Ohio Outdoor News Fishing Report – Sept. 15, 2017

Central Region

O’Shaughnessy Reservoir (Delaware County) – Anglers are fishing for saugeyes with a little bit of success here. The best bite has been for anglers slow trolling crankbaits. The crappie bite has been better with some 10- to 14-inch fish being reported. The crappies are being caught by the trollers.

Alum Creek Lake (Delaware County) – The topwater bite for largemouth and smallmouth bass is on at Alum Creek. Anglers are using a variety of baits from Jitterbugs to popper baits to frogs for the topwater action. Bluegills, too, are biting on wax worms or nightcrawlers. A few anglers are picking up saugeyes by slow trolling crankbaits. Fish for channel catfish here, too, with cut bait on the bottom.

Hoover Reservoir (Franklin and Delaware counties) – Anglers are catching catfish at this popular central Ohio reservoir. Channels and blue cats are on the menu currently. Most fish are being released. Fish shad in deeper water for the best bite. The Oxbow Road ramp on the north side of the reservoir is scheduled for some work by the DNR and the City of Columbus. Once the construction crews are on site, the launch area will be closed. The project, which will install a new ramp and parking lot among other things, is expected to be complete in late spring 2018.

Northwest Region

Killdeer Ponds 30 and 31 (Wyandot County) – In late August, the Division of Wildlife stocked channel catfish in these two ponds on Killdeer Plains Wildlife Area. Pond 30 was stocked with 500 catfish, and Pond 31 was stocked with 200 catfish. The Division of Wildlife also recommends that anglers give Pond 33 a try. Pond 33 has a boat ramp and offers fishing for largemouth bass, catfish, sunfish, and crappies.

New London Reservoir (Huron County) – Anglers fishing this reservoir recently have been rewarded with yellow perch, largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, and catfish. The successful setup has been perch or crappie rigs tipped with minnows, and crawler harnesses. Fish the crawler harnesses deep for best results.

Maumee River (Lucas County) – Anglers are fishing for flathead catfish and channel catfish with some success. For the best catfish bite, target efforts on the mouths of feeder creeks. Live bait is always a good choice. Fish a nightcrawler or chicken livers on or near the bottom for better catfishing.

Northeast  Region 

Berlin Lake (Portage, Mahoning, and Stark counties) – Most anglers at Berlin Lake at this time of year are targeting bass. Fish topwater baits in the early morning or evening hours. In the middle of the day, bass will hit spinnerbaits and swimbaits. Panfish, too, will be caught on the spinnerbaits.

Pymatuning Reservoir (Ashtabula County) – Crappies are biting for anglers fishing this large lake that spans the Ohio-Pennsylvania border. The successful set up has been jig and wax worm combinations or jigs and nightcrawlers. Crappie fishermen are also picking up some bluegills and catfish on the same baits.

Nimisila Reservoir (Summit County) – Fish tubes for largemouth bass at this northeast Ohio lake. Also, jig and minnow or wax worm combos will catch bass and panfish.

Mosquito Creek Lake (Trumbull County) – The walleye bite on this large northeast Ohio lake is picking up as we head into the fall. Anglers are catching them by jigging in deep water. Tip the jig with a minnow or plastic skirt for best results. Crappies, too, are biting in deeper water.

Southwest Region

Rocky Fork Lake (Highland County) – Anglers are trying to catch saugeyes here with limited success. The popular baits have been simply a nightcrawler or minnow fished under a bobber. Some crappies and catfish are also being caught on these same baits.

Cowan Lake (Clinton County) – A few anglers are fishing for white bass here with good success. Catch them on minnows or nightcrawlers fished shallow in the water column. You might also catch a saugeye in these same spots, but only fishing deeper for them.

Grand Lake St. Marys (Mercer County) – Anglers are fishing for crappies, as usual, at this large Mercer County lake. The best set up has been a tried and true jig and minnow combination. Fish for catfish here, too, with cut bait or chicken livers fished on or near the bottom.

Caesar Creek Lake (Warren, Clinton, and Greene counties) – Fishermen are still chasing muskies at this large southwest Ohio lake with some success. Try a bucktail jig or other large inline spinnerbait for best results. For crappies, a jig and minnow combination cannot be beaten. You’ll also pick up some bluegills and bass using these techniques. For a full report on Caesar Creek Lake, see the back page of this issue for a lake profile on it.

Southeast Region

Salt Fork Lake (Guernsey County) – Crappie fishermen are doing fairly well here. Fish minnows under a bobber to catch fish ranging up to 12 inches. Some anglers are catching loads of crappies by fishing the bait between 10 and 15 feet deep. Some bonus channel catfish are also showing up in angler creels.

Piedmont Lake (Belmont County) – Fishermen are targeting saugeyes on live bait presentations. Saugeyes have ranged from 15 to 19 inches. Fish near the bottom using tightline presentations for the  bite. Use jig and minnow combos or nightcrawlers for the best bite. A few bass, bluegills, and catfish can also be caught here using these same baits.

Tappan Lake (Harrison County) – Anglers are fishing for saugeyes with success. Cast crankbaits at them or jig and minnow combinations. Fish have ranged from 15 to 19 inches in length. Some fishermen are also catching largemouth bass on plastics.

Lake Erie Region

• The daily bag limit for walleyes in Ohio waters of Lake Erie is 6 fish per angler. The minimum size limit for walleyes 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 five 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.

Western Basin

Walleye 

Where: There were few reports of walleye fishing over the past week, but the best reports came from “H” can of the Camp Perry firing range and near Gull Island Shoal. 

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

Yellow Perch  

Where: Yellow perch fishing has improved recently. The best reports came from buoy 13 of the Toledo shipping channel, near “A”, “B”, and “D” cans of the Camp Perry firing range, and Gull Island Shoal. 

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: Good fishing was reported in 62 feet of water north-northeast of Edgewater Park, in 50 feet of water northwest of Wildwood Park, in 60 to 74 feet of water north-northeast of Geneva, and in 68 to 75 feet of water north-northeast of Ashtabula. 

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

Yellow Perch  

Where: A few fish have been caught in 47 feet of water northeast of Wildwood Park and in 47 to 52 feet of water northwest of Fairport Harbor. Good fishing was reported in 56 to 65 feet of water northeast of Conneaut. 

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

Smallmouth Bass  

Where: Fish have been caught in 10 to 30 feet of water around the harbor areas in Cleveland, Fairport Harbor, Ashtabula, and Conneaut. 

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

Cleveland Metroparks, www.clevelandmetroparks.com

OHIO RIVER REGION

Meldahl Dam Catfish are being caught on cut baits fished on the bottom. Fish shad or shrimp with some weight to catch channels.

Greenup Dam Anglers are still fishing for hybrid stripers here with some success.   

Pike Island – Walleyes are being caught by anglers casting swimbaits, jerkbaits, and small crankbaits.

New Cumberland Lock and Dam – A few anglers are managing to catch some saugers here. The popular set up has been a jig and a skirt in either chartreuse or pumpkin color. Cast the jig out and wait a few pauses until it nearly hits bottom, then employ a slow retrieve.

BEYOND OHIO

Lake St. Clair (Michigan)

Anglers have had a hard time locating fish on Lake St. Clair. Those trolling crankbaits and nightcrawlers in the Middle and South channels of the river have caught a couple nice walleyes. Smallmouth bass action has been hit-or-miss, though. Usually the southern end of the lake is better, but have also been some decent catches reported near the Clinton River spillway.

Lake Orion (Mich.)

Bass fishing has been steady on Orion and Lakeville lakes. Topwater baits fished in the shallows early in the mornings have produced a good bite. Fair numbers of panfish have been caught on Prince, Trout, East Graham and West Graham lakes in the Bald Mountain Recreation area.

Luna Pier Area (Mich.)

Lake Erie has been producing good numbers of yellow perch outside the River Raisin near buoys 1 and 2, and east of the buoys towards the Michigan/Ohio line. Perch rigs with gold or white beads tipped with a minnow have caught fish. Near limit catches of walleyes were reported off Stony Point by anglers trolling bodybaits.

Coldwater Area (Mich.)

Fishing has been slow in Branch County and fishing pressure light. A few walleyes have been caught in Madison Lake on nightcrawlers and crankbaits. Panfish anglers report catching a few good-sized bluegills in Honey and Gilead lakes.

Kalamazoo Area (Mich.)

The dog days of summer may be over in Kalamazoo County. Good catches of bluegills, perch, and crappies were reported from anglers on most area lakes. Anglers reported catching some limits of bluegills on Barton, Sugarloaf and Gull lakes. Good catches of perch were also reported on Barton. The bluegills and crappies are beginning to gather in 12 to 18 feet of water. The ‘gills seem to prefer pieces of nightcrawlers over trout worms, and crappies always prefer a lively minnow.

Grand Rapids Area (Mich.)

The Grand River continues to provide some good walleye action below the Sixth Street Dam. Most are being caught on leeches. Fair to good numbers of catfish are also being caught both above and below the dam.

Saginaw Bay Area (Mich.)

Perch fishing has been good in Lake Huron’s Saginaw Bay. Water up toward Pinconning and Standish had fair fishing with perch hitting in 16 feet of water off the Pinconning Bar. Boat anglers were taking 20 to 25 fish per boat. Most were 8 to 10 inches long, but some did get the occasional 12-inch fish. A few walleyes were taken off Gambil’s Marina near Pinconning in 14 feet of water and around the sailboat buoys A, B and H. Catfish were hitting worms and shrimp in the Hot Ponds.

Grand Haven Area (Mich.)

Salmon fishing has been very good in Lake Michigan. Boat anglers caught salmon 70 to 140 feet down in 120 to 220 feet of water. A flasher/fly combination worked best with green or white flies. Fish were also taken on yellow or green meat rigs. The thermocline was about 70 to 80 feet down. Smaller boats are fishing inside 120 to 150 feet and the bigger boats are going out deeper when the weather allows. Most of the fish caught were salmon. Pier fishing was slow.

Ludington Area (Mich.)

Anglers are catching a mixed bag of salmon and steelhead on Lake Michigan. The better fishing was in 120 to 200 feet of water with spoons, J-plugs and meat rigs all producing the best results. Anglers caught some big Chinook salmon along with some coho salmon and steelhead trout. The thermocline was 90 to 120 feet down. At Pentwater, boats trolling from the dunes down to Little Sable Point caught Chinook and coho 50 to 90 feet down in 160 to 200 feet of water. Spoons, flies, plugs and meat rigs are all working. Hot colors were blue flies, green plugs or a “bloody nose” spoon. On Pentwater Lake, anglers still-fishing with minnows in the channel caught smallmouth bass and a few pike. Bluegills, rock bass, and yellow perch have been caught at the mouth of the channel.

Lake Erie (Pennsylvania) – Poor Richard’s Bait and Tackle reported that anglers were catching walleyes in mixed sizes in 50 to 80 feet of water straight out of Walnut Creek and west of Walnut Creek. Anglers were doing well by trolling stickbaits or drifting crawler harnesses. The perch bite picked up for some anglers, with catches coming in various spots in 55 to 60 feet. One perch angler reportedly boated a 31-inch walleye earlier in August. Many freshwater drum also were reported.

Presque Isle Bay (Erie County, Pa.) – Anglers were catching numbers of catfish. Some catches also were coming in Elk Creek. The bay also was yielding some bass and carp.

Union City Dam (Erie County, Pa.) – A number of bowfins were released in recent weeks.

Lake Edinboro (Erie County, Pa.) – Shore anglers on the west side reported catfish, panfish, and a few bass.

Pymatuning Reservoir (Crawford County, Pa.) – Except for catfish and bluegills, fishing was generally slow, although some anglers were catching walleyes on blade baits and crankbaits. Numbers of perch were reported, but crappies were scarce. A few smallmouths were reported, along with an occasional muskie.

Conneaut Lake (Crawford County, Pa.) – Largemouth bass up to 3 pounds were reported on soft jerkbaits on this large natural lake. The winning weight in a recent tournament was a bag of four smallmouths and four largemouths totaling 24.61 pounds. Bluegills up to 8 inches and nice-size pumpkinseeds also were reported.

Canadohta Lake (Crawford County, Pa.) – Some northern pike and muskies were reported on this natural lake in recent weeks.

Woodcock Lake (Crawford County, Pa.) – A few walleyes, muskies, and nice-size smallmouth bass were reported.

Lake Arthur (Butler County, Pa.) – Hybrid striped bass and walleyes were reported in recent weeks. A 6-pound largemouth bass also was reported.

Lake Wilhelm (Mercer County, Pa.) – Crappie action was mixed, with one angler reportedly catching an 18-incher. Largemouth bass and numbers of bluegills also were released. A 5-plus pound largemouth was taken on a spinnerbait.

Neshannock Creek (Mercer County, Pa.) – A kayaker reported releasing numbers of smallmouth bass on various artificials, although most fish were in the 12- to 14-inch range. He also caught hold-over trout up to 20 inches.

Shenango Reservoir (Mercer County, Pa.) – White bass remained active while walleyes slowed. Large schools of white bass were feeding on top during the day. Some folks targeting white bass were also catching small hybrid stripers. Crappies in mixed sizes were hitting around the lake in both shallow and deep water. Channel cats were biting live bait in big numbers.

Allegheny River (Venango County, Pa.) – The smallmouth bass bite was mixed for folks boating and wading the river. Fish ranged from small to 19½ inches. The fast-flowing riffles were yielding smaller sizes, and bigger bass were coming from the deeper pools. Some walleyes, including an 8-pounder, were reported, too. Effective lures included river darters, crankbaits and soft plastics, such as tubes.

Kinzua Reservoir (Warren County, Pa.) – Walleyes were reported at the mouths of Willow and Sugar bays.

Chapman Lake (Warren County, Pa.) – Anglers were catching some trout and largemouth bass.

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