Ice anglers still faring well; steelhead reported very slow

Central Region

Buckeye Lake (Fairfield, Licking and Perry counties) – Ice
fishing has been off and on at this central Ohio lake, reports Bob
Mathie at Bob’s Outdoor Supply in Newark. Anglers are catching
crappies, bluegills and some saugeyes in the Fairfield Beach area.
At the junction of Route 79 and Interstate 70, some anglers have
had success catching saugeyes in the creek area. Also at South
Fork, anglers have been catching saugeyes in open water in the
deeper holes. A prolonged stretch of cold weather should lock up
most of the Fairfield Beach area, where anglers can target panfish
by employing small (1/8 to 1/16-ounce) jigs. Try a glow jig in
those small sizes for better results.

Bob’s Outdoor Supply, 740-349-0992

Indian Lake (Logan County) – Anglers fishing the North Fork area
are catching good numbers of panfish and saugeyes through the ice.
Anglers were also fishing at Long Island with some success. Ice
reports range from 4 to 7 inches. Try the usual jig and wax worm
combo or blade baits tipped with a shiner for the saugeye bite.
Others are fishing Long and Pony islands with some success for
saugeyes and perch, ranging from 7 to 11 inches. Some large
saugeyes (18-22 inches) have been caught this winter at Indian,
according to local reports.

Alum Creek Reservoir (Franklin and Delaware counties) – A_good
bite is on below the spillway at this central Ohio reservoir.
Anglers are throwing Husky Jerks to catch the spillway’s saugeyes
and even some muskies. Saugeyes are running from 16 to 26 inches
and muskies are running from 25 to 29 inches.

Northwest Region

Grand Lake St. Marys (Mercer and Auglaize counties) – There is a
bit of ice fishing taking place at St. Marys, reports the folks at
the Outdoorsman. Most fishermen are targetting the back channels
for bluegills and crappies and catching a few. No one is fishing
the main lake. Popular set up has been ice jigs tipped with wax
worms or maggots. The ice is anywhere from 2 to 4 inches thick.
A_vast area of open water at Windy Point should be approached with
caution. Anglers can cast from shore there, though, in anywhere
from 4 to 6 feet of water.

The Outdoorsman, 419-394-5769, or www.eastbankmarina.com

Findlay Reservoir No. 2 (Hancock County) – Ice fishermen have
been taking yellow perch on emerald shiners and bluegills on wax
worms or spikes at this northwest Ohio impoundment in the city of
Findlay. For a twist, try a glow jig tipped with a worm. The bite
over the past few weeks has been reported extremely slow, however.
The fish that are being caught have reportedly been of good size –
crappies and perch. A_better bet might be to try Willard Reservoir,
where anglers are reporting six inches of ice and a decent panfish
bite.

Northeast Region

Atwood Lake (Carroll County) – Thanks to collaboration between
the Division of Wildlife and the Mahoning County Green Team,
anglers who fish Atwood Reservoir (Carroll/Tuscarawas counties) now
have an area where fish may be concentrated. Throughout February,
crews from the Division of Wildlife placed fish attractors
consisting of recycled Christmas trees in Atwood Reservoir. In
total, 178 structures were introduced into an area of the lake that
would not normally attract fish. “Holiday trees make excellent fish
attractors due to their complexity, and they should be fully
working when our new crappie regulations come into effect on March
1.” says Matt Wolfe, fisheries biologist who oversees this project
for the Division of Wildlife. The tree structures can be found at
the following locations:

€ 164 structures from N 40° 32′ 21.7″ / W 81° 15′ 37.1″ to N 40°
32′ 24.9″ / W 81° 15′ 42.3″

€ 14 structures underneath the handicapped fishing pier located
inside Atwood Lake Park (N 40° 32′ 23.9″ / W 81° 15′ 45.7″)

The map datum on your GPS unit should be set at NAD 83 to find
the structures and the coordinates provided are in degrees,
minutes, and seconds.

The goal of this project is to introduce 500 structures into the
waters of Northeastern Ohio annually in order to recruit the next
generation of anglers and retain the anglers who already enjoy the
sport of fishing.

Pymatuning Lake (Ashtabula County) – Ice anglers have had good
luck catching walleyes and muskies at this Ashtabula County lake
that spans the border with Pennsylvania. Dawn Fiorelli, of
Jefferson, Ohio, caught a 471/2-inch muskie through the ice that
weighed 32 pounds. Fiorelli fought the fish for 20 minutes on
10-pound test line.

Mogadore Reservoir (Portage County) – Anglers are catching good
numbers of bluegills, crappies, and some yellow perch through the
ice here off Congress Lake Road. The odd bass is also showing up in
the angler creel. Tip any small ice jig with a wax worm or a meal
worm for best results. Others are fishing off Palm Road where they
are catching bluegills and perch. Keep the bait close to the bottom
as reports indicate this is where most of the action is
occurring.

Division of Wildlife, www.wildohio.com

Berlin Lake (Portage, Mahoning, and Stark counties) – Ice
anglers are fishing north of the Route 224 bridge with some
success. The best reports seem to be that catfish are biting on
glow jigs tipped with a worm. Also try a jigging Rapala to entice
the panfish or catfish bite

Division of Wildlife, www.wildohio.com

Southwest Region

Kiser Lake (Champaign County) – Anglers are catching good
numbers of bluegills through the ice, primarily on the east side of
this Champaign County lake. Size has ranged from 5-9 inches. Try a
jig tipped with a wax worm or maggot for best results. The crappie
bite has been reported slow this winter.

East Fork Lake (Clermont County) – Anglers have been fishing
through the ice on the back bays and harbors of East Fork. No one
fishing the main lake as most is still open water. Anglers have
reported nice catches of black and white crappies through the ice
in the coves. Try a small hook tipped with a wax worm in anywhere
from 4 to 6 feet of water.

Southeast Region

Dillon Lake (Muskingum County) – Anglers fishing below the
spillway here are catching good size crappies, reports Bob Mathie
at Bob’s Outdoor Supply. Mathie said to fish shallow (1- to-11/2
feet deep) for the bigger crappies up to 10-12 inches. Anglers are
also catching crappies in the marina area, though sizes have been
smaller in the 7-8-inch range. Try small jigs tipped with a wax
worm or small minnow for the best results.

Bob’s Outdoor Supply, 740-349-0992

Lake Rupert (Vinton County) – Anglers fishing through the ice
here are catching a smorgasbord of fish. Reports indicate that
bluegills, perch and saugeyes up to 15 inches are being caught on
the ice. Reported baits include jig and minnow combos and small
jigs or hooks tipped with a wax worm or two. Fish are suspended in
5 to 6 feet of water.

Lake Snowden (Athens County) – Anglers have been catching some
decent size yellow perch through the ice at this Athens County
reservoir. Anglers fishing for saugeyes or perch should try a jig
and minnow combination or a Husky Jerk. The perch have ranged from
6 to 11 inches, according to reports.

Lake Erie Region

The daily bag limit for Lake Erie walleye is six fish per angler
until March 1 when it will drop to four fish per day through the
end of April. The minimum size limit for walleye is 15 inches.
**

The daily bag limit for Lake Erie yellow perch is 25 fish per
angler in waters west of the Huron pier. The limit will remain at
30 fish per angler in Ohio waters from Huron eastward. Any boats
landing west of Huron, Ohio will be subject to the 25 fish daily
bag limit, while boats landing at Huron or points east will be
subject to a 30 fish daily bag limit. Shore-based anglers west of
the Huron pier will be subject to a 25 fish daily bag limit, while
those on the pier and eastward will remain at 30 fish daily. **

The steelhead daily bag limit is two fish through May 15. The
minimum size limit for steelhead is 12 inches.

The daily bag limit for Lake Erie black bass (largemouth and
smallmouth) is five fish per angler. The minimum size limit is 14
inches. **

Excellent walleye fishing continued west of South Bass Island.
The most recent snow and wind on Feb. 9, most likely altered ice
conditions. The main lake ice between Catawba and South Bass Island
continues to be very dangerous. Most anglers have been flying to
South Bass Island or taking air boats over. Panfish continue to be
caught in some of the harbors. Check with local bait shops or
guides before venturing out on Erie’s ice.

The Rocky River currently has quite a bit of slush and shelf ice
present, although a relatively small amount of open water is still
available (especially below the fords). Looking at the extended
forecast, conditions are only going to grow more challenging by the
day, considering that we are not projected to have any temperatures
above freezing in the next week. The good news is that ice on
Cleveland Metroparks lakes and ponds will continue to grow thicker
for ice anglers. Persistent steelhead anglers have still been
hooking into a few steelhead, although conditions are challenging.
The modest number of anglers on the river have reported catching
fish primarily by drifting egg sacs (pink, peach, white and yellow
colored mesh have all produced), live minnows, rubber baits
(especially white trout worms and swim baits), and black jigs
tipped with bait suspended under a float. Drifting a lively minnow
or slowly retrieving a wobbling plug right along the ice shelves is
a particularly effective tactic in winter, as these offerings can
entice a big trout out from under the ice shelves they use for
cover. Using an ice-off type paste (available at most locals shops
that cater to steelhead anglers) can greatly assist the angler in
minimizing ice build-up on their guides and line. Another tip to
minimize iced up line is to hold the rod tip high during drifts so
that as little line as possible comes in contact with the
water.

Cleveland Metroparks completed the final round of winter trout
stockings of its lakes and ponds in late January. This winter, a
total of 3,600 pounds of trout have been stocked between Wallace,
Shadow, Ledge, Judges, and Ranger lakes (with Wallace receiving
about half the total fish). Along with the usual pan size rainbow
trout, the plantings have also included quite a few trophy trout
from 19-23 inches, as well as a few dozen brown and golden rainbow
trout.

Trout fishing at our lakes and ponds has slowed a bit over the
past week, but anglers are still hooking them and there are plenty
left to catch. Many of the fish continue to be caught on jigging
spoons fished between 1-3 feet of the surface, with Swedish Pimple
and Forage Minnow lures being top producers. Trout have also been
caught on Power Bait fished near the bottom, small jigs tipped with
a few maggots suspended under a small float, and even night
crawlers.

Cleveland Metroparks, www.clemetparks.com

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