Buckeye Lake (Fairfield, Licking, Perry counties) – Anglers are catching wipers here by tight-lining chicken livers or shrimp on the bottom, much like you would fish for catfish. For saugeyes, cast a crankbait in perch patterns for the best results. Saugeyes have been ranging up to 20 inches. Anglers are also catching catfish, crappies, and bluegills by fishing live bait.
Alum Creek Lake (Delaware County) – Muskie anglers are having some success here by fishing swimbaits. The largest muskie being reported recently was 46 inches. Find wood and fish it hard. Warmer temperatures in the forecast should also trigger a better bite for saugeyes and crappies. Troll Flicker Shads for the best results on these two species.
Deer Creek Lake (Pickaway, Fayette counties) – Anglers are catching saugeyes here, but sizes have been smallish, in the 10- to 12-inch range. Fishermen are also catching white bass on jig and minnow combinations. Crappies, too, are being caught on the same bait.
Hoover Reservoir (Delaware, Franklin counties) – Limits of crappies are being caught by anglers fishing jigs tipped with minnows. Some are also slow trolling for the successful crappie bite with the same baits. Fish the bait between 10 and 15 feet deep for best results. White bass, too, are being caught by slow-trolling anglers.
Indian Lake (Logan County) – Anglers are hitting up the early spring bite for panfish here. Many bluegills and crappies are being caught, including some near limits on crappies (30 fish). Try a jig and minnow combination or simply a minnow below a bobber. Waxworms under a float is also a good option for panfish.
Lima Lake (Allen County) – Anglers are fishing this reservoir hard for yellow perch with some success. Try a jig and minnow combination or just a minnow under a float. Fish the bait fairly deep for the best perch bite. Successful anglers might also tie on a crappie rig baited with minnows to pick up some perch and/or crappies.
Maumee River (Lucas County) – Though wintertime cold temperatures still seem to be hanging on, anglers are catching walleyes on the Maumee. According to Maumee Bait and Tackle, the river level is dropping, which should allow anglers to hit some of their favorite spots. As of now, Orleans Park and the White Street access continue to be the popular spots. Wading to Bluegrass Island was not possible in the early days of April. Popular colors were black and green, orange and glow, pink and firetiger.
Maumee Bait and Tackle, www.maumeetackle.net
Bresler Reservoir (Allen County) – Anglers are drift fishing live bait rigs with leeches, nightcrawlers, and minnows to pick up some white bass and crappies. Fish the bait between 10 and 12 feet deep for better results. Some catfish, too, are being caught by anglers fishing cut baits on the bottom.
West Branch Lake (Portage, County) – Fishermen at this lake are targeting crappies with some success. The best crappie bite is coming in six to 12 feet of water. Anglers are catching them on plastics as well as live bait such as nightcrawlers, minnows, or waxworms. Muskie reports have been few and far between. The largest muskie reportedly caught recently was a 30-incher.
Pymatuning Reservoir (Ashtabula County) – Fishermen are catching channel catfish in this large Ashtabula County lake. Crappies and rock bass, too, are biting on minnows fished under a bobber. Find the crappies and rock bass near wood in the lake. Fish the bait at medium depths. Others are fishing for walleyes with limited success.
Nimisila Reservoir (Summit County) – Anglers are catching good numbers of crappies at this lake in the Portage Lakes region. Fishermen are finding these papermouths in the weeds in five to 10 feet of water. Successful anglers are using jig and minnow combos. Popular colors for the trailer have been purple, white, and chartreuse. Crappies are ranging up to a very good 13 inches.
Mosquito Creek Lake (Trumbull County) – Anglers are wading this large northeast Ohio lake and catching some walleyes. Shad-patterned crankbaits are the popular offerings. Anglers are also fishing at the spillway for walleyes with good results. There is no size limit on walleyes here, and anglers are catching fish ranging from 12 to 20 inches. The spring walleye bite on this lake should only get better as the water temperatures rise.
Rocky Fork Lake (Highland County) – Fishermen here are catching largemouth bass with some regularity. Plastics are working better than any other bait. Cast anywhere along the shoreline with topwater baits or swimbaits for better results. Catfish, too, are an option here and this a decent lake for channels. Fish chicken livers tightline on the bottom for a successful catfish bite.
Paint Creek Lake (Highland County) – Anglers are fishing the spillway area of this lake for saugeyes and crappies with some success. The successful setup has been live bait such as nightcrawlers or minnows fished under a float.
Grand Lake St. Marys (Mercer County) – The crappie bite has been good recently on Grand Lake St. Marys. Anglers are fishing straight minnows or waxworms under a float for the best bite. Sizes have ranged up to a respectable 13 inches. The state has stocked perch here in recent years, so that may be an option for anglers, although perch reports are few and far between on this lake it seems.
Caesar Creek Lake (Warren, Clinton, Greene counties) – Fishermen are itching for the good crappie bite on this lake. Some hardy anglers have braved cooler temperatures and lots of rain in the past few days, with few fish to show for it. Look for downed trees, stick-ups, any kind of cover in the early spring and you’ll likely find some crappies.
Great Miami River (various counties) – Anglers are hitting the GMR in a number of spots and catching smallmouth bass. For the best bite this spring, fish your bait shallow – such as 3-6 feet of water, and look for seams in the current. The best set up has been a three- to five-inch finesse tube fished slowly. These smallmouth are reportedly light biters, so set the hook at the first sign of resistance.
Clendening Lake (Harrison County) – Anglers are finding crappies suspended in about 20 feet of water here, close to downed timber. Look for any stick-ups and they should hold a fair share of crappies. The popular setup has been a live minnow under a float. Jigs, too, are also working in white, chartreuse, and pumpkinseed. Some anglers are catching a load of crappies on these baits, some up to 11 inches.
Hocking River (Hocking County) – Anglers are fishing the area of the river at White’s Mill to pick up some catfish. Both channels and flatheads are reportedly being caught. The popular setup has been a chub fished tightline on the bottom. When weather conditions permit, this can be a good place to fish for a variety of species.
Burr Oak Lake (Morgan, Athens counties) – Anglers fishing for bass here have had success in recent weeks. The popular pattern has been a deep-diving crankbait in a variety of colors. Fish points and rocky areas in 13 to 18 feet of water for the best results.
Piedmont Lake (Belmont County) – Anglers are fishing for saugeyes and muskies here with little to show for it, according to angler reports. Fishermen are throwing big bucktails in search of muskies, and some incidental catches of saugeyes have occurred. Some anglers are trolling for both of these species, particularly near the dam area where there seems to be more fish. Still, few results to report.
Lake Erie Region
• The daily bag limit for walleye in Ohio waters of Lake Erie is four 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.
• Black bass (largemouth and smallmouth bass): The daily bag limit is five fish per angler with a 14 inch minimum size limit.
Where: Northeast winds and muddy water deterred many anglers this past week, and anglers struggled to find clean water. Spring rains and warmer air temperatures should improve fishing once the water clears.
How: Two weeks ago, most fish were caught trolling at speeds of 1.5-1.8 mph, using both deep and shallow diving crankbaits. Blue-chrome was a popular color.
In early spring, highlight species targeted by anglers in Cleveland Metroparks include stocked trout, steelhead trout, largemouth bass, and panfish. The Rocky River and other area streams are elevated and muddy with more rain in the forecast.
A total of 291 coho salmon were stocked in Wallace Lake recently and DNR stocked rainbow trout in Shadow (816 fish) and Hinckley (2,759 fish) lakes. The Lake Erie marina and harbor areas are also offering steelhead trout, northern pike, largemouth bass, and panfish.
Area streams are elevated and muddy with more rain on the way. Wise anglers will follow the trend on the flow gage before embarking on a trip to the river. Fish are very well distributed all throughout the Rocky, Chagrin, Cuyahoga, and several smaller river/stream systems at this time. Once water levels recede, anglers can expect a run of fresh steelhead to complement the actively spawning and spawned out (spent) fish in the system. As the water first begins to clear a bright pink or chartreuse nickel size spawn bag is tough to beat, with other offerings like flies, jigs tipped with maggots, minnows, and lures (spoons, spinners, and crankbaits) producing as the waters further clear. In a typical year, March and April are prime months in terms of numbers of steelhead present in the rivers.
The white sucker run is underway on local streams, with Morley Ford north of the Lorain Road bridge being a hot spot. A leadhead jig with twister tail, nymph flies, or worm and small sinker fished near the river bottom will all take their share of suckers. Suckers are perfect for kids and less experienced anglers, although experienced anglers can find the fast action they afford to be lots of fun. For some anglers, harvesting suckers for use in making fish patties is a spring tradition. Recipes can be found online if you want to give this a try.
Cleveland shoreline breakwalls, marinas, and harbors on Lake Erie are currently offering anglers a shot at catching steelhead, along with northern pike, largemouth bass, and panfish. Productive spots include Edgewater, Wildwood, and East 72nd/Gordon Park boat ramp areas. For steelhead, a medium size Little Cleo spoon (or similar) or jig tipped with minnow or maggots suspended under a float are top producers. For northern pike and largemouth bass a white and silver spinnerbait is often a producer.
On March 16 and March 19 a total of 1,200 pounds of rainbow trout were stocked in the East Branch Rocky River between Route 82 (Royalton Road) and the river crossing ford about a mile south of Wallace Lake. Of the six spots Cleveland Metroparks routinely stocks, Bonnie Park (on both the upstream and downstream side of the dam) receives the lion’s share of these fish. Cleveland Metroparks did not stock the river due to elevated water levels but hope to stock again soon. Cleveland Metroparks will continue stocking trout in the river up until the end of April.
Cleveland Metroparks’ inland lakes are offering very good trout fishing opportunities at this time. Recently, 291 coho salmon were stocked in Wallace Lake as a bonus spring fishery. Stockings like this are made possible by proceeds from the Cleveland Metroparks Fishing Fund. Also in late March the Ohio Division of Wildlife stocked 816 rainbow trout at Shadow Lake and 2,759 rainbow trout at Hinckley Lake. These fish average about 3 to 4 pounds each. Additionally, Cleveland Metroparks stocked 6,000 pounds of trout this past winter, as follows: Jan. 22: Shadow (1,500 pounds), Ledge (1,200 pounds), and Judge’s (300 pounds) lakes; and on Jan 24: Wallace (2,800 pounds) and Ranger (200 pounds) lakes.
Trout typically bite well on PowerBait, jigs tipped with a few maggots/waxworms, and smaller spinners (such as Rooster Tail). Note the current seasonal trout regulations: Lake Erie and all streams: two/day, minimum size 12 inches (this includes steelhead); three/day, no size limit at Wallace, Judge’s, and Ranger lakes; and five/day, no size limit at Shadow Lake and Ohio & Erie Canal. Note: Ledge Lake is posted as catch and release fishing only until further notice.
Cleveland Metroparks, www.clevelandmetroparks.com
OHIO RIVER REGION
Racine Pool – Anglers are managing to catch wipers and largemouth bass here. The wipers are biting on chicken livers fished on or near the bottom. Hit the rocks for the best bass bite.
Greenup Dam – Fish for hybrid stripers here like you would fish for catfish. These wipers will hit chicken livers and cut bait fished on the bottom.
Pike Island – Saugers are being caught by anglers fishing quarter-ounce jigs tipped with minnows. Others are casting spoons against the rocks without much success.
New Cumberland Lock and Dam – A few anglers are managing to catch some saugers here. The popular setup has been a jig and a skirt in either chartreuse or pumpkin color. Cast the jig out and wait a few pauses until it nearly hits bottom, then employ a slow retrieve.