Friday, February 3rd, 2023
Friday, February 3rd, 2023

Breaking News for

Sportsmen Since 1967

Crappies moving to deeper water; catfish turning on

Central Region

Hoover Reservoir (Delaware and Franklin counties) – Crappie
fishing is slowing down as fish move to deeper water. Saugeyes are
becoming more active as the summer pattern starts to set up.
Trolling worm harnesses and crankbaits along the east shore can be
productive. Bluegills are active now in shallower areas, flats, and
the back of coves. Try wax worms or night crawlers suspended by a
bobber. Channel catfish are becoming active again. Fish the north
basin using shrimp, night crawlers or chicken livers. There is a
10-horsepower limit at this reservoir.

Indian Lake (Logan County) – This 5,040-acre lake located one
hour northwest of Columbus is one of the best saugeye lakes in
central Ohio. Saugeyes are being taken by trolling crankbaits and
worm harnesses close to Moundwood, Dream Bridge and the South Bank
areas. Largemouth bass are being caught using spinner baits, tubes
and crankbaits around shoreline cover and in the channels.
Bluegills can still be found in shallow water using wax worms under
a bobber.

Kokosing Lake (Knox County) – This 149-acre lake in Knox County
is limited to outboard motors of 10 horsepower or less. Largemouth
bass are being caught around shoreline cover and along the dam
using crankbaits and tubes. Bluegills are in shallow areas; try wax
worms or night crawlers under a bobber. Crappies have moved to
deeper water. Use minnows or crappie jigs fished under a slip
bobber around cover or the old creek channel for best results.
Channel catfish can be caught on chicken livers, shrimp or night
crawlers fished on the bottom.

Northwest Region

Delphos Gillmor Reservoir (Van Wert County) – The water
temperature is 73 degrees and the water is clear. Saugeyes have
been taken recently in the evenings. Trolling or casting minnows or
green Twister Tails anywhere along the bank is working well.

Muddy Creek (Sandusky County) – Catfish are being taken in the
creek during the evening and night time hours. Still-fishing worms
or shrimp on the bottom is working great. The whole creek has been
good but the State Route 53 Bridge has been particularly good.

Maumee River (Henry County) – Channel catfish have been taken on
the bottom by still-fishing worms. They are being caught during the
daylight hours as well as after dark. The best results have been
had by fishing in holes.

Van Wert Reservoir No. 1 (Van Wert County) – Small bluegills are
being caught anytime of the day or night by fishing panfish jigs or
wax worms under a slip bobber. South bank is best.

Bellevue Reservoir No. 5 (Huron County) – Some nice crappies are
being taken here in the evenings. Try casting white Twister Tails
along the north shore.

Ferguson Reservoir (Allen County) – Bluegills are being taken in
the daytime. Casting jigs or still fishing night crawlers or
crickets around the boat ramp is working well. Crappies are also
being taken mornings, evenings, and nights by casting jigs or
fishing minnows or wax worms under a slip bobber. Try the east and
south banks for crappies.

Northeast Region

Mosquito Lake (Trumbull County) – Many walleyes are taken in
shallow waters near wave-washed shores or while anglers are
trolling crankbaits in about 14-feet of water. The best place is
usually between the island and the causeway on the north end of the
lake. Boat anglers should also trying jigging for walleyes in the
weed beds. On the west side of the lake, largemouth bass tend to
bite close to shore. While chances are greater in March and April,
some lucky anglers may even catch a northern pike since many have
been observed by biologists during surveys. Anglers seeking pike
should try large shiners, chubs or suckers. There is unlimited
horsepower at this 7,241-acre lake. Wheelchair accessible shoreline
facilities are available. An updated map of Mosquito Lake is
available at www.wildohio.com

Pymatuning Lake (Ashtabula County) – In the past, walleyes have
been biting well this time of year, with fish in the 20- to 25-inch
range often being caught on crawler harnesses and brightly colored
crankbaits. Troll the main lake basin while searching for schools
of baitfish with a depth finder to locate the active fish.
Largemouth bass, located much closer to the shore, tend to also be
aggressive. Try quickly retrieving brightly colored spinner baits
through shallow weedbeds.

Leesville Lake (Carroll County) – While the crappie bite has
tailed off somewhat, anglers are still doing well for muskie and
bass. White bass can hardly resist striking small, white or silvery
jigs cast close to areas where bass are schooling and causing a
disturbance among surfacing baitfish. Cut baits will attract bass,
too, though. Muskie are being caught by anglers trolling open
water. This 1,529-acre lake has a 25- horsepower limit.

Tuscarawas River (Tuscarawas County) – Smallmouth bass, saugeyes
and channel catfish can usually be caught this time of year near
the Dover dam off of State Route 800. Note: Most of the land along
the river is privately owned and access from shore is limited. A
public boat ramp has been constructed east of Tuscarawas on
Tuscarawas Road. Anglers are reminded to obtain permission from the
landowner to access fishing from the shoreline. Water conditions
can vary, so be sure to check up on current conditions with a local
bait shop or wildlife officer. A fair number of eight- to 14-inch
smallmouth bass are present and jigs or crayfish fished on the
bottom are an angler’s best bet. Targeting rocky structure just out
of the main current or fishing underwater structure provides good
results. Saugeyes averaging 10 to 17 inches are also present and
will likely hit on jigs and curly tails in the deeper pools of
water near structure and wooden debris. Try tipping a jig with a
minnow or earthworm, too. Channel catfish between 10 and 16 inches
can be caught with cut bait, stink bait, chicken liver or
earthworms near undercut banks and areas with wooden debris
piles.

Southwest Region

East Fork Lake (Clermont County) – Channel catfish are biting on
chicken liver, shrimp and stink baits fished on the bottom. Lots of
six- to seven-inch bluegills have been caught recently around boat
docks, riprap shorelines and along the edges of lily pads. Try
using small jigs tipped with wax worms fished just 1-2 feet under a
small bobber.

Cowan Lake (Clinton County) – Saugeye action is heating up, with
anglers taking better numbers of 13-20-inch fish. Try casting a
1/8- or 1/4 -ounce jig tipped with a piece of nightcrawler, and hop
it along the bottom in 5-12 feet of water near the beach. If you
prefer trolling, saugeyes can be taken on shad pattern medium or
deep diving crankbaits. Lots of 7-8 inch crappies are being caught
on small tube jigs or minnows fishing near submerged trees 6-15
feet deep. Bluegills can be caught on red worms or wax worms near
boat docks or the edges of lily pads.

Paint Creek Lake (Highland County) – Good numbers of channel
catfish are being caught by anglers using shrimp, cut bait and
chicken livers fished on the bottom under a bobber or by tight
lining baits on the bottom. Successful catfish areas include the
more shallow waters near the boat ramp or along the dam. Night
fishing produces the best results. Bluegill, six to eight inches in
length, are being taken on red worms or wax worms fished around
woody cover found in six- to 15-foot depths.

Southeast Region

Seneca Lake (Guernsey and Noble counties) – Angler surveys
report good catches of striped bass using artificial lures trolled
near the first small island outside of the no wake zone. Saugeyes
are being caught by trolling jigs tipped with a twister tail and a
minnow. Channel cats have also been caught off the banks of the
lake near Briar Hill Road past the last island in the upper section
of the lake.

Piedmont Lake (Belmont Co.) – Black crappies are being caught on
submerged woody debris along steep drop-offs in six to eight feet
of water. Most fish are being caught on minnows fished below a slip
bobber. Nice catches of bluegills in the seven- to nine-inch range
are also being caught by anglers fishing along the shore in four to
five feet of water. Larval baits, such as wax worms and mealworms,
are the preferred baits.

Tycoon Lake (Gallia County) – Water conditions are slightly
cloudy and high. Both crappies and bluegill were being caught along
the banks and around structure on minnows, wax worms, or grub
tails. A few catfish are being caught at night on chicken liver or
night crawlers fished on the bottom.

Lake Erie Region

Western Basin

Walleye: The best fishing in the western basin has been
northwest of West Sister Island, east of Middle Sister along the
Canadian border, and 3-5 miles east-northeast of Kelleys. Casters
are using mayfly rigs or drifting bottom bouncers with worm
harnesses. Trollers are catching fish on spoons and Dipsys or Jet
Divers, worm harnesses with in-line weights, or with
crankbaits.

Yellow perch: The best perch reports have come from Marblehead,
Kelleys Island, and Green Island. Perch spreaders with shiners
fished near the bottom produce the most fish.

Central Basin

Walleye fishing has been good offshore between Vermilion and
Avon, in 50 to 60 feet northwest off Edgewater Park, 60 feet
northeast off Gordon Park, 51 to 52 feet northeast off Fairport and
60 to 65 feet northeast off Ashtabula. Trollers are using pink,
yellow, black, purple, orange and green spoons and worm harnesses
off planer boards and jet divers.

Yellow perch fishing has been excellent in 42 feet northwest off
Edgewater Park, 42 feet NW off Wildwood Park, in 50 to 55 feet
northwest off Fairport, 47 to 58 feet north off Ashtabula and 50 to
70 feet northeast off Conneaut. Perch spreaders with shiners fished
near the bottom produce the most fish.

Smallmouth bass fishing has been very good in 10 to 20 feet
around harbor areas in Fairport Harbor, Geneva, Ashtabula and
Conneaut. Fish are being caught on jigs tipped with minnows,
leeches, green, smoke and brown tube jigs, and by trolling
crankbaits.

As we move into summer, highlight species targeted by anglers
along the Rocky River are smallmouth bass, carp, panfish and
channel catfish. Smallmouth bass are typically found in the deeper,
rocky pools of the river during the day in summer, and often move
to the heads of such pools in the early morning and evening hours
to feed actively. A dark olive or brown tube jig of about 4 inches
length is one of the best producers of bass in the river. Smallies
also bite well on live bait (ie: minnow, crayfish, and leeches),
lures (ie: spinners and minnow plugs), and flies (ie: crayfish
patterns, Clouser minnows, dark brown or olive sculpin or muddler
minnow patterns). There are abundant small to medium sized bass in
the river along with a healthy number of trophy fish up to (and
over) 20 inches in length. Also, note that all smallmouth bass must
be released immediately if caught downstream of the Detroit Road
bridge until June 23. Rock bass are also present in the same river
areas as smallmouth, and can be caught using the same offerings
listed above.

Channel catfish and large carp are also present in some of these
same areas in the river, and fishing for them can be a laid back
and relaxing way to enjoy some time on the water. Good numbers of
channel catfish stocked in May also remain to be caught at Wallace
lake and the Ohio and Erie Canal fishing area. Catfishing is
usually best during lower light conditions using baits such as
night crawlers, minnows, chicken liver and processed dough baits. A
good number of larger catfish are moving into the river from Lake
Erie on their spawning run. Resident channel catfish are available
in the river all summer.

Some large carp (some exceeding 15 pounds) can be caught in the
northern river reaches throughout the month, as well. Carp can
often be caught throughout the day on such bait as canned corn,
carp dough baits, worms or crayfish tails. A growing contingent of
fly anglers looking for a challenge are targeting carp with nymphs
and crayfish imitations, as well. The key to fishing for either
carp or catfish is fishing on (or very near) the river/lake
bottom.

In addition to the aforementioned species, freshwater drum
(sheepshead), white perch and bullhead catfish are also abundant in
the northern river reaches (north of Morley Ford) in early summer.
For the angling generalist, any of the species thus far can be
effectively targeted by fishing a fat night crawler worm right on
the river bottom with a sinker.

Summer means family fishing time for many folks, and panfish fit
the bill perfectly for a leisurely picnic and fishing outing.
Anglers seeking panfish have experienced decent fishing at most of
the ponds and lakes in the Cleveland Metropark District. Crappies,
bluegills and other sunfish species can be taken with a number of
offerings, but a wax worm or redworm on a small hook (or tiny jig)
suspended under a stick float and fished around a weedbed or
shoreline brush is always a good choice. Wallace Lake, Shadow Lake
and Beyers Pond are just a few of many places in the park to wet a
line for various panfish species.

Cleveland Metroparks, www.clemetparks.com

Ohio River Region

Racine Dam – High water levels and muddy conditions have slowed
fishing pressure and success considerably. There were some catfish
under 20 pounds caught at the dam on cut bait. As water levels drop
back to normal and the water clears, fishing action should improve.
Try Twister Tails, plastic grubs, crankbaits, and minnows both at
the dam and in the tailwater sections downstream. These baits may
land you anything from catfish to hybrid striped bass.

Meldahl Dam (Clermont County) – Channel catfish are being taken
in good numbers all along the river. Try chicken livers, shrimp, or
night crawlers fished on the bottom.

Pike Island Lock and Dam – While river fishing is slow overall,
most fish are being caught in the early morning. Sauger are biting
on 1/8- to 3/8-ounce jigs and minnows fished plain or jigs and
Twister Tails with white, chartreuse and pearl serving as go-to
colors. The white bass are spotty and most are in the 10 to 14-inch
size range. Hybrid stripers are scarce. A few are being caught by
the long casters out in the first gate about 70 yards out from the
pier. Catfishing has slowed with mostly 2-6 pound channel cats and
a few smaller flatheads. Cut skipjacks and moon eyes are the
preferred baits. Live bait fisherman are wading and picking up
smallmouth bass, white bass, and saugers off the gravel bar below
the fishing pier.

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