Ohio Outdoor News Fishing Report – November 18th, 2016

Central Region

Hoover Reservoir (Delaware, Franklin counties) – Crappies are starting their feed. Fishing coves and around woody cover can be productive. Jigs and minnows suspended by a bobber is a good technique. Catfish are still being caught in the north end; use shrimp, nightcrawlers, or prepared baits for the best catches. Saugeyes are starting to get active. Troll spinners and crankbaits along points and across flats leading to deeper water. Keep the baits very close to the bottom; early morning and evening bites can be good.

Rush Creek Lake (Fairfield County) – Channel catfish can be caught in this lake east of Lancaster. Use cut shad, shrimp, or nightcrawlers fished in the east or south ends for best results. Bluegills are providing some action around cover in the east end. Use waxworms or red worms fished under a bobber. Largemouth bass are also being caught here. Largemouth bass must be 15 inches or longer to keep. The lake contains a nice population of crappies greater than 10 inches. 10-horsepower limit on lake.

Delaware Lake (Delaware County) – Crappies are active again in this lake north of Columbus. Minnows fished under a bobber around woody cover can put these fish in the boat. Crappie must be nine inches or longer to keep. Largemouth bass are also around woody cover. Use creature baits and spinnerbaits to catch these fish. A large population of channel catfish can be caught on shrimp, prepared baits, and chicken livers.

Indian Lake (Logan County) – Saugeyes are being caught along the south bank and around the Moundwood and Dreambridge areas. Try using crankbaits and worm harnesses trolled near the bottom. Vertical jigging around the bridges is productive for saugeye. Bluegills are still being caught in the channels on waxworms and nightcrawlers. Crappies have moved into channels and coves. Use minnows and jigs around any cover in these areas.

Buckeye Lake (Fairfield, Licking, and Perry counties) – For hybrid striped bass, 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 taken right now using cut bait on the bottom. For crappies, fish from nine to 13 inches are active; use minnows and jigs around points especially in the east half of the lake. Saugeyes are active at night around points and along the tow path.

O’Shaughnessy Reservoir (Delaware County) – Largemouth bass are being caught on creature baits and spinnerbaits in the back of coves and in dense schools of shad. Channel catfish can be caught on cut baits, nightcrawlers, and shrimp fished on the bottom. Crappies are also being caught around woody cover using minnows and jigs.

Northwest Region

Lake LeComte, Fostoria Reservoir #5 (Hancock County) Saugeyes should be feeding heavily now that the water temperatures have dropped. 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.

Pleasant Hill Reservoir (Richland-Ashland county line) – 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. The lake also has excellent populations of largemouth bass, saugeye, and yellow perch. For saugeye, trolling a jointed 21⁄2-inch, 1⁄4-ounce, lure about 10 to 15 feet deep is usually very effective. At nighttime, try trolling in 10 to 15 feet of water in front of the beach with a jig tipped with a live minnow. Smallmouth bass can be caught in the deeper, lower end of the reservoir while more largemouth bass are caught in the shallower upper end of the lake.

Nettle Lake (115 acres; Williams County) – Largemouth bass should be biting this time of year. Evenings have been the best. Anglers should focus their efforts along the edges. Try using topwater lures and plastic worms. In November, large crappies can usually be found near the lily pads in the northwest corner. Nettle Lake has no horsepower restrictions; however, there is a no-wake rule (power boaters must operate at idle speed) between 6 p.m. and 10 a.m. From 10 a.m. until 6 p.m., there are no speed restrictions for power boaters.

Willard Reservoir (199 acres; Huron County) – With the cooler water temperatures, walleyes should be feeding heavily now. Fish along the contour breaks throughout the reservoir. Try casting diving crankbaits and jigs with minnows or vertical jigging blade bits. Yellow perch are usually found in the same areas as walleyes. The best baits for open-water fishing are minnows and worms. There is a boat ramp available, but only electric motors may be used. A boat permit must be obtained from the city of Willard at city hall.

Upper Sandusky Reservoir #2 (Wyandot County) – Located on the southeast edge of Upper Sandusky on County Road 60, largemouth bass should be biting at this 118-acre reservoir. The shoreline consists of rocks, a wetland shelf, and a sand beach area, which all provide a lot of cover. Try fishing along the west side as well as in the standing timber. There is a boat ramp and dock, but boats are restricted to electric motors only. The reservoir closes at 10 p.m.

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 on Covert Road, right off State Route 95. Crappies have been biting as the water temperatures cooled. Good numbers of fish from nine to 10 inches can be found. Try fishing the deeper southeast section of the lake. 

Northeast Region 

Portage Lakes (Summit County) – Largemouth bass are growing in the Portage Lakes, and most likely in lakes statewide, for the winter. With a warm front pushing through, fishing action should pick up as fish should be actively feeding. Anglers are doing well fishing blade baits, jerkbaits, and crankbaits. There have also been some anglers targeting crappies from shore who have had some success. They have focused their efforts on nearshore structure. Minnows and small soft plastics with jigs under a bobber have provided the most consistent bite.

Wingfoot Lake (Portage County) – Wingfoot Lake has helped many anglers put some fillets in the fryer and freezer. Good numbers of crappies and perch are being caught by anglers. Successful anglers are reporting that the majority of fish caught are biting on a plain hook with a minnow under a float. Combining a minnow with a jig and soft plastic or fishing just the jig with the soft plastic has seemed to slow the bite.

Mogadore Reservoir (Portage County) – Boaters are allowed electric motors only. The fall crappie bite has picked up at Mogadore Reservoir. Crappie jigs and tubes is all it is taking to put some slabs in the cooler. Fishing minnows on jigs or under a bobber is also very effective. Successful anglers are reporting most fish are being caught in depths around 13 to 15 feet and closer to the bottom, with some fish being suspended. Begin fishing at the bottom and work your way up the water column until you start to get consistent bites and then stick with that depth.

West Branch Reservoir (Portage County) – This reservoir is designated for unlimited horsepower. For pike, anglers are casting crankbaits and stickbaits in shallow water, three to four feet. Muskie anglers are having similar success fishing larger presentations in shallow water as the muskie bite continues to be solid. Successful anglers are targeting downed trees and other sunken structures.

Nimisila Reservoir (Summit County) – Boats with electric motors only. For bass and catfish, live baits, such as nightcrawlers, minnows, and shiners, have produced nice mixed catches of bass and catfish. Anglers are catching them both from boat and shore. Shore anglers have focused their effort on the east shorelines off of Christman Road.

Southwest Region

East Fork (Clermont County) – Crappies are being caught by anglers using waxworms, tube jigs, or medium to large sized minnows tipped on chartreuse jigs. Channel catfish are being caught by anglers fishing tightline at night using nightcrawlers, large minnows, or chicken liver as bait. Bluegills are hitting on waxworms or red worms. Keep the bait under a bobber and about two to three feet deep. Cast anywhere around the docks, standing wood, or downed trees. Largemouth bass are being caught by anglers using six-inch plastic worms, spinner baits, or deep diving (six to 10 feet) crankbaits colored shad.

Grand Lake St. Marys (Mercer County) – Cooler water temperatures have the crappies biting. Good numbers of fish from nine to 10 inches can be found along the south shore and near Coldwater Creek. Fish around shoreline brush, fallen trees, or around boat docks. Try using live minnows or small jigs with plastic bodies.

Rocky Fork Lake (Highland County) – Saugeyes are being taken near the islands and along main lake points. Try trolling silver-colored crankbaits where the lure occasionally bumps the bottom. Largemouth bass can be found along rocky shorelines and near fallen trees. Cast jigs, rubber worms, and crankbaits for bass. 

Great Miami River (Miami, Montgomery and Warren counties) – Smallmouth bass fishing is excellent as the water cools and river conditions remain clear and stable. Look for areas with water deeper than four feet around bridge pilings, submerged logs, and undercut banks. Try drifting a live nightcrawler or minnow fished under a bobber, plastic crayfish, or crankbaits in crawdad patterns. Zulu in pearl or Rapala X-Rap are also effective.

 Paint Creek (Highland County) – Crappies are being caught by anglers using minnows or jigs.  Fish the bait in three to 12 feet of water. Fish the bait around any type of woody structure such as downed trees and overhanging brush, and around the campgrounds. A few saugeyes are being caught by casting jigs or trolling small crankbaits between the beach and the island and along the hazard area. Bluegills are being caught by anglers using waxworms under bobbers as bait. Fish the bait two to four feet deep. Good fishing spots are back in the coves, near stumps, and around fallen timber.

Southeast Region

Dow Lake (Athens County) – Cooler temperatures cause largemouth bass to actively search for food. Try fishing around structure such as weed beds and fallen trees in two to eight feet of water using spinnerbaits and crankbaits. Boat access is available from County Road 20 (Stroud’s Run Road).

Seneca Lake (Guernsey, Noble counties) – For crappies, cooler temperatures can work in favor of anglers. Fish minnows under a slip bobber or with jigs over submerged structure throughout the lake. Contact the District 4 office in Athens at (740) 589-9930 for a structure map. For bluegills, these popular fish can be taken over the entire lake by live bait anglers using worms. They are also popular among fly-fish anglers using small poppers and rubber spiders.

Lake Vesuvius (Lawrence County) – For largemouth bass, shad imitation crankbaits and white or chartreuse spinnerbaits are always popular choices. If you have a boat, try using plugs in the area where the creek feeds into the mouth of the lake above the dam.

Piedmont Lake (Belmont County) – Saugeyes will start moving into the shallow areas of the lake as the temperatures start to cool. Use jerkbaits or crankbaits imitating minnows while doing a steady cast-and-retrieve. The south side of the lake, especially at the County Road 100 bridge in the evening or early morning hours, has been the most successful in the past. In the main lake, cast crankbaits around the shoreline or vertical jig with a minnow and chartreuse jig. Muskies can still be caught this time of year. Try trolling large crankbaits or bucktails along the dam or around Essex Bay.

Slope Creek Reservoir (Belmont County) – Also known as Barnesville Reservoir #3, this lake is just five miles south of Barnesville off McGinnis Road and is home to many popular sportfish. The cooler temperatures of fall will start moving largemouth bass back into shallower water. Try using spinnerbaits, rubber worms, crankbaits, and jig-n-pig combinations fished near structure such as fallen trees or weed bed edges. A slot length limit is imposed on this lake, so only bass smaller than 12 inches and larger than 15 inches may be kept. Although not as abundant, bluegills can be found throughout the lake. Electric motors only.

Lake Logan (Hocking County) – The cooler temperatures will trigger bass to move back into shallow water areas as they prepare for winter at this 333-acre lake. Try using white buzzbaits and spinnerbaits. Good size saugeyes can be caught on a variety of baits, including rubber worms, floating minnows, minnows on the bottom, chrome or silver-colored stickbaits, or trolling worm harnesses. Mud or sand flats are good areas to explore as well as shoreline areas with riprap.

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.

Western Basin


Where: The best walleye reports have been between Kelleys Island and Gull Island Shoal, and around Kelleys Island Shoal.

How: Most fish have been caught by trolling with crankbaits.

Yellow Perch

Where: Perch fishing has been good nearshore in eight to 15 feet of water from Little Cedar Point to Wild Wings Marina, off Lucy’s Point of Middle Bass Island, near Gull Island Shoal, and around Kelleys Island, whichever side is protected from the wind.

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

Central Basin


Where: There were very few walleye reports over the past week. Locations to try include 56 to 66 feet of water north of Gordon Park and 65 to 73 feet of water north of Conneaut.

How: Anglers are trolling with dipsey divers or planer boards with weights or divers, ahead of stickbaits or worm harnesses. The best colors have been olive, purple, pink, and green. 

Yellow Perch

Where: Fish have been caught in 30 feet of water off Cranberry Creek, in 30 feet of water off the Vermilion River, and within one mile of Sheffield. Good fishing was reported in 38 to 45 feet of water northeast of Gordon Park and in 38 to 43 feet of water northwest of Chagrin River. Farther east, fish are being caught in 52 to 53 feet of water northwest of Fairport Harbor, in 45 to 50 feet northeast of Ashtabula, and in 40 to 50 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 good 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.

In fall, highlight species targeted by anglers along the Rocky River, other area streams, and Lake Erie include steelhead, yellow perch, walleye, and panfish. The Rocky River is offering decent fishing conditions and gave up plenty of steelhead this week. The Chagrin River offered good steelhead fishing this week, as well.

The Rocky River and other area streams have been fishing well for steelhead this week. As of this writing, the Rocky and Chagrin rivers are offering decent fishing conditions, although a bit on the low flow side, but there is some rain in the forecast so wise anglers will keep an eye on the flow data to determine the trend. Anglers have been hooking steelhead in the rivers on spawn sacs and jigs drifted under floats, as well as on hardware such as Little Cleo spoons and Vibrax spinners.

The Lake Erie shoreline steelhead bite has been good at Edgewater and E. 55th this week, with Wildwood and Huntington parks also producing some fish. Be aware that conditions can be unfishable at most spots along the lakefront when there is a strong northerly wind, though. Many lakefront fish fall for a small jig tipped with maggots or a minnow suspended four to six feet below a bobber, with a whole nightcrawler below a bobber also taking plenty of fish. Casting a spoon (i.e., Little Cleo or KO Wobbler) or spinner (i.e., Vibrax or RoosterTail) at these locations is also a good bet for connecting with a steelhead trout. A promising observation lately has been some bigger 30-inch plus steelhead in the mix, which have been fairly rare the past few years otherwise.

The Ohio & Erie Canal fishing area was stocked with 1,000 pounds of rainbow trout, 600 pounds of big channel catfish, and 1,000 smaller catfish (the latter by DNR Division of Wildlife) in October and plenty of these fish remain. Anglers at Cleveland Metroparks’ inland lakes and ponds are catching catfish, largemouth bass, and panfish.  The first round of winter trout stockings at Metroparks’ inland lakes and ponds is loosely scheduled for mid-December. Details on that will be covered in future fishing reports.

The yellow perch bite has been good off Cleveland this week. Anglers are using perch spreaders and live or salted shiners in 38 to 45 feet of water. The perch size has been very good. Early fall walleye fishing around Cleveland will improve into fall.

Cleveland Metroparks, www.clevelandmetroparks.com


Belleville Locks and Dam (Washington County) – For saugers or walleyes, as river temperatures cool, fishing should start picking up in the tailwaters. Try white or chartreuse twister tails or swimbaits near the dam and along the walkway. Night and early morning hours are generally best to fish. For hybrid striped bass, try using spoons, crankbaits, and live bait.

Western Ohio River: Anglers are still taking channel catfish on chicken livers and cut bait around warm-water discharges. Carp are biting on dough balls and corn. Hybrids have been hitting Rapalas and rattletraps.

R.C. Byrd (Gallia County) – For saugers, warm water discharges and stream confluences in the upper pool, as well as the Racine tailwater, are good areas to fish. Try using twister tails, jigs, and minnows. You may also catch fish on big creek chubs or any deep-diving bait that resembles a minnow. For channel catfish, use cut bait, live shad, chicken livers, or worms in any of the tailwaters.

Meldahl Dam (Clermont County) – Fishing for striped bass and catfish continues to be productive. Fish above or below the Meldahl Dam using chicken livers or nightcrawlers fished on the bottom.

Eastern Ohio River – Hybrid striped bass and white bass fishing remains consistent in the tailwaters. Popular baits include twister tails and casting spoons. The sauger bite should start picking up as the water temperature continues to drop.

Categories: Ohio Fishing Reports

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