Ice-free streams allow steelhead anglers much success

Editor’s note: There were several reports of anglers attempting
to fish through the ice on some northern Ohio lakes, but with ever
changing temperatures extreme caution must be used. Temperatures in
the 40s and 50s across much of Ohio at the time of this report
would make ice fishing unlikely at best. What follows is a report
of conditions at Ohio lakes and fishing prospects.

DISTRICT 1 – Central Region

Deer Creek Lake (Madison, Fayette, and Pickaway counties) – Saugeye
is about the only game in town for anglers on Deer Creek at this
time of year. Most catches have been in the 14-19-inch range coming
on Twister Tails and jig heads. Some are tipping the set with
minnows. Experienced anglers on Deer Creek are targetting the dam

Mary’s Bait Shop, 740-869-3597

Buckeye Lake (Fairfield, Licking and Perry counties) – Fishing is
slow at this central Ohio lake. Buckeye had a thin layer of ice
covering it in early February before a warm up turned much of it
back to open water. Some saugeyes and crappies were being caught
near the state park office and Sellers Point where water remained
open. Baits of choice were floating jigs tipped with minis and
jerkbaits. At nearby Dillon Reservoir, anglers are reporting
success catching channel catfish before ice up.

Bob’s Outdoor Supply, 740-349-0992

Clendening Lake (Harrison County) – Before a mid-February freeze
up, anglers were vertical jigging off bridges, bouncing their jigs
tipped with minnows or night crawlers off the bottom for saugeyes.
There isn’t much angling pressure on the lake right now,

Pitstop/Star Fire Express, 740-633-3170

Piedmont Lake (Belmont, Harrison, Guernsey counties) – The saugeye
bite was good for a while in February but on and off again skim ice
and high winds cooled things off. Elsewhere in the region, anglers
were catching smallmouth and saugeye in the Tuscarawas River from
the Dover/New Philadelphia area all the way down to its junction
with the Muskingum River.

Pitstop/Star Fire Express, 740-633-3170

DISTRICT 2 – Northwest Region

Grand Lake St. Marys (Mercer and Auglaize counties) – With spring
like temperatures into mid-February, anglers were pulling in good
numbers of crappies but nothing of any size to report. The
effective bait has been jigs tipped with minnows fished in 3 to 6
feet of water. The lake is mostly open water with some skim ice in
some of the channels. That could change quickly with warming

Outdoorsman, 419-394-5769

Indian Lake (Logan County) – Fishing has been spotty at Indian like
it has at most places around the state. Saugeye anglers were
producing fish on jerkbaits around the Moundwood area in
mid-February but cold weather moved back in toward the end of the
month, slowing angler success.

Lakeside Pro Bass Shop, 937-843-2488

district 3 – Northeast Region

Conneaut Creek (Ashtabula County) – High water levels turned off
the steelhead bite in mid-February. Most rivers and streams where
steelhead can typically be caught have high flows and are very
turbid. Rain, snow, and high winds have stalled fishing. Good
numbers of steelhead are well distributed throughout the rivers and
small tributaries but improved weather conditions are necessary
before the bite will turn back on. Anglers were having good success
with eggs, minnows, or jig and maggot combinations. Fly anglers
were using streamer, stonefly, nymph and egg patterns to get

Snug Harbor Bait and Tackle (Conneaut), 440-593-3755

Mosquito Creek Lake (Trumbull County) – Patchy ice is covering much
of Mosquito with mostly open water south of the spillway. Anglers
will begin wading in about another month for walleyes when water
temperatures warm a bit.

Causeway Sporting Goods, 330-637-7076

LaDue Reservoir, Punderson Lake (Geauga County) – It’s been a case
of close but no cigar on Punderson Lake. Anglers were within a day
or two of getting on the ice in mid-February before a drastic warm
up and high winds foiled their plans. At LaDue, there had been some
productive open-water angling for bluegills and crappies near the
Ohio 44 bridge and some open water spots under other bridges.
Anglers were successful using minnows suspended under

One Stop Fishing Shop, 440-834-2248

district 4 – Southeast Region

Salt Fork Lake (Guernsey County) – Saugeyes up to 3 pounds were
being caught in mid-February on blade baits such as Vib-Es.

Division of Wildlife, District 4, 740-439-1427

Seneca Lake (Guernsey and Noble counties) – The saugeye bite on
Seneca Lake is currently the best thing going in the area. Anglers
are catching them around the dam area and on the deep, outside
sections of the creek channel. Fishing close to large schools of
shad seems to be crucial. Most saugeyes will be holding tight to
the bottom, so vertical jig blade baits, spoons, or a jig and
minnow combination for best results.

Division of Wildlife, District 4, 740-439-1427

Tycoon Lake (Gallia County) – Bass anglers who normally would be
holed up until spring are testing the Tycoon Lake waters a bit
earlier with the warmer weather. An 18-inch minimum offers good
potential for trophy bass but there has yet been any reports of big
ones being taken.

Division of Wildlife, District 4, 740-439-1427

DISTRICT 5 – Southwest Region

East Fork Lake (Clermont County) – Jigs tipped with minnows fished
deep in the lake has produced decent crappie numbers for some
anglers. Slabs are being caught in 18-25-foot depths.

Boars Head Bait & Carry Out, 513-724-1211.

Paint Creek Lake (Highland and Ross counties – Anglers are
reporting success catching crappies in both Paint Creek Lake and
nearby Rocky Fork Lake. Saugeyes in the 22-24-inch range were being
pulled from the Paint Creek spillway. Popular baits have been
1⁄16-ounce jigs tipped with minnows or curly worms in chartreuse
glitter or white.

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.

Unseasonably warm weather last week provided some good walleye
fishing for trollers on Lake Erie. Fish were caught around the
outer buoys of the Camp Perry firing range on Reef Runners and
Rapala deep husky jerks. Recent winter weather has at least
temporarily limited fishing opportunities on the open water (as of
Feb. 8).

The water temperature was 37 degrees off of Toledo and 34 degrees
off of Cleveland, according to the nearshore marine forecast.

Steelhead Trout: For the steelhead fishing report, see the web site.

Anglers are encouraged to always wear a U.S. Coast Guard-approved
personal flotation device while boating.

The Rocky River is exhibiting very good steelhead fishing
conditions, and given the weather forecast the water should
continue clearing into the weekend. The Chagrin River is looking to
offer similar conditions in the coming days. The continuation of
mild weather is making this, overall, the most conducive winter for
steelheading we’ve ever had on our local streams, so get out and
take advantage of this midwinter gift. The Rocky River has a
perfect green stain and moderate flow, and a number of anglers have
reported steelhead success over the past few days. Steelies have
been hooked on brightly colored spawn sacs (trout and salmon eggs)
about the size of a dime to nickel, marabou or hair jigs (1⁄32- to
1⁄64-ounce are popular) tipped with maggots or wax worms, 3-inch
rubber trout worms and tube jigs (white is often productive),
various fly patterns (GloBugs, sucker spawn, beadhead nymphs, wooly
buggers, and baitfish streamers), live or salted minnows, and
wobbling Flatfish style plugs. With all the high water this year,
fish are as spread throughout the system as they’ve ever been, with
fish in pods from the marina all the way up to Berea Falls on the
East Branch Rocky River, as well as being well up into the West
Branch, too. The river is completely ice free.

Last week a ton of trout (2,000 pounds) were stocked between five
Cleveland Metroparks lakes and they have been biting great. These
include Wallace (900 pounds), Shadow (450), Ledge (450), Judge’s
(100), 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. These fish
complement a similar stocking conducted in the same lakes in
mid-December. Since our lakes are currently ice free, anglers are
fishing from the solid ground of fishing platforms, docks, and
areas where the shoreline drops immediately into deeper water.
Offerings worth trying include PowerBait, small jigs tipped with
maggots, jigging spoons (such as a Swedish Pimple or Forage
Minnow), live minnows, corn, and small spinners (the latter since
the lakes are ice free). The limit per angler is five trout per day
at Shadow Lake and Ohio & Erie Canal fishing area (we default
to ODNR’s trout limit at these two jointly managed locations that
they help stock), three per day in all other lakes and ponds
managed solely by Cleveland Metroparks, and two per day in the
river this time of year.

As a reminder, all fishing guides operating on Cleveland Metroparks
property require a permit as of Jan. 1. 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.


Belmont County – At the Pike Island locks and dam, Ohio Outdoor
News contributors Paul Liikala and Mike Mainhart caught 20 saugers
and walleyes on an early February outing. They were employing
¼-ounce jigs with Twisters and minnows.

Categories: Archive, Ohio Fishing Reports

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