Northeast Ohio Fishing Report – December 18th, 2015
Berlin Lake (Stark, Mahoning, and Portage counties) – Anglers are seeing some good action at Berlin Lake. Vi-Bs and jig-and-minnow combos are producing mixed bags of fish, mostly walleyes, crappies, and white bass. Anglers are also having success catching black bass, leaning heavily on crankbaits, jigs, and topwater baits.
Lake Erie tributary streams (Ashtabula, Cuyahoga, Lake, and Lorain counties) – Reports are flowing in of steelhead trout being caught in the rivers and streams in northeast Ohio. Ohio’s primary steelhead streams are the Vermilion, Rocky, Chagrin, and Grand rivers and Conneaut Creek. Several other rivers, including the Ashtabula, Cuyahoga, Huron, and Black rivers, and Arcola, Cowles, Wheeler, French, Euclid, Turkey, Beaver, and Cold creeks get runs of stray steelhead. Popular baits this time of year include casting spoons, jig-and-maggots, spawn sac bags, and other live bait.
Northeast Ohio lakes – Despite cold temperatures, the bass fishing has been quietly going fairly strong. Good catches of largemouth bass have been reported in many lakes including Mogadore, Wingfoot, Springfield, and several Portage Lakes reservoirs. Cold-water presentations such as jerkbaits, jigs, and Vib-Es have been key.
Cuyahoga River (Cuyahoga, Geauga, Portage, and Summit counties) – Fishing for northern pike is picking up in the Cuyahoga River. Consistently producing regions of the river include the Fuller Park area in Kent, the Route 303 bridge area near Shalersville, and the area in and around Mantua. Remember to obtain written permission to wade-fish on private property. As winter gets into full swing and water temperatures drop, pike begin their feeding frenzy, putting away energy reserves for both winter survival and their early spring spawn. Try fishing with large baits and lures that mimic prey fish such as shad, suckers, and chubs. Examples include larger crankbaits, jerkbaits, swimbaits, lipless crankbaits, and large spinners. The use of a small leader will minimize the chances of a pike biting off your line.
West Branch Reservoir (Portage County) – Some major bonus action has been taking place for walleye anglers out at West Branch the past couple of weeks. While trolling for walleyes, anglers’ rods are being pummeled by some large muskies. This recent bump in activity could provide adrenaline seekers a chance at quite a rush. To specifically target muskies, try trolling cranks, possibly downsizing to match shad, and running the bait in the prop wash. If muskie fishing is too much heart-pumping action for you, you can try to find the crappie bite. Crappie are starting to work in shallower. Most schools are still being found suspended around structure or contour breaks. Small jigs tipped with a minnow have been the way to go lately.