Ohio Outdoor News Fishing Report – September 9th, 2016
Buckeye Lake (Fairfield, Licking, Perry Counties) – As water temperatures start to cool, hybrid striped bass will become more active. Try chicken livers fished on the bottom or troll spinners along the north shore from Seller’s Point to the north boat ramp at state Route 79. Channel catfish are being caught using cut bait on the bottom. Crappies from 10 to 13 inches are becoming active; use minnows and jigs around points especially in the east half of the lake. Bluegills are hanging close to lily pads and other shoreline cover; use small pieces of nightcrawler or maggots to catch these fish.
O’Shaughnessy Reservoir (Delaware County) – This 912-acre reservoir north of Columbus is a good place to catch largemouth bass and channel catfish. For largemouth bass, try tubes, spinnerbaits, and crankbaits around shoreline cover, drop-offs, and points. Channel catfish can be caught on cut baits, nightcrawlers, and shrimp fished on the bottom. Crappies will move shallower as water temperatures decrease; try fishing around woody cover using minnows and jigs.
Knox Lake (Knox County) – Largemouth bass are a popular fish at this lake. Target shoreline cover and the stump field in the east end of the lake using spinnerbaits, plastics, and crankbaits. Largemouth bass must be 18 inches or longer to harvest. Channel catfish are biting on chicken livers, cut bait, and nightcrawlers. Fish the points and around the stump field at night for best results. The crappie bite will increase as water temperatures decrease. Use minnows and jigs around woody cover.
Olentangy River (Delaware, Franklin counties) – Smallmouth bass and rock bass are two fish species that provide action to the angler on this river that runs through Columbus. The best angling can be found from Highbanks Metropark north to the Delaware Lake dam. Try spinners and crayfish-imitating crankbaits around rocks and other cover in pools and runs. Other fish present include crappie, saugeye, carp, and channel catfish.
Killdeer Plains Reservoir (Wyandot County) – Located 10 miles southwest of Upper Sandusky along state Route 67, Killdeer Reservoir features a newer floating boat ramp and 241 acres of fishable water. Channel catfish should be biting this month. Try fishing along the south and east shores. Nightcrawlers or cut baits fished tight-lined on the bottom, or just off the bottom using slip bobbers, produce the best results. There is a 10-horsepower limit on the reservoir.
Clear Fork Reservoir (Richland, Morrow counties) – Just 8 miles south of Mansfield along state Route 97, this 971-acre reservoir is well known for its muskellunge population. It is one of the eight lakes stocked with muskellunge in Ohio. However, the reservoir has good populations of largemouth bass and bluegill, as well. Bluegill fishing should be excellent this time of year with fish ranging from five to seven inches, with an occasional nine-inch fish being taken. Try using waxworms or worm pieces fished under a bobber along the edges of weed beds. Largemouth bass fishing should also be excellent right now. Try using jigs tipped with pork, fished near structure located on the bottom. There are three picnic areas with access to the lake located along the south side of the reservoir. Shore fishing is allowed only along the south and west shorelines from the Orewiler Road bridge to a point 1,000 feet upstream of the dam. There are no motor size restrictions, but an 8 mph speed limit is enforced by the city of Mansfield.
Pleasant Hill Reservoir (Richland-Ashland county line) – With 781 acres of water and 13 miles of shoreline, Pleasant Hill Reservoir has plenty to offer. The reservoir is next to Mohican State Forest, two miles southwest of Perrysville. The boat ramp and marina are located on Covert Road, right off State Route 95. Good numbers of crappies from nine to 10 inches can be found. Try fishing with minnows under a slip bobber in eight to 12 feet of water near submerged trees. Catfish and yellow perch can also be caught using worms fished on the bottom near the fishing dock.
Killdeer Plains Pond #33 (Wyandot County) – Now is a good time to try for largemouth bass. Anglers usually have the best success early in the morning along the south dike and on the fishing piers. Try fishing with a jig and pig slowly off points, logs, and other structure, or casting buzzbaits over weedbeds. The pond has a boat ramp with a floating dock. Boats are limited to 10-horsepower motors. Shore fishing is available from the dike and piers. Wading along the north shore is also popular.
Mogadore Reservoir (Portage County) – Anglers have really enjoyed the catfish action this summer at Mogadore Reservoir. It has continued to produce nice catches of channels. Anglers are doing well using shad caught by cast nets. Most fish are being caught after the sun goes down in the shallow flat areas.
Tuscarawas River (Tuscarawas County) – The Tuscarawas River is a great location to catch a large diversity of fish. Smallmouth bass, saugeyes, channel catfish, and flathead catfish are all being caught by anglers with a variety of baits. For eight- to 14-inch smallmouth, anglers should target rocky structure just out of the main current with jigs or crayfish fished on the bottom. Saugeyes are also hitting on jigs and curly tails fished in the deeper pools of water near structure, such as woody debris. Anglers should try tipping jigs with minnows or earth worms. A fair number of saugeyes averaging between 10 and 17 inches are being caught. Channel catfish and flathead catfish are ranging between 10 and 16 inches and 12 to 25 inches, respectively, and are being caught in better than average numbers. It is suggested that anglers should fish tight-line on the bottom with cut bait, stink bait, chicken liver, earth worms, or live minnows in the three- to five-inch size. Fishing these baits near undercut banks or wooden debris piles has enticed both catfish species. The best access is the Dover Dam off of state Route 800 to points south (public access). Note: Most of the land along the river is in private ownership and access from shore is limited. A public boat ramp has been constructed east of Tuscarawas on Tuscarawas Road. Anglers should get permission from landowners to access private shorelines. Canoe and boat anglers are experiencing excellent catches of fish.
Portage Lakes (Summit County) – All lakes in this system have a 400-horsepower limit. All areas are “no wake” except for portions of Turkeyfoot Lake and East Reservoir. Largemouth bass anglers are finding fish offshore. They are catching some nice sizes in the 3- to 4-pound range in deep water while using crankbaits.
Highlandtown Lake (Columbiana County) – Boat launching ramps and latrines (seasonal) are situated at two locations on the north side of Highlandtown Lake. Boats with motors of 10 horsepower or less are permitted on the lake. Palm-sized bluegills are being caught in seven to eight feet of water from shore by anglers using waxworms or red worms on small hooks under a bobber. Anglers are finding success while fishing known sunken fish attractors. These locations can be found on the Highlandtown Lake map at wildohio.gov.
Caesar Creek (Clinton, Greene, Warren counties) – Anglers casting in-line spinners and crankbaits are catching muskellunge. Muskies are also being taken in the smaller creeks leading into the lake. If you catch a muskie, please report your catch to the Division of Wildlife’s Muskie Angler Log at ohiodnr.com/muskielog/welcome.aspx. The Muskie Angler Log was developed in partnership with the Ohio Husky Muskie Club as a resource for Ohio muskie anglers and to support muskie management efforts in Ohio by providing valuable muskie catch data to the Ohio Division of Wildlife. Saugeye anglers are catching a few 15- to 18-inch fish from six- to 15-foot depths, but most fish are small. Troll medium or deep diving crankbaits along submerged points or underwater humps. Cast or drift with live nightcrawlers on a bottom bouncing harness rig, or use a lead head jig tipped with a piece of worm. Fish in the early morning and early evening hours. Channel catfish are being caught by shore anglers using nightcrawlers, shrimp, and chicken livers. Fish the bait tight-line along the bottom in five- to eight-foot depths.
C. J. Brown Reservoir (Clark County) – A few walleyes are being caught by anglers using crankbaits, jigs with plastic bodies or curly tails, small spinners, or live minnows, leeches, or nightcrawlers. Good curly tail color choices are white, orange, pink, or chartreuse. Fish by slowly jigging, trolling, or drifting baits in 10- to 15-foot depths. Anglers report that the most successful bait has been silver or gold blade baits. Anglers report walleyes are being caught in the main lake river channel, around structure, and over the humps. The best fishing is in the very early morning hours. Most walleye are undersized fish but some legal fish are being caught. All walleyes less than 15 inches long must be immediately released back into the lake. Channel catfish are being caught by anglers using shad, shrimp, nightcrawlers, and chicken livers in the upper end of the lake. Fish the bait tight-line or slowly drift the bait along the bottom in three- to six-foot depths.
Piedmont Lake (Belmont County) – Largemouth bass fishing should be picking up. Try using a variety of crankbaits or spinnerbaits cast along the shore line. As shad begin moving into the lower end of the lake, shad-colored baits should be successful. Smallmouth bass are also present in this lake and can provide a fun opportunity for anglers. Nighttime angling for smallmouth is especially productive this time of year. Fish along the rocky shore line in six to nine feet of water using tube jigs and spinnerbaits. Short-arm spinner baits (7⁄16-ounce) with a pork trailer work well at this lake. Spinnerbaits should be retrieved slowly just along the bottom over rocky substrate.
Seneca Lake (Noble County) – Largemouth bass angling should start improving with the cooling trend in water temperature. Reservoir bass have a high tendency to stage near woody structure at nearshore locations. The preferred lure color is generally white plastics as tubes or grubs fished in water depths of six to 10 feet near irregularities associated with the lake basin. Saugeye fishing success should also start to improve. Lead head jigs with a white twister tipped with a minnow is effective at this lake. Shad Raps and other similar crankbait imitations and worm harnesses can also be productive for saugeye.
Burr Oak Lake (Athens, Morgan counties) – Largemouth bass: If fishing during the day, try using plastic worms at the edge of weedlines. If fishing during the night, try using topwater baits in the lily pads, especially in the upper end around Dock 3. Nighttime fishing for channel catfish is normally reliable at most major tributary sites within the lake, especially where the east branch of Sunday Creek enters in the upper end of the lake around Dock 3. Tight-line fishing using nightcrawlers or chicken livers is the preferred method, but other baits like shrimp, red worms, and cut bait should work just as well.
Lake Logan (Hocking County) – Largemouth bass: Early evening hours are usually the best. Try a variety of topwater plugs, flies, crayfish, or plastic worms. For saugeyes, the area near the beach is generally a favorite in the early evening hours. Use leeches, worms, or artificial worms to catch one of these tasty fish.
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 two fish per angler. 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.
Where: Many of the fish being caught have been below the 15-inch legal size limit, primarily from the 2014 year class. There have been very few recent walleye reports. The best areas have been “L” can of the Camp Perry firing range and south of Kelleys Island.
How: Most fish have been caught by trolling with spoons or worm harnesses, and by casting with weight forward spinners or mayfly rigs.
Where: Yellow perch fishing in the western basin has been improving with the best spots being north of the Toledo water intake, around “D” and “G” buoys of the Camp Perry firing range, Rattlesnake Island, both west and south of Green Island, and south of Kelleys Island.
How: Perch spreaders with shiners fished near the bottom produce the most fish.
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.
Where: Good fishing was reported one to two miles off Cranberry Creek, at Avon Point, in 18 to 27 feet of water north-northwest of Edgewater Park, in 42 to 48 feet of water northeast of Gordon Park, in 45 to 55 feet of water north-northwest of Fairport, and in 60 to 72 feet of water north-northeast of Conneaut.
How: Anglers are trolling with divers or planer boards with weights or jet divers, ahead of stick baits or worm harnesses. The best colors have been purple, blue, green, and white.
Where: Yellow perch fishing has been slow recently. Some fish are being caught around Ruggles Reef, in 42 to 46 feet of water north of Edgewater Park, and in 38 to 48 feet of water north-northeast of Gordon Park. Good fishing was reported further east in 40 to 45 feet of water northwest of Fairport Harbor and in 45 to 50 feet of water north of Conneaut.
How: Perch spreaders with shiners fished near the bottom produce the most fish.
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.
Where: Recent reports have been the best of the year. Fish are being picked up by anglers trolling for walleyes off Ashtabula and Conneaut.
How: See section on Central Basin walleye.
As we move into late-summer, highlight species targeted around Cleveland Metroparks include walleye, yellow perch, largemouth/smallmouth bass, panfish, channel catfish, and common carp. The river water levels have been low all summer up to this point, although the Rocky River received a nice slug of water in early August.
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). Rock bass are also present in the same river areas as smallmouth, and can be caught using the same offerings listed above. Also, the very first few steelhead of the year tend to show up around mid- to late-August in the Rocky and Chagrin rivers.
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. Earlier this summer, 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 are also available at Wallace Lake and the Ohio & 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. The key to fishing for either carp or catfish is fishing on (or very near) the river/lake bottom. 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. The fishing in the north end of Wallace Lake has been very good recently.
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 all summer, but reports are picking up in 34-42 feet of water off Euclid and E.72nd.
Cleveland Metroparks, www.clevelandmetroparks.com
OHIO RIVER REGION
Clermont, Brown and Adams Counties – Try fishing the embankments, near stream confluences, and near warm water discharges. Spinner baits, jig/pork combinations, and crankbaits are good lures to try. Warm water discharges and stream confluences as well as the dam tailwaters are good areas to fish for sauger – try using twister tail jigs and minnows. Sauger and hybrid striped bass have also been caught on big creek chubs or any deep-diving bait that resemble minnows. For hybrid striped bass and channel catfish, stay in any of the tailwaters. Channel cats are being caught on cut bait, live shad, chicken livers, and worms. Flathead catfish have been hitting cut baits, chicken liver, and nightcrawlers fished on the bottom. For smallmouth bass try tube baits or crankbaits.
Greenup Dam (Scioto County) – Hybrid striped bass: Try fishing cut baits and live baits off the bottom. White bass: Try using topwater lures as well as skipjack, chubs, shiners, and cut bait. Early morning will probably produce the most catches. Channel catfish: Most fish will probably be found on the bottom using tight-lining techniques with cut bait, nightcrawlers, and chicken livers. Fishing throughout the night and in the early morning hours before daybreak may be the most successful. Flathead catfish: Goldfish are popular bait.
Meldahl Dam (Clermont County) – Channel catfish are being taken in good numbers all along the river. Try chicken livers, shrimp, or nightcrawlers fished on the bottom. Hybrid striped bass: Try fishing cut baits and live baits on the bottom. White bass: Try using skipjack or cut bait.
Belleville Dam tailwaters (Meigs County) – Channel catfish: Summer is a great time to catch catfish on the river. Minnows, nightcrawlers, chicken livers, and cut bait fished on the bottom have been the most popular with anglers. Fish in the 10- to 15-pound range have been caught in previous years in this area. Places along the shoreline and walkways generally yield fish, especially near the dam. Hybrid striped bass: Fishing should be excellent right now. Try spoons, topwater, or ¼-ounce jigs in the tailwater section during the early morning or evening hours.
Belleville Pool Area (Washington County) – Flathead catfish: Fishing should be good right now for sizable catches throughout the pool. Use live baitfish: goldfish have been a popular choice in the past. Channel catfish: Try cut bait, stink bait, and chicken livers, as well as nightcrawlers fished tight-line on the bottom. Best results are primarily at dusk, through the night, and in the early morning hours before daybreak. Black bass: Some fish may still be picked up on deep diving crankbaits and jig-and-pig combos. Smallmouth bass: Some fish may be caught on Carolina-rigged do-nothing worms.
Serpentine Wall, Downtown Cincinnati (Hamilton County) – Blue catfish: Anglers are having success in the morning hours, try using chicken breast.
Willow Island Pool (Hannibal Lock and Dam Tailwater) (Monroe County) – Hybrid striped bass: A popular area is the hydro plant discharge at the Hannibal Dam. Hybrids can be caught at the surface and on the bottom of the river. Anglers should look for jumping schools of bait fish as signs of hybrids feeding on the surface. Use surface baits or near-surface baits if fish are feeding near the surface. Soft-bodied swim baits (fished below a “launcher float”) and shallow running or surface stick baits such as pencil poppers work well when fish are feeding near the surface. Channel and flathead catfish: Both of these fish can be caught this time of year using cut bait fished on the bottom. Most catfish (and hybrids) can be caught in current off of the most upstream fishing platform and in slack water along the sides of the hydro plant.
Western Ohio River (Cincinnati to Adams County) – Fishing has been slow with most action around Meldahl Dam or the tributaries running into the Ohio.