Alum Creek Lake (Delaware County) – Some anglers had ventured out onto the ice early in January and were catching some crappies in four to eight feet of water. Most of the hardwater action was taking place north of U.S. 36. Ice thickness is anywhere from three to five inches, according to angler reports.
Indian Lake (Logan County) – Ice anglers are catching a few saugeyes through the holes at North Fork. Anglers who had success were using Vib-Es and Swedish Pimples for the best results. Sizes have ranged anywhere from 15 to 19 inches, according to angler reports. At Long Island, anglers are catching a few panfish through the ice on jig and minnow combinations under an ice bobber.
Clearfork Reservoir (Richland, Morrow counties) – In the latter part of December, anglers were on the ice at this northwest Ohio reservoir. The ice was reportedly three to five inches in places. Always check with a spud bar before venturing onto the ice. Anglers were catching yellow perch and bluegills on jig and minnow combinations. Also try waxworms on a jig for panfish.
Killdeer Reservoir (Wyandot County) – This lake in the Killdeer Plains Wildlife Area was iced up nicely toward the end of December. Anglers were reporting catching smallmouth bass through the ice on jig and plastic combinations. Most of the fish were running smallish, however, in the nine- to 12-inch range.
Nimisila Lake (Portage County) – An extended cold snap in early January was hoped to have locked this lake up in ice. Some anglers have ventured out in recent days, catching primarily panfish. Crappies and bluegills have ranged up to 12 inches, according to reports.
Mosquito Creek Lake (Trumbull County) – As of early January, the lake was reportedly locked up with ice, but few fishermen were venturing out as the ice is likely too thin in spots to support anglers.
Mogadore Reservoir (Portage County) – According to reports in late December, anglers were venturing onto the ice here. The reported catch includes a good number of crappies in the 10-inch range. The best setup has been a jig and minnow or jig and waxworm combination.
Atwood Lake (Carroll, Tuscarawas counties) – Ice fishing is sometimes a possibility in the winter at this lake in Carroll and Tuscarawas counties, but it appears to be too early to venture onto the ice yet this year. Anglers are reporting skim ice on the edges of the lake, but ice-fishing prospects are still a ways off.
Spencer Lake (Medina County) – Anglers were fishing the north and south ends of the lake through the ice in late December. According to reports, not much was biting, however. A few small bluegills and crappies were all that was being reported.
Grand Lake St. Marys (Mercer, Auglaize counties) – As of late December, most of this lake known for its large crappies was still open water. There is some shoreline ice forming, but it is reportedly very weak. With rain storms over much of this area in late December, the hope is that water levels will rise sufficiently by the time the lake ices up.
Kiser Lake (Champaign County) – The weather forecast in early January was looking promising for making ice on this southwest Ohio lake. This lake, 12 miles west of Urbana, is a good spot to catch panfish in the winter and maybe even some catfish through the ice. Check back on this fishing report for updated ice conditions in the coming weeks.
C.J. Brown Reservoir (Clark County) – Anglers fishing off the docks here are catching some crappies and bluegills. All of the fish were caught close to the bottom, anglers report. The best setup has been a jig and waxworm combination. Anglers are also using ice spoons to pick up some fish.
Lake Loramie – In late December, anglers were fishing through the ice on this lake in Lake Loramie State Park. Most anglers were fishing north of the spillway. Anglers are reporting catching small bluegills in the three- to six-inch range. The successful setup has been a jig and black plastics.
Rocky Fork Lake (Highland County) – Anglers are fishing off the docks by the restaurant on this southwest Ohio lake. They are catching primarily panfish, bluegills, and crappies ranging from four to nine inches.
Piedmont Lake (Belmont County) – Search out weed edges for the best smallmouth and largemouth bite here, anglers recommend. Anglers are using small crankbaits and live baits to entice the bass bite.
Buckeye Lake (Fairfield, Licking, Perry counties) – Some anglers were able to get on the ice in mid-December and had some luck catching saugeyes, according to angler reports. The main lake was not reported safe, but some backwater areas in shallower water could be. Always check the ice thickness with a spud bar before venturing out. Successful saugeye anglers have been using soft plastics and spoons in between three and six feet of water.
Dillon Lake (Muskingum County) – The usual wintertime fishing at the spillway on this Muskingum County lake is about the only thing going right now. Anglers are reporting catching a few crappies and bluegills on jig and minnow combinations. A few saugeyes, too, are being caught, according to angler reports.
Lake Hope (Vinton County) – Anglers are fishing for largemouth bass on this lake near McArthur in Vinton County. Try crankbaits for the best bite. Look for areas with lily pads and the bass should be there.
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.
• Black bass (largemouth and smallmouth bass): the daily bag limit is five fish per angler with a 14 inch minimum size limit.
Where: Walleyes have been caught over the past week, mostly around the dumping grounds, two miles north of Huron.
How: Most fish have been caught by trolling with crankbaits.
In winter, highlight species targeted by anglers in Cleveland Metroparks include steelhead trout, stocked trout, and walleye. The Rocky River and other area streams are currently clearing after being elevated and muddy the past several days. Given the temperatures in the forecast, slush and ice will likely be returning in the near future.
The Rocky and Chagrin rivers produced fair catches of steelhead, overall, over the past week. Bait often rules in winter, with dime-sized spawn sacs, live/salted minnows, and small jigs tipped with maggots/waxworms all being among the top producers. Fish have been reported in all the stocked streams recently, as well as the Cuyahoga River and Euclid Creek.
Some steelhead are still available along the Lake Erie shoreline at E. 55th and Edgewater parks. The breakwalls and shoreline rocks are slippery, though, so it is a wise plan to wear boot cleats/chains if you head out there. Popular methods for targeting Lake Erie shoreline steelies include suspending a jig tipped with minnow or nightcrawler two to five feet below a bobber, as well as casting a spoon (i.e., Little Cleo or KO Wobbler) or spinner (i.e., Vibrax or RoosterTail). Night walleye anglers can still find some fish at Edgewater and E. 72nd/Gordon parks from the shore casting crankbaits, with larger Husky Jerks and Perfect 10 models being consistent producers. Make sure to bring a long-handled net.
A total of 3,000 pounds of trout were stocked in Cleveland Metroparks lakes earlier in December and a good number of those remain. Ice is thin and no longer safe to walk on at any local lakes, but anglers can fish from the safety of shore in a number of areas and in the limited open water along shore. Trout bite well on PowerBait, canned corn, small spinners, and jigs tipped with a few maggots/waxworms, and nightcrawlers or shrimp fished right on the bottom. Please note the current seasonal trout regulations: Lake Erie and all streams, two/day, minimum size 12 inches (this includes steelhead); three/day, no size limit at Wallace, Ledge, Judge’s, and Ranger lakes; and five/day, no size limit at Shadow Lake and Ohio and Erie Canal.
Cleveland Metroparks, www.clevelandmetroparks.com
Ohio River Region
Scioto County – Anglers in the past have had success fishing the Ohio River at the confluence of the Scioto River. Channel catfish are always a popular species to catch this time of year. Try using chicken livers or nightcrawlers fished tight-line off the bottom. Target flathead catfish by using live skipjacks or shad. Some hybrid striped bass may also be caught. Try using white jigs with twisters tipped with a minnow.
Western River counties (Hamilton, Clermont, Brown, Adams counties) – Flatheads can be caught on chicken livers fished with no weight at drop-offs of 15 to 20 feet.
Serpentine Wall, Downtown Cincinnati (Hamilton County) – Anglers are having success catching blue cats in the morning hours. Try using chicken breast.
Greenup Dam – Hybrid striped bass and white bass should be moving this time of year. 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 mornings will probably produce the most catches.
Meldahl Dam (Clermont County) – Channel catfish and flathead catfish are being caught below the dam tailwaters using shad and skipjack fished tight on the bottom. The best time to fish for channel catfish and flathead catfish is during the nighttime.
Presque Isle Bay (Erie County, Pennsylvania) – A slow but steady perch bite was reported as conditions allowed through mid-December. Some limits were reported, but sizes were mixed. Snowfall shut down fishing as of Dec. 13.
Lake Erie Tributaries (Pa.) – Angling pressure was very low, as was flow in the streams in mid-December, but steelhead were being taken on single eggs and minnows. Elk Creek Sports reported numbers of steelhead in the streams as of Dec. 12. While the lower end of Elk was locked up in ice, the upper reaches were fishable, although impending frigid temperatures were expected to change that.
French Creek (Erie, Crawford, Venango, Mercer counties, Pa.) – Walleyes up to 25 inches were reported as conditions allowed last month, with some anglers doing well jigging floating jigheads tipped with medium-sized shiners, or chubs.
Pymatuning Reservoir (Crawford County, Pa.) – Some nice bluegills and a few crappies were reported off the docks at the Jamestown Marina until mid-December, when frigid temperatures set in and skim ice began to form. Until then, anglers were catching walleyes on blade baits. One angler released a 47-inch muskie. Some perch were reported early in December.
Shenango Lake (Mercer County, Pa.) – White bass and crappies were reported on soft plastic shad and minnow patterns. White bass were reported in the outflow of Shenango dam. The outflow also yields northern pike, with one angler catching a 38-incher this year.
Allegheny River (Venango County, Pa.) – Prior to the snow and frigid cold of mid-December, anglers were catching nice numbers of smallmouth bass up to 19 inches on hair jigs, tubes, and slow-rolled swimbaits and spinnerbaits. A good walleye bite also was reported as conditions allowed. Sizes were mixed, with one angler catching 16 walleyes, including five legal-size fish up to 28 inches, on shiners, and another angler limiting out on tubes and jerkbaits.
Lake Arthur (Butler County, Pa.) – A few anglers began ice-fishing in the Muddy Creek arm of the lake Dec. 18, and reported catches of bass, crappies, bluegills, and a few nice perch.
Lake St. Clair (Michigan)
Ice was forming on Lake St. Clair and warm temperatures actually may have helped by melting 10 inches of snow that was on top of a couple of inches of ice. Anglers are picking up panfish in the canals. Be sure to beware of private property rights. Fair numbers of fish also have been caught in front of the Selfridge Air Guard Base.
Lakeside Fishing Shops, (586) 777-7003
Irish Hills Area (Mich.)
Anglers were still waiting for safe ice to form in Jackson County. There was between two and five inches of ice depending on the lake and the area of the lake in question. Anglers are urged to use extreme caution and to call ahead for ice conditions. Deer hunting has been slow in Jackson County. There was no snow on the ground.
Knutson’s Sporting Goods, (800) 292-0857 or (517) 592-2786
Lake Orion (Mich.)
Safe ice was still forming on Lake Orion and no one was able to get out yet. Anglers were venturing out at their own risk on some of the smaller lakes where there was up to four inches of ice. A few panfish had been caught. There was no snow on the ground in Oakland County. Late archery deer season has been slow, but a few does have been taken during the late antlerless season.