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Ohio Outdoor News Fishing Report – September 23rd, 2016

Central Region

Indian Lake (Logan County) – Saugeyes are being caught along the south bank and around the Moundwood and Dream bridge areas. Try crankbaits and worm harnesses trolled near the bottom. Largemouth bass anglers are catching fish in the canals around cover; try spinnerbaits, tubes, and crankbaits. Bluegills are still being caught in the channels using waxworms, nightcrawlers, or crickets.

Madison Lake (Madison County) – For crappies, use minnows and a bobber around woody cover, especially in the northern half of the lake. Largemouth bass are being caught around shoreline cover and in concentrations of shad. Channel catfish can be caught using shrimp and chicken livers fished on the bottom. Lake is restricted to use of electric motors only.

Knox Lake (Knox County) – Largemouth bass are being caught at this 481-acre lake in Knox County. Target shoreline cover and the stump field in the east end of the lake using spinnerbaits, plastics, and crankbaits. Largemouth bass must be 18 inches or longer to keep. Channel catfish are biting on prepared baits and nightcrawlers; night is the best time. The crappie bite will increase as water temperatures decrease; use minnows and jigs around woody cover. Outboard motors greater than 10 horsepower must move at idle speeds with no wake.

Olentangy River (Delaware and Franklin counties) – Smallmouth bass and rock bass are two fish species that provide action to the angler on this river that runs through Columbus. The best angling can be found from Highbanks Metropark to the Delaware Lake dam. Try spinners and crayfish-imitating crankbaits around rocks and other cover in pools and runs. Other fish present include crappies, saugeyes, carp, and channel catfish.

Hoover Reservoir (Delaware and Franklin counties) – Catfish are still being caught in the north end. Use shrimp, nightcrawlers, or prepared baits for the best catches. Saugeyes are starting to get active. Troll spinners and worm harnesses along points and across flats leading to deeper water. Keep the baits very close to the bottom, early morning and evening bites can be good. Crappies will move back to shallower water as temperatures decrease. Start fishing baits deep and work your way shallower where wood is present. Minnows are very effective this time of year.

Griggs Reservoir (Franklin County) – Largemouth and smallmouth bass are being caught in this reservoir in Columbus. Largemouth bass can be caught on spinnerbaits, crankbaits, or plastic tubes. Smallmouth bass are becoming active along rock outcrops, north of the island and below the dam. Use crankbaits in a crayfish pattern and spinners. Crappies will increase their feeding as water temperatures fall. Target submerged wood using minnows or jigs suspended by a float.

Northwest Region

Sandusky Bay (Erie County) – Some very large catfish have been taken in Sandusky Bay. Try using shrimp or worms fished on the bottom. Night fishing has been more productive than day fishing. The Willow Point, Bay Bridge, and Bay View fishing accesses are all good places to try for catfish.

Nettle Lake (Williams County) – Largemouth bass anglers have been catching bass near the surface using surface baits and plastic worms. Evenings in the northwestern bay area have been the most productive. Bluegills have been biting in the mornings. Try fishing with red worms six to eight feet below a bobber. Most fish have been caught in the area around the boat ramp, which is 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.

Maumee River (Lucas County) – As the summer heat begins to give way to cooler temperatures, crappie fishing should be picking up. Minnows and jigs tipped with waxworms are the most popular ways to target these fish. Anglers often target the marinas in downtown Toledo, although anywhere along the shoreline can be productive. Focus on areas with structure such as trees in the water or overhanging brush. Boat anglers can find access ramps at Wallbridge and Cullen parks.

Shelby Reservoir #3 (Richland County) – Shelby Reservoir #3 is northeast of the city of Shelby on London West Road. The entrance to the reservoir is about a half mile east of state Route 61. Bluegill fishing should be picking up right now. Try using jigs tipped with waxworms or artificial bait under a slip bobber in six to 10 feet of water. Fishing is permitted daily between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m. Good populations of yellow perch, walleyes, and channel catfish can also be found in the lake. There is a concrete boat ramp; however, gasoline motors are prohibited on the reservoir.

Sandusky River (Seneca County) – Smallmouth bass are biting in the Seneca County section of the Sandusky River. Anglers should focus in the rocky areas of the river and fish the deep pools. The overall river depth is low, allowing for abundant wading opportunities, but this limits canoe accessibility. Live and artificial baits have been working well. Light tackle is helpful in detecting strikes.

Fulton Pond (Fulton County) – This pond is on Fulton County Road 3, just 1½ miles north of Airport Highway. The pond is around 15 acres in size. Pike, bass, crappies, and sunfish can all be found here. Try using a slip bobber set to fish off the bottom. A small boat launch is available. The pond has a 10-horsepower limit and boats must be operated at no-wake speeds.

Northeast  Region 

Pymatuning Lake (Ashtabula County) – Pymatuning Lake is located in southeastern Ashtabula County and is approximately one mile east of Andover, Ohio, and one mile north of Jamestown, Pennsylvania. State Route 85 (Ohio) bisects Pymatuning Lake’s northern and southern sections and becomes state Route 285 at the Pennsylvania border (approximately one mile east of Pymatuning Lake Road), which is near the middle of the two-mile bridge overlooking the lake. It lies within Pymatuning State Park. Motors are limited to 20 horsepower. Largemouth bass are biting well near shallow submerged wood and aquatic vegetation. Try soft plastics, or bass jigs. Walleyes are being caught at the south end of the lake trolling hot-n-tots in 18 to 20 feet of water. Ten to 12 feet seems to be the magic depth for crappies and yellow perch. Both can be caught on small minnows or soft plastics. Target offshore structure such as humps and bars.

Nimisila Lake (Summit County) – Nimisila Reservoir is in southeastern Summit County and is approximately two miles south of state Route 619, two miles east of state Route 93, and 2.5 miles west of state Route 241. The entire lake is surrounded by county roads. Motors are limited to electric only. Some bass are moving into extremely shallow water where they can be targeted with soft plastics, jigs, and frogs. Look for areas with heavy cover. Offshore weedbeds continue to hold some fish, with finesse worms and soft jerkbaits being top producers. Slip bobber rigs with small minnows fished near deep structure or steep riprap areas have been productive for crappies. For yellow perch, fish for weed beds in 12 feet of water with minnows for these tasty panfish. For sunfish, try waxworms under a bobber near the islands.

Northeast Ohio Reservoirs – Largemouth bass are biting well across the region if your timing is right. Target areas with visible baitfish activity, looking for actively feeding bass. Experiment with aggressive reaction baits such as crankbaits and rattle baits, or slower presentations such as unweighted finesse worms or topwater baits, to determine the mood of the fish. When the action slows, target deeper water structure or dense cover with soft plastics or jigs.

Northeast Ohio Rivers – Along the same lines as above, smallmouth bass action has been really good in the rivers in Northeast Ohio. Anglers are catching great numbers of smallmouth on many types of soft plastics such as tubes, grubs, and paddle tails. Two of the hotter rivers right now are the Chagrin River (Lake, Geauga, and Cuyahoga counties) and the Tuscarawas River (Stark, Summit, and Tuscarawas counties). Other rivers to consider smallmouth fishing are the Cuyahoga River, Little Beaver Creek, and the Rocky River.

Leesville Lake (Carroll County) – Anglers are catching catfish on chicken livers and shad. Sizes being caught are all over the board. Most anglers are doing well fishing the few flats that can be found on Leesville Lake. Peak fishing times are from dusk to midnight.

Portage Lakes (Summit County) – The fall bite can be outstanding with many of the species of fish going into a feeding frenzy before winter temperatures arrive. A great opportunity exists on the Portage Lakes to put some nice fillets in the fridge for a Saturday/Sunday gameday fish fry. Really nice redear and bluegill sunfish are being caught from shore by anglers using a pin-min with a waxworm under a bobber. Anglers fishing from boats are doing well using a small jig, dropped-shot with small pieces of nightcrawlers. Fish being kept are ranging in the seven- to nine-inch range. Check out the Division of Wildlife’s Cookbook (www.wildohiocookbook.com) for some good gameday recipes.

Southwest Region

Grand Lake St. Mary’s (Auglaize and Mercer Counties) – Crappie fishing is heating up. Anglers report success in brushy structure just off the bottom. Popular bait at the moment is triple-tip grubs, motor oil color, tipped with a waxworm.

Acton Lake (Butler and Preble Counties) – Channel catfish are biting on creek chubs or nightcrawlers fished along the bottom or between eight to 19 feet deep during the late evening or early morning hours. Fishing for channel catfish is productive anywhere in the lake. Bluegills are being caught by anglers using waxworms or nightcrawlers. Bluegill fishing is bountiful along the banks. Saugeyes are active in this lake. Currently, saugeyes are being caught by anglers using nightcrawlers, bass minnows, or jigs. Fish the bait by trolling it through in water that is eight to 10 feet deep.

Adams Lake (Adams County) – Bluegills have been biting recently around 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.

Buck Creek State Park (Clark County) – Channel catfish are being caught by anglers using chicken livers, cut bait, or earthworms. Fish the bait slowly along the bottom and into deep pools. Fishing is good near the mouth of Buck Creek. Keep the bait greater than 10 feet deep.

Cowan Lake (Clinton County) – Channel catfish are being caught by anglers using chicken livers, cut bait, shrimp, or earthworms. Cast from the pier area. Keep the bait off the bottom and about three to six feet deep.

Southeast Region

Salt Fork Lake (Guernsey County) – Crappies will take a variety of baits, including worms, grubs, crickets, small spinners, and popping bugs. Look for crappies to be suspended or near wood in deeper water this time of year. Fishing from a boat has been very productive in the past year. A variety of rental boats are available from the lake marina. For channel catfish, try nightcrawlers or chicken livers fished on the bottom. Nighttime fishing offers some great opportunities. For largemouth bass, topwater action will start to pick up with cooler temperatures. Use the “twitch and wait” method – cast the plug, let it lie on top of the water, and occasionally twitch the bait.

Scioto River (Scioto County) – For catfish, give the Scioto River a try at the Ohio River confluence. The shore fish access adjacent to Alexandria Point Park in Portsmouth is a popular and productive fishing location. Flathead, channel, and blue catfish can be caught at this location this time of year by fishing cut shad and skipjack. They can also be caught on nightcrawlers and chicken livers. Hybrid striped bass can also be caught this time of year using shad imitation swim baits. Hybrids are also known to occasionally take chicken livers fished off the bottom.

AEP ReCreation Land (Morgan and Noble counties) – Largemouth bass fishing should start picking up as temperatures begin to cool. Try using black plastic worms fished during the daytime or topwater buzz baits fished during the night and early dusk time period. Bluegills and redear sunfish are popular at this area due to the better than average size fish that can be found in most ponds and lakes. Try fishing the more secluded and isolated ponds for the best catches of big sunfish. A basic wax or meal worm fished on a #10-12 hook under a bobber should be sufficient. Sunfish can also be caught readily on small (1⁄32-1⁄64-ounce) twister jigs.

Scioto River/Ohio River (Scioto County) – Anglers looking for great catfish opportunities should give the Scioto River a try at the Ohio River confluence. The shore fish access adjacent to Alexandria Point Park in Portsmouth is a popular and productive fishing location. Flathead, channel, and blue catfish can be caught at this location this time of year by fishing cut shad and skipjack. They can also be caught on nightcrawlers and chicken livers. Hybrid striped bass can also be caught this time of year using shad imitation swim baits. Hybrids are also known to occasionally take chicken livers fished off the bottom.

Wills Creek (Coshocton County) – Boat access is challenging due to the upper end of the reservoir near the boat launch silting in. Shoreline fishing for catfish should still be productive. Fish chicken livers, cut shad, or nightcrawlers. Better fishing can be found in the spillway area below the dam. Saugeyes, bass, and catfish are active due to increased current and better oxygen levels. Try jig and twister combinations and other minnow imitating lures.

Tycoon Lake (Gallia County) – Fishing for crappies will start to pick up as the water starts to cool. Try casting pearl, white, or speckled two- to three-inch twister or grub tails tipped with a minnow into four to eight feet of water. Try fishing near submerged brush piles, tree stumps, and old fence lines. Largemouth bass fishing will start to improve with cooling water temperatures. Try using crankbaits and topwater lures.

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 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

Walleye 

Where: There have been very few recent walleye reports. The best areas from past weeks have been “L” can of the Camp Perry firing range and south of Kelleys Island.

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 has been good around “C” and “D” buoys of the Camp Perry firing range, west of Rattlesnake Island, both west and south of Green Island, near Gull Island Shoal, and southwest 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

Walleye

Where: There have been a few reports of walleye being caught off Sawmill Creek, around the Huron dumping grounds, and south of the sandbar between Vermilion and Lorain. Good fishing was reported in 29 to 33 feet of water north-northwest of Edgewater Park, in 36 to 48 feet of water north-northeast of Gordon Park, in 45 to 55 feet of water northeast of Fairport, and in 65 to 70 feet of water north-northeast of Ashtabula.

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

Yellow Perch

Where: Yellow perch fishing has been good four miles north of the Vermilion River. Fish have also been caught in 40 to 46 feet of water north-northeast of Gordon Park, and in 39 to 42 feet of water north-northeast of Wildwood Park. Good fishing was reported farther east in 45 to 60 feet of water northwest of Fairport Harbor and in 55 to 60 feet of water north-northeast 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.

Steelhead

Where: Fish are being picked up by anglers trolling for walleye off Ashtabula and Conneaut.

How: See section on Central Basin walleye.

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, white bass and panfish, and inland lake/pond anglers are primarily pursuing largemouth bass, channel catfish, and panfish.

Anglers are also pursuing a mix of warm-water species in the streams. 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, and another angler has been doing well using spinners. “Smallies” also bite well on live bait (i.e., minnow, crayfish, and leeches) and flies (i.e., crayfish patterns, Clouser minnows, dark brown or olive sculpin or muddler minnow patterns).

Channel catfish, carp, sheepshead, and several sucker species are also present in some of these same areas in the river, especially around the marina on the Rocky, and fishing for them can be a laid back and relaxing way to enjoy some time on the water. Catfishing is usually best during lower light conditions using baits such as nightcrawlers, minnows, chicken liver, and processed dough baits. Catfish often bite best following a rain when the water is a bit murky. 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 the species thus far can be effectively targeted by fishing a nightcrawler worm right on the river bottom with a sinker.

Anglers at Cleveland Metropark’s inland lakes and ponds are catching catfish, largemouth bass, and panfish. Wallace Lake has been turning up some fine specimens of all of these types of fish lately. Ledge Lake, Shadow Lake, and Beyer’s Pond are just a few other spots worth poking around in late summer.

The yellow perch bite has been sputtering along recently following a slow summer. Anglers are using perch spreaders and live or salted shiners. Boating anglers have found perch this week off Cleveland and Euclid in 42-48 feet of water. Rock bass, largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, crappie, freshwater drum, and sunfish species are also found along the Cleveland shoreline in summer and can be caught on offerings such as tube jigs, drop-shot rigs and live bait. Some good eater size walleyes (15-20 inches) have been found in water from only 16-24 feet deep by Cleveland area boating anglers. White bass fishing, which is typically good in late summer, has been slow lately.

Cleveland Metroparks, www.clevelandmetroparks.com

OHIO RIVER REGION

Clermont County – Smallmouth bass fishing will begin to pick up as temperatures decrease and water levels increase. Anglers interested in smallmouths have done well casting into areas of current, especially rocky areas using a variety of artificial baits or minnows. Anglers have been catching 12- to 15-inch channel catfish by tight-lining off the shore using a hook and sinker baited with cut bait or nightcrawlers.

Racine Dam Tailwater – Fishing has been slow most of the year; however, experienced anglers have found success targeting hybrid striped bass using spoons and other minnow imitating lures. Catfish angling has been productive using skipjacks. This popular baitfish will bite on just about anything, but anglers in this area generally have success with white grubs or three-hook Sabiki rigs.

Brown County – Flathead catfish have been hitting cut baits, chicken liver, and nightcrawlers fished on the bottom. For smallmouth bass, try tube baits or crankbaits. Hybrid striped bass have been caught using a jig and twister tipped with a minnow.

Greenup Dam (Scioto County) – Hybrid striped bass: Try fishing cut baits and live baits off the bottom. White bass: Try using topwater lures as well as skipjack, chubs, shiners, and cut bait. Early morning will probably produce the most catches. Channel catfish: Most fish 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. 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. Hybrid striped bass: Try fishing cut baits and live baits on the bottom. White bass: Try using skipjack or cut bait.

Belleville Dam tail waters (Meigs County) – Channel catfish: 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 during the early morning or evening hours.

Belleville Pool Area (Washington County) – Flathead catfish: Fishing should be good right now for sizable catches throughout the pool. Use live baitfish: goldfish have been a popular choice in the past. Channel catfish: Try cut bait, stink bait, and chicken livers, as well as nightcrawlers fished tight-line on the bottom. Best results are primarily at dusk, through the night, and in the early morning hours before daybreak. Black bass: Some fish may still be picked up on deep diving crankbaits and jig-and-pig combos. Smallmouth bass: Some fish may be caught on Carolina-rigged do-nothing worms.

Serpentine Wall, Downtown Cincinnati (Hamilton County) – Blue catfish: Anglers are having success in the morning hours; try using chicken breast.

Willow Island Pool (Hannibal Lock and Dam Tailwater) (Monroe County) – Hybrid striped bass: A popular area is the hydro plant discharge at the Hannibal Dam. Hybrids can be caught at the surface and on the bottom of the river. Anglers should look for jumping schools of bait fish as signs of hybrids feeding on the surface. Use surface baits or near-surface baits if fish are feeding near the surface. Soft-bodied swim baits (fished below a “launcher float”) and shallow running or surface stickbaits such as pencil poppers work well when fish are feeding near the surface. Channel and flathead catfish: Both of these fish can be caught this time of year using cut bait fished on the bottom. Most catfish (and hybrids) can be caught in current off of the most upstream fishing platform and in slack water along the sides of the hydro plant.

Western Ohio River (Cincinnati to Adams County) – Fishing has been slow with most action around Meldahl Dam or the tributaries running into the Ohio.

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