Alum Creek Lake (Delaware County) – Fishing jigs and minnows suspended by a float around woody cover in the upper end of the lake and in coves is a good way to catch crappies. Crappies must be nine inches or longer to keep. For white bass, use minnows, jigs, and small spinners in the upper end of the lake north of Howard Road. White bass are also available in the creek itself, at Kilbourne. The area above Howard Road has good numbers of channel catfish. Try using cut shad for good results.
Kiser Lake (Champaign County) – For largemouth bass, fish plastic baits and crankbaits in and along lily pads on the south side of the lake and near woody cover on the north shore. As the water warms, bluegills can be caught in shallow water areas using nightcrawlers or waxworms fished under a bobber. Fly fishing for bluegills using floating flies and spiders can also be very productive and exciting. Chicken livers fished on the lake bottom can reward an angler with channel catfish or hybrid striped bass. No motors are allowed on this lake.
Hoover Reservoir (Delaware, Franklin counties) – White bass are the hot fish at Hoover Reservoir right now. Try using small spinners and jigs in Big Walnut Creek north of the reservoir. Crappies are also active right now; they can be caught in two to four feet of water on jigs tipped with minnows or twister tails fished around woody cover. For largemouth bass, May is the time to fish shoreline cover with lures like tube baits, jig and pig, and jerkbaits. There is a 10-horsepower motor limit at this reservoir.
O’Shaughnessy Reservoir (Delaware County) – Crappies are very active in the north end of the lake; target submerged cover using minnows suspended under a bobber. For bluegills, fish shoreline cover throughout the lake with small worms and larval baits suspended beneath a bobber. For largemouth bass, fishing areas with shoreline cover such as trees and brush piles can be productive. Try a variety of creature baits, lizards, and tubes for best results. Channel catfish can be taken in the upper section of the reservoir. Use cut baits, shrimp, or nightcrawlers fished on the bottom.
Buckeye Lake (Fairfield, Licking, Perry counties) – Anglers fishing the points off Fairfield Beach are catching saugeyes and crappies on jig and minnow combinations. The crossover from the boat ramps to Millersport is the recommended spot for saugeyes, crappies, and bluegills.
Delaware Lake (Delaware County) – This 1,017-acre lake north of Columbus consistently provides quality crappie fishing. Crappies move to deeper areas with cover as the water temperature warms. Try fishing drop-offs with stumps or other wood. Crappies must be nine inches or longer to keep. Channel catfish can be caught using cut baits and shrimp, especially in the upper part of the lake. For largemouth bass, fish shoreline cover, riprap, and secondary drop-offs with crankbaits, tubes, and creature baits.
Beaver Creek Reservoir (Seneca County) – Catfish have been biting. Try using shrimp for bait. For large catfish, try drift fishing or balloon fishing. Boats are allowed on the reservoir with electric motors only.
Sandusky River (Sandusky County) – White bass are biting in the Sandusky River near Fremont. Water is muddy, high, and swift, so try using tightlines similar to fishing for catfish, but with a shiner for bait tied above the sinker.
Indian Lake (Logan County) – Anglers fishing for saugeyes here are finding fairly good luck. Fish are well distributed throughout the lake, according to angler reports, and can be caught on a variety of offerings from swimbaits to crankbaits to jig and minnow combinations. Saugeyes have ranged from 15 to 24 inches.
Scioto River (Huron County) – Channel catfish should be biting this time of year. The river can be accessed near Mount Victory, on Township Road 150, just east of the Township Road 245 intersection. The best fishing is usually at night. Try fishing nightcrawlers tightlined near the bottom.
Wayne Carr Lake (Paulding County) – This 15-acre lake located on County Road 11, just ½ mile south of County Road 424, should be producing nice bluegills the next two months. The best fishing is usually along the shoreline using waxworms fished under a bobber. There is a public use boat ramp available, but boats are restricted to 10 horsepower motors.
Muddy Creek (Sandusky County) – Catfish should be biting the next couple of months. Anglers can access the water at the State Route 53 bridge. The best successes have come from fishing chicken livers or cut bait tightlined on the bottom.
Below are the best bets, by species, for fishing in northwest Ohio, according to the DNR Division of Wildlife.
Clearfork Reservoir (Richland and Ashland counties) – Ranks in the top 10 statewide for both the number and size of largemouth bass. Explore the western, shallow end for bass hiding among fallen trees and stumps. The reservoir features a multilane concrete ramp and docks, as well as a full-service marina. This is an unlimited horsepower lake with an 8 mph speed limit. Clearfork Reservoir is also one of the states premiere muskellunge lakes. For more information about this lake, visit wildohio.gov
Pleasant Hill Reservoir (Richland, Ashland counties) – Contains a large number of crappies, with good numbers of fish over nine inches. Popular spots for fishing are along the rocky ledge on the southern shore, and small coves along the southern neck of the reservoir. Focus on trees or logs lying in the water. The northern end becomes more popular in the summer as fish seek more cover. Pleasant Hill has an improved boat ramp with courtesy docks, and an accessible fishing dock near the boat ramp. Check out the new interactive fishing map for depth contours and habitat information. This lake is an unlimited horsepower lake that attracts a lot of water skiers and personal watercraft. Try fishing in the upper end of the reservoir when the recreational boating makes fishing difficult in the lower part of the reservoir.
Lake La Su An (Williams County) – The lakes and ponds on Lake La Su An Wildlife Area are managed for large populations of big bluegill (longer than eight inches). For the largest lake on the area, Lake La Su An, the east shoreline and the south shoreline directly across from the fishing dock are the best locations to start. Live bait such as waxworms or red worms will entice panfish to bite. This lake features a concrete boat ramp with a boat dock, plus an accessible fishing dock near the launch ramp. The lake is unlimited horsepower with a no-wake restriction. Other ponds on the area have primitive boat ramps suitable for small boats. See wildohio.gov for a full listing of the rules.
Beaver Creek Reservoir (Seneca County) – This upground reservoir offers good bank access for anglers of all ages. Look for channel catfish in deeper water during the day using cut baits or nightcrawlers. For night-time shore anglers, the southern end of the reservoir produces good numbers of fish. For boat anglers, try fishing the middle of the reservoir where the lake drops from 18 to 33 feet. The reservoir has an improved concrete ramp with dock, and is limited to electric motors only. Boats with larger motors can keep them tipped up and out of the water. Be aware of strong winds which can affect launching and landing boats.
Pleasant Hill Reservoir (Richland, Ashland counties) – When possible, fish the flat just outside the marina area, which holds fish, as well as the area where the reservoir bends south to the dam. Saugeye fishing can also be good just off the beach area in 10 to 15 feet of water. Try fishing that area at night with a jig tipped with a live minnow near the bottom. There is an improved boat ramp with courtesy docks, plus an accessible fishing dock near the boat ramp. This lake is an unlimited horsepower lake that attracts a lot of water skiers and personal watercraft. Try fishing in the upper end of the reservoir when the recreational boating makes fishing difficult in the lower part of the reservoir.
Findlay Reservoir No. 2 (Hancock County) – This reservoir offers some of the best Buckeye State inland yellow perch fishing. Good numbers of large perch over 10 inches are caught every year. Shoreline fishing in the spring and fall can be productive over the fish attraction structures. If fishing from a boat, start along the dike opposite of the boat ramp and move east. In summer, the deep water in the eastern part of the reservoir usually holds perch. When the reservoir is being filled, the area near the inflow on the northwest dike is usually good for a variety of species. Findlay No. 2 has an improved concrete ramp and launching dock. There is a 10 horsepower limit for gas motors. Wind is usually more intense on this reservoir due to its height. Be careful of the wind direction and speed before venturing out.
Mogadore Reservoir (Portage County) – Owned and operated by the city of Akron, this reservoir is in the southwestern portion of the county, three miles east of Akron and six miles south of Kent on State Route 43, one mile south of U.S. Route 224. April, May, and June are the best months for catching largemouth bass: cast surface lures, crankbaits, or spinners toward shore and retrieve at moderate speed. For crappies, use live minnows and jigs, particularly in stumpy areas. Fishing from shore is somewhat limited, but the entire reservoir is available for boat fishing. Outboard motors are limited to electric only.
Silver Creek Lake (Summit County) – Owned and operated by Summit County Metro Parks, this reservoir is about two miles south of the city of Norton, approximately one mile north of State Route 585 off Medina Line Road. Silver Creek Lake is contained within Silver Creek Metro Park. Largemouth bass and bluegills can be captured close to shore, especially during the spring and again in the fall. For largemouth bass, use spinner baits, surface lures, and plastic worms. For bluegills and other sunfish, use waxworms, maggots or small worms.
Mosquito Creek Lake (Trumbull County) – Mosquito Creek Lake is situated within Mosquito Lake State Park in Trumbull County approximately one mile west of State Route 5 in Cortland. Five maintained boat-launch ramps in addition to 250 docks (available for seasonal rental) are situated around this lake providing convenient access. Unlimited horsepower boating is permitted on the lake. Walleyes seem to be the hot bite at Mosquito Lake. Small jigs tipped with a minnow at the right spot will be sure to keep your rod busy. Focus your time on woody snags or other structure in bays where the water tends to warm up quicker or in deeper water (8-12 feet) on the edge of weed beds.
Wingfoot Lake (Portage County) – Wingfoot Lake lies within Wingfoot Lake State Park, which is in southwestern Portage County, three miles east of Akron and eight miles south of Kent, west of State Route 43, one-half mile south of U.S. Route 224. Boats are allowed on Wingfoot Lake, but they must be propelled by outboard motors of 10 horsepower or less. For crappie, live minnows and jigs fished in six to eight feet of water are producing some nice slabs. Anglers are reporting that most of the fish are being caught toward the bottom. Real nice bonus perch are being caught by anglers while crappie fishing. Stick with the same bait, setup, and locations as crappie for a chance to pull in some nice perch.
Pymatuning Lake (Ashtabula County) – Anglers are catching a good number of yellow perch and crappies on this lake that spans the eastern border between Ohio and Pennsylvania. Crappies are coming in anywhere from 15 to 25 feet of water by anglers using minnows under a bobber or waxworms. Crappies have been large, some running up to 15 inches, according to angler reports. The crappie bite started out slow this spring, but is turning on as the temperatures warm, anglers report.
Dale Walborn Reservoir (Portage County) – Crappies continue to bite well, with some larger sized fish being taken. Minnows and worms under a bobber continue to produce these tasty panfish. In addition, anglers fishing live bait have been taking good numbers of channel catfish, typically ranging from 15 to 20 inches. Bobber rigs, as well as slip sinker rigs with nightcrawlers, have been particularly effective. The shoreline bite has been hot for sunfish, although these fish have run small. Try waxworms one to two feet below a bobber for fast action. A few bass have also been taken, and the sizes are good. Try using crankbaits, soft plastics, or topwater lures.
Berlin Lake (Mahoning, Portage, Stark counties) – Walleyes are biting well. Anglers are taking good numbers of keeper fish on small jigs tipped with leeches or trolling worm harnesses. Bluegills are biting near the shore, as well, using waxworms or nightcrawlers a couple feet below a bobber. The warm weather has the channel catfish moving too, with nightcrawlers on slip sinker rigs being the bait of choice. The Route 14 bridge has been a hot spot. Topwater baits and tube jigs have produced occasional good catches of bass.
East Fork Lake (Clermont County) – For crappies, try using minnows and jigs with tubes. Chartreuse and white color patterns are working the best currently. Fish are generally being taken in 18 to 24 inches of water. Try fishing around structure, fallen trees, and in the coves.
Rocky Fork Lake (Highland County) – For saugeyes, anglers are reporting decent fishing. Try crankbaits or trolling with a Shad Rap. Crappies have been hitting between three and four feet. Try using black or chartreuse jigs and minnows. Largemouth bass are being taken with crankbaits in water two to six feet deep.
Cowan Lake (Clinton County) – The lake is slightly muddy at the moment but many are reporting decent fishing. For crappies, try minnows in four to six feet of water.
Adams Lake (Adams County) – Anglers should have good success fishing from the shoreline. Bluegills and crappies can be caught on nightcrawlers and waxworms. This is a great place for fishing with youth. Pay careful attention to the trees and weeds along the bank. Fish are hitting around 18 inches deep.
Lake Loramie (Shelby County) – Channel catfish are biting on chicken livers, shrimp, and stink baits fished on the bottom. Bluegills have been caught recently around boat docks, riprap shorelines, and along the edges of lily pads. Try using small jigs tipped with waxworms fished just one to two feet under a small bobber.
Lake Logan (Hocking County) – Saugeyes can be caught on bottom bouncing jigs tipped with nightcrawlers or minnows fished in six to 10 feet of water. Also try trolling crankbaits in the same depth. For crappies, start looking for white crappies to move into shallower water around shoreline structure to spawn. Focus your effort around wood structure. Try using small jigs tipped with plastic tubes, plastic grubs, or live minnows fished below bobbers in depths less than six feet. Sunfish should be biting well along the shore. Fish a simple waxworm under a bobber.
Monroe Lake (Monroe County) – Productive spots for largemouth bass generally include the areas along submerged weed beds or woody cover in six feet of water. Try fishing shallow running crankbaits. Bluegill fishing should be good as temperatures continue to warm. Seek out shallow areas in the upper end of the lake or on the north side of the lake in hopes of catching some of the bluegill on spawning beds.
Wills Creek Reservoir (Coshocton County) – Saugeyes will concentrate below the dam during high volume water releases. Shallow flats, points, and areas with riprap will also attract saugeyes. Jig-and-twisters, vibrating blade baits, and stick baits are popular in addition to live bait such as minnows. Flathead catfish can be reeled in below the dam and in the tailwaters in the late afternoon and evening hours. Try using nightcrawlers and chicken livers.
Tycoon Lake (Gallia County) – Largemouth bass attract many early anglers at this popular destination. Use rubber worms or spinner baits along the old fencerows or over other submerged structure such as tree stumps, standing timber, or weed bed edges. Early spring is a great time to fish for crappie. Try using jigs and minnows in two- to eight-foot depths.
Lake Vesuvius (Lawrence County) – Successful catches of bass, bluegill, catfish, and trout are always reported this time of year. From the boardwalk, try fishing worms under bobbers for bluegills. Trout can be caught on flavored baits fished off the bottom near the boat dock. Fish for catfish all along the lake shoreline on the bottom using cut bait or nightcrawlers. Largemouth bass in the 17-18-inch range can be reeled in on a variety of artificial baits in the coves of the northwest bank, between the dock and the beach. Largemouth bass and an occasional spotted bass can also be caught on a variety of artificial baits fished near the headwaters of the lake near the point.
Veto Lake (Washington County) – Crappies, sunfish, catfish, and largemouth bass should all be biting at this 160-acre lake. For crappies, fish a minnow under a bobber at two feet off the bottom along woody vegetation. For sunfish, try small worms, waxworms, or minnows fished under a bobber. The best locations are generally near the picnic shelter and the boat ramp. Try fishing for largemouth bass with green-colored crankbaits. Cast out along banks, quick drop-offs, and vegetated areas and reel in slowly. Channel catfish can be fished at night using cut baits, chicken livers, and nightcrawlers.
Salt Fork Lake (Guernsey County) – Anglers fishing for bass on this Guernsey County lake near Cambridge are catching the occasional muskie. Some fish have topped 40 inches in recent weeks. Try jerkbaits to entice the muskie bite or the bass bite.
Dillon Lake (Muskingum County) – Anglers fishing below the spillway are targeting saugeyes with some regularity and the bite is reportedly spotty. On the main lake, fishermen are catching bluegills and crappies. Focus your efforts in areas with woody cover.
Lake Erie Region
• On May 1, the daily bag limit returned to six walleyes 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): closed to possession May 1 through June 23 (catch-and-release is legal). On June 24, the daily bag limit returns to five fish per angler.
Where: Weather conditions have limited recent fishing opportunities, according to the Division of Wildlife. As walleye spawning ends, expect fish to spread out around the western basin and islands area. Fishing is usually good west of the Bass Islands and around Kelleys Island as fish start their migrations toward summer locations.
How: Expect to catch walleyes by casting mayfly rigs tipped with worms, or by trolling with crankbaits, worm harnesses, or divers and spoons.
As of May 16, the Lake Erie water temperature was 53 off Toledo and 51 off Cleveland, according to the nearshore marine forecast.
In late spring, highlight species targeted by anglers in Cleveland Metroparks include steelhead trout, stocked trout, panfish, and largemouth and smallmouth bass. The Rocky and Chagrin rivers are in nice shape after running high and muddy most of the past week. With the water being elevated, anglers can expect the majority of the steelhead hightailed it back to Lake Erie. Edging our steelhead out of the spotlight are good numbers of lake-run smallmouth bass. These fish are present in deeper, rocky holes throughout the Rocky and Chagrin rivers. Anglers fishing a jig, Wooly Bugger, live shiner, or other lures/flies that mimic a baitfish have a shot at hooking the “silver and bronze” (a steelhead and smallmouth) in the same day, although this feat will be increasingly difficult to accomplish as we get further into May. Note: smallmouth bass may not be kept in Lake Erie or the Rocky River downstream of the Detroit Road bridge between May 1 and June 24.
On April 24, Cleveland Metroparks stocked 600 pounds of rainbow trout in the East Branch Rocky River. Recently DNR stocked trout at Hinckley Lake (2,500 fish) and Shadow Lake (500 fish), as well. These fish will range from 11 to 14 inches in length. Trout also remain at Wallace Lake. Trout hit well on PowerBait fished near the bottom, jigs tipped with a few maggots/waxworms suspended below a bobber, minnows, and smaller spoons and spinners. The final scheduled trout stocking of the season will be at Wallace Lake and Ohio & Erie Canal for children’s fishing derbies in May.
Please note the current seasonal trout regulations: Lake Erie and all streams two/day, minimum size 12 inches (this includes steelhead through May 15, after which point the limit increases to five/day); three/day, no size limit at Wallace, Ledge, Judge’s, and Ranger lakes, and five/day, no size limit at Shadow Lake and Ohio & Erie Canal.
Cleveland Metroparks, www.clevelandmetroparks.com
OHIO RIVER REGION
Brown and Clermont Counties – Fishing activity has been picking up. Sauger, white bass, and hybrid striped bass are all being caught. Spinners and jigs have both been successful. White, pearl, chartreuse, orange, and yellow twister tails are a great choice right now.
Racine Dam Area (Meigs County) – White and hybrid striped bass: Spinners and jigs can both be successful this time of year. White, pearl, chartreuse, orange, and yellow twister tails have all been popular with anglers. Sauger: With the spawn over, fish will spread out in the river. However, some can still be caught in the tailwaters using jigs tipped with plastic grubs or minnows.
Bellville Dam Tailwater Area (Washington County) – Hybrid striped bass: Try minnows, crankbaits, or twister tails. Catfish will start biting soon on a variety of baits, including nightcrawlers and cut bait such as shad and skipjack. Try the area near the dam and along the walkway.
Bellville Pool Area (Washington County) – Channel catfish can be caught from shore using nightcrawlers and chicken livers off the bottom. Black bass have been caught in the spring in previous years by both shore and boat anglers. Focus your effort in the many tributaries and embayments using crankbaits and spinners.
Riverbend to Downtown Area (Hamilton County) – Channel catfish: Water levels are slightly high but anglers report success off gravel humps in about 20 feet of water near channel drop-offs. Fish depths from 15 to 30 feet and try cut skipjack and shad.
Meldahl Dam (Clermont County) – Channel catfish are being taken in good numbers all along the river. Try chicken livers, shrimp, or nightcrawlers fished on the bottom.