Ohio Outdoor News Fishing Report – July 21, 2017

Central Region

Indian Lake (Logan County) – The saugeye bite has slowed a little on this popular Logan County lake but fish are still being caught. Successful anglers are trolling Flicker Shads in 10 to 15 feet of water. Sizes range from 10 to 20 inches for the saugeyes. Some channel catfish are still being caught. Fish deep for the catfish using nightcrawlers on the bottom. For crappies, fish a minnow under a bobber. This setup will also catch bluegills, which can keep a youngster busy for an afternoon.

Alum Creek Lake (Delaware County) – Anglers are trolling worm harnesses and small crankbaits for saugeyes. Fish the baits anywhere from 10 to 20 feet deep for best results. Some white bass are also being caught by trolling anglers. Focus your efforts on drop-offs and points for best results. Fishermen are also catching the occasional smallmouth and largemouth bass. And, crappies are always on the menu at this reservoir in central Ohio.

Delaware Lake (Delaware County) – This lake just north of the city of Delaware is known for its bountiful crappie population. Anglers are catching them now by trolling minnows in about 15 feet of water. Anglers can also cast for them; just keep your bait suspended in the water column at this time of year. Crappies are typically suspended at this time of year. Best times to fish appear to be in the morning hours until mid-afternoon. Crappies must be at least nine inches here to keep and there is a daily bag limit of 30 fish.

Buckeye Lake (Fairfield, Licking, Perry counties) – Anglers are casting a variety of plastics to catch a mix of fish from bass to saugeyes to crappies. Mix up the colors until you find one  that works. Utilize a slow retrieve for best results.

Northwest Region

Maumee River (Lucas County) – Perfect weekend weather just after the July 4 holiday brought out anglers in droves to catch walleyes, yellow perch, and smallmouth bass both on the Maumee River and on Lake Erie. Rain during the first part of the following week washed a lot of bait into the Maumee and other tributaries to the lake, which should make for some more good fishing. Use natural baits for the best bite, although some anglers will find success with plastics and other artificials.

Maumee Bait and Tackle, www.maumeetackle.net

Lima Lake (Allen County) – Crappies are being caught by anglers using jigs and minnows or jigs with plastic curly tails. Successful fishermen are catching them in 5-10-foot depths. A lot of the catch is small fish, but it’s enough to keep you busy for an afternoon.

Wauseon Reservoirs (Fulton County) – Fish the deep holes for saugeyes with jig and minnow combinations or crawler harnesses. Channel catfish too can be caught here on cut bait or shrimp fished on the bottom. Catfish are typically in the 14- to 25-inch range on this lake. Some yellow perch are also in the mix.

Northeast Region 

Lake Milton (Mahoning County) – Many anglers on Lake Milton chase walleyes, but don’t overlook the white bass possibilities on this 1,684-acre lake. The best setup for white bass is a jig and minnow combination fished shallow, or a shallow-running spinnerbait. White bass at Milton can run up to 12 inches. For walleyes, try jig and nightcrawler combos trolled slowly.

Mosquito Creek Lake (Trumbull County) – Walleye anglers continue to fish this Trumbull County walleye hot spot with some success in recent days. Try trolling worm harnesses in 12 to 15 feet of water, or cast a jig and nightcrawler combination. Look for weed edges and cast your bait there for best results. Walleyes have ranged up to 20 inches. Crappies, too, are being caught on light jig and minnow combos.

Nimisila Reservoir (Summit County) – One of the Portage Lakes in northeast Ohio, Nimisila is probably best known for panfish. Anglers right now are catching a good number of bluegills on waxworms. Fish the bait in 10 to 15 feet of water for best results. Crappies, too, will bite on these same offerings.

Pymatuning Lake (Ashtabula County) – Fishermen are trolling with some success for walleyes on this large lake in northeast Ohio. The best results for the walleye bite is coming in deep water. If trolling is not producing, try a jig and minnow combination. Use smaller jigs in 1⁄8- to 1⁄4 ounce. Anglers may also catch crappies, yellow perch, and catfish on this popular lake. The Ohio DNR Division of Wildlife recently placed new artificial structure in this lake, which should serve to concentrate fish.

Southwest Region

Acton Lake (Preble, Butler counties) – Anglers are fishing for saugeyes here with some success. Concentrate your efforts near the dam for best results. The successful setup is not fancy: nightcrawlers fished under a float. Jigs with twister tails will also take their fair share of saugeyes to go along with some crappies in the mix. Mix up the colors until you find one that works.

Grand Lake St. Marys (Mercer County) – Though this lake, Ohio’s largest inland reservoir, is known for its crappies, don’t overlook the largemouth bass population. Fish for them around any type of cover with small crankbaits or inline spinnerbaits. Jigs may also be used to catch the bass, and you’ll likely be rewarded with some bonus crappies. Anglers can also catch yellow perch here using the same techniques as described above. If all else fails, tie on a jig and tip it with a minnow to catch a variety of fish.

C.J. Brown Reservoir (Clark County) – Walleyes are stocked here, but this lake is notorious for a tough walleye bite. The best bet here is to keep it simple: use a jig and minnow combo or jig and nightcrawler. Then, find any structure the lake has to offer and fish it. At this time of year, fish are likely suspended so fish anywhere from 10 to 15 feet deep. These walleyes are light biters, so keep a close watch on your line or utilize an indicator.

Southeast Region

Salt Fork Lake (Guernsey County) – Crappie fishermen are catching some fish here by vertically jigging. Fish have been reported in anywhere from five to 15 feet deep. Channel catfish is also an option here. Fish cut baits on the bottom at dawn and dusk for the best catfish bite.

Leesville Lake (Carroll County) – Leesville Lake is well known for its top muskie fishing, but don’t overlook largemouth bass here. Largemouths are plentiful and willing biters on a variety of offerings. Ned rigs and jerkbaits take their fair share of fish here. Also, try jigs and topwater baits to catch some of these bucketmouths. Focus your effort on protected areas of the lake for the best bite.

Tappan Lake (Harrison County) – If you’re an angler looking to catch the proverbial “anything that bites” give Tappan Lake’s white bass a try. Crankbaits and jigs tipped with nightcrawlers will catch these feisty fighters. Don’t be surprised if you pick up a few crappies and catfish along the way.

Lake Erie Region

• The daily bag limit is 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): the daily bag limit is five fish per angler with a 14 inch minimum size limit through April 30.

Western Basin

Walleye 

Where: Fishing has been good near the Toledo water intake, near “D” can of the Camp Perry firing range, north of Niagara Reef, between South Bass Island and Kelleys Island, north of Kelleys Island, and east of Kelleys Island.

How: Walleyes have been caught by casting mayfly rigs tipped with worms, or by trolling with worm harnesses or divers and spoons.

Yellow Perch  

Where: Yellow perch fishing has been good near Little Cedar Point, Rattlesnake Island, Starve Island, and Ballast Island.

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

Smallmouth Bass

Where: Fishing has been good near shore around the Bass Islands.

How: Anglers are casting tube jigs or using drop shot rigs.

Central Basin

Walleye 

Where: Fishing has been good two miles offshore from Vermilion to Lorain, north of Avon Point, and in 45 to 53 feet of water northwest of Cleveland Edgewater Park (Gold Coast). Excellent fishing was reported in 40 to 45 feet of water northwest of Fairport Harbor, and in 40 to 45 feet of water northwest of Ashtabula.

How: Walleyes have been caught by trolling crankbaits, spoons, and worm harnesses with planer boards or divers. The best colors have been red, pink, green, blue, and blue and silver.

Yellow Perch  

Where: Yellow perch fishing has been slow recently.

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 off Gordon Park, Fairport Harbor, and Ashtabula.

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

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 much of the month of June and remain that way into early July.

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 in 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 available in the river. 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 (740 pounds), Ledge (3,000 pounds), Ranger (250 pounds), and Judge’s (150 pounds) lakes, as well as Oxbow Lagoon (150 pounds). Good numbers of channel catfish stocked in May also remain to be caught at Wallace Lake and the Ohio & Erie Canal fishing area. Plenty 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, as well. The key to fishing for either carp or catfish is fishing on (or very near) the river/lake bottom. In addition, freshwater drum (sheepshead), white perch, and bullhead catfish are also available in the northern river reaches (north of Morley Ford) in early summer. For the angling generalist, any of the species thus far can be effectively targeted by fishing a nightcrawler 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 a surprising number of smaller 15-20-inch walleyes remaining in nearshore areas into summer, too. Yellow perch fishing has been picking up off Cleveland.

Cleveland Metroparks, www.clevelandmetroparks.com

OHIO RIVER REGION

Cincinnati area (Hamilton County) – Fishing for flathead catfish and channel catfish is picking up as the summer wears on. Use cut bait or raw shrimp fished on the bottom for best results.

Pike Island Lock and Dam (Belmont County) – Anglers are fishing for saugers here with small jigs and twister tail combos. The best colors have been pink and white. Anglers are also fishing for flathead catfish using shrimp, skipjack, or cut bait fished on the bottom.

Meldahl Dam (Clermont County) – Channel catfish and some flathead catfish are being caught on this section of the Ohio. Try chicken livers, shrimp, or nightcrawlers fished on the bottom.

BEYOND OHIO

Lake St. Clair (Michigan)

Walleye fishing has been decent on Lake St. Clair. Anglers trolling crawler harnesses at the Dumping Grounds and off Metro Beach report a fair bite. Perch fishing has been good off Metro Beach and the Selfridge National Guard Base, early in the mornings. Bass fishing has been good all over the lake. Walleye fishing remains good on the Detroit River although jiggers report slow action. Handliners are catching very good numbers of fish along the Canadian side of the river, early in the mornings.

Lake Orion (Mich.)

Bass fishing has been good on Lake Orion. Lots of fish are cruising the shoreline, especially first thing in the morning and later in the evening. Pike fishing has been good on Tommy’s Lake. Bass and panfish have been caught along shore on East and West Graham lakes.

SOUTHWESTERN LP

Allegan Area (Mich.)

The few boats that could make it out on Lake Michigan were catching a few coho and lake trout at St. Joseph. The fish were taken on spoons in 120 feet of water and deeper. Pier anglers have caught a light number of steelhead when floating shrimp under a bobber. Skamania are hitting in the St. Joseph River at Berrien Springs. A good number of fish were moving through the ladder.

Grand Rapids Area (Mich.)

Grand River near Grand Rapids: Good catfish action has been reported by anglers fishing on the Grand River below the Sixth Street Dam. A couple of limit catches of walleyes were taken below Johnson Park. Look for panfish in the backwaters until it warms back up.

CENTRAL LP

Saginaw Bay Area (Mich.)

Walleye fishing has been outstanding on Lake Huron’s Saginaw Bay. Limit catches have been reported by anglers from AuGres through the entire inner bay. The rivers were flooded, unfishable and are not safe for navigation. All the muddy water is working its way down into the bay. Those looking for walleyes should move around and find the clearest water they can, which could be a long way offshore. Try the middle bay from the inner Spark Plug northeast toward the Charity Islands.

Lansing Area (Mich.)

Bass fishing remains good on the Grand River and on Lake Ovid. Fish were hitting minnows, leeches, nightcrawlers, and all sorts of rubber baits. A couple of channel catfish were caught above the Moore’s Park Dam. Carp fishing has been good at the North Lansing Dam.

Grand Haven Area (Mich.)

Salmon and trout action continues to be slow on Lake Michigan. A few salmon and steelhead were caught 35 to 120 feet down in 100 to 200 feet of water. A couple of lake trout were caught in the bottom 15 feet in 150 to 200 feet of water. Dodgers with yellow or green Spin-N-Glos have produced the best results.

Caseville Area (Mich.)

When wind, mud, and rain allows anglers to get out the walleye fishing has been very good in Lake Huron. A great bite has been reported off Grindstone City and Port Austin. Those trolling nightcrawler harnesses have reported the best results.

Lake Erie (Pennsylvania) – The perch bite was hit or miss, although nice catches were reported as of June 19 on the east side off the GE Stacks in 38 feet and off Shade’s Beach in 42 feet. Perch also were hitting on the west side, in 42 feet off Trout Run and Godfrey Run. Some limits were reported in 38 to 45 feet west of Walnut Creek. One angler caught a 31-inch walleye on a No. 6 perch hook. The walleye bite was excellent through mid-June, with fish reported in 10 to 50 feet, off Beach No. 2 in 25 to 35 feet, and anywhere off Walnut to the Ohio line. Both trolling and drift-fishing were effective, and productive colors included gold and fire tiger.

Presque Isle Bay (Erie County, Pa.) – Bluegills were spawning in mid- to late June. Anglers were catching nice numbers in Marina Lake, where pumpkinseeds and rock bass also were hitting. Some smallmouth bass were still in the bay, finishing their spawn. Catfish were hitting off the north and south piers, and off the mouths of Elk and Walnut creeks. Perch fishing was poor in recent weeks, with some anglers blaming a scarcity of emerald shiners.

Kinzua Reservoir (Warren County, Pa.) – Walleyes were reported in the Willow Bay area in recent weeks.

Pymatuning Reservoir (Crawford County, Pa.) – The walleye bite turned on around June 19, with keepers being taken on humps and grass beds on the south and north ends. Nightcrawlers were the ticket, but some anglers were also doing well by trolling plugs. Both black and white crappies became active around the same time. White crappies were hitting jigs on deepwater cribs in 14 feet of water. In a recent crappie tournament, the winning weight on a limit of eight crappies was 7 pounds, 13 ounces and the average fish weighed less than a pound. The lunker was 1.9 pounds. The bluegill bite was strong. A few largemouth bass up to 3 pounds and small-sized smallmouth bass were released on minnows. The smallmouths were biting lipless crankbaits. Clark’s Island and Red Cross Bay yielded largemouths up to 3 pounds on buzzbaits over weeds in the early morning hours. A few perch and white bass and a couple of muskies were reported.

Woodcock Creek Lake (Crawford County, Pa.) – A few muskies, walleyes, and smallmouth bass were reported as of June 21. Walleyes were taking leeches, and bass were hitting soft plastics and topwater baits. The creek in the outflow was yielding a few walleyes, muskies, and bluegills.

Canadohta Lake (Crawford County, Pa.) – This natural lake was yielding some largemouth bass in late June.

Neshannock Creek (Mercer County, Pa.) – A kayaker reported catching more smallmouth bass than trout in mid-June, especially when water was low and clear.

Lake Wilhelm (Mercer County, Pa.) – The walleye bite was picking up in mid-June, and numbers of crappies, including a 19¾-inch, 3.5-pounder, were reported. Bluegills and catfish also were hitting, with some anglers doing well on salted minnows.

Shenango Reservoir (Mercer County, Pa.) – A good bass bite was reported as of mid-June, with nice-sized fish being released. The walleye bite was hit or miss. Hybrid striped bass were feeding on shad, and white bass were schooling in deep water.

Allegheny River (Venango County, Pa.) – Post-spawn smallmouth bass up to 20 inches were reported in summer spots, including pocket water, along riffles, and in moderate current runs in recent weeks. Crankbaits were the ticket. One night-time angler targeting muskies released a 6-plus pound smallmouth bass on an 8-inch bluegill.

Allegheny River (Forest County, Pa.) – Northern pike were hitting spoons and live bait near the Sand and Gravel Launch in Tionesta.

Lake Arthur (Butler County, Pa.) – Hybrid striped bass, largemouth bass, muskies, channel catfish, sunfish and crappies were reported, mostly on crawlers and minnows.

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