Open-water on Erie is productive
DISTRICT 1 – Central Region
Deer Creek Lake (Madison, Fayette, and Pickaway counties) – Water
levels are up with the lake at winter pool right now and it’s
running muddy. Anglers have had some success primarily in the
evening hours using Husky Jerks for saugeyes near the
Mary’s Bait Shop, 740-869-3597
Buckeye Lake (Fairfield, Licking and Perry counties) – The crappie
and bluegill bite has picked up in the Fairfield Beach area with
successful anglers employing floating jigs and bass minis. Crappies
have been in the 9-10-inch range. Rogues and Husky jerks have been
the bait of choice for saugeye anglers with fish in the range of 15
inches the largest reported catch. Areas on the north shore have
been productive for saugeyes in the evening for anglers using
minnows fished on the bottom. Creeks leading into Buckeye have also
been productive, said Bob Mathie of Bob’s Outdoor Supply.
Bob’s Outdoor Supply, 740-349-0992
Alum Creek Lake (Delaware County) – With water levels up, anglers
are trying their luck below the dam area without much success.
Shore anglers in search of the saugeye bite have been casting
jerkbaits into the current but that hasn’t been very productive as
well. Not much bait is moving out of the local shops, several
Alum Creek Bait &Tackle, 740-369-0836
Division of Wildlife, www.wildohio.com
DISTRICT 2 – Northwest Region
Grand Lake St. Marys (Mercer and Auglaize counties) – The crappie
and bluegill bite is picking up in ice off conditions at this
impoundment with anglers targetting brush and dock areas. Panfish
have been caught in anywhere from 30 inches to 5 feet of water.
Baits of choice have been wax worms or spike on jigs. Angling
pressure is primarily in the form of bank fishermen with a few
boats in the water at various times. The walleye bite has been slow
Indian Lake (Logan County) – Fishing has been spotty and slow with
the changing weather patterns. When the bite is on, anglers have
been limiting on saugeyes regularly. Areas that have produced good
reports include Barnes Landing, Moundwood, and Blackwood. Rattling
Rapalas have been among the more popular baits. Other crankbaits in
a variety of colors have been employed successful, as well.
Crappies, bluegills and some yellow perch are being taken at
various times. The successful bait for the perch bite has been
small ice jigs tipped with spikes or wax worms.
Lakeside Pro Bass Shop,
DISTRICT 3 – NORTHEAST REGION
Leesville Reservoir (Carroll County) – With temperatures in the
upper 40s and 50s during the week of Jan. 16, the muskie bite was
picking up on this 1,000-acre impoundment that the Ohio Muskie Club
rated the top muskie lake in Ohio for 2011.
Pitstop/Star Fire Express,
Conneaut Creek (Ashtabula County) – Warm weather has produced good
numbers of steelhead in both Conneaut Creek and the Ashtabula
River. The bite slowed down some during the week of Jan. 16 due to
off color water with high flows but is expected to pick back up
toward the end of the month with improved weather conditions in the
forecast. Angling pressure has been heavy. Successful trout
fishermen are employing jig and maggot rigs and small plastic
baits. Fly-fishermen have been successful with sucker spawn
Snug Harbor Bait and Tackle (Conneaut), 440-593-3755
Piedmont Lake (Belmont, Harrison, Guernsey counties) – Though water
levels are low and the lake is tough to access at this time of
year, anglers are still fishing for saugeyes, primarily vertically
jigging off bridges. Some limits of saugeye have been reported on
jerkbaits. Anglers at nearby Clendening Lake have been targeting
the spillway area but few are reporting any bites at all.
Mosquito Creek Lake (Trumbull County) – With ice off, anglers
fishing near the causeway have reported a good crappie bite at
night using minnows suspended under bobbers. A few catches have
been in the 12-inch range. High winds through the week of Jan. 16
pushed most fish, and many anglers, off the lake, however.
Temperatures were expected to be in the 35-40-degree range for the
Causeway Sporting Goods, 330-637-7076
district 4 – Southeast Region
Lake Logan (Hocking County) – It’s a mixed bag at Logan with
anglers pulling in a few saugeyes, crappies, and even catfish.
Numbers have been inconsistent at best. A few lucky anglers are
vertical jigging around areas of cover with shiners and minnows to
produce a bite.
Division of Wildlife, District 4, 740-439-1427
Belmont Lake (Belmont County) – A couple of years ago, District 4
Division of Wildlife employees sank 20 cribs and 200 Christmas
trees for fish structure in this lake, which is part of Barkcamp
State Park. Belmont has an excellent rating for both largemouth
bass and channel catfish and an excellent rating for
Division of Wildlife, District 4, 740-439-1427
DISTRICT 5 – Southwest Region
East Fork Lake (Clermont County) – Anglers are almost exclusively
in search of crappies right now and the results have been good in
some cases. Catches have been reported in 15-25 feet of water using
minnows, night crawlers and worms for bait. Warm temperatures seems
to have turned on the crappie bite with temperatures reaching as
high as 60 degrees. Rain was in the forecast for much of the next
week but continued warm temperatures will help sustain the crappie
bite at this impoundment east of Cincinnati.
Boars Head Bait & Carry Out, 513-724-1211.
Paint Creek Lake (Highland and Ross counties – Anglers are
searching for the crappie and saugeye bite at both Paint Creek and
Rocky Fork Lake but muddy water conditions haven’t produced much
success. Temperatures have been warm but water clarity seems to be
the primary issue.
Cole’s Bait and Tackle, 937-365-1436
Lake Erie Region
• The daily bag limit for Lake Erie walleye is six fish. The
minimum size limit is 15 inches.
• The daily bag limit for yellow perch is 30 fish per angler on all
Ohio waters of Lake Erie.
• The steelhead daily bag limit is two fish per angler with a
minimum size limit of 12 inches.
• The Lake Erie black bass (largemouth and smallmouth) daily bag
limit is 5 fish and a minimum size limit of 14 inches.
Walleye – With unseasonably warm weather, fish are still being
caught in open water northwest of the Huron River and also at night
around Cleveland harbor (as of Jan. 10). Trolling crankbaits in the
top 15 feet of water has produced most of the fish.
The water temperature as of Jan. 10 was 36 degrees off of Toledo
and 37 degrees off of Cleveland, according to the nearshore marine
The Rocky River is currently exhibiting excellent winter fishing
conditions, with a green stain and moderate flow. Based on the
weather forecast, fishing opportunities should continue to be very
good into the weekend. This coming weekend will offer anglers very
good fishing conditions and plenty of steelhead on the Rocky and
Chagrin rivers. Steelhead have been very well distributed
throughout the watersheds, including the East and West branches of
the Rocky River. Now that we’ve had a taste of real winter weather
and the river temperatures have dropped, fish have mostly been in
deeper areas with slower flow and have been biting more lightly, so
plan to fish a hole thoroughly and slow down your presentation a
bit. Given the warming temperatures again for the coming days,
though, do not dismiss fishing areas with faster flow if the slower
areas are not producing. This is among the lowest flow we’ve had in
awhile, so expect fish to start becoming more concentrated in the
best holding areas.
Other anglers have been catching them on small jigs tipped with
maggots, minnows, and flies, including egg patterns, nymphs, and
baitfish streamers. A few die-hards even dredged up some fish
swinging big spey flies. Heck, I even watched a guy yesterday walk
up to a tailout just fished with eggs and quickly pull two fish out
on a silver and chartreuse 3-inch Flatfish style wobbling plug.
Anglers have an opportunity to fish their chosen method this
weekend and have a reasonable chance of success. Plan to downsize
offerings and leaders as the water continues to clear in the coming
In mid-December a ton of trout (literally, 2,000 pounds) were
stocked between five Cleveland Metroparks lakes. These include
Wallace (900 pounds), Shadow (450), Ledge (350), Judges (200), and
Ranger (100) lakes. The size range of these trout varied from 12
inches to some trophy fish up to 4-plus pounds, with a good
percentage of quality fish in the 16-18-inch size class. A few
bonus brown trout were mixed in with the rainbow trout. PowerBait
in yellow, pink, and rainbow suspended about 1-2 feet off the lake
bottom has been the working well. Other offerings worth trying are
small jigs tipped with maggots, minnows, corn, and small spinners
(the latter, of course, as long as the lakes stay ice free). A few
of the more successful anglers have noted that the bite has been
turning on and off, in many cases getting a limit in short order
following an hour or more of no action, so plan to be patient and
eventually the trout will bite.
As a reminder, all fishing guides operating on Cleveland Metroparks
property require a permit as of Jan. 1, 2012. This permit allows
guiding on 31.2 miles of the Rocky River (including 15.7 miles of
steelhead water), as well as steelhead water on the Chagrin (9.5
miles), Cuyahoga (5.3 miles), and number of smaller streams…as
well as access to guide on any other inland water of the Park
District. A permit is not needed by state licensed charter captains
fishing Lake Erie who launch from the Rocky River boat ramps.
OHIO RIVER REGION
Monroe County – At the Hannibal lock and dam, walleyes and saugers
are being caught in fair numbers casting 1⁄8-1⁄4-ounce jigs with
chartreuse Twister Tails into tail water eddies below locks.
Fishing turns on from late afternoon through early evening. When
fishing the West Virginia shoreline with on Ohio license, keep in
mind there is an 18-inch size limit on walleyes and a two-walleye
bag limit. Outdoor News contributers Paul Liikala and Mike Mainhart
landed six walleyes on Jan. 6 fishing the Hanibal locks.