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

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Sportsmen Since 1967

OH: Ice anglers finding lots of panfish on inland reservoirs Issue: 3

Central Region

Alum Creek Reservoir (Delaware County) – Hard-water anglers fishing
north of U.S. 36/37 and in the Galena area of the lake are catching
crappies, bluegills and an occasional saugeye. The bite has not
been red hot, reports indicate, but just OK. The biggest bluegills
have been reported at 7 inches. Reports indicate the ice is about
eight inches thick in most spots. Try jig and minnow combinations.
Fish anywhere from 12 to 20 feet of water for the best bite.

Buckeye Lake (Fairfield, Licking and Perry counties) – Ice is
reported about 6-7 inches thick on this central Ohio lake, says Bob
Mathie at Bob’s Outdoor Supply in Newark. Anglers fishing through
the ice are catching saugeyes, crappies and bluegills at Fairfield
Beach though the bite is reported extremely slow. Anglers should
use caution around areas where dock aerators keep the water open.
Though a few anglers have been catching saugeyes in these areas on
jerk baits. The catches are coming on Rattling Rogues and Husky

Bob’s Outdoor Supply, 740-349-0992

Delaware Lake (Delaware County) – Anglers have been ice fishing the
coves on this central Ohio lake with some success. Bluegills and
crappies have been the primary quarry with bluegills ranging up to
8 inches and crappies up to 12. For the best bite, try waxworms
under a bobber. Fish anywhere from 10- to 15-foot depths.

Northwest Region

Willard Reservoir (Huron County) – Ice anglers are fishing this
northern Ohio reservoir, but with limited success. Perch and
crappies are the primary quarry. Try jig and waxworm combinations
or simply a waxworm under a bobber.

Findlay Reservoirs (Hancock County) – A few anglers are catching
walleyes through the ice on Reservoir No. 2, primarily in the
evening hours, according to reports. Fish drop-offs close to shore
in anywhere from 10 to 20 feet of water for the best walleye bite.
Fish are being caught on jigging Rapalas, Swedish Pimples, and
other types of ice spoons.

Division of Wildlife,

Nettle Lake (Williams County) – Anglers are catching fish through
the ice at this northern Ohio reservoir, according to reports. Some
crappies are being caught on small ice spoons or jig and minnow
combinations. Try the area near the boat launch for the best winter

Northeast Region

Coventry Township, Ohio – Residents and recreational users around
Portage Lakes’ East and West reservoirs should exercise extreme
caution around the ice currently capping the reservoirs, according
to the DNR.

ODNR’s Division of Engineering will be replacing a water level
control mechanism at East Reservoir, which is located in the Akron
area. To gain access to the deteriorated area, one of the gates
will remain slightly open, which will lower the lake level of both
of the East and West reservoirs. The estimated completion date for
the project was Jan. 21. Lowering water levels will create an air
gap between the existing ice cap and lake level, weakening the ice
cover. The ice could break suddenly upon impact by recreational
use, such as ice fishing. Users are advised to avoid walking across
the ice cap of the reservoirs until repairs are complete and water
levels have returned to normal.

Mosquito Creek Lake (Trumbull County) – Anglers have been ice
fishing most all of the lake, reports Doug Lyons, park manager at
Mosquito Creek State Park. Lyons reported more than 100 shanties on
the lake during the last weekend in January. Ice depths are
anywhere from 8 to 10 inches, according to Lyons. Anglers are
catching both walleyes and crappies on waxworms. Perch and crappie
action has been heating up as of late with the walleye tailing off
some, Lyons reports. Most of the ice fishermen are accessing the
lake from the parking lot off State Route 305.

Mosquito Creek State Park, 330-637-2856

Spencer Lake (Medina County) – Anglers fishing through the ice are
picking up bluegills and crappies on jig and waxworm combos. Try
pink jigs tipped with one or more waxworms. Bluegills have ranged
up to 8 inches and crappies up to 10 inches on this 51-acre lake.
Ice is reported six to eight inches thick.

Wingfoot Lake (Stark County) – Ice anglers are catching bluegills,
crappies, and a few perch at this newest of Ohio’s state park
lakes. Use small offerings, 1⁄16-ounce or 1⁄32-ounce jigs in any
color. Tip the rig with a minnow or a mousie and you’re in
business. The largest crappies being reported are in the 10-inch
range and bluegills in the 8-inch range. The bite is reportedly
best just before dark and immediately before daylight.

Southwest Region

Paint Creek Lake (Highland, Ross counties) – Saugeye fishing at the
spillway is picking up and headed in the right direction, reports
Leon Cole at Cole’s Bait and Tackle in Bainbridge. The best bait
has been chartreuse jigs with red flecks. Anglers are also catching
crappies on minnows under a bobber.

Cole’s Bait and Tackle, 937-365-1436

Rocky Fork Lake (Highland County) – Anglers are drilling holes
right off the docks by the restaurant to catch crappies. Use
minnows for bait, recommends Leon Cole at Cole’s Bait and

Cole’s Bait and Tackle, 937-365-1436

Southeast Region

Dillon Lake (Muskingum County) – Anglers fishing below the spillway
are experiencing an average bite for saugeyes and crappies, reports
Bob Mathie at Bob’s Outdoor Supply. The best bite is coming on jig
and minnow combinations but some anglers are also catching crappies
and saugeyes on jerkbaits such as Rattling Rogues, Mathie

Bob’s Outdoor Supply, 740-349-0992

Senecaville Lake (Guernsey County) – Ice anglers on Senecaville
have been catching crappies and bluegills, some up to 10 inches.
The best bite is coming on pink or chartreuse jig and minnow
combinations, according to reports.

Division of Wildlife,

Lake Erie Region

Anglers are fishing through the ice in the protected areas of the
Bass Islands and picking up some walleyes. The best bait being
reported is Swedish Pimples in any color. Walleyes have ranged up
to 7 pounds, coming off South Bass Island. Fish the bait right on
the bottom. Fishing for yellow perch has been reported mostly slow.
Try minnow and jig combinations for perch.

The Rocky River currently offers a fair amount of open water with a
green stain and moderate flow following the midweek thaw. This is
looking like it will be a short-lived scenario, though, as the very
low overnight temperatures in the coming days will serve to begin
locking the river with ice and slush again.

The fishing pressure on the river has been light, although a
handful of those steelhead anglers have experienced success.
Anglers who want to fish the river should get out as soon as they
can (before the river gets too icy and slushy again) and try slowly
drifting spawn bags, live minnows, or jigs tipped with maggots or
waxworm along the river bottom, or working a wobbling plug along
the abundant ice shelves.

The midweek thaw had little negative affect on the ice on Cleveland
Metropark lakes and ponds. Ice fishing for stocked trout at Wallace
Lake has been good, with more sporadic reports of success from
Shadow, Ledge, Judges and Ranger lakes. Stocked trout have been
biting on a variety of offerings, including PowerBait, small jigs
tipped with maggots or waxworms suspended below a float, jigging
spoons, canned corn and live minnows. Some days one of these
offerings seems to work better than the others, so having more than
one bait option with you is a good idea. Anglers are also catching
some modest size sunfish (mostly on maggots and waxworms) and the
occasional good size largemouth bass and channel catfish near woody
structure along the west shoreline of Wallace, as well. Ice anglers
can use two rods and up to six tip-ups per Ohio fishing
regulations. An angler using an underwater camera noted that
although he spotted trout from the surface all the way to 18 feet
deep, the most actively biting trout he found were closer to the

The second round of trout were tentatively scheduled for release at
Wallace and Ranger lakes Jan. 21, and at Shadow, Ledge, and Judges
lakes on Jan. 24. A total of 1,900 pounds of trout are scheduled
for this round (100 pounds more than is typically stocked), with
about half the fish slated for Wallace Lake. Stocked trout
typically bite well on PowerBait fished near the bottom, small jigs
tipped with maggots or waxworms suspended below a float or actively
jigged, jigging spoons, canned corn, and live minnows. A few
anglers have reported their best success using PowerBait of various
colors using tip-ups.

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