Monday, January 30th, 2023
Monday, January 30th, 2023

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Sportsmen Since 1967

OH: Open-water anglers dealing with flood levels, tough fishing Issue: 6

Follow these safety tips for cold weather boating

The DNR has good advice for the thousands of anglers who soon will
be wading in and boating upon frigid waterways in hopes of landing
a prize catch: Dress for the water temperature instead of air

“Recreational boaters and anglers are among those most at risk of
sustaining hypothermia due to a cold water immersion if they are
not dressed properly for the water temperature,” said Pamela
Dillon, chief of the DNR Division of Watercraft. “Boating and
fishing safety begins with the choices people make before getting
on the water; it is critical to take steps to reduce the risks of
hypothermia exposure at this time of year.”

Hypothermia is a condition in which body temperature drops below
normal due to exposure to cold temperatures and requires medical
treatment. Unexpected immersion into cold water can result in
drowning and often contributes to hypothermia for those persons who
are unprepared for extremely cold water.

People are usually inclined to dress for the air temperature
instead of water temperature when enjoying outdoors recreation on
or near the water. Generally, the water temperatures of Ohio’s
waterways remain bone chilling and are very slow to warm during
March, April, and early May.

The following are some safety tips to help reduce exposure to the
risks of hypothermia while boating and fishing:

• Dress for the current water temperature and not the air
temperature when boating in early spring. Wear layers of protective
clothing, including neoprene, polypropylene, wool, synthetic fleece
and Gore-Tex. Avoid 100 percent cotton and denim garments, such as
blue jeans, sweatshirts and flannel shirts. The final layer of
protective clothing should always be a U.S. Coast Guard approved
life jacket or vest.

• Carry a cell phone inside a plastic bag in case an emergency
should arise.

• Avoid alcohol consumption to help prevent the onset of
hypothermia symptoms.

• Avoid capsizing and swamping by ensuring that boats are not
overloaded, but are properly loaded and balanced before leaving the
launch ramp or dock.

• Properly and safely anchor a boat from the bow when using a
single line.

• File a float plan with a person of responsibility so that
assistance may be requested if boaters are significantly overdue in
their return from the water.

Additional information on boating safety tips and education
programs may be found online at or by
following the Division of Watercraft on Facebook or Twitter. You
may also call toll-free (in Ohio only) 1-877-4BOATER.

Central Region

Alum Creek Reservoir (Delaware County) – Anglers are fishing the
spillway when water levels allow and are picking up some saugeyes.
The popular set up has been jerkbaits. Also, some muskies are being
caught in the spillway, according to reports. Saugeyes have ranged
up to a good size 23 inches. Many crappies are also being caught on
minnows under a bobber.

Buckeye Lake (Fairfield, Licking and Perry counties) – Lake levels
are up to nearly full pool at Buckeye, reports Bob Mathie of Bob’s
Outdoor Supply in Newark. Main lake temperatures as of March 9 was
39 degrees. Good numbers of crappies are being caught in pad areas
within the lake’s many channels, Mathie reports. Anglers are
catching them on small jigs tipped with minis. Fish have ranged
between 10 and 14 inches. Saugeyes are being caught at Fairfield
Beach and North Bank, though the bite has been relatively slow.
Channel catfish should start to turn on soon as soon as we get a
string of warmer days. Try the Lieb’s Island area for the best bite
on channel cats, Mathie recommends.

Bob’s Outdoor Supply, 740-349-0992

Hoover Reservoir (Franklin County) – Several people fishing below
the dam on Hoover had to be rescued by fire crews recently. Several
people were caught in rising water in a creek area just north of
Central College Road and south of Hoover dam. Apparently, the
people all heard the sound indicating Hoover Reservoir was about to
release water, according to NBC4 in Columbus. It took the people
longer than expected to gather their items from the island and get
back to shore.Witnesses said the water level rose quite quickly.
The reservoir was released in anticipation of coming flood waters
from the north.

Northwest Region

Maumee River (Lucas County) – River conditions are improving, but
heavy rains in the areas are keeping water levels up, reports
Maumee Bait and Tackle. Water temperature was at 41.3 degrees as of
March 9. Nevertheless, expect to see a few fish out of Orleans Park
and the White Street access, Maumee Tackle reports. Wading to
Bluegrass Island was not possible as of mid-March. This year’s
Maumee Tackle walleye tournament is on April 17.

Maumee Bait and Tackle,

Indian Lake (Logan County) – Anglers have been hitting up the
Moundwood area when the water is clear and are catching some
catfish and saugeyes. Water levels have been high, however, due to
long periods of rain. Try jig and minnow combinations in brighter
colors and jerkbaits during low light periods.

Division of Wildlife,

Northeast Region

Pymatuning Reservoir (Ashtabula County) – Rain has made ice fishing
on this northern Ohio reservoir virtually impossible, reports Phil
Vichosky, manager at Pymatuning State Park. Before the weather
turned, though, anglers were catching both walleyes and crappies on
blade baits and jig and minnow combinations. Vichosky said anglers
are waiting on the spring thaw and will be out in force once the
lake is free of ice.

Pymatuning State Park, 440-293-6030

Mosquito Creek Lake (Trumbull County) – The recent big thaw has
made ice fishing a no go on this northeast Ohio lake. Open water
exists anywhere where tributaries enter the lake, said local angler
Mike Mainhart. Anglers are also fishing below the dam for walleyes
with jig and minnow combinations. No good reports on catching,
though. Mainhart suggests trying below the dam first for the early
spring walleye bite for river fish.

Mosquito Creek State Park, 330-637-2856

Atwood Lake (Carroll and Tuscarawas counties) – This is a good time
of year to fish below the spillway at Atwood Lake for pike and
sauger, according to reports. Try your luck with jerkbaits or
crankbaits below the dam.

Southwest Region

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. Anglers are also fishing for
muskies here with fish up to 38 inches being reported. Fish the
bait in shallow water around stumps for the best muskie bite,
reports indicate.

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

East Fork Lake (Clermont County) – Anglers are fishing the muddy
waters of the lake for crappies. The lake is littered with downed
trees, according to reports, providing the perfect spot for
crappies. Try jig and minnow combinations or minnows under a bobber
for the best bite. Crappies are well distributed all over this
lake. Just target the wood and you should catch a few of these

Southeast Region

Dillon Lake (Muskingum County) – Anglers are fishing for channel
catfish at the beach area and for crappies and saugeyes below the
spillway, reports Bob Mathie at Bob’s Outdoor Supply. Crappies have
been hitting good when spillway fishing is permitted due to water
levels and the occasional saugeye is being caught. This is the best
time of year to hit up area farm ponds, Mathie said. The bait shop
owner says he prefers to use spinner baits in ponds, casting for
bass and bluegill. Your biggest catch of the year could come right
now, Mathie said.

Bob’s Outdoor Supply, 740-349-0992

Tycoon Lake (Gallia County) – This small lake near the town of Rio
Grande has been giving up some largemouth bass in this late
winter/early spring. Tycoon is one of the best early season lakes
for bass due to a tremendous amount of cover. Try jig and pig
combinations or spinner baits tossed into the shallows. The bass
being caught have ranged up to 20 inches, according to

Division of Wildlife,

Lake Erie Region

As of March 9, most of the western basin of Lake Erie still has ice
coverage. Within the next few weeks the lake should start opening
up to allow the beginning of early season jigging and trolling for
walleye, according to the DNR Division of Wildlife.

Although the Rocky River is dropping quickly following the epic
flood, it’s looking like plenty more rain in the forecast to make
the river fishing outlook poor for the forseeable future. Prior to
the flood, anglers were catching steelhead last week. Some of the
fish were trophy size. When the river finally starts to drop to
fishable conditions again, which could be over a week from now
given the current conditions coupled with projected forecast, look
for anglers to start hooking up first at fords and dams using large
pink or chartreuse spawn sacks. It should be well worth the wait,
though, as we should have the best fishing yet since fall 2010 at
that time, according to reports from Cleveland Metroparks biologist
Mike Durkalec.

Anglers should avoid fishing for stocked trout on the ice at this
time, but can still fish places like Wallace and Ledge lake from
the safety of fishing platforms, stone piers, and off bedrock
drop-offs along the shoreline. The flood waters backed up into
Wallace Lake, causing the lake to become muddy and elevated, too,
but it has dropped and is starting to clear. Jigging spoons, bright
colored PowerBait, jigs tipped with grubs (maggots or wax worms),
shiners (live or salted), and salmon/trout egg sacs were all taking
fish before the flood.

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 trout stocking on the East Branch Rocky River is planned to
begin approximately mid-March.

Cleveland Metroparks,

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