Smallmouth bass being caught in Ohio lakes, rivers

Posted on September 9, 2010

Central Region

Alum Creek Lake (Delaware County) - Smallmouth bass are being caught in this lake north of Columbus. Using crankbaits and spinner baits; target the main and secondary lake points were riprap or hard bottom is present. Saugeyes can be caught in the same areas; also try trolling in front of the beach at dawn and dusk. Crappies are being found around wood in 10-15 feet of water; use jigs or minnows. Crappies will move into shallower water as temperatures decrease this fall. Muskies can provide good action this time of year; troll crankbaits along the points and dam.

Rush Creek Lake (Fairfield County) - Channel catfish can be caught in this lake east of Lancaster. Use cut shad, shrimp or night crawlers fished in the east or south ends for best results. Bluegills are providing some actions around cover in the east end. Use wax worms or redworms fished under a bobber. Largemouth bass are also being caught here. Largemouth bass must be 15 inches or longer to keep. The lake contains a nice population of crappies greater than 10 inches. 10-horsepower limit on lake.

Buckeye Lake (Fairfield, Licking, and Perry Counties) - As water temperatures start to cool, hybrid striped bass will become more active. Try chicken livers fished on the bottom or troll spinners along the north shore from Seller's point to the north boat ramp at state route 79. Channel catfish are being taken right now using cut bait on the bottom. Crappies from 10 to 13 inches are becoming active; use minnows and jigs around points especially in the east half of the lake.

O'Shaughnessy Reservoir (Delaware County) - This 912-acre reservoir north of Columbus is a good place to catch largemouth bass and channel catfish. For largemouth bass, try tubes, spinner baits and crankbaits around shoreline cover; target drop-offs and points. Channel catfish can be caught on cut baits, night crawlers, and shrimp fished on the bottom. Crappies will move shallower as water temperatures decrease; try fishing around woody cover using minnows and jigs.

Northwest Region

Paulding Reservoir (Paulding County) - Channel catfish are being caught in the mornings and evenings by still fishing night crawlers. Bluegills are also being caught. Fish wax worms under a bobber in the mornings and evenings for the best catches. These fish are being caught reservoir wide.

Stokley Pond (Paulding County)  - Bluegills are being caught here in good numbers. Mornings and evenings are best. Fish crickets and wax worms under a bobber for the best catches.

Auglaize River (Paulding County)  - Channel catfish are being caught in the mornings and evenings by still-fishing night crawlers. Sheephead are also being caught in the mornings and evenings by still-fishing night crawlers. The Charloe Bridge has been the best spot lately.

Van Wert Reservoir #1 (Van Wert County) - Nice catches of crappies in the 9-12-inch range are being caught. Fishing minnows under a slip bobber in the mornings through the afternoon is working the best. Try the south bank. Channel catfish are being caught as well by tight lining night crawlers and frozen shrimp. Try the south bank, as well.

Shelby Reservoir #3 (Richland County) - Excellent catches of bluegills have been coming out of Shelby #3. Wax worms fished 4 feet under a bobber are working the best. Catfish are also being taken in good numbers by fishing stink baits or shrimp on the bottom.

Pleasant Hill (Richland County) - Nice catches of bluegills are being reported at Pleasant Hill. Fishing wax worms or redworms on the bottom or near structure is the best bet.

Maumee River (Wood County) - Some nice channel catfish are coming out of the Maumee. Night crawlers and chicken livers fished under a bobber in the early mornings or evenings are working the best. Try the deep holes below the dam at Mary Jane Thurston State Park.

Northeast Region

Cuyahoga River (Summit County) - In the middle stretch of the Cuyahoga River near Edison Dam and near Metroparks Serving Summit County's Cascade Park, reports of smallmouth bass from nine up to 17 inches have been caught on crankbaits, jig and grub combos, and soft plastics that mimic crayfish. A small number of unconfirmed reports of early run steelhead in this area have been received by Division of Wildlife biologists as well. Minnow-imitating crankbaits may produce good results.

Tappan Lake (Harrison County) - This 2,131-acre lake is known for its excellent fishery. A wide variety of fish species can be caught, including crappies, largemouth bass, bluegills, channel catfish, white bass, and saugeyes. Fall fishing in this lake should not be ignored. Wheelchair accessible shoreline fishing facilities are available.

Atwood Lake (Carroll and Tuscarawas counties) - This 1,551-acre lake located on State Route 212, two miles south of New Cumberland offers great fishing. Species often caught by anglers include saugeyes, largemouth bass, crappies, white bass and especially channel catfish. Saugeyes have provided anglers with wonderful fishing opportunities for many years now. The Division of Wildlife originally stocked saugeyes in 1985 and, with the exception of one year, continued an aggressive stocking program. Over 234,000 fingerling saugeye were stocked in 2008. The catch size for 2010 should be dominated by fish ranging seven to 26 inches, most of which are expected to exceed 14 inches. One of the best ways to catch saugeyes is to use a small jig (1⁄32 or 1⁄8) and tip it with a piece of night crawler. Simply cast, let the bait sink, and slowly retrieve. The strike will be gentle, so watch for a twitch in the line.

Southwest Region

Little Miami River (Warren, Clermont, and Hamilton counties) - The water levels are down and now provide great opportunities for anglers to wade the rivers and find holes and structured areas that you can come back to later when the river is up. Fish are found in the deeper pools at this time of year because the water is cooler and there are concentrations of bait and better oxygen levels. Fair numbers of smallmouth bass and rock bass are being caught in the early morning and late evening hours, in the mid to tailend of riffles. Popular live baits are crayfish and small minnows. Artificial baits include small inline spinners, crayfish colored or shaped crankbaits, buzz baits; blue or green in color, and small crawfish imitating baits such as green pumpkin colored tube baits or plastic craws. Try night fishing for catfish in the lower Hamilton county portion of the river. Anglers can find the fish lying in deeper holes. Good baits for catfish are chicken liver, shrimp, and worms, as well as shad and goldfish for the larger flatheads.

Great Miami River ( Butler, Warren, and Montgomery counties) - Good numbers of smallmouth bass are being caught in the early morning and late evening hours in transition areas where deep and shallow water areas connect. Popular live baits are crayfish and small minnows. Artificial baits include small in-line spinners, crayfish colored or shaped crankbaits, buzz baits; blue or green in color, and small crawfish imitating baits such as green pumpkin colored tube baits or plastic craws. Catfish are also reported in fair numbers in deeper water. Good baits for catfish are chicken liver, shrimp, and worms, as well as shad and goldfish for the larger flatheads.

Acton Lake (Preble County) - Channel catfish are biting on creek chubs or night crawlers fished along the bottom or between eight to 20 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 wax worms or night crawlers. Bluegill fishing is bountiful along the banks. Saugeyes are active in this lake. Currently, saugeyes are being caught by anglers using night crawlers, bass minnows, or jigs. Fish the bait by trolling it through in water that is eight to 10 feet deep.

East Fork (Clermont County) - Crappies are being caught by anglers using wax worms, tube jigs, or medium to large sized minnows tipped on chartreuse jigs. Fish the bait six to eight inches deep or 16 to 20 feet deep. Also look for good crappie fishing back into the cove areas as well as up and into Tunnel Mill, Cabin, Barnes, Poplar, and Cloverlick creeks. Channel catfish are being caught by anglers fishing tightline at night using night crawlers, large minnows or chicken liver. Fishing is best in water between eight to 20 feet deep. Bluegills are hitting on wax worms or redworms. Keep the bait under a bobber and about two to three feet deep. Cast anywhere around the docks, standing wood, or downed trees. Hybrid striped bass are being caught by anglers fishing near the campground and main beach and the flat near the Army Corp of Engineers boat ramp close to the dam. Chicken liver or deep diving crankbaits that resemble shad are working well. The early morning or late evening hours are the most productive times. Largemouth bass are being caught by anglers using plastic worms, spinner baits, or deep diving (six to 10 feet) crankbaits colored shad or fire tiger.

Southeast Region

Piedmont Lake (Belmont County) - Smallmouth bass have been biting well. Successful anglers are fishing in the early evening, night, as well as early morning. Fish along shallow points in three to five feet of water. Anglers are using tube jigs and spinner baits. Spinner baits can be used with a slow retrieve or allowed to helicopter down.

Hanging Rock Ponds (Lawrence County) - Numerous small ponds dot the Hanging Rock area. Water temperatures have been hovering around 80 degrees. Anglers are catching largemouth bass up to 15 inches on buzzbaits, plastic worms, and crankbaits fished in the early evening and past dark.

Woodbury Wildlife Area Ponds (Coshocton County) - Most ponds are stable and clear. Sunfish are being caught on small worms or wax worms. Largemouth bass in the eight- to 15-inch range have been caught on darker-colored plastic worms during the evening hours or top water lures at night.

Forked Run Lake (Meigs County) - Anglers report success fishing for channel catfish in the shallow end of the lake. Successful rigs were baited with chicken livers or night crawlers and fished under a bobber suspended six feet deep. Fishing for bluegills has also been successful using wax worms or night crawlers fished under a bobber. 10-horsepower limit at this 107-acre lake.

Lake Erie Region

Western Basin

Walleye: There has been very little walleye fishing effort in the western basin recently. The best catches have come from east of Kelleys Island along the Canadian border and also between Kelleys Island and South Bass Island. Casters are using mayfly rigs or drifting bottom bouncers with worm harnesses. Trollers are catching fish on spoons with Dipseys or Jet Divers, or on worm harnesses with in-line weights.

Yellow perch: Perch fishing is improving. The best reports have come from the Toledo water intake, the Toledo lighthouse, Green Island, southeast of Starve Island, north of Kelleys Island, and southeast of Kelleys Island. Most fish have been in the 7- to 9-inch range. Perch spreaders or crappie rigs with shiners fished near the bottom produce the most fish.

Central Basin

Walleye fishing has been very good in 70 to 72 feet of water northeast and northwest of Ashtabula and in 70-75 feet northwest of Conneaut. Anglers are fishing down 54-60 feet. Trollers are using pink, black, orange, green, and yellow spoons and stick baits off Dipsy Divers, planer boards and Jet Divers.

Yellow perch fishing has been good to excellent in 37-48 feet of water northwest of Gordon Park, 37-40 feet and also 50 feet northwest and northeast of Wildwood State Park, 41-47 feet northwest of Fairport Harbor and 47 feet northeast of Conneaut. Perch spreaders with shiners fished near the bottom produce the most fish.

White bass fishing has been fair off the Eastlake CEI and Fairport piers. It is always difficult to predict when they will come in close to shore. Anglers are using agitators and small yellow or white jigs along with small spinners. Mornings and evenings have been the best.