignored. The scenery is beautiful as the leaves morph into rich autumn colors.
Atwood Lake (Carroll, Tuscarawas counties) – This 1,551-acre lake on State Route 212, two miles south of New Cumberland offers great fishing. Species often caught by anglers include saugeyes, largemouth bass, crappies, white bass, and especially channel catfish. Saugeyes, a hybrid cross between a female walleye and a male sauger, have provided anglers with fishing opportunities for many years now. The Division of Wildlife originally stocked saugeyes in 1985 and, with the exception of one year, continued an aggressive stocking program. One of the best ways to catch saugeyes is to use a small jig (1⁄32 or 1⁄8) and tip it with a piece of nightcrawler. Simply cast, let the bait sink, and slowly retrieve. The strike will be gentle, so watch for a twitch in the line.
West Branch Reservoir (Portage County) – West Branch Reservoir’s muskie fishing has remained hot. Muskies are still being caught in decent numbers across the lake. To specifically target muskies, try trolling cranks, possibly downsizing to match young shad, and running the bait in the prop wash. Anglers are also catching fish casting large inline spinners.
Leesville Lake (Carroll County) – Boats are allowed with a maximum of 10 horsepower. Muskies are being caught nearshore in one to five feet of water in the evening or early morning. Concentrate off the ends of main lake points instead of in coves. Fish that are in the shallows are vulnerable to casting presentations. Try covering water with medium-sized crankbaits (yellow is reported as a popular color), jerkbaits, or buck tails to locate active muskies. On average, anglers catch muskies measuring 53 inches, according to fish surveys conducted by the DNR Division of Wildlife.
Cuyahoga River (Cuyahoga, Geauga, Portage, Summit counties) – For northern pike, target access areas like Fuller Park in Kent, the State Route 303 bridge area near Shalersville, and in/around the Village of Mantua. Remember to obtain written permission to wade-fish on private property. As fall gets into full swing and water temperatures begin to drop, pike begin their fall 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.
Grand Lake St. Marys (Mercer County) – For channel catfish, use chicken livers and nightcrawlers fished on the bottom for best results. For crappies, it is a little early but shoreline cover offers the best locations to catch them. Use minnows beneath a bobber fished at depths of three to six feet. For bluegills, use red worms and waxworms.
Indian Wildlife Area Ponds (Brown County) – This is a hot area for catching bluegills. Try using waxworms suspended under a bobber at three to four feet or in-line spinners.
East Fork (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.
Seneca Lake (Guernsey, Noble counties) – As the water temperatures start to decrease, fishing for saugeyes will start to pick up. Try trolling shad-colored crankbaits or worm harnesses along the face of the dam, around the islands, and in Cadillac Bay. For largemouth bass, try fishing buzzbaits and spinnerbaits, and the occasional white or smallmouth bass may be caught as well. Shore anglers should stick to the area around the dam. For crappies, use a 1⁄16-ounce lead-head jig dressed with a small twister fished eight to 12 feet deep around structure. Maps and locations of submerged structure in the lake can be obtained by calling the Division of Wildlife’s District 4 office at (740) 589-9930.
Monroe Lake (Monroe County) – At 39 acres, this lake north of Woodsfield might be considered small when compared to other lakes in the area, but that doesn’t mean the fishing opportunities are small. Cooler, fall temperatures will trigger largemouth bass to start moving back into shallow water areas, and fishing success should start to pick up as bass prepare for winter. Try using traditional soft plastic baits and crankbaits around woody debris or vegetation. Fish for bluegills using waxworms suspended under a bobber at three to four feet. Channel catfish can still be caught this time of year, too. Chicken livers, nightcrawlers, or cut bait should produce nice results. There is a 10-horsepower limit for outboard motors.
New Lexington Reservoir 1 and 2 (Perry County) – To access Reservoir 1 from New Lexington, travel north on State Route 13, and turn right on Perry County Road 19. To access Reservoir 2, travel north on State Route 13, turn right on Township Road 149, and then turn right on Township Road 150. A 2010 survey of Reservoir 1 showed good catches of bass larger than 20 inches, according to the Division of Wildlife. Try using topwater baits and jig-n-pigs in the early morning and evening hours. Bluegills should be biting on small in-line spinners and waxworms. Electric motors only.
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.
Scioto River (Scioto County) – Flathead catfish hot spots are generally the twin bridges and the mouth of the Scioto going into the Ohio River. Try fishing gizzard shad or live skipjack on the bottom. For hybrid striped bass, target the lower Scioto River from the confluence of the Ohio River to Rushtown using three- to five-inch imitation soft bodied swimbaits and shallow running stick baits (minnow imitations). For channel catfish, try nightcrawlers, chicken liver, or cut bait to reel in a decent-sized fish.
Dillon Lake (1,376 acres; Muskingum County) – Largemouth bass anglers can enjoy fishing with spinnerbaits, twister tails, and shallow-diving crankbaits. For crappies, try drift fishing with minnows, especially in areas with fallen and submerged trees. For channel and flathead catfish, try suckers, small bluegills, and worms. Best times are after a rainfall event or when the river is on the rise. For saugeyes and hybrid striped bass, don’t overlook the tailwaters this time of year.
Hocking River (Athens, Hocking counties) – For smallmouth bass, 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 crawfish-imitating crankbaits or artificial soft crawfish in the deeper pools of the river. 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. Also try shallow diving minnow imitation lures, or use white and chartreuse twister-tails on jigs. Channel catfish: can be caught this time of year in deep pools or along rocks using nightcrawlers, cut shad, or chicken livers.
Wolf Run Lake (Noble County) – The cooling temperatures of October and November can provide some great opportunities for channel cats. Cut shad, nightcrawlers, and chicken livers will all catch fish. Cooler temperatures also trigger largemouth bass to start feeding more actively. Fish near shallow structure such as tree stumps, fallen trees, or weed bed edges. Spinnerbaits, rubber worms, crankbaits, and jig-and-pig combinations work well.
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 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.
• The black bass (largemouth and smallmouth bass) daily bag limit is five fish per angler with a 14-inch minimum size limit.
Where: There were very few walleye reports over the past week. The best spots from the previous week include “K” can of the Camp Perry firing range, Toussaint Reef, Scott Point Shoal, and Kelleys Island Shoal.
How: Most fish have been caught by trolling with spoons, crankbaits, or worm harnesses, and by casting with weight forward spinners or mayfly rigs.
Where: Yellow perch fishing has been good at Rattlesnake Island and Green Island, around the green buoy near Catawba State Park, off West Reef, northwest of North Bass Island, and south of Kelleys Island.
How: Perch spreaders with shiners fished near the bottom produce the most fish.
Where: Previous locations are listed due to rough lake conditions recently. Walleye have been caught in 32 feet of water north-northwest of Edgewater Park, in 46 to 47 feet of water north of Chagrin River, in 50 to 60 feet of water northeast of Fairport and in 65 to 73 feet of water north-northeast of Ashtabula.
How: Anglers are trolling with divers or planer boards with weights or jet divers, ahead of stick baits or worm harnesses. The best colors have been olive, purple, pink, and green.
Where: Previous locations are listed due to rough lake conditions recently. Fish have been caught in 33 to 40 feet of water north-northeast of Wildwood Park, in 34 feet of water north-northwest of Chagrin River, in 45 to 55 feet of water northwest and northeast of Fairport Harbor and in 55 to 65 feet of water north-northeast of Conneaut.
How: Perch spreaders with shiners fished near the bottom produce the most fish.
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.
As we begin our approach to fall, highlight species targeted by anglers along the Rocky River and other area streams include smallmouth bass, carp, panfish, and channel catfish with a watchful eye looking for the first returning steelhead trout. Lake Erie anglers are targeting yellow perch, walleyes, white bass, smallmouth bass, and panfish, and inland lake/pond anglers are primarily pursuing largemouth bass, channel catfish, and panfish.
A decent number of anglers reported catching steelhead in the northern stretches of the Rocky River this week following the recent spike in flow and cooler temperatures, as well as along the Lake Erie shoreline at Edgewater, E. 55th, and Wildwood Park. 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 an early steelhead trout. A few steelhead ran upstream at least to the Nature Center by Cedar Point road following the last rain. More steelhead will come in following each cool rain for the remainder of fall.
Anglers are still pursuing a mix of warm-water species in the streams, as well. Smallmouth bass have been biting dark olive or brown tube jigs of about four inches length, live bait (i.e., minnow, crayfish, and leeches), spinners, and smaller crankbaits that mimic gobies, crayfish, or baitfish. Some quality size channel catfish are lurking around the marina on the Rocky, with anglers targeting steelhead hooking a few recently. Catfishing is usually best during lower light conditions using baits such as nightcrawlers, minnows, chicken liver, and processed dough baits. Carp can often be caught throughout the day on such bait as canned corn, carp dough baits, worms, or crayfish tails. For the angling generalist, any of these species can be effectively targeted by fishing a crayfish or nightcrawler worm right on the river bottom with a sinker.
Anglers at Cleveland Metroparks inland lakes and ponds are catching catfish, largemouth bass, and panfish. Wallace Lake, Ledge Lake, Shadow Lake, and Beyer’s Pond are a few spots worth poking around in late summer/early fall. The Ohio & Erie Canal fishing area is being 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).
The yellow perch bite has picked up this week following a slow summer and early fall. Anglers are using perch spreaders and live or salted shiners, although emerald shiners have been hard to come by this year. Boating anglers have found a few perch this week off Cleveland and Euclid in 32-40 feet of water. The perch size has been very good. Early fall walleye fishing around Cleveland is improving and will only get better into fall. Rock bass, largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, crappie, freshwater drum, and sunfish species are also found along the Cleveland shoreline in early fall and can be caught on offerings such as tube jigs, drop-shot rigs and live bait.
Cleveland Metroparks, www.clevelandmetroparks.com
OHIO RIVER REGION
Clermont County – Fishing for striped bass and catfish is hot right now, although the river is a little high and muddy. Fish above or below the Meldahl Dam using chicken liver or nightcrawlers fished on the bottom.
Greenup Dam (Scioto County) – While smallmouth bass is not a traditional target fish in this area, they can provide a different opportunity for the adventurous angler. Target the large rock riprap along the Ohio shore with crankbaits, swimbaits, or leadhead jigs with a twister. For blue catfish, live skipjack has been the preferred bait; don’t be afraid to use one up to 12 inches in size. Try using a slip rig or 3-way fished off the bottom. Channel catfish can be caught by the same method.
Eastern Ohio River Tailwaters – Baitfish have not been turning up at most of the tailwaters like past years, making fishing for white bass and hybrid striped bass slow. However, if you can find the baitfish, the white and hybrid bass are sure to be nearby. Catfish anglers have been having some success using live skipjack if they can find them. Anglers have also reported a few catches of sauger, mostly after dark. The sauger bite should continue to pick up as water temperatures continue to drop.
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 have been hitting Rapalas and rattle traps.
Lake St. Clair (Michigan)
Fishing has been pretty good on Lake St. Clair. Light numbers of smallmouth bass and channel catfish have been caught a few miles north of the St. Clair Light when drifting crawlers. Smallmouth bass were hitting in eight feet of water around the mile roads when casting swimbaits and crankbaits. Anglers report a good bass bite in front of Metro Beach and off the Harley Ensign launch. Muskie have been caught at the Clinton River Cut-Off launch while trolling bucktails and crankbaits. Perch are hitting minnows near the Grosse Pointe Yacht Club, at Metro Beach, and off Strawberry Island.
Lakeside Fishing Shops, (586) 777-7003
Irish Hills Area (Michigan)
Bluegill fishing has been good on Vineyard Lake. Crickets have produced the best action. Pike fishing is heating up on Wamplers and Devils lakes. Small-game hunting has been slow to get started. The youth deer season was fair.
Knutson’s Sporting Goods, (800) 292-0857 or (517) 592-2786
Lake Orion (Michigan)
Pike fishing has heated up on Lake Orion. A good bite has been reported off Green’s Park by those fishing with live bait and spoons. Bass fishing also has been pretty good on Orion and good numbers of perch and crappies have been caught, too. Small-game hunting has been good in Bald Mountain but hunting pressure has been light. Archery deer season should be good.
Lakes Village Stop/Mobile Gas Station, (248) 693-4565
Trenton Area (Michigan)
Perch fishing remains good on the Detroit River. Good reports have come from anglers fishing around Celeron and Sugar islands. Fish have been caught in waters anywhere from four to 25 feet deep. The key is to keep moving until you locate a school of fish. A few walleye were caught by those jigging crawlers in the Trenton Channel.
Bottom Line Bait & Tackle, (734) 379-9762
Trenton Lighthouse, (734) 675-7080
Luna Pier Area (Michigan)
Perch fishing remains very good on Lake Erie. Those targeting yellow perch had good catches in 18 to 21 feet of water near the E Buoy, in 20 to 23 feet near Buoys 1 and 2, off the River Raisin, and in 22 to 25 feet of water off Stony Point and Fermi. Anglers did best in the mornings with shiners on perch rigs and spreaders. Those fishing the mouth of Swan Creek caught largemouth bass when jigging soft plastics and crawlers. Archery deer season should be good.
Luna Pier Harbour Club, (734) 848-8777
Lake Erie (Pennsylvania) – Perch were hitting in 50 to 55 feet straight out of Walnut Creek, and walleyes were in 55 to 65 feet off Elk Creek, with spoons taking most of the fish. Steelhead were biting in the First Trench. Tributary anglers also were catching a few steelhead first thing in the morning and in the evening hours. Water was still too low and warm to trigger runs.
Edinboro Lake (Erie County, Pa.) – Bass were hitting topwater plugs around lily pads and tube baits around the shoreline, especially during the evening hours.
Pymatuning Reservoir (Crawford County, Pa.) – Some crappies were being taken from deep water on minnows on 1⁄32-ounce twister tail jigs in the extreme heat of early September. An angler limited out on walleyes, fishing crawlers in 18 to 19 feet. Another angler caught his limit on bladebaits at night. Catfish were all over the lake and hitting especially well in the evening hours. Perch also were hitting well in the evenings. A good bluegill bite was reported on pieces of crawlers. One angler reported releasing close to 40 bass by flipping lily pads during a tournament. His partner weighed the tournament lunker at 4.87 pounds.
Conneaut Lake (Crawford County, Pa.) – Water temperatures of 80 degrees had crappies retreating to deep weeds in early September, and feeding at night, but bluegills and pumpkinseeds remained active during the day. Incidental catches of largemouth and smallmouth bass also were reported by anglers targeting panfish. Northern pike and a 45-inch muskie also were reported by anglers trolling.
Lake Wilhelm (Mercer County, Pa.) – Fishing pressure was light through mid-October. One angler caught a 28-inch, 14-pound catfish.
Shenango River Reservoir (Mercer County, Pa.) – White bass dominated earlier this month when surface water went as high as 87 degrees. There was much less action on smallmouth and largemouth bass, walleyes, crappies, and stripers.
Justus Lake (Venango County, Pa.) – Smallmouth and largemouth bass were reported, mostly on soft plastics, but sizes were generally small in recent weeks.
Sugar Creek (Venango County, Pa.) – Despite low flow, one angler caught three rainbows and a brown trout on crayfish in recent weeks.
Oil Creek (Venango County, Pa.) – A small tributary of this Oil Creek State Park stream landed two wild brook trout – a five-incher and an eight-incher – in early September, when flow was low and clear but water was 62 degrees. Both were caught on a homemade dry fly tied on a size 14 barbless hook.
Allegheny River (Venango County, Pa.) – The smallmouth bass bite was mixed, with smaller fish scattered and bigger bass up to 19 inches reported in shallow riffles and the tailwaters of larger pools. Soft plastics, including tubes and river darter patterns, were productive, as were crankbaits and jigs. Walleyes also were reported, with an 8-pound, 30-incher caught on a topwater lure. Floating weeds were a problem in places.
Allegheny River (Forest County, Pa.) – The smallmouth bass bite improved by mid-September, and nice catches of smallmouth bass were reported near the West Hickory Bridge. Muskies were reported near the confluence of Tionesta Creek and the Allegheny River. Weeds were an issue for some boaters in mid-September.
Tionesta Lake (Forest County, Pa.) – The Nebraska Bridge area has been yielding panfish in recent weeks. Anglers have had some success trolling for muskies now that recreational boat traffic has tapered off.