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Ohio Outdoor News Fishing Report – August 12th, 2016

Central Region

Hoover Reservoir (Delaware, Franklin counties) – Largemouth bass are being caught around shoreline cover and secondary points. White bass are starting to hit. Look for schools of gizzard shad at the surface and cast spinners into them. Channel catfish can be caught using shrimp and cut shad, target the flats in the north basin at night or dawn and dusk. 10-horsepower limit.

Scioto River (Delaware, Franklin, Pickaway counties) – Smallmouth bass can be caught using crankbaits and plastics below Griggs and O’Shaughnessy Reservoirs. Try fishing the upper end of pools where it meets the riffles. Flathead and channel catfish can also be caught using cut bait or live fish around woody cover in pools.

Big Darby Creek (Franklin, Madison, Pickaway counties) – In summer weather, creeks and rivers can provide fishing action. For smallmouth bass, casting small crankbaits or plastics resembling crayfish or shiners can be rewarding. Target boulders, shoreline cover, where pools meet riffles, and current eddies. Rock bass can be caught using the same techniques as smallmouth bass. Other gamefish present are bluegill, carp, crappie, channel and flathead catfish, saugeye, and sauger.

Kiser Lake (394 acres; Champaign County) – This lake in Champaign County is perfect for a quiet day on the water since no motors are allowed. There is a good population of largemouth bass here; try plastics, topwater baits, and crankbaits along the lily pads or cover on the north side of the lake. Crappies become more active as the water cools this fall; try using minnows in the old creek channel or around woody cover. For bluegills, fish aquatic vegetation and cover using waxworms for good results. Fly-fishing for bluegills is a good way to learn this fishing technique.

Delaware Lake (963 acres; Delaware County) – For crappies, use jigs and minnows around woody cover and target water depths of 8 to 15 feet. Crappie must be nine inches or longer to keep. Channel catfish are plentiful in this lake. Try using cut bait and shrimp fished on the bottom at night for the best success. Largemouth bass are being caught around cover and on lake points. Use spinner baits and plastics for the best results. Most fish are around 12 inches in length.

Northwest Region

Oxbow Lake (Defiance County) – Oxbow lake is at Oxbow Wildlife Area, seven miles northwest of the city of Defiance on Trinity Road. Largemouth bass fishing has been very good. People are taking a number of the smaller fish out of the lake, which should help the age structure in the future. Just about anything has been effective at catching the smaller sized bass. Boats are allowed on the lake and there is a boat ramp available; however, boats are restricted to electric motors only.

Upper Sandusky Reservoir #2 (Wyandot County) – Channel catfish have been biting at this 118-acre reservoir on the southeast edge of Upper Sandusky on County Road 60. The shoreline consists of rocks, a wetland shelf, and sand beach area. Try fishing at the beach area and along the east shoreline. Shrimp fished on the bottom or just off the bottom using slip bobbers usually work best. There is a boat ramp and dock, but boats are restricted to electric motors only. The reservoir closes at 10 p.m.

Blanchard River (Hardin County) – Smallmouth bass have been biting on light-colored spinning baits. The best location to access the river is the Township Road 183 Bridge. Anglers are having the best successes in the afternoons.

Crossroads Industrial Pond (Crawford County) – This 10-acre pond is in central Crawford County, on the north side of Bucyrus along State Route 4, at the end of Crossroads Boulevard. Throughout the year, rainbow trout, largemouth bass, bluegill, and channel catfish can be caught in this pond. This time of year, the largemouth bass, bluegill, and channel catfish should be biting. Most of the fishing occurs along the south and west shores. However, there is shoreline access around the entire pond. Bass tend to favor minnows, plastic worms, tubes, and small jigs. The catfish prefer chicken livers, nightcrawlers, or shrimp fished on the bottom. No boat ramp is available, but small boats are allowed. No gasoline engines are permitted on the pond.

Killdeer Plains Pond #33 (Wyandot County) – This pond is northeast of the village of Marseilles, one mile east of State Route 67 on former County Road 75. Largemouth bass should be biting this time of year. Anglers usually have the best success early in the morning and in the evenings along the south dike and along the fishing piers. Generally, weedless topwater baits fished over the weed beds or jigs and pigs fished along the weed line and in open-water pockets produce the best results. The pond has a boat ramp with a floating dock. Boats are limited to 10-horsepower motors. Shore fishing is available from the dike and piers. Wading along the north shore is also popular.

Ottawa River (Allen County) – This river, which passes through the city of Lima, is a good place to try for channel catfish. The best locations are from downtown to the Collett Street railroad trestle. Nightcrawlers, chicken livers, raw shrimp, and commercial catfish baits are all popular with local anglers. Fishing access is mainly limited to the shoreline; however, some anglers do use small boats or canoes.

Outhwaite Reservoir, Bucyrus Reservoir #4 (160 acres, Crawford County) – Bluegills are being caught on the east side of the reservoir. Try using maggots or waxworms. Yellow perch are also being caught fishing with maggots a few feet above a sinker on the bottom. There is no motor size restriction but a “no wake” zone exists throughout the reservoir.

Sandusky River (Sandusky County) – Longnose gar have been biting on minnows fished under bobbers below the Ballville dam during the day. Catfish have been biting below the Ballville dam using any of the common catfish baits. Fish are biting during the day and night.

Van Wert Reservoirs #1and #2 (61 and 100 acres; Van Wert County) – Bluegills should be biting at the Van Wert reservoirs this time of year. Anglers should try fishing five to seven feet deep using waxworms under a bobber. The mornings and evenings are usually the best times to fish. At Van Wert #1, try fishing the southeast bank and at Van Wert #2 try along the east bank. Boats are permitted on the reservoirs; however, boaters must obtain a permit from the city of Van Wert.

Northeast Region 

Clendening Lake (Harrison County) – Channel catfish have been biting on chicken livers. Shoreline anglers have been doing well fishing for them using slip-sinker rigs around riprap, wood, and weed edges. For larger flathead catfish, try large shad or other baitfish fished around wood cover. Excellent numbers of largemouth bass are also available at Clendening. Target them with Texas-rigged soft plastics around wood, deep weedlines, and thick weed mats, or fishing topwaters at low light.

Lake Milton (Mahoning County) – Anglers have been periodically picking up walleyes while trolling. Worm harnesses and shad-style crankbaits have been top producers. Bonus channel catfish are common. Try minnows vertically jigged or deep under a bobber (around 10 feet) for crappies. Good catches of smallmouth bass have also been reported. Focus on hard-bottom main-lake areas with soft plastics, crankbaits, or topwaters to target these scrappy fighters.

Tuscarawas River (Summit, Stark counties) – Fishing has been excellent in the Tuscarawas recently, especially from Clinton to Massillon. Common carp, channel catfish, bowfin, and bullheads have all been biting. Hot baits have included cut bait, nightcrawlers, and corn. Target deeper holes and areas downstream of inlets.

Pymatuning Lake (Ashtabula County) – The summer heat has pushed the walleye bite back until after sundown. Walleyes are moving up the offshore structure as the sun sets, feeding aggressively on jigs tipped with nightcrawlers and minnows. Look for points, drop-offs, and shallow flats adjacent to deep water. Catfish have been biting well on a variety of natural baits off these same areas throughout the day at almost any time. Deep stump fields have been productive for panfish. Crappie activity has also shifted to nighttime, when anglers are catching them on jigs tipped with small minnows. Rattling bobbers have been key to attracting these tasty fish. During the day, bluegills have been caught from the same areas, as well as off the shoreline, on red worms. Shorelines and weed beds have also been hot for largemouth bass, with anglers taking numbers of fish on spinnerbaits, crankbaits, and Texas-rigged plastic worms.

Nimisila Lake (Summit County) – The summer heat has slowed bass fishing somewhat, but anglers are still catching fair numbers early and late in the day. Shallow shoreline areas are consistently producing keeper sized bass on soft plastics, while deeper main lake structure is periodically producing larger fish. Walleyes have been active near the dam and can be taken on trolled worm harnesses, and average-sized bluegill are also biting well near shore on maggots.

West Branch Reservoir (Portage County) – Muskie fishing has been hot at this busy reservoir. Anglers are catching good numbers of these exciting fish on crankbaits trolled in 15 feet or more of water. Regular long-line trolling is popular, but anglers also do well here trolling baits in their prop wash, as little as eight feet behind the boat. Anglers trolling with short lines for muskie should be sure to loosen their drag somewhat relative to long line trolling to prevent break-offs.

Mogadore Reservoir (Portage County) – Bass anglers have been catching fish offshore around schooling shad. Lipless crankbaits have been top producers in offshore situations, while Texas-rigged soft plastics have been productive around shoreline cover. Sunfish and crappies have been biting in deeper water. Drifting pin-mins tipped with maggots around the 10-foot depth range has been the ticket.

Tappan Lake (Harrison County) – Shallow crankbaits continue to produce good catches of largemouth bass. With the recent dark and windy conditions, fish have been very shallow and close to shore. The channel catfish action has also been good here, with shad and nightcrawlers both producing good catches.

Spencer Lake (50 acres; Medina County) – Boats are restricted to electric motors only. The catfish bite has been consistent at night; use a variety of baits, including chicken liver, nightcrawlers, shiners, and cut shad, on the bottom, with the peak bites happening after dusk. For sunfish, use small hooks or pin-mins baited with waxworms fished under a float.

LaDue Reservoir (1,475 acres; Geauga County) – Largemouth bass have been biting both shallow and deep. Topwater frogs and buzz baits have been effective around shallow weed beds, and crankbaits and rattle baits have been producing offshore. Catfish continue to bite on nightcrawlers. For crappies, try minnows or chartreuse jigs fished near the bottom around the Routes 44 and 422 overpasses.

Mosquito Creek Lake (7,241 acres; Trumbull County) – For walleyes and crappies, troll small crankbaits and worm harnesses in 11 to 18 feet of water. For largemouth bass, spinnerbaits, plastic worms, crankbaits, and rubber frogs have been the lures of choice. Focus on shallow structure and riprap areas. For yellow perch and sunfish, shore and boat anglers have been doing well using small live-bait offerings. Both channel and flathead catfish have been biting larger live baits off the bottom.

Southwest Region

Acton Lake (Preble County) –Channel catfish are being caught at this lake in Hueston Woods State Park. Try fishing on the bottom using chicken livers or shrimp. The shoreline area between the swimming beach and Sugar Camp area has been the best.

Great Miami River (Miami, Montgomery, Warren counties) – Remember to ask permission before entering private property. Since the water levels are down, now is a great time to wade rivers and find holes to come back to later when the rivers are up. All fish like deep holes this time of year because the water is cooler, there are concentrations of bait, and oxygen levels are better. Catfish are the best bet this time of year. In Miami County, fair numbers of smallmouth bass and rock bass are being caught in the early morning and late evening hours in transition areas where deep and shallow water meet. Popular baits are soft crayfish and salted tube jigs. The fishing is slower on the Montgomery County portion of the Great Miami River, but catfish are always hitting in many of the deep holes throughout the river. Popular spots on the river are the deeper water areas below the low-head dams. Anglers can find fish lying in these deeper holes. Anglers are catching channel and flathead catfish using chicken livers, cut bait, earthworms, nightcrawlers, or live goldfish or bluegill for flatheads.

C. J. Brown Reservoir (Clark County) – Walleyes can be taken using crankbaits, jigs with plastic bodies or curly tails, small spinners, or live minnows, leeches, or nightcrawlers. Good curly tail color choices are white, orange, pink, or chartreuse. Fish by slowly jigging, trolling or drifting baits in 10- to 15-foot depths. Anglers report that the most successful bait has been silver or gold blade baits. Anglers report walleyes are being caught in the main lake river channel, around structure, and over the humps. The best fishing is in the very early morning hours. Most walleyes are undersized fish but some legal fish are being caught. Channel catfish are being caught by anglers using shad, shrimp, nightcrawlers, and chicken livers in the upper end of the lake. Fish the bait tight line or slowly drift the bait along the bottom in three- to six foot depths.

Caesar Creek (Clinton, Greene, Warren counties) – Anglers casting in-line spinners and crankbaits are starting to catch a few muskellunge and, also, having fish follow their baits. Saugeye anglers are catching a few 15- to 18-inch fish from six- to 15-foot depths, but most fish are small. Troll medium- or deep-diving crankbaits along submerged points or underwater humps. Cast or drift with live nightcrawlers on a bottom bouncing harness rig, or use a lead head jig tipped with a piece of worm. Fish in the early morning and early evening hours. If you catch a muskie, please report your catch to the Division of Wildlife’s Muskie Angler Log. The Muskie Angler Log was developed in partnership with the Ohio Muskie Anglers as a resource for Ohio muskie anglers and to support muskie management efforts in Ohio by providing valuable muskie catch data to the Ohio Division of Wildlife. Channel catfish are being caught by shore anglers using nightcrawlers, shrimp, and chicken livers. Fish the bait tight line along the bottom in five- to eight-foot depths.

Cowan Lake (Clinton County) – Anglers casting or trolling shad-raps are starting to catch saugeyes. Bluegill and sunfish are being caught by anglers using earthworms or waxworms. Keep the bait between three and six feet deep. Channel and flathead catfish are being caught by shore anglers using nightcrawlers and chicken liver. Fish the bait tight line along the bottom in three- to six-foot depths.

Paint Creek Lake (Highland and Ross counties) – Crappies are hitting along banks and around downed trees. Anglers should fish with minnows or pumpkinseed jigs. For largemouth bass, jig in about four to 10 feet of water. Bluegills are hitting waxworms in the coves around wood. Channel and shovelhead catfish are being caught in the spillway on nightcrawlers and cut shad.

Southeast Region

Muskingum River (Coshocton, Morgan, Washington counties) – Catfish anglers should continue to be successful with some quality catches of fish. For flathead catfish, try using live suckers, goldfish, and sunfish. But for channel catfish, stick to the tried-and-true nightcrawlers, chicken livers, and cut bait. Current eddies at any of the low-head dams and at the mouth of larger tributary streams have typically been the most productive sites. Try looking for flathead catfish below McConnelsville Lock and Dam #7 using live bait such as gizzard shad or skipjacks.

Lake Hope (Vinton County) – Fishing should continue to be productive. Bluegills and crappies can be caught this time of year on minnows and worms fished under a bobber. If you’re looking for bass, try using artificial topwater lures. Channel catfish can also be found in this lake, typically up to 3 pounds. Try fishing nightcrawlers, chicken livers, or cut bait on the bottom.

Lake Snowden (Athens County) – Largemouth bass: These popular sport fish are going to be moving deeper this time of year to take advantage of the cooler water, but will come into the shallows between dusk and dawn to feed. Try using plastic worms and crankbaits and target the numerous structure piles placed in the lake with the help of Hocking College students, Athens County Bassmasters, and Perry County anglers. A structure map for Lake Snowden can be obtained by calling the DNR Division of Wildlife’s District 4 office (740) 589-9930. Recent storms have created some muddy conditions, but this may provide a great opportunity for catfish since they are not primarily sight feeders. Try targeting shallow coves at night using any of the typical catfish baits like nightcrawlers, chicken livers, or any of the prepared baits.

Forked Run Lake (Meigs County) – Nighttime during the summers always provides great opportunities to catch channel catfish. In this location, the best spots have been in the upper end of the lake. Try using nightcrawlers, cut bait, and/or chicken liver fished on the bottom. Late night and early morning hours can also be productive for largemouth bass anglers. Try spinner baits fished in coves and shallow shelves.

Hocking River (Hocking County) – Anglers looking for smallmouth bass should find some luck using soft craws, minnows with jigs, and a variety of artificial baits. River levels are low; many fish are concentrating in deeper pools. Channel catfish can also be caught using cut baits fished along the bottom.

Scioto River (Ross, Pike counties) – Channel catfish are generally abundant in this area, and should be hitting cut bait, live creek chubs, and chicken livers fished from shore along the bottom. Try casting into rapid drop-off points and near riprap or rocky structure, and pools with heavy woody structure.

Wills Creek Reservoir (375 acres; Coshocton County) – For bluegills, use worms fished below a bobber throughout the shoreline to reel in some of these popular fish. For channel catfish, use cut baits, chicken livers, or nightcrawlers fished tight-line in the spillway area below the dam or the fishing pier. For saugeyes, the hot spot to fish is usually just below the dam, especially during the high volume water releases. Try white or chartreuse jigs tipped with minnows.

Lake Erie Region

• The daily bag limit for walleye 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 five fish per angler until Aug. 31. 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

Walleyes

Where: Many of the fish being caught have been below the 15-inch size limit, primarily from the 2014 year class. The best locations have been north of the Toledo water intake, near “G” can of the Camp Perry firing range, near Crib Reef, and around Kelleys Island Shoal.

How: Most fish have been caught by trolling with spoons or worm harnesses, and by casting with weight forward spinners or mayfly rigs. 

Yellow perch

Where: Yellow perch fishing in the western basin has been improving with the best spots being east of the Toledo water intake, west of Rattlesnake Island, south of Green Island, and south of Kelleys Island.

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

Largemouth bass

Where: Largemouth bass have been caught in harbors and along the main lake shoreline around Catawba and Marblehead.

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

Central Basin

Walleyes

Where: Walleye fishing is improving off Sawmill Creek, northwest of Cranberry Creek, and near Lorain. Good fishing was reported in 34 feet of water northwest of Edgewater Park, in 42 to 56 feet of water northwest of Chagrin River, in 45 to 50 feet of water north of Fairport Harbor, and in 71 to 74 feet of water north-northwest of Ashtabula.

How: Anglers are trolling with Dipsey divers or planer boards with weights or divers, ahead of stick baits or harnesses. The best colors have been purple, pink, and perch color patterns.

Yellow perch 

Where: Yellow perch fishing has been slow recently. The best area has been in 30 feet of water north of Old Woman Creek. Good fishing was reported in 50 to 55 feet of water northeast of Ashtabula and in 45 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 excellent 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.

Steelhead

Where: Fish are being picked up by anglers trolling for walleyes.

As we move into mid-summer, highlight species targeted around Cleveland Metroparks include walleye, yellow perch, largemouth/smallmouth bass, panfish, channel catfish, and common carp. The river water levels were low almost the entire month of June and, consequently, there is more algae accumulated in the river than usual (at least at the beginning of this month). A good rain will take care of that.

Smallmouth bass are typically found in the deeper, rocky pools of the river during the day in summer, and often move to the heads of such pools in the early morning and evening hours to feed actively. A dark olive or brown tube jig of about four inches length is one of the best producers of bass in the river. “Smallies” also bite well on live bait (i.e., minnow, crayfish, and leeches), lures (i.e., spinners and minnow plugs), and flies (i.e., crayfish patterns, Clouser minnows, dark brown or olive sculpin or muddler minnow patterns). Bass of all sizes are abundant in the river, with a healthy number of trophy fish up to (and over) 20 inches in length available. Rock bass are also present in the same river areas as smallmouth, and can be caught using the same offerings listed above.

Channel catfish and large carp are also present in some of these same areas in the river, and fishing for them can be a laid-back and relaxing way to enjoy some time on the water. In mid-late June, farm raised catfish were stocked at Shadow (700 pounds), Ledge (450 pounds), Ranger (300 pounds), and Judge’s (150 pounds) lakes. Good numbers of channel catfish stocked in May also remain to be caught at Wallace Lake and the Ohio and Erie Canal fishing area. Lots of catfish are available in the northern Rocky River, as well. Catfishing is usually best during lower light conditions using baits such as nightcrawlers, minnows, chicken liver, and processed dough baits.

Large carp will be found throughout the Rocky, Cuyahoga, and Chagrin rivers in summer, as well. Carp can often be caught throughout the day on such bait as canned corn, carp dough baits, worms, or crayfish tails. A growing group of fly anglers looking for a challenge are targeting carp with nymphs and crayfish imitations. The key to fishing for either carp or catfish is fishing on (or very near) the river/lake bottom – unless they happen to be feeding on cicadas. In addition, freshwater drum (sheepshead), white perch, and bullhead catfish are also abundant in the northern river reaches (north of Morley Ford) in early summer. For the angling generalist, any of the species named thus far can be effectively targeted by fishing a nightcrawler worm right on the river bottom with a sinker.

Summer means family fishing time for many folks, and panfish fit the bill perfectly for a leisurely picnic and fishing outing. Anglers seeking panfish have experienced decent fishing at most of the ponds and lakes in the park district in the past week. Crappie, bluegill, and other sunfish species can be taken with a number of offerings, but a waxworm or red worm on a small hook (or tiny jig) suspended under a stick float and fished around a weedbed or shoreline brush is always a good choice. Wallace Lake, Shadow Lake, and Lakefront Reservation are just a few of many places in the park to wet a line for various panfish species. Largemouth bass fishing is often best in Wallace and Hinckley lakes, although bass can be found in most park waters.

Largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, rock bass, crappie, freshwater drum, catfish, and sunfish species are biting along the Cleveland shoreline of Lake Erie on offerings such as tube jigs and live minnows. Walleyes are biting off of Cleveland, as well, with an impressive number of just sub-legal 14-inch walleye around, boding well for fishing in the years to come. Yellow perch fishing has been slow.

Cleveland Metroparks, www.clevelandmetroparks.com

OHIO RIVER REGION

Greenup Dam (Scioto County) – For hybrid striped bass, try fishing cut baits and live baits off the bottom. For white bass, try using topwater lures as well as skipjack, chubs, shiners, and cut bait. Early morning will probably produce the most catches. Most channel catfish will probably be found on the bottom using tight-lining techniques with cut bait, nightcrawlers, and chicken livers. Fishing throughout the night and in the early morning hours before daybreak may be the most successful. For flathead catfish, goldfish are popular bait.

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. For hybrid striped bass, try fishing cut baits and live baits on the bottom. For white bass, try using skipjack or cut bait.

Belleville Dam tail waters (Meigs County) – Summer is a great time to catch catfish on the river. Minnows, nightcrawlers, chicken livers, and cut bait fished on the bottom have been the most popular with anglers. Fish in the 10- to 15-pound range have been caught in previous years in this area. Places along the shoreline and walkways generally yield fish, especially near the dam. Hybrid striped bass fishing should be excellent right now. Try spoons, topwater, or ¼-ounce jigs in the tailwater section. 

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