Wednesday, February 8th, 2023
Wednesday, February 8th, 2023

Breaking News for

Sportsmen Since 1967

Steelhead starting to pick up; ice angling winding down

Central Region

Buckeye Lake (Fairfield, Licking and Perry counties) – Ice
fishing is about finished here, but the open-water early season
should provide some decent opportunities for channel catfish at the
north shore ramp and at Fairfield Beach, says Bob Mathie at Bob’s
Outdoor Supply. Use cut shad for the best bite. Also at ice off,
try for crappies in the pad areas._Fish small artificials or live
bait about six inches deep for these hungry fish, recommends
Mathie.

Bob’s Outdoor Supply, 740-349-0992

Northwest Region

Grand Lake St. Marys (Mercer and Auglaize counties) – There is
still a bit of ice fishing taking place at St. Marys, reports the
folks at the Outdoorsman. Most fishermen are targeting 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

Berlin Reservoir (Stark, Mahoning, Portage counties) – Thanks to
a collaborative effort at Berlin Reservoir, anglers have a stretch
of shoreline where they can go to have a great time catching fish.
The Ohio Division of Wildlife, along with the Portage Lakes
Bassmasters, refreshed fish attractors that were placed along the
Bonner Road access area several years ago. “When the Division of
Wildlife and the Portage Lakes Bassmasters did the initial work
back in 2006, we knew we made an excellent location for anglers to
target,” says Matt Wolfe, fisheries biologist who oversees this
project for the Division of Wildlife. “But, holiday trees on Berlin
definitely have a short lifespan, so we felt as if it was necessary
to go back and enhance what was there to continue the excellent
fishing that we saw.” In total, 90 structures were introduced along
the Bonner Road access area. These trees should be in about 6-8
feet of water once the reservoir is at full pool again this spring.
If you have a GPS unit, the structures can be found from N 41° 2′
4.6″ / W 81° 0′ 32.3″ to N 41° 2′ 4.9″ / W 81° 0 34.6. 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. These efforts came at
minimal cost to the Division and its constituents since the used
block were donated and the holiday trees were recycled through the
Mahoning County Green Team (www.greenteam.cc). To view some
pictures of the structure placements, go to the Wildlife News
Release page at www.wildohio.com. Structure locations
in other Northeast Ohio lakes can be found at the Northeast Ohio
Fishing Prospects page at www.wildohio.com. For all other
inquiries, please contact the Wildlife District Three office in
Akron at (330) 644-2293.

Pymatuning Lake (Ashtabula County) – Ice anglers have had good
luck catching walleyes and muskies at this Ashtabula County lake.
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.

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.

Southeast Region

Dillon Lake (Muskingum County) – Anglers fishing below the
spillway here are catching bluegills, crappies and yellow perch,
although none are setting the world on fire, reports Bob Mathie at
Bob’s Outdoor Supply. Some saugeyes are also being taken by anglers
throwing small crankbaits or jig and minnow combos. As soon as the
ice comes off the main lake, try for catfish and crappies in
shallow water areas with cut bait for the catfish and small jigs
tipped with wax worms for the crappies.

Bob’s Outdoor Supply, 740-349-0992

Lake Erie Region

Ice conditions have become more dangerous over the past two
weeks, according to the Division of Wildlife. The best remaining
ice fishing for walleyes continues to be west of South Bass Island.
There have also been walleyes caught off of Metzger’s Marsh, but
constantly changing ice conditions will most likely end ice fishing
in the far western basin soon. 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 is dropping into fishable shape just in time for
the weekend. The water is exhibiting moderate greenish brown stain
with strong flow, but a few anglers were already out fishing for
steelhead this past week. Given the forecast, expect the river to
continue to drop and clear to a greenish stain. The flow should
maintain fairly well given the saturated ground conditions, and the
temperatures hovering right around freezing should not cause much
more ice to form too quickly nor should too much melt-off be an
issue. In short, anglers can expect very good prospects on the
river. Prior to the last thaw, steelhead fishing had improved
markedly on the Rocky River. Early last weekend, mostly darker fish
that had been in the system awhile were being taken in the deeper
holes all along the main branch of the river, but as the river
continued to thaw later in the weekend and into Monday a fresh run
of fish began to arrive and complement those fish. The fresh fish
included a mix of skippers and chrome adult steelhead and were
concentrated in the northern river reaches. Expect additional fresh
fish to be available as the river continues to drop and clear, with
the majority of the fresher fish most likely concentrated between
Morley Ford and the Scenic Park/Emerald Necklace Marina area. A
great observation is the continued appearance of some very good
size steelhead, with a number over 30 inches and over 10 pounds.
Additionally, Dan Pribanic at Chagrin River Outfitters reports
steelhead being caught mostly in the upper Chagrin River this week,
where more open water is available and in similar shape to the
Rocky, although the northern reaches of the Chagrin are still
locked with ice. Anglers last weekend and early this week were
experiencing steelheading success on a diversity of traditional
offerings, including: spawn sacs, live or salted minnows, jigs and
maggots, and rubber trout worms (in white or brighter colors). A
few anglers were also getting in the action drifting or swinging
various fly patterns or casting hardware. Under our current stained
and elevated flow conditions, though, dime to nickel size spawn
sacs in brighter colors are the top offering.

Ice fishing for trout at Cleveland Metropark lakes and ponds
started out slow, but has been picking up the last day or two.
Wallace Lake has been the top spot, although Shadow, Ledge, Judges,
and Ranger lakes have all been stocked in recent weeks, as well.
The fish have been a bit more equal opportunity in their feeding
this week, hitting Power Bait fished near the lake bottom, micro
jigs tipped with grubs (wax worms or maggots) suspended below a
small float, and jigging spoons such as Swedish Pimples and Forage
Minnows. Note: anglers are still ice fishing following the mid-week
thaw, but exercise extreme caution.

Cleveland Metroparks, www.clemetparks.com

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