Sunday, January 29th, 2023
Sunday, January 29th, 2023

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Sportsmen Since 1967

Northeast Ohio streams get fresh steelhead runs

AKRON, OH – The snow has fallen and it is certainly cold! Ice
fishing opportunities are just around the corner in northeast Ohio,
according to the DNR Division of Wildlife.

Buckeye State anglers are provided with unlimited chances to
catch a variety of fish such as perch, sunfish, crappie, walleyes,
and in a few places, northern pike. Most lakes and ponds that
anglers fish in the warmer months are just as good in the winter,
so with a little skill and knowledge about fishing on the frozen
water, you can be reeling in fish in no time.

Learning about the body of water to be fished, necessary
equipment, how to dress warmly, and most importantly, knowing
safety precautions are all components of a pleasant winter fishing
experience.

For panfish, Punderson Lake in Geauga County, Pymatuning Lake in
Ashtabula County, and the Portage Lakes reservoirs in Summit County
are longtime producers. For walleyes, Berlin Lake in Portage,
Mahoning and Stark counties, as well as Mosquito Lake in Trumbull
County (also good for pike) or Pymatuning Lake in Ashtabula County
are all excellent, but keep an eye on water levels fluctuating.

Equipment: Some basic tools you will need before you hit the
hard water.

€ Sled

€ Ice auger

€ Skimmer

€ Ice chisel

€ Bait bucket

€ Gaff hook

€ Seat

€ Dip net

€ Hook disgorger

€ Ice fishing rods (short, with or without a spring type
bobber)

€ “Tip-up” rods (tripping mechanism sends up a flag on a
strike)

€ “Pin-mins” (Small ice jigs that can be tipped with live
bait)

€ Jigging spoons or other similar lures (Rapala jigs, Sonars,
Vibe-Es) for predacious fish

€ Live bait such as minnow (for larger fish) or wax worms (for
smaller fish)

€ Flashers, depth finders, or underwater cameras to see what
lies beneath the ice

Other stuff to bring: extra clothes, energy-rich snacks and warm
beverages, a coil of rope, first aid kit, waterproof matches, ice
awls, floatation device, cell phone (in a sealed plastic bag).

Dress for Success: Layering your clothes makes it much easier to
remove or add clothes depending on your comfort level. The first
layer should be a good pair of thermal underwear that keeps
perspiration away from the skin. The second layer should be wool,
fleece, or flannel followed by a third layer of windproof or
waterproof material. A warm, wool or fleece hat is important, too.
Avoid cotton altogether because it is a very poor insulator. Don’t
forget to keep those toes toasty, too, by wearing good, non-cotton
socks and loose waterproof boots. Boots that are a bit too big help
circulation continue throughout your feet. Lastly, mittens are the
best way to go to protect your hands from the icy water. Some
winter anglers even wear thin, rubber gloves underneath mittens to
allow flexibility. It doesn’t hurt to bring extra clothes too.

Be safe:

€ No ice is safe ice.

€ For one person and gear (approximately, 200 pounds) at least
four inches of ice is absolutely necessary.

€ Always fish with a partner or in an area with several other
anglers present

€ Let others know exactly where you are going and when you plan
to return

€ Place a cell phone in a plastic bag to protect it from
moisture in case you get wet

€ Sprinkle sand around your feet for better traction on the
ice

€ Wear a life vest in case of an emergency or at least take
along a PFD seat cushion

€ Avoid areas of feeder streams, springs, bridge pilings, docks
and dam structures since ice is usually very thin

€ If you fall into the water, try to remain as calm as
possible

€ Slip your loose boots off to better tread water

€ Use ice awls to pull yourself out of the water

€ If no ice awls are available, call for help and try “swimming
out”; let your body rise up to firm ice & crawl out

€ Stay flat, distributing your weight on the ice

€ Keep your clothes on once out of the water. This will keep you
insulated.

€ If someone else falls in, use REACH (stick or fishing pole),
THROW (rope or PFD), ROW (row or push a boat), and GO (call for
help).

Central Region

Buckeye Lake (Fairfield, Licking and Perry counties) – The
crappie bite has been on and off again, but some anglers are
catching them on jig and minnow combos, reports Bob Mathie at Bob’s
Outdoor Supply in Newark. The lake is down to winter pool levels.
Try the Fairfield Beach area for saugeyes on jerkbaits. For channel
catfish, use floating jigs and minnows to catch fish from 11/2 to 4
pounds. Fish the docks at Heron Bay for bluegills and crappies,
recommends Mathie.

Bob’s Outdoor Supply, 740-349-0992

Alum Creek Lake (Delaware County) – Anglers are catching
crappies and white bass in the deeper parts of the lake south of
the Cheshire Road bridge. Try fishing a jig and minnow combination
in about 20 feet of water. Jigs in the 1/8- to 1/4-ounce size is
working best.

Division of Wildlife, www.wildohio.com

Northwest Region

Clearfork Reservoir (Richland County) – Very nice catches of
crappie has been reported at Clearfork. Fishing minnows under a
bobber or casting tube jigs are working great. The best spot seems
to be under Orewiler Bridge.

Bellevue Reservoir No. 5 (Huron County) – Yellow perch are being
caught in good numbers here. Evenings are best. Fishing minnows
under a slip bobber is producing the nicest catches; try the
northeast side of the reservoir.

Northeast Region

€ Hometown Carryout, located at 164 South Main in New Athens, is
no longer serving hunters as a check station for deer and turkey
seasons. Hunters may choose from nine other check stations in
Harrison County which are listed in the 2009-2010 Hunting and
Trapping Digest.

€ Valley Market, located at 232 County Road 50 in Hammondsville,
is no longer serving hunters as a check station for deer and turkey
seasons.

Nimisila Reservoir (Summit County) – Anglers have had fair
success catching yellow perch from 7 to 11 inches from shore. Try
Christman Road access points on the northeast portion of the lake.
Use a crappie rig or a jig tipped with a minnow.

Portage Lakes State Park, 330-644-2220

Southwest Region

Acton Lake (Preble County) – Good crappie action is being
reported. Size range from 14-16 inches and minnows are the bait of
choice. Try about 15 feet deep and slow retrieve from bottom.

Southeast Region

Dillon Lake (Muskingum County) – Anglers are fishing for
saugeyes and crappies below the spillway with some success. Hybrid
stripers can be caught on the main lake, but the bite has been
spotty. Try for crappies and bluegills at the main marina or
anywhere you can find isolated wood, recommends Bob Mathie at Bob’s
Outdoor Supply.

Bob’s Outdoor Supply, 740-349-0992

Lake Erie Region

There has been very little fishing activity on Lake Erie over
the past week. Surface temperatures are quickly dropping and ice is
forming in shallow protected areas of bays and harbors.

The Rocky River is currently exhibiting moderate level and a
nice green stain. Looking at the extended forecast, fishing
conditions into the weekend should continue to be very good. A
number of steelhead anglers who got out on the river lately have
reported success. A fresh run of fish has entered the northern few
miles of the river. This latest run complements the fish already
present and well distributed through the main branch of the river,
as well as both the east and west branches. A similarly good run
has also been reported on the Chagrin River.

Many of the steelhead hooked were by anglers drifting spawn sacs
in brighter colors through the deeper holes from the marina
upstream to Morley Ford. Jigs tipped with grubs and live minnows
also accounted for plenty of steelhead. Before the last increase in
water levels, fly-fishers were reporting success on sucker spawn
patterns and beadhead nymphs dead drifted under an indicator, which
should work well given the expected conditions this weekend. Plan
to downsize offerings and use more subdued colors as the water
continues to clear in the coming days. As the water continues to
drop in temperature, expect hits from steelhead to be lighter and
plan to set the hook anytime your float or indicator pauses,
twitches, or slows during the drift.

The current winter trout release plan was to stock Wallace and
Ranger lakes on Monday, Dec. 21 and to stock Shadow, Ledge, and
Judges lakes on Tuesday, Dec. 22. Wallace Lake is back to normal
water level, although Ledge Lake is still low following drawdown
for dam repair activities. The fish this year will be diverse in
size from about 3/4 of a pound up to about 1.5 pounds, with a few
dozen golden rainbow trout mixed in for some variety. Of the 1,800
pounds of trout planned for release, half will go into Wallace
Lake.

Cleveland Metroparks, www.clemetparks.com

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