OH: Northeast Ohio streams staging for run of steelhead Issue: 5

Central Region

Alum Creek Reservoir (Delaware County)   – A few boating anglers
are fishing open water here north of the Cheshire Road bridge. Most
report catching a few crappies, but little else. Anglers are also
fishing the spillway below the dam, casting for muskies among other
fish. No good reports on catching, however.

Buckeye Lake (Fairfield, Licking and Perry counties) – Ice is
nearly completely gone from Buckeye Lake and the top is slushy,
reports Bob Mathie at Bob’s Outdoor Supply in Newark. Water levels
are up about a foot. Anglers have been catching a few saugeyes
casting jerkbaits from the north bank area. Others are catching
saugeyes in areas where dock aerators are keeping the water open.
Here the best bait to use is jerkbaits or blade baits retrieved
real slow, Mathie recommends. As soon as the weather warms, look
for crappies to move into pad areas. Fish for them with 1⁄64- or
1⁄80-ounce ball jigs about 8 inches under a bobber. Also, try the
north shore ramp area for crappies. It’s still too early for
bluegills to turn on, but it won’t be long, Mathie says.

Bob’s Outdoor Supply, 740-349-0992

Deer Creek Lake (Pickaway, Fayette counties) – Anglers fishing
below the spillway are catching the rare saugeye, but most are
reeling in carp instead. A few catfish are also being caught. Most
of the saugeyes have been in the small, 9- to 11-inch range.
Anglers are also snagging a few white bass and catching the
occasional crappie. Try jig and minnow combinations or straight
minnows under a bobber.

Delaware Lake (Delaware County) – Anglers fishing below the
spillway, when possible, are casting for catfish and crappies,
according to reports. Not much of anything being caught, but a few
crappies in the hand-size range are being reported. Try jig and
minnow combinations or small jerkbaits for the best bite.

Division of Wildlife, www.wildohio.com

Northwest Region

Maumee River (Lucas County) – It’s still too early for the walleye
run to kick in strong, but water temperatures are coming up,
according to reports from Maumee Bait and Tackle. The first fish
are typically caught when water temperatures reach 40-42 degrees.
As of Feb. 19, water temperatures were at 35.8, according to the
tackle store’s website.

Maumee Bait and Tackle, www.maumeetackle.net

Indian Lake (Logan County) – Open-water anglers have been hitting
the Moundwood area of the lake and catching some saugeyes. Try jig
and minnow combinations or jerkbaits. The best bite is during low
light periods – just before sunup and at sundown. Saugeyes have
ranged from 12 to 17 inches, according to reports. The bite has
often been sporadic, however.

Division of Wildlife, www.wildohio.com

Lake LeComte (Hancock County) – Anglers are catching some crappies
at this reservoir in the city of Fostoria. Fish are biting in
anywhere from 10 to 15 feet of water. The best bet has been
chartreuse jigs without tipping the rig. Fish are suspended 4 to 5
feet off the bottom.

Northeast Region

Pymatuning Reservoir (Ashtabula County) – Anglers are fishing
through the ice on this northeast Ohio lake, catching mostly
crappies and walleyes, reports Phil Vichosky at Pymatuning State
Park. The best reports are from those fishing in 10 to 12 feet of
water with jig and maggot combinations or wax worms under an ice
bobber. Fishing has been scattered all across the lake, Vichosky
reports, particularly in the middle and at the north end. With
colder temperatures in the forecast, look for ice fishing to
continue here at least for a couple of weeks. Pymatuning State
Park, 440-293-6030

Mosquito Creek Lake (Trumbull County) – Despite the recent thaw,
anglers are still ice fishing Mosquito Lake, according to reports.
Yellow perch and bluegills have been the hot ticket with anglers
employing jig and minnow combinations and jig and wax worm combos.
Anglers accessing the lake from the parking lot at Route 305 are
making up the bulk of the ice fishermen. Some open-water anglers
are also catching perch at the spillway.

Mosquito Creek State Park, 330-637-2856

Berlin Lake (Portage, Mahoning, and Stark counties) – Anglers are
catching walleyes and yellow perch below the spillway, though the
fishing is reported tough due to water releases. Very few reports
indicate anyone catching anything to brag about, though there is
some effort being exhibited.

Lake Milton (Mahoning County) – Anglers fishing below the spillway
here, when it’s possible, are catching yellow perch in the 7- to
10-inch range. Anglers are seeking walleyes, but there’s not much
of a bite being reported. Walleyes should turn on later in March
when the weather warms, according to reports.

Southwest Region

Great Miami River (Montgomery County) – Anglers fishing the river
areas in this county have been catching a few smallmouth bass,
according to reports. Fish have ranged anywhere from 10 to 18
inches, coming out of the warmer water of the river. Try shallow
running crankbaits for the best bite.

Division of Wildlife, www.wildohio.com

Caesar Creek Lake (Warren, Clinton, and Greene counties) –
Open-water anglers are targetting the deeper coves with stumps for
crappies at this large southwest Ohio lake. Try jig and minnow
combinations under a bobber or straight wax worms under a bobber
for the best bite. Crappies that have been caught are ranging from
9 to 12 inches, according to reports.

Paint Creek Lake (Highland, Ross counties) – The campgrounds is the
top spot for crappies right now at this southwest Ohio lake. Use
jigs in black and chartreuse suspended 3 to 6 feet below a bobber,
recommends Leon Cole at Cole’s Bait and Tackle. Water levels are
high in the spillway, Cole said, though a few saugeyes are being
taken. Fishing in the spillway is expected to improve greatly over
the coming days.

Cole’s Bait and Tackle, 937-365-1436

Rocky Fork Lake (Highland County) – Anglers are catching crappies
right now at Rocky Fork on Gulp Alive minnows, reports Leon Cole at
Cole’s Bait and Tackle. Target the marina docks for best results.
Suspend the minnow 6 to 8 inches in low light conditions and move
deeper, 12 to 16 feet, in sunlight. Saugeyes are also being caught
here in fair numbers on spoons.

Cole’s Bait and Tackle, 937-365-1436

Southeast Region

Dillon Lake (Muskingum County) – Anglers fishing below the spillway
here are experiencing sporadic catches of saugeyes, reports Bob
Mathie at Bob’s Outdoor Supply in Newark. High and fast water flow
has made fishing difficult here. When temperatures warm, look for
channel catfish to stack up around the beach area, Mathie
says.

Bob’s Outdoor Supply, 740-349-0992

Lake Erie Region

Recent weather conditions (as of Feb. 24) have damaged much of Lake
Erie’s ice, making conditions very treacherous, according to the
DNR Division of Wildlife. Check with local bait shops or ice guides
before venturing out on Erie’s ice.

Conditions on the Rocky River are very dynamic at the moment,
having changed drastically over the past few days. The river is
currently very high and muddy due to melt-off and flows have not
even crested yet, but the fortunate news is that the river is
largely free of ice cover. Wise steelhead anglers will stay tuned
to the river gage information into this weekend, and may have an
opportunity to chase steelhead late into the weekend or early next
week as river levels recede below about 500 cfs. The lower river is
currently free of ice jams, which is great news because as water
levels begin dropping a fresh run of steelhead trout will move into
the river from Lake Erie to complement the fish that have remained
in the system throughout the winter. Larger spawn sacs of trout and
salmon eggs in brighter colors will be among the first offerings to
take these fish as the water begins to drop and clear.

Although the thaw has had a big effect on river conditions, it has
been much slower to affect ice on Cleveland Metroparks non-moving
waters. Ice is thinner and becoming mushy around the margins due to
melting run-off, but a few feet out from that the ice is more
solid. For example, despite temperatures well above freezing over
the 24 hours preceding the date of this report, they had only lost
1-2 inches of ice at Wallace Lake, which had ice 8-10 inches thick
over most of the main body of the lake the morning of this report.
Some anglers bring a board of about 6 feet to walk over the thinner
ice near shore to the stable ice out further. Also, waterproof
boots with good traction are a must, as there is some standing
water on the slick ice in many areas. Keep in mind that conditions
will continue to change depending on temperature and precipitation
trends so always monitor ice thickness near shore to make sure
there is a minimum of 4 inches of solid ice before venturing out
further.

Ice fishing for rainbow trout has been good, overall. Wallace and
Ledge lakes, in particular, are good choices. Anglers are catching
trout on spawn sacs (trout and salmon eggs) in various colors,
small jigging spoons (Kastmaster, Swedish Pimple, and Forage Minnow
have all been working), PowerBait (pink, orange and yellow have
been best), grubs such as maggots and wax worms, and small jigs.
Since they are often biting better on one offering than another
from day to day, it behooves anglers to bring at least a few bait
options. The bite is best in the mornings and afternoons,
especially on sunny days. Ice anglers can use two rods and up to
six tip-ups per Ohio fishing regulations. Shadow Lake is clearly
posted as closed to fishing at this time. You can check the report
for updates on this situation into spring.

Spring tout stocking on the East Branch Rocky River is scheduled to
begin approximately mid-March.

Cleveland Metroparks, www.clemetparks.com

Ohio River Region

Pike Island: River anglers are catching saugers and walleyes at
Pike Island on differing presentations. Mix it up with jigging
Rapalas and jig and minnow combinations. Saugers have ranged up to
15 inches and walleyes up to 24 inches. The bite has been a roller
coaster, however, up one day and down the next. Jig and Twister
Tail tipped with a minnow or wax worm has been working best,
according to reports.

Racine: Anglers fishing from boats are catching saugers in decent
numbers here. Try a ¼-ounce jig tipped with a minnow for best
results.

Greenup: The bite has been a tough one below the dam here, but
anglers are fishing it, according to reports. Most have reported
catching a few short saugers or walleyes on jigging Rapalas or jig
and minnow combinations.

Belleville: The action for saugers below this dam should start
heating up during the first part of March. Try different size
spoons or jig and minnow combinations for the best bite.

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