Ohio Outdoor News Fishing Report – May 11, 2018

Central Region

Buckeye Lake (Fairfield, Licking, Perry counties) – Nightcrawlers are the top ticket right now to catch channel catfish on Buckeye Lake. Some of the catfish being caught are ranging up to 20 inches. Simply fish the bait under a bobber to catch catfish and also some bonus carp.

Alum Creek Lake (Delaware County) – Anglers are busy catching smallmouth bass in the lower end of the lake. A recent bass tournament on the lake took a five-smallmouth bag weighing 19 pounds to win it. Anglers are casting smaller crankbaits and swim jigs at the smallmouth.

Deer Creek Lake (Pickaway, Fayette counties) – Anglers are catching saugeyes here, but sizes have been smallish, in the 10- to 12-inch range. Fishermen are also catching white bass on jig and minnow combinations. Crappies, too, are being caught on the same bait.

Hoover Reservoir (Delaware, Franklin counties) – Anglers are fishing for channel catfish here with some success even though the water is muddy. The most popular bait being used is cut bait fished on the bottom. Also, some blue catfish are in the mix.

Indian Lake (Logan County) – Fishermen are catching saugeyes with some regularity on the south and west banks of the lake. Successful baits have been swimbaits or stickbaits in a variety of patterns. Mostly males are being caught, with the largest being reported right around 19 inches.

Northwest Region

Sandusky River (Sandusky County) – The river run for walleyes appears to be on in both the Sandusky and Maumee rivers in northwest Ohio. In the Sandusky River at Fremont, anglers are catching jacks with some regularity. The popular colors have been white and black. Quite a few females are being snagged, which is not a legal means of catching. They must be immediately released.

Maumee River (Lucas County) – The peak of the walleye run seemed to be on as of May 1, according to the folks at Maumee Bait and Tackle. And, it couldn’t come at a better time now that the walleye bag is six fish per angler per day. Maumee Bait expects many six-fish limits to be taken at Bluegrass, Buttonwood, and Jerome Road. There is still a significant number of walleyes spawning in the river, according to the bait shop. Fish for them at night with small crankbaits and dark colored tails on a Carolina rig. As a bonus, Orleans, White Street, and Fort Meigs are all spots that are offering white bass currently. Anglers are employing chatterbaits and jig and tail combos for the white bass. There is no size limit or bag limit on white bass.

Maumee Bait and Tackle, www.maumeetackle.net

Upper Sandusky Reservoir No. 2 (Wyandot County) – Fishermen are giving it their best effort to catch largemouth bass here with few results. Some guys are reporting catching fish on plastics, but those reports are few and far between. Some 16-inch fish are being reported caught near any type of structure you can find.

Northeast Region 

West Branch Reservoir (Portage County) – The water level is high and muddy here, but some anglers are managing to catch a few muskies by trolling big crankbaits. Other fishermen are employing small Rapalas for the crappie and bass bite from shore.

Nimisila Reservoir (Summit County) – Anglers are catching crappies, bluegills, and yellow perch here with some regularity. All of the fish are coming in shallow water – five to seven feet – and are biting on minnows fished under a bobber. Perch are biting better than the crappies, according to angler reports.

Mahoning River (Trumbull County) – The river run for white bass appears to be on in the Mahoning River. Successful anglers are using nightcrawlers or jig and minnow combos to catch these feisty fish.

Mosquito Creek Lake (Trumbull County) – Anglers are wading while others are trolling for walleyes here with some success. Those trolling are employing Flicker Shad in perch patterns with some success. Wading anglers are fishing the shallow-water areas with jig and minnow combinations. Vib-Es are also being used in the shallow water and are also catching some walleyes.

Southwest Region 

Rocky Fork Lake (Highland County) – Anglers are catching some largemouth bass on the main lake at Rocky Fork. The best bite is coming on plastics in chartreuse and orange. Crappies, too, are being caught on the same baits. Fish the bait rather shallow, 5-7 feet, for better results.

Paint Creek Lake (Highland County) – Anglers are fishing the spillway area of the lake for saugeyes and crappies. Best results are coming on waxworms or minnows fished under a float. Keep the bait in 10 to 15 feet of water for better luck.

C.J. Brown Reservoir (Clark County) – Anglers are trying their best to catch walleyes here, but are having more luck with the crappies. The successful crappie bite, according to angler reports, is coming deep in 20 to 25 feet of water. Try a white jig and a yellow skirt tipped with a minnow. Most jig and minnow combos should work well for crappies.

Caesar Creek Lake (Warren, Clinton, Greene counties) – Water clarity hasn’t been the greatest here, but a few anglers are giving it a try. Most are after crappies, and they’re catching a few in the muddy conditions. Bite hasn’t been great, again, but you might try a straight minnow or jig and minnow combo among the stickups in the coves.

Great Miami River (various counties) – When the water has been at an acceptable level, anglers are managing to catch some smallmouth bass on the GMR. Try anything from a spinnerbait to a swimbait to entice a bite. Some smallmouths have been reported up to 10 or 11 inches.

Southeast Region

Tappan Lake (Harrison County) – Water clarity hasn’t been too much of an issue on this Harrison County lake. Anglers are catching largemouth bass by casting plastics to the rocks. Some of the bass being reported are fairly large, up to 4 pounds. Jerkbaits have been the top producer for bass.

Salt Fork Lake (Guernsey County) – Water levels haven’t been the best and the clarity is not good, either. However, a few crappies are being caught in the shallows on waxworms and minnows. Bank fishermen are casting for crappies and bluegills, with some success. Enough to keep a young person busy for an afternoon.

Burr Oak Lake (Morgan, Athens counties) – If you can manage to get around the high water levels at Burr Oak, you might catch a largemouth bass or two. Fish bright-colored plastics in the turbid water for best results. Fish the bait fairly shallow, between five and 10 feet, around cover. For a full report on Burr Oak Lake, see the back page of this edition of Ohio Outdoor News.

Piedmont Lake (Belmont County) – Anglers who are fishing for saugeyes here have been surprised to catch muskies instead. Fishermen are casting or trolling crankbaits for the bite. Muskies have been reported up to a smallish 30 inches, but nevertheless fish are being caught.

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 2 fish per angler. The minimum size limit is 12 inches.

• Black bass (largemouth and smallmouth bass): May 1 through June 29 is closed to possession (catch-and-release is legal).

Walleye

Where: Jigging continues to be very productive in the Western Basin of Lake Erie. Most anglers have been fishing the mid-lake reef complex west of Port Clinton, and reefs adjacent to the islands. Anglers have also done well off Vermilion. Most of the fish being caught are males 16 to 22 inches long, along with reports of the occasional smallmouth bass. Fishing for anglers trolling has been slower but has produced larger fish. The best success for anglers trolling has come from the Bass Islands area, especially west of North Bass Island and near Rattlesnake Island.

How: Anglers jigging were using 5/8- and 3/4-ounce hair jigs and blade baits in eight to 17 feet of water. Purple and black were the most popular colors. Anglers fishing with hair jigs have been using stinger hooks and tipping the jigs with minnows. Anglers trolling were having success using deep diving crankbaits set 50 to 100 feet back and trolled at 1.3 to 1.5 mph.

Cleveland Metropark area streams are currently offering good fishing conditions. The forecast into the weekend looks like some rain in the forecast, but if it isn’t much conditions will remain good for the weekend. Area streams are offering a diverse mix of fresh pre-spawn, spawning, post-spawn, and skipper steelhead. Fish have been very well distributed all throughout the Rocky, Chagrin, and Cuyahoga rivers, as well as smaller tributaries such as Euclid Creek at Wildwood Park. Fish have been caught on everything ranging from bait (spawn sacs, minnows, jigs tipped with grubs), beads, rubber minnows, flies (nymphs, streamers, and egg patterns), and hardware (spoons, spinners, and plugs) this week. Anglers can look forward to very good steelhead fishing at least into early May given the slow warm-up we’ve had this spring.

Complimenting the steelhead are increasing numbers of lake-run smallmouth bass. These fish are present in deeper, rocky holes throughout the main branch of the river. Anglers fishing a jig, wooly bugger, live shiner, or other lures/flies that mimic a baitfish have a shot at hooking “the silver and bronze” (a smallmouth or steelhead) in the same day for the next few weeks.

The white sucker run is also underway on local streams, with Morley Ford north of the Lorain Road bridge being a hot spot. A leadhead jig with twister tail, nymph flies, or worm and small sinker fished near the river bottom will all take their share of suckers. Suckers are perfect for kids and less experienced anglers, although experienced anglers can find the fast action they afford to be lots of fun, as well.

Cleveland shoreline breakwalls, marinas, and harbors on Lake Erie in spring offer anglers a shot at catching steelhead, along with northern pike, largemouth bass, and panfish. Productive spots include the Edgewater, Wildwood, and East 72nd/Gordon Park boat ramp areas. For steelhead a medium size Little Cleo spoon (or similar) or a jig tipped with minnow or maggots suspended under a float are top producers. For northern pike and largemouth bass a white and silver spinnerbait is often a producer.

Recently, Cleveland Metroparks stocked another 600 pounds of rainbow trout in the East Branch Rocky River. Of the six spots Cleveland Metroparks routinely stocks, Bonnie Park (on both the upstream and downstream side of the dam) receives the lion’s share of these fish.

Cleveland Metroparks’ inland lakes are offering very good fishing opportunities at this time. In late March, 291 coho salmon were stocked in Wallace Lake as a bonus spring fishery. Stockings like this are made possible by proceeds from the Cleveland Metroparks Fishing Fund. On March 29, the Ohio Division of Wildlife stocked 816 rainbow trout at Shadow Lake and 2,759 rainbow trout at Hinckley Lake (these fish average about 3 to 4 pounds each). Additionally, Metroparks stocked 6,000 pounds of trout this past winter, as follows: on Jan. 22, Shadow (1,500 pounds), Ledge (1,200 pounds), and Judge’s (300 pounds) lakes; and on Jan. 24 Wallace (2,800 pounds) and Ranger (200 pounds) lakes.

Trout and coho salmon typically bite well on PowerBait, jigs tipped with a few maggots/waxworms, and smaller spinners (such as Rooster Tail). Note the current seasonal trout/salmon regulations: Lake Erie and all streams, two/day minimum size 12 inches (this includes steelhead); three/day, no size limit at Wallace, Judge’s, and Ranger lakes; and five/day, no size limit at Shadow Lake and Ohio & Erie Canal. Note: Ledge Lake is posted as catch and release fishing only until further notice.

Cleveland Metroparks, www.clevelandmetroparks.com 

OHIO RIVER REGION

Racine Pool Anglers are fishing for saugers here with some success. The best bait has been a lively minnow, on a jig. Fish the bait slowly in cold water.

Greenup Dam Fish for hybrid stripers here like you would fish for catfish. These wipers will hit chicken livers and cut bait fished on the bottom.

Pike Island – Anglers fishing the dam area are picking up a few smallmouth bass, according to angler reports.

New Cumberland Lock and Dam – Anglers are catching catfish and saugers in this pool on jig and minnow combos or swimbaits. Saugers are running fairly small, however.

BEYOND OHIO

Lake St. Clair (Michigan)

Wind and rain left a lot of muddy water in Lake St. Clair. Fishing pressure was very light, but some anglers reported catching decent numbers of bluegills, sunfish and perch in the canals.

Lake Orion (Mich.)

Inland lake fishing pressure has been very light in Oakland County with high wind, cold temperatures, and rain keeping anglers off the water. The DNR plants between 6,000 and 7,000 brown trout in Paint Creek each spring so trout season should be fun. Toms are strutting and gobbling. Spring turkey season should be good.

Trenton Area (Mich.)

Good numbers of walleyes are moving up the Detroit River and fishing has been pretty good. Wind and rain, however, muddied the water. Anglers were taking good numbers of fish off Belle Isle, in the Trenton Channel and off Wyandotte. Most were using a jig with a live or artificial minnow. Some perch were being caught in the canals.

Luna Pier Area (Mich.)

The water in the Western Basin of Lake Erie was muddy after the winter storm blew through the state and fishing pressure was light. Those trolling Bandits in Brest Bay or using a jig and minnow off the Metro Park were catching a few walleyes. Spring turkey hunting should be good.

SOUTHWESTERN LP

Allegan Area (Mich.)

Steelhead fishing has been good on the Kalamazoo River below the Allegan Dam. Results have been mixed, but the good days have been very good. Waxworms, spawn, beads, and flies are all catching fish. Inland lakes are still cold and panfish have yet to start moving into the shallows. Turkey numbers are in good shape. The spring season should be good. Toms were strutting and gobbling, but were still in their bachelor groups.

Grand Rapids Area (Mich.)

There was a good push of fresh steelhead up the Grand River resulting in a good number of fish at the Sixth Street Dam. River fishing has been pretty good. Toms are strutting and gobbling. Spring turkey season should be good.

Plainwell Area

Crappies and bluegills starting to move and anglers are starting to catch fish on Gun Lake. Fishing pressure has been very light. Turkey numbers are in great shape. Toms are strutting and gobbling.

CENTRAL LP

Saginaw Bay Area (Mich.)

The storm left flooding along Lake Huron’s inner Saginaw Bay and shut down all fishing activity. Conditions should improve as the weather moderates. Word has it that post-spawn walleyes are dropping down out of the rivers and some are being caught off the river mouths by boat anglers. Turkey numbers are very strong in Bay and Arenac counties and the spring season should be good.

Lansing Area (Mich.)

Bass anglers were taking advantage of the catch-and-immediate-release season and catching decent numbers of smallmouth bass on the Grand River at the North Lansing Dam. Toms are strutting and gobbling, but some are still in bachelor groups. Spring turkey season should be good.

Grand Haven Area (Mich.)

Brown trout and menominee have been caught off the pier on Lake Michigan when the wind allows folks to get out. Spawn has produced the best action. Turkey numbers are in good shape and the spring season should be a good one. Down at South Haven, coho were caught by those trolling small crankbaits on Lake Michigan in 25 feet of water. Anglers were targeting steelhead, browns and whitefish at Holland. 

Ludington Area (Mich.)

Steelhead fishing had been pretty good in the Pere Marquette River before the snowstorm hit. Since then fishing has been slow and pressure light. There was one dock in at the city boat launch on Lake Michigan. With warmer weather in the forecast the piers should be open by now. Toms are strutting and activity should increase with warmer weather. The spring season should be good.

THE THUMB

Caseville Area (Mich.)

Fishing has slowed on Lake Huron as storms blew through the area and muddied the water. Fishing pressure has been light. A few anglers are catching good numbers of perch and crappies in Lake Huron at Sand Point. There was still about 5 inches of snow on the ground. Turkey numbers are up in the Thumb. Toms are strutting and gobbling.

Port Huron (Mich.)

Lake Huron and the St. Clair River were full of mud after the storm blew through the area. Fishing has slowed. Before the storms hit anglers reported catching a mixed bag of a lot of walleyes, steelhead, brown trout, and Atlantic salmon. Toms are strutting and gobbling. The spring turkey season should be a good one.

Lake Erie tributaries (Erie County, Pennsylvania) – Poor Richards Bait and Tackle reported that steelhead were still hitting, making for one of the latest steelhead seasons in recent years. Fish were hitting on minnows under bobbers and egg sacs. On opening day of trout season, air temperatures were in the 30s. Trout were taking grubs, mealworms, and waxworms.

Presque Isle Bay (Erie County, Pa.) – Poor Richard’s reported a fantastic perch bite, with limits and jumbos hitting in 25 to 45 feet of water. Boaters were doing better than shore anglers. Hot spots included the water off Liberty Park and the Border Pier. Minnows on crappie rigs were productive. Some anglers were catching bluegills and crappies on minnow-tipped jigs, but the perch bite was so intense, most anglers were targeting perch.

Pymatuning Reservoir (Crawford County, Pa.) – The crappie bite was hit or miss in mid-April, and the walleye bite was improving, especially in the late evening and nighttime hours for wading anglers. Some nice walleyes up to 11.5 pounds also were reported off the spillway. Minnow-pattern crankbaits were producing as were 1⁄16-ounce bladebaits. Some perch were reported. 

Conneaut Lake (Crawford County, Pa.) – Some large bluegills were reported on this large, natural lake in recent weeks. A few crappies were in the channels on the north end.

Lake Wilhelm (Mercer County, Pa.) – A few small crappies were reported earlier in April. Bluegills were in the stumps and around launch area No. 3.

Lower Two Mile Run (Venango County, Pa.) – Trout were hitting here on Mentored Youth Day, with fish coming on corn-colored salmon eggs drifted with the current.

Allegheny River (Venango County, Pa.) – Smallmouth bass up to 19 inches were released on soft plastics, such as tubes and grub patterns, on sunny days through mid-April. Northern pike up to 25 inches also were hitting.

Lake Arthur (Butler County, Pa.) – Panfish were hitting on minnows suspended over weedbeds in recent weeks.

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