Griggs Reservoir (Franklin County) – Largemouth bass are hitting right now; try plastic tubes and creature baits fished along riprap and cover for the best results. Crappies are still being found in shallow water around woody cover. Use minnows or jigs suspended by a bobber fished right in the cover. Carp can be caught on prepared baits and dough balls.
Buckeye Lake (Fairfield, Licking, Perry counties) – For largemouth bass, use crankbaits, tubes, and creature baits around Clouse Cove and Cranberry Marsh; also fish any riprap or woody cover. For hybrid striped bass, try using chicken livers on the north shore from Seller’s Point to the north boat ramp. For bluegills, fish the eastern side of the lake using small worms and larval baits beneath a bobber. Crappies measuring seven to 12 inches can be taken using minnows suspended by a bobber from shoreline areas that have submerged cover.
Kokosing River (Knox County) – Smallmouth bass and rock bass can be caught on small crankbaits, tubes, and jigs. Sunfish, crappies, and catfish are present and offer good fishing.
Van Wert Reservoir #2 (Van Wert County) – Crappies are being caught by anglers using minnows fished under a slip bobber. The fish have been in the 8-10-inch range.
Delta Reservoirs #1 and #2 (Fulton County) – Bluegills have been moving into the shallows to spawn. Try using waxworms or a fly rod with wet flies.
Bresler Reservoir (Allen County) – Crappies are being caught in the southwest corner of the reservoir by the pump house. Jigs or minnows fished under a slip bobber have been working great. A few anglers reported catching fish between 9 and 10 a.m.
Berlin Lake (Stark, Portage, Mahoning counties) – Berlin Lake lies in the northeastern part of Ohio at the junction of Stark, Portage, and Mahoning counties. For walleyes, focus on shallow areas near willows using small crawler harnesses and jig-and-crawler combinations. Walleye anglers are catching bonus catfish as well.
Portage Lakes (Summit County) – Sunfish are shallow for the spawn, and fishing is good right now. Try waxworms fished shallow below bobbers. Largemouth bass are recovering from the spawn and are beginning to bite well again. Fish soft plastics near boat docks or spinnerbaits near weedbeds.
Pymatuning Lake (Ashtabula County) – Pymatuning Lake is approximately one mile east of Andover, Ohio, and one mile north of Jamestown, Pennsylvania. State Route 85 (Ohio) bisects Pymatuning Lake’s northern and southern sections and becomes State Route 285 at the Pennsylvania border (which is approximately one mile east of Pymatuning Lake Road), which is situated near the middle of the two-mile bridge overlooking the lake. Five boat launch ramps are available. For white bass, focus efforts near the Route 85/285 causeway using inline spinners and jig and curly-tail combos. Bluegills are biting well at the upper end of the reservoir; use waxworms, maggots, or small worms on small hooks (#10 or smaller) or pin-mins under bobbers. Carp are also biting well at the upper end of the reservoir; fish nightcrawlers on the bottom.
Mosquito Lake (Trumbull County) – For walleyes, troll crawler harnesses in 15 to 20 feet. For crappies, focus efforts north of Route 88 about five to 10-feet deep; use jigs tipped with minnows several feet below bobbers. For largemouth bass, use spinnerbaits in weedbeds.
Great Miami River (Montgomery County) – Anglers are using chicken livers and nightcrawlers fished on the bottom for channel catfish. Carp have been caught using various doughball baits. Best catches of carp and channel catfish have been below the low head dams.
Caesar Creek Lake (Warren County) – For muskies, try casting large bucktail spinners, jerkbaits, or crankbaits around standing or fallen timber in coves or along main lake shorelines. Crappies are still being caught by anglers fishing deep water with minnows under a bobber and small hair or tube jigs in white or chartreuse. Bluegills are spawning in the coves. Try using waxworms or red worms fished under a bobber. Use spinnerbaits and crankbaits around shoreline cover for bass early in the morning. A few saugeyes are still being caught using jigs tipped with minnows or nightcrawlers fished over deep water structure and drop-offs.
Grand Lake St. Marys (Mercer County) – For largemouth bass, try using medium or deep-diving lures or live nightcrawlers around structure. Anglers are also having success on spinnerbaits or tube baits. Crappies are being taken in deeper water. Minnows and a bobber work best. Also try tube jigs.
Cowan Lake (Clinton County) – Saugeye action is heating up, with anglers taking better numbers of 13-20-inch fish. Try casting a jig tipped with a piece of nightcrawler, and hop it along the bottom in five to 12 feet of water near the beach. If you prefer trolling, saugeyes can be taken on shad patterned medium or deep diving crankbaits. A lot of seven- to eight-inch crappies are being caught on small tube jigs or minnows fished near submerged trees six to 15 feet deep. Bluegills can be caught on red worms or waxworms near boat docks or the edges of lily pads.
Lake Loramie (Shelby County) – Channel catfish are biting on chicken livers, shrimp, and stink baits fished on the bottom. Bluegills have been caught recently around boat docks, riprap shorelines, and along the edges of lily pads. Try using small jigs tipped with waxworms fished just one to two feet under a small bobber.
Here are the top fishing prospects by species for southwest Ohio as provided by the DNR Division of Wildlife.
Rocky Fork Lake (Highland County) – Strong numbers of largemouth bass 12-17 inches, some up to 21 inches. Good numbers of 2-4 pound fish. A few smallmouth bass present, some up to 3-4 pounds. Try spinner baits, jigs, or plastic worms around weed beds, fallen shoreline trees, or rocky shorelines.
Grand Lake St. Marys (Auglaize, Mercer counties) – Black crappies are more common than white crappies, with good numbers of 7-11 inches and some up to 13 inches. Best fishing is March through May around docks and brushy shoreline using minnows, small twister tail jigs, or tube jigs. This unlimited horsepower lake has a large size in combination with shallow depth and can become very rough in bad weather. Always let someone know your itinerary before embarking on a fishing trip and ensure your watercraft is up to code.
Grand Lake St. Marys (Auglaize and Mercer counties) – Good numbers of five- to eight-inch or larger fish. Concentrate fishing in areas with boat docks, sea walls, riprap, and brushy structure using jigs, red worms, or waxworms.
Rocky Fork Lake (Highland County) – Very strong population of channel catfish, most 1-3 pounds with fish over 10 pounds and a good population of flathead catfish, some over 30 pounds. Fish in a 2013 netting survey averaged 19 inches and largest being 27 inches.
C.J. Brown Reservoir (Clark County) – Stocked annually since 1975 with fingerling walleyes, C.J. has become a destination walleye fishery. Netting in spring 2016 yielded excellent numbers of 8 pounds and larger fish, with some over 12 pounds. May, June, and July are great times to seek walleyes; try casting jigs along the dam in the spring months and transition to casting or trolling crankbaits and worm harnesses in the summer.
Rocky Fork Lake (Highland County) – Nearly 2.5 million fingerlings stocked since 2010. Good numbers of 15-19 inch fish, up to 21 inches. Best fishing time is May through July. Trolling or casting crankbaits and drifting nightcrawlers along flats and drop-offs are effective methods in Rocky Fork.
Caesar Creek Lake (Warren, Clinton counties) – Stocked with advanced fingerling muskies since 1998. Twenty-one of the 175 muskies reported by anglers on the Muskie Angler Log were 42 inches and larger. Largest muskie reported was 49 inches. Muskies may be found throughout the lake depending on the season. Cast large spinners and crankbaits near standing or fallen shoreline timber, or troll points, and drop-off edges. Please remember to report your muskie catch to the Muskie Angler Log. The MAL helps the Division of Wildlife monitor the success of Ohio’s muskie stockings; you can also use it to access information such as fishing locations, management, and stocking history.
Hybrid Striped Bass
East Fork Lake (Clermont County) – Nearly 17 million fry and 700,000 fingerlings have been stocked since 2000. A 2013 survey showed good angler catch rates with harvested fish averaging 19.3 inches and some up to 25 inches. Drift fish with shad in open water or fish softcraws in 10-20 foot depths. Cast jigs and surface plugs when hybrid striped bass are chasing schools of shad near the surface.
Piedmont Lake (Belmont County) – Largemouth and smallmouth bass will continue to bite throughout the summer. Try using deep-diving lures, large-bladed spinnerbaits, or working artificial or live nightcrawlers around long sloping points or large rocks. Anglers in the past have also found success using worm tubes and lizards from motor oil to chartreuse in color. Nice-sized crappies can be caught on jigs in six to 10 feet of water. Try fishing around downed trees. For saugeyes, try bouncing white twister tails off the bottom near Reynolds Road and in front of the dam, or try using green twister tails tipped with a nightcrawler or minnow fished around rocky or sandy points. Muskies can usually be caught throughout the lake on large plugs. Try trolling the dam area and around Essex Bay, especially during early morning and evening.
Muskingum River (Muskingum, Morgan, Washington counties) – Look for any current breaks in the water that allow a calm eddy pocket to form, such as points, riffles, rock piles, trees, brush, stumps, or docks. Crappies will face into the current, so cast upstream and let your bait drift by, giving them the best chance to see it and strike. Try fishing small jigs tipped with minnows. Spotted bass fishing is also popular this time of year. Try fishing small spinnerbaits, tube baits, and crayfish imitation baits. Spotted bass are the predominant black bass in this river, but smallmouth and largemouth bass can be caught, as well.
Lake Erie Region
• On May 1, the daily bag limit returned to six walleyes 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.
• Black bass (largemouth and smallmouth bass): the daily bag limit is five fish per angler with a 14-inch minimum size limit through April 30. May 1 through June 23 is closed to possession, (catch-and-release is legal). On June 24, the daily bag limit returns to five fish per angler.
Where: Fishing has been good around “A,” “B,” and “D” cans of the Camp Perry firing range, from Mouse Island to the southwest corner of Kelleys Island, near the northwest corner of Kelleys Island, and around Kelleys Island Shoal.
How: Walleyes have been caught by casting mayfly rigs tipped with worms, or by trolling with crankbaits, worm harnesses, or divers and spoons.
Where: Fishing has been good nearshore around the Bass Islands.
How: Anglers are casting tube jigs or using drop-shot rigs.
Where: Fishing has been good nearshore from Cranberry Creek to Lorain. Excellent fishing was reported off Cleveland (Edgewater ramp, Gold Coast, 45 feet deep), in 18 to 55 feet of water north of Fairport Harbor, and 44 feet of water north of Geneva.
How: Walleyes have been caught by trolling with crankbaits, spoons, and worm harnesses. The best colors have been purple, chartreuse, pink, and green and orange.
Where: Yellow perch fishing has been slow recently. The best areas have been off Eastlake and the Chagrin River in 38 feet of water, in 38 feet of water off Fairport, and in 34 feet of water off 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 off Gordon Park, Fairport Harbor, and Ashtabula.
How: Anglers are using drop-shot rigs, tube jigs, and crankbaits.
As we transition into early summer, highlight species targeted around Cleveland Metroparks include smallmouth bass, walleye, yellow perch, largemouth bass, panfish, channel catfish, and common carp. Smallmouth bass are typically found in the deeper, rocky pools of the river during the day in early 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 3-4 inches length is one of the best producers of bass in the river. “Smallies” also bite well on live bait (like minnows, crayfish, and leeches), lures (like 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 fish in the river, with a healthy number of trophy lake-run fish available through at least early June. Also, note that all smallmouth bass must be released immediately if caught downstream of the Detroit Road bridge through June 24. 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. Good numbers of channel catfish stocked in May also remain to be caught at Wallace Lake and the Ohio & Erie Canal fishing area, as well as several smaller Cleveland Metroparks waters. More catfish will be stocked at various locations in June. Catfishing is usually best during lower light periods using baits such as nightcrawlers, minnows, chicken liver, and processed dough baits. A good number of larger catfish are moving into the river from Lake Erie on their spawning run. Resident channel catfish are available in the river all summer.
Some large carp (some exceeding 15 pounds) will be found in the northern river reaches throughout the month. Carp can often be caught throughout the day on such bait as canned corn, carp dough baits, worms, or crayfish tails. A growing contingent 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 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, according to Cleveland Metroparks. Anglers seeking panfish have experienced decent fishing at most of the ponds and lakes in the park district in the past week. Crappies, bluegills, 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.
Rock bass, largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, crappie, freshwater drum, and sunfish species are biting along the Cleveland shoreline of Lake Erie on offerings such as tube jigs and live minnows.
Cleveland Metroparks, www.clevelandmetroparks.com
OHIO RIVER REGION
Brown and Clermont Counties – Fishing activity has been picking up. Sauger, white bass, and hybrid striped bass are all being caught. Spinners and jigs have both been successful. White, pearl, chartreuse, orange, and yellow twister tails are the top producers.
Racine Dam Area (Meigs County) – Spinners and jigs can both be successful this time of year for white bass and hybrid striped bass. White, pearl, chartreuse, orange, and yellow twister tails have all been popular with anglers. With the spawn over, saugers will spread out in the river. However, some can still be caught in the tailwaters using jigs tipped with plastic grubs or minnows.
Bellville Dam Tailwater Area (Washington County) – For hybrid striped bass, try minnows, crankbaits, or jigs and twister tails. Catfish will start biting soon on a variety of baits, including nightcrawlers and cut bait such as shad and skipjack.
Bellville Pool Area (Washington County) – Channel catfish can be caught from shore using nightcrawlers and chicken livers off the bottom. Bass have been caught in the spring in previous years by both shore and boat anglers. Focus your effort in the many tributaries and embayments using crankbaits and spinners.
Riverbend to Downtown Area (Hamilton County) – Anglers report success for channel catfish off gravel humps in about 20 feet of water near channel drop-offs. Fish depths from 15 to 30 feet and try cut skipjack and shad.
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.