Ohio Outdoor News Fishing Report – July 29th, 2016

Central Region

Delaware Lake (963 acres; Delaware County) – For crappies, use jigs and minnows around woody cover and target water depths of eight to 15 feet. Crappie must be nine inches or longer to keep. Channel catfish are plentiful in this lake. Try using cut bait and shrimp fished on the bottom at night for the best success. Largemouth bass are being caught around cover and on lake points. Use spinnerbaits and plastics for the best results. Most fish are around 12 inches in length.

Big Darby Creek (Franklin, Madison, Pickaway counties) – In hot summer weather, creeks and rivers can provide fishing action. Smallmouth bass and rock bass are popular sportfish in this stream west of Columbus. Casting small crankbaits or plastics resembling crayfish or shiners can be rewarding. Target boulders, shoreline cover, where pools meet riffles, and current eddies. Other fish present are bluegills, carp, crappies, channel and flathead catfish, saugeye, and sauger.

Indian Lake (Logan County) – Saugeyes are being caught along the south bank and around the Moundwood and Dream Bridge areas; try crankbaits and worm harnesses. Fish shoreline cover, lily pads, and any riprap on the shore for largemouth bass; try spinnerbaits, and crankbaits. Bluegills are still being caught around lily pads and in the channels; use waxworms, nightcrawlers, or crickets.

Buckeye Lake (Fairfield, Licking, Perry counties) – Channel catfish are being caught around Lieb’s Island and Fairfield Beach areas. Fishing with cut shad and shrimp on the bottom is catching the most fish. For largemouth bass, target vegetation, points, and riprap using spinnerbaits, crankbaits, and plastics. Hybrid striped bass can be caught using spinners or drifting chicken livers between Seller’s Point and the north ramp.

Hargus Creek Lake (Pickaway County) – A dense population of largemouth bass measuring eight to 12 inches, with some larger, can be found at this lake near Circleville. Fish main lake points and drop-offs using crankbaits, spinner baits, and tubes for consistent catches. For channel catfish, fishing at night with chicken livers, shrimp, and cut baits can be productive; most fish range from 12 to 22 inches. A fair population of six- to seven-inch bluegill and redear sunfish can be caught using nightcrawlers or maggots suspended by a bobber. For a change try fishing crickets or use a fly rod and present floating spiders or poppers for bluegill. Electric motors only.

Alum Creek Lake (Delaware County) – As water temperatures have increased, fish have moved to deeper water. Largemouth bass are being caught off main and secondary points with crankbaits and spinnerbaits. For saugeyes, trolling worm harnesses or crankbaits close to the bottom in 12 to 14 feet of water along points can produce saugeye, especially at dawn and dusk. Muskellunge can provide good action this time of year. Try trolling crankbaits across points and along riprapped shorelines.

Hoover Reservoir (Delaware, Franklin counties) – As the water has warmed, crappies have moved to deeper water. Try using minnows suspended by a slip bobber in 10 to 14 feet of water around woody cover. Saugeyes are becoming more active as the summer pattern starts to set up. Trolling worm harnesses and crankbaits along the east shore can be productive. Keep the bait just off the bottom. Bluegills are active now in shallow areas, flats and the back of coves. Try waxworms or nightcrawlers suspended by a bobber. For channel catfish, fish the north basin or the inlets into coves using shrimp, nightcrawlers, or chicken livers. There is a 10-horsepower limit at this reservoir.

Northwest Region

Oxbow Lake (Defiance County) – Oxbow lake is in Oxbow Wildlife Area,seven miles northwest of the city of Defiance on Trinity Road. Largemouth bass fishing has been very good. People are taking a number of the smaller fish out of the lake, which should help the age structure in the future. Just about anything has been effective at catching the smaller sized bass. Boats are allowed on the lake and there is a boat ramp available, but boats are restricted to electric motors only.

Upper Sandusky Reservoir #2 (Wyandot County) – This reservoir is on the southeast edge of Upper Sandusky on County Road 60. Channel catfish have been biting at this 118-acre reservoir. The shoreline consists of rocks, a wetland shelf, and sand beach area. Try fishing at the beach area and along the east shoreline. Shrimp fished on the bottom or just off the bottom using slip bobbers usually work best. There is a boat ramp and dock, but boats are restricted to electric motors only. The reservoir closes at 10 p.m.

Blanchard River (Hardin County) – Smallmouth bass have been biting on light-colored spinning baits. The best location to access the river is the Township Road 183 Bridge. Anglers are having the best successes in the afternoons.

Upper Sandusky Reservoir #1 (Wyandot County) – Bluegills have been biting on red worms. Try fishing the north side of the reservoir. The best times have been in the mornings and late afternoons. Fishing is allowed from 4 a.m. to 10 p.m. Boats are allowed on the reservoir with electric motors only.

Lake LeComte, Fostoria Reservoir #5 (Hancock County) – Bluegills have been biting on red worms. The best locations have been in the northeast corner and the best time of day has been in the morning. For saugeyes, during summer try drifting or trolling the shoreline at night with crankbaits or worm harnesses. Boats are allowed on the reservoir, with a 9.9 horsepower motor restriction.

Lake La Su An (Williams County) – Bluegills are being caught in nine to 13 feet of water. Anglers are having the best success using jigs tipped with waxworms, red worms, or Gulp minnows fished seven to nine feet under a slip bobber. Good numbers of Fish Ohio bluegill are being caught with some more than 10 inches. This fishery is intensively managed to maintain the harvest of large bluegills. For additional rules and information, visit wildohio.com.

Northeast  Region 

Clendening Lake (Harrison County) – Channel catfish have been biting on chicken livers. Shoreline anglers have been doing well fishing for them using slip-sinker rigs around riprap, wood, and weed edges. For larger flathead catfish, try large shad or other baitfish fished around wood cover. Excellent numbers of largemouth bass are also available at Clendening. Target them with Texas-rigged soft plastics around wood, deep weedlines, and thick weed mats, or fishing topwaters at low light.

Lake Milton (Mahoning County) – Anglers have been periodically picking up walleyes while trolling. Worm harnesses and shad-style crankbaits have been top producers. Bonus channel catfish are common. Try minnows vertically jigged or deep under a bobber (around 10 feet) for crappies. Good catches of smallmouth bass have also been reported. Focus on hard-bottom main-lake areas with soft plastics, crankbaits, or topwaters to target these scrappy fighters.

Tuscarawas River (Summit, Stark counties) – Fishing has been excellent in the Tuscarawas recently, especially from Clinton to Massillon. Common carp, channel catfish, bowfin, and bullheads have all been biting. Hot baits have included cut bait, nightcrawlers, and corn. Target deeper holes and areas downstream of inlets.

Pymatuning Lake (Ashtabula County) – Largemouth bass have been biting well in weed beds. Try Texas- or wacky-rigged worms or buzzbaits. Bluegills are being caught in six to eight feet of water on ice ants tipped with maggots. Channel catfish are being caught with nightcrawlers on the bottom. Walleyes are being caught 20 feet down over 25 feet of water. Try crankbaits or crawler harnesses.

Springfield Lake (Summit County) – Largemouth bass have been shallow, hitting soft plastics. A little deeper, anglers are taking crappie and bluegill in eight to 10 feet of water. Small twisters, crankbaits, and minnows have been productive for both, while waxworms are a good bet for bluegill. For catfish, try crawlers or shad on the bottom.

Berlin Lake (Stark, Portage, Mahoning counties) – Berlin Lake lies in the northeastern part of Ohio. There are no horsepower restrictions for boats at Berlin Lake during the day, but there is a 10 mph speed limit on the lake at night. Walleyes have been biting well near the deep structure north of Route 224. Jig and leach combinations, crawler harnesses, and shad-style crankbaits fished in at least 15 feet of water have all been productive. For catfish, crawler harnesses are producing lots of bonus fish.

Portage Lakes (Summit County) – Portage Lakes are located a few miles south of the city of Akron. All lakes have a 400 horsepower limit. All areas are “no wake” except for portions of Turkeyfoot Lake and East Reservoir. Largemouth bass have been hitting topwater baits, especially in the low light. Various soft plastics fished around weed beds have been productive during the day.

Highlandtown Lake (Columbiana County) – Classic summer bass patterns continue to produce on this quiet, hill country lake. Try topwater baits during low light conditions, or crankbaits near offshore structure for largemouth bass feeding on gizzard shad. The catfish bite has been pretty steady, with worms and chicken livers doing well, but commercial stinkbaits have been producing lately, as well. Sunfish continue to bite well on worms fished under a bobber, but small jigs have produced some good catches lately, as well.

LaDue Reservoir (Geauga County) – Crappies have been biting well on the 22 and 422 overpasses. Anglers are using perch rigs tipped with minnows, catching lots of bonus white perch. Largemouth bass have been biting well, particularly during low light. Try targeting offshore structure and weedbeds with topwater lures, weedless frogs, spinnerbaits, and Carolina-rigged soft plastics. Channel catfish have been taking the occasional bluegill angler by surprise, with several reports of good catches on worms fished under a bobber.

Mogadore Reservoir (Portage County) – Bass anglers have been catching fish offshore around schooling shad. Lipless crankbaits have been top producers in offshore situations, while Texas-rigged soft plastics have been productive around shoreline cover. Sunfish and crappies have been biting in deeper water. Drifting pin-mins tipped with maggots around the 10-foot depth range has been the ticket.

Tappan Lake (Harrison County) – Shallow crankbaits continue to produce good catches of largemouth bass. With the recent dark and windy conditions, fish have been very shallow and close to shore. The channel catfish action has also been good here, with shad and nightcrawlers both producing good catches.

Southwest Region

Acton Lake (Preble County) – Channel catfish are being caught at this lake in Hueston Woods State Park. Try fishing on the bottom using chicken livers or shrimp. The shoreline area between the swimming beach and Sugar Camp area has been the best.

Great Miami River (Miami, Montgomery, Warren counties) – Remember to ask permission before entering private property. Since the water levels are down, now is a great time to wade rivers and find holes to come back to later when the rivers are up. All fish like deep holes this time of year because the water is cooler, there are concentrations of bait, and oxygen levels are better. Catfish are the best bet this time of year. In Miami County, fair numbers of smallmouth bass and rock bass are being caught in the early morning and late evening hours in transition areas where deep and shallow water meet. Popular baits are soft crayfish and salted tube jigs. The fishing is slower on the Montgomery County portion of the Great Miami River but catfish are always hitting in many of the deep holes throughout the river. Popular spots on the river are the deeper water areas below the low-head dams. Anglers can find fish lying in these deeper holes. Anglers are catching channel and flathead catfish using chicken livers, cut bait, earthworms, nightcrawlers, or live goldfish or bluegill for flatheads.

Stillwater River (Miami County) – Smallmouth bass are being caught by anglers using artificial soft craws and live soft craws. Use lead-headed jigs tipped with a curly tail or other soft bait. The best color choices are black and green or pumpkinseed.

East Fork (Clermont County) – Largemouth bass are being caught by anglers using plastic worms, banded crankbaits, or topwater baits such as buzzbaits. Best times are early in the morning and late in the evening. Cast along the points, buck brush, banks, and in the areas with submerged trees or brush. Jig the worm on the bottom. Keep the shiners or minnows moving in the top two to three feet of water. Channel catfish are being caught by anglers using minnows or chicken liver as bait. Larger channel catfish are being caught on the nightcrawlers, Nitro worms (green nightcrawlers), or chicken livers. Keep the bait along the bottom and near any rock wall and at least 18 feet deep. Bluegills are hitting on meal worms, waxworms, or red worms. Keep the bait under a bobber and about two to five feet deep. Cast anywhere around the docks, standing wood, or downed trees.

Whitewater River and Lake (Hamilton County) – For bass, try jigging crankbaits or soft plastics. For bluegills, try waxworms and a bobber or smaller inline spinner baits. For catfish, use goldfish, shiners, or suckers. These can be purchased at the marina. Try the pool where the river meets U.S. 50. For sauger, white bass, channel catfish, smallmouth and largemouth bass, try a jighead with a plain white grub. Spoons and Rat-L-Traps are also recommended.

Southeast Region

Muskingum River (Coshocton, Morgan, Washington counties) – Catfish anglers should continue to be successful with some quality catches of fish. For flathead catfish, try using live suckers, goldfish, and sunfish. But for channel catfish, stick to the tried-and-true nightcrawlers, chicken livers, and cut bait. Current eddies at any of the low-head dams and at the mouth of larger tributary streams have typically been the most productive sites. Try looking for flathead catfish below the McConnelsville Lock and Dam #7 using live bait such as gizzard shad or skipjacks.

Lake Hope (Vinton County) – Fishing should continue to be productive. Bluegills and crappies can be caught this time of year on minnows and worms fished under a bobber. If you’re looking for bass, try using artificial topwater lures. Channel catfish can also be found in this lake, typically up to 3 pounds. Try fishing nightcrawlers, chicken livers, or cut bait on the bottom.

Lake Snowden (Athens County) – Largemouth bass: These popular sport fish are going to be moving deeper this time of year to take advantage of the cooler water, but will come into the shallows between dusk and dawn to feed. Try using plastic worms and crankbaits and target the numerous structure piles placed in the lake with the help of Hocking College students, Athens County Bassmasters, and Perry County anglers. A structure map for Lake Snowden can be obtained by calling the DNR Division of Wildlife’s District 4 office at (740) 589-9930. Recent storms have created some muddy conditions, but this may provide a great opportunity for catfish since they are not primarily sight feeders. Try targeting shallow coves at night using any of the typical catfish baits like nightcrawlers, chicken livers, or any of the prepared baits.

Forked Run Lake (Meigs County) – Nighttime during the summers always provides great opportunities to catch channel catfish. In this location, the best spots have been in the upper end of the lake. Try using nightcrawlers, cut bait, and/or chicken livers fished on the bottom. For largemouth bass, late night and early morning hours are going to be the most productive. Try spinnerbaits fished in coves and shallow shelves.

Hocking River (Athens, Hocking counties) – For smallmouth bass, try the area of the river from Enterprise to Nelsonville, or at White’s Mill in Athens. The best smallmouth fishing tends to be in the pools and near submerged cover, rocks, or root systems. Successful baits include minnows, rooster tails, soft craws, and twisters. Any of these can be effective when fished from canoes or the shoreline. For channel catfish, try using cut bait, bluegill, and minnows. Target the rocky shorelines or woody debris in slack water. The eddy below White’s Mill in Athens is very popular, and shovelhead catfish can be caught there as well.

Seneca Lake (Guernsey, Noble counties) – For saugeyes, drift jigs tipped with a twister tail and a minnow, or try twister jigs tipped with a nightcrawler and fished by slowly retrieving it along the bottom. Trolling worm harnesses can also be effective. Focus efforts around the upper islands, the island close to the dam, and Cadillac Bay. For channel catfish, try fishing off the banks of the lake near Briar Hill Road past the last island in the upper section of the lake. Chicken livers and nightcrawlers are always popular bait.

Lake Erie Region

• The daily bag limit for walleye in Ohio waters of Lake Erie is six fish per angler. The minimum size limit for walleye is 15 inches.

• The daily bag limit for yellow perch is 30 fish per angler in all Ohio waters of Lake Erie.

• The trout and salmon daily bag limit is five fish per angler until Aug. 31. The minimum size limit is 12 inches.

• The black bass (largemouth and smallmouth bass) daily bag limit is five fish per angler with a 14-inch minimum size limit.

Western Basin

Walleyes 

Where: Walleye fishing has been hit or miss lately. Many of the fish being caught have been below the 15-inch size limit, primarily from the 2014 year class. The best locations have been the Toledo water intake, west of West Sister Island, Big Pickerel Reef, near C and G buoys of the Camp Perry firing range, and north of Green Island.

How: Most fish have been caught by trolling with spoons or worm harnesses, and by casting with weight forward spinners or mayfly rigs.

Yellow perch

Where: Yellow perch have been caught near the Toledo harbor light, around the Toledo water intake, northwest of A can of the Camp Perry firing range, west of Rattlesnake Island, south of Ballast Island, and southwest of Kelleys Island.

How: Perch spreaders with shiners fished near the bottom produce the most fish.

Largemouth bass

Where: Largemouth bass have been caught in harbors and along the main lake shoreline around Catawba and Marblehead.

How: Anglers are using drop-shot rigs, tube jigs, and crankbaits.

Central Basin

Walleyes 

Where: Some walleyes have been caught off Sawmill Creek, off Cranberry Creek, and at the weather buoy north of Vermilion near the Canadian border. Good fishing was reported in 42 to 45 feet of water north of Cleveland, in 28 to 32 feet of water northeast of Wildwood Park, in 65 to 74 feet of water northeast of Geneva, and in 65 to 74 feet of water north of Ashtabula.  

How: Anglers are trolling stickbaits or harnesses with divers or planer boards with weights or jet divers. The best colors have been purple, chartreuse, and pink.

Yellow perch

Where: Yellow perch fishing has been slow recently. The best areas have been off the Vermilion River and in 42 feet of water north-northwest of Gordon Park. There were a few good reports in 49 feet of water northeast of Geneva, and in 48 feet of water north of Conneaut. 

How: Perch spreaders with shiners fished near the bottom produce the most fish.

Smallmouth bass

Where: Fishing has been excellent in 10 to 30 feet of water around the harbor areas in Cleveland, Fairport Harbor, Geneva, Ashtabula, and Conneaut.

How: Anglers are using drop-shot rigs, tube jigs, spinners, crankbaits, leeches, and crayfish.

As we move into mid-summer, highlight species targeted around Cleveland Metroparks include walleye, yellow perch, largemouth/smallmouth bass, panfish, channel catfish, and common carp. The river water levels were low almost the entire month of June and, consequently, there is more algae accumulated in the river than usual (at least at the beginning of this month). A good rain will take care of that.

Smallmouth bass are typically found in the deeper, rocky pools of the river during the day in summer, and often move to the heads of such pools in the early morning and evening hours to feed actively.  A dark olive or brown tube jig of about four inches length is one of the best producers of bass in the river. “Smallies” also bite well on live bait (i.e., minnow, crayfish, and leeches), lures (i.e., spinners and minnow plugs), and flies (i.e., crayfish patterns, Clouser minnows, dark brown or olive sculpin, or muddler minnow patterns). Bass of all sizes are abundant in the river, with a healthy number of trophy fish up to (and over) 20 inches in length available. Rock bass are also present in the same river areas as smallmouth, and can be caught using the same offerings listed above.

Channel catfish and large carp are also present in some of these same areas in the river, and fishing for them can be a laid back and relaxing way to enjoy some time on the water. In mid-late June, farm raised catfish were stocked at Shadow (700 pounds), Ledge (450 pounds), Ranger (300 pounds), and Judge’s (150 pounds) lakes. Good numbers of channel catfish stocked in May also remain to be caught at Wallace Lake and the Ohio and Erie Canal fishing area. Lots of catfish are available in the northern Rocky River, as well. Catfishing is usually best during lower light conditions using baits such as nightcrawlers, minnows, chicken liver, and processed dough baits.

Large carp will be found throughout the Rocky, Cuyahoga, and Chagrin rivers in summer, as well. Carp can often be caught throughout the day on such bait as canned corn, carp dough baits, worms, or crayfish tails. A growing group of fly anglers looking for a challenge are targeting carp with nymphs and crayfish imitations, as well. The key to fishing for either carp or catfish is fishing on (or very near) the river/lake bottom – unless they happen to be feeding on cicadas. In addition, freshwater drum (sheepshead), white perch, and bullhead catfish are also abundant in the northern river reaches (north of Morley Ford) in early summer. For the angling generalist, any of the species thus far can be effectively targeted by fishing a nightcrawler worm right on the river bottom with a sinker.

Summer means family fishing time for many folks, and panfish fit the bill perfectly for a leisurely picnic and fishing outing. Anglers seeking panfish have experienced decent fishing at most of the ponds and lakes in the park district in the past week. Crappie, bluegill, and other sunfish species can be taken with a number of offerings, but a waxworm or red worm on a small hook (or tiny jig) suspended under a stick float and fished around a weedbed or shoreline brush is always a good choice. Wallace Lake, Shadow Lake, and Lakefront Reservation are just a few of many places in the park to wet a line for various panfish species. Largemouth bass fishing is often best in Wallace and Hinckley lakes, although bass can be found in most park waters.

Largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, rock bass, crappie, freshwater drum, catfish, and sunfish species are biting along the Cleveland shoreline of Lake Erie on offerings such as tube jigs and live minnows. Walleyes are biting off of Cleveland, as well, with an impressive number of just sub-legal 14-inch walleyes around, boding well for fishing in the years to come. Yellow perch fishing has been slow.

Cleveland Metroparks, www.clevelandmetroparks.com

OHIO RIVER REGION

Scioto County – Anglers in the past have had success fishing the Ohio River at the confluence of the Scioto River. Channel catfish are always a popular species to catch this time of year.

Serpentine Wall, Downtown Cincinnati (Hamilton County) – Anglers are having success catching blue cats in the morning hours. Try using chicken breast.

Greenup Dam – Hybrid striped bass and white bass should be moving this time of year. For hybrid striped bass, try fishing cut baits and live baits off the bottom. For white bass, try using topwater lures as well as skipjack, chubs, shiners, and cut bait. Early mornings will probably produce the most catches.

Meldahl Dam (Clermont County) – Channel catfish and flathead catfish are being caught below the dam tailwaters using shad and skipjack fished tight on the bottom. The best time to fish for channel catfish and flathead catfish is during the nighttime. The confluence of tributaries and the Ohio River have been producing good catches of flathead catfish as well.

Categories: Ohio Fishing Reports

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