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Ohio Outdoor News Fishing Report – Aug. 18, 2017

Central Region

Buckeye Lake (Fairfield, Licking, Perry counties) – Fish a crankbait for the best saugeye bite right now. Target the rocks at Fairfield Beach or Lieb’s Island. The saugeye bite is reportedly a tough one right now, however. Might try fishing for catfish or crappies. For catfish, try cut bait such as bluegills fished on the bottom. A jig and waxworm combo should boat some crappies as well.

Alum Creek Lake (Delaware County) – Successful anglers are trolling for saugeyes on this large central Ohio reservoir. Flicker Shads seem to be the best bait to use. Troll it in anywhere from 10 to 20 feet of water for the best bite. Casters are using nightcrawler rigs with some success. Anglers will also pick up some crappies and catfish using these same methods.

Hoover Reservoir (Franklin County) – Anglers are searching out the catfish bite on this Franklin County reservoir. At times, fishermen have been successful catching blue catfish on nightcrawlers or cut bait such as shad. Most of the success is coming on the north end of the lake when the wind is blowing in the right direction. Also, fish minnows under a bobber for the crappie bite here.

Northwest Region

Lima Lake (Allen County) – Anglers will find a variety of species here from smallmouths to saugeyes. The lake’s bass are a good species to try for with topwater baits either in the early morning or later in the evening. Crappies and perch can be caught on jig and waxworm combos. The DNR Division of Wildlife began stocking yellow perch here in 2016. The division expects those perch to be keeper size by next year. Also, bluegills can keep a kid busy catching fish all afternoon. There is good shoreline access here as well as a handicap-accessible fishing pier.

Sandusky Bay (Sandusky County) – Anglers continue to catch catfish and largemouth bass on the bay. Fish nightcrawlers fairly deep – 15 to 20 feet – for the best results on channel catfish. For bass, focus efforts on rocky points. Spinnerbaits will take their share of bass as will small crankbaits. Plastic worms are also an option.

Maumee River (Lucas County) – Maumee River anglers are fishing for smallmouth bass and catfish. The popular setup has been the same baits  that are used during the walleye run: a jig and curly tail in a variety of colors.

Northeast Region 

West Branch Reservoir (Portage County) – Anglers are fishing for muskies here with some success. Fishermen are reporting that muskies are following their spinnerbaits in shallow water either when casting or trolling. The water is still very warm, though, so please exercise a quick catch and release with these fish and get them back in the water  as quickly as possible.

Punderson Lake (Geauga County) – Panfish and catfish are the hot topic on Punderson right now. For catfish, fish shrimp on or near the bottom in five- to 10-foot depths. For panfish – crappies and bluegills – try a live bait presentation of either nightcrawlers under a bobber or waxworms.

Nimisila Reservoir (Summit County) – Successful fishermen are catching crappies with some regularity here. Fish jig and minnow combos in five to 15 feet of water for the best results. A lot of bluegills are also being caught using this same presentation.

Mosquito Creek Lake (Trumbull County) – The walleye bite has slowed somewhat here, but some fish are still being caught. Anglers are trolling crankbaits near weed beds to catch the walleyes. Crappies and yellow perch might be a better bet right now. Try a jig and skirt combo or jig and live bait combo for best results.

Berlin Lake (Portage, Mahoning, Stark counties) – Anglers are catching a mixed bag of fish at this large northeast Ohio lake. Walleyes are being caught by anglers throwing nightcrawler harnesses. A jig and minnow or jig and nightcrawler presentation will catch crappies, bluegills, and white bass.

Southwest Region

Paint Creek Lake (Highland County) – The crappie bite is reportedly a good one right now at Paint Creek. Anglers are using jigs and twister tails in black and chartreuse to entice the bite. Fish the docks near the restaurant, which always seems to produce fish. The campground area of the lake is another good place to try for panfish.

Grand Lake St. Marys (Mercer County) – The crappie bite is turning on once again at this large inland lake. Anglers are employing a bunch of different tactics to take slabs up to 12 inches. Small inline spinnerbaits will take their fair share of fish. So will small crankbaits. For live bait, tie on a hook and waxworm to keep it simple. Jig and minnow combinations also work well and a bonus yellow perch may also be caught.

Cowan Lake (Clinton County) – Anglers are fishing for saugeyes here but are finding a tough bite. Most ’eye fishermen are catching other species such as largemouth bass, crappies, and bluegills. You may also try for channel catfish here by fishing nightcrawlers on or near the bottom.

Caesar Creek Lake (Warren, Clinton, Greene counties) – Fishermen are using a jig and minnow setup to catch panfish here. The fishing is reportedly slow but a few species are being caught such as crappies, bluegills, and bass. A few channel catfish are also being caught by anglers using cut bait fished on the bottom.

Southeast Region

Salt Fork Lake (Guernsey County) – Bass anglers have reported some success here in recent days. Find any sort of shoreline cover and hit it with spinnerbaits or crankbaits for the best bass bite. Also, a drop-shot rig with a nightcrawler will also take its share of fish. Plastics are another option for bass. Best colors have been purple and pink.

Piedmont Lake (Belmont County) – Anglers are catching some muskies on this lake. Try a crankbait in shad pattern to entice the muskie bite, either casting or trolling. Some fishermen, too, are picking up the stray crappie and bass along the lake’s shoreline. Catfish, too, can be caught here with the typical cat setup of a nightcrawler or cut bait fished on the bottom.

Clendening Lake (Harrison County) – Fishermen are trolling worm harnesses and crankbaits for saugeyes with some success. The best saugeye bite is coming in 10 to 15 feet of water. Anglers are also doing well on channel catfish, crappies, and fair on yellow perch here using these same baits and methods.

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. 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.

Western Basin

Walleye 

Where: The best walleye fishing has been northwest of West Sister Island, near “H” can of the Camp Perry firing range, from North Bass Island to Gull Island Shoal, and north of Kelleys Island.

How: Walleyes have been caught by casting mayfly rigs tipped with nightcrawlers, or by trolling with worm harnesses or divers and spoons.

Yellow Perch

Where: Yellow perch fishing has been good near the turnaround buoy of the Toledo shipping channel, near Niagara Reef, near Green Island and Rattlesnake Island, west of Catawba, and south of Kelleys Island.

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

Smallmouth Bass

Where: Fishing has been good nearshore around the Bass Islands.

How: Anglers are casting tube jigs or using drop shot rigs.

Central Basin

Walleye 

Where: Fishing has been good north of the Huron dumping grounds, one to two miles north of Vermilion, and at the weather buoy. Excellent fishing was reported in 18 to 35 feet of water north-northwest of Cleveland Edgewater Park (Gold Coast), in 30 to 42 feet of water north-northeast of Wildwood Park, in 70 feet of water northwest of Fairport Harbor, in 70 to 76 feet of water northeast of Ashtabula, and in 65 to 75 feet of water northwest of Conneaut.

How: Walleyes have been caught by trolling crankbaits, spoons, and worm harnesses with planer boards or dipsy divers. Also, in the Cleveland area some anglers are drifting with jigs and spinners. The best colors have been brown, pink, purple, and copper.

Yellow Perch

Where: Fishing has been good one mile north of the Vermilion River. A few fish have been caught in 46 to 53 feet of water northwest of Fairport Harbor in the evenings.

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

Smallmouth Bass

Where: Fish have been caught in 10 to 30 feet of water around the harbor areas in Cleveland, Fairport Harbor, Ashtabula, and Conneaut.

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

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 were low much of the month of July, with rainfall approximately three inches below normal.

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 in 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 available in the river. 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 (750 pounds), Ledge (300 pounds), Ranger (250 pounds), and Judge’s (150 pounds) lakes, as well as Oxbow Lagoon (150 pounds). Good numbers of channel catfish stocked in May also remain to be caught at Wallace Lake and the Ohio & Erie Canal fishing area. Plenty 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. In addition, freshwater drum (sheepshead), white perch, and bullhead catfish are also available 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.

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 a surprising number of smaller 15-20-inch walleyes remaining in nearshore areas into summer, too. Yellow perch fishing has been picking up off Cleveland. 

Cleveland Metroparks, www.clevelandmetroparks.com

OHIO RIVER REGION

Meldahl Dam – Catfish and hybrid striped bass are being caught by anglers fishing cut bait in deep areas on the bottom. For white bass, try skipjack or cut baits.

Greenup Dam – Water clarity has been up and down, but anglers are still fishing for hybrid stripers here with some success.

Pike Island – Walleyes are being caught by anglers casting swimbaits, jerkbaits, and small crankbaits. The best area to fish is anywhere holding structure in the river.

BEYOND OHIO

Lake St. Clair (Michigan)

Walleye and perch fishing has been good on Lake St. Clair. Anglers trolling nightcrawler harnesses and bottom bouncers, or crankbaits from just south of the St. Clair light to the Grosse Pointe Yacht Club report very good action. Silver and gold, chartreuse, and pink have been the hot colors. Bass fishing has been good all along the American side of the lake. Golden shiners fished in 16 to 19 feet of water are producing a very good bite.

Lake Orion (Mich.)

Bass fishing remains pretty good on Lake Orion. Topwater baits are taking fish in the shallows early in the mornings. As the sun rises, anglers are switching to crankbaits and soft plastics and moving out to the weedbeds. Bluegills, sunfish, and largemouth bass are hitting on East and West Graham lakes, while anglers on Lakeville Lake report good bass, pike, and panfish action. Brown trout are hitting spinners, crawlers, and minnows on Paint Creek.

Luna Pier Area (Mich.)

Walleyes are still being caught on Lake Erie off the Fermi Nuclear Plant with pink artificial baits, but anglers were putting in a lot of work to get them. Those using a crawler harness did fair, but many of the ’eyes were on the small side. Perch were being caught off Sterling State Park but no limit catches. Perch fishing was slightly better out of Bolles Harbor and near Buoys W and E. Water temperatures were about 80 degrees so try trolling in deeper water.

SOUTHWESTERN LP

Allegan Area (Mich.)

Perch fishing remains very good on Lake Michigan off Deer Lick Creek in 28 to 40 feet of water. The key is to watch the water temperature. When it goes up the fish move out. Skamania steelhead are hitting at the Allegan Dam on the Kalamazoo River. Bluegills are still suspended on inland lakes and are still spawning on some lakes. A good bite has been reported by anglers on Duck and Muskrat lakes fishing 12 feet down in 20 to 30 feet of water. Crappies are hitting on Swan Lake but anglers are having to sort through them to find the keepers. A few walleyes have been caught in Lake Allegan on shallow-running crankbaits fished after dark.

Kalamazoo Area (Mich.)

Water temperatures on most of the inland lakes in the area are now exceeding 80 degrees, which makes fishing for bluegills and crappies a struggle. Portage Lake, Barton Lake, and Long Lake were experiencing algae blooms last week with cloudy water conditions. Bass fishing reports indicate many good catches and several large lunkers. Pike are also being caught by many anglers including Justin Kling, who boated a 39-inch northern pike during the recent Battle Creek Steelheaders inland lake tournament.

Grand Rapids Area (Mich.)

Walleye fishing has been pretty good on the Grand River below the Sixth Street dam. Nightcrawlers have been the preferred bait. Smallmouth bass and catfish are also being caught.

CENTRAL LP

Saginaw Bay Area (Mich.)

Walleye action remains steady on Lake Huron’s Saginaw Bay. Limit catches are being reported daily by anglers using nightcrawler harnesses behind bottom bouncers or in-line weights, divers and spoons, or crank baits. The fish have been holding in 17 to 24 feet of water around the Cigar, Pencil Buoys, and out by No. 1 and No. 2. Perch fishing is starting to take off in 15 to 18 feet of water on the inside of the Black Hole and will only get better as summer wears on. Most anglers will catch a few perch while trolling for walleyes, then go back and try to set up on them.

Sanford Area (Mich.)

Fishing has been pretty good on Sanford Lake. Those fishing crawlers and leeches near the dam are catching good numbers of walleyes and catfish. Bluegills have moved off the shoreline and are hitting leaf worms and waxworms fished along the weedbeds.

Lansing Area (Mich.)

Anglers are catching lots of smallmouth bass near the dams on the Grand River. Most are using nightcrawlers, leeches, or minnows. Channel catfish have been caught up near the North Lansing Dam and the Portland Dam. Bass and small pike were being caught just off the Red Cedar River in Sycamore Creek.

Grand Haven Area (Mich.)

Boat anglers are catching a mix of salmon and trout on Lake Michigan. Those fishing 30 to 80 feet down in 60 to 150 feet of water with a variety of meat rigs, flies, spoons, and plugs report good action. Meat rigs in green or yellow have worked well along with green, blue, orange, and yellow spoons. Pier anglers were still finding a couple steelhead with shrimp. Those casting spoons in the channel or off the end of the pier are catching freshwater drum.

Ludington Area (Mich.)

Boat anglers on Lake Michigan have caught some good-sized chinook salmon along with coho and steelhead. The Projects were producing the best bites about 50 to 70 feet down in 100 to 140 feet of water, or 50 to 90 feet down in 120 to 180 feet off Big Sable Point. A few chinook were caught in the harbor and in Pere Marquette Lake. Anglers did best with spoons and flies but a few were caught on meat rigs. Down at Pentwater, salmon and steelhead fishing was excellent near Little Sable Point when trolling 40 to 80 feet down in 100 to 180 feet of water with spoons, flies, and meat rigs. Pier anglers were catching smallmouth bass on nightcrawlers fished near the bottom. On Pentwater Lake, perch anglers had success in 25 to 35 feet of water on dropper-rigs tipped with perch minnows or waxworms. Those fishing the channel are catching smallmouth bass on nightcrawlers fished near the bottom.

Lake Erie (Pennsylvania) – Walleyes were reported just about everywhere in from 35 to 70 feet in mid-July. Many were sub-legal; the bigger fish were generally in the deeper water. Crawler harnesses in purple and black and copper and watermelon were effective. Jigs, drifted, also were productive. Some perch limits were reported east of Shade’s Beach in about 50 feet, and off Walnut in 53 feet. The perch bite was hit or miss. Bass, including some 5 pounders, were reported, with anglers doing well drop-shotting in 25 feet.

Presque Isle Bay (Pa.) – Most smallmouth bass had moved out of the bay and into the main lake by mid-July, but largemouth bass were biting on Texas-rigged plastics on grass beds in the bay. Some nice perch also were reported. Walleyes occasionally were caught on crawlers by shore anglers.

Pymatuning Reservoir (Crawford County, Pa.) – The daytime walleye bite turned on in mid-July for anglers drifting jigs and crawlers or crawler harnesses off weedbeds. One nighttime angler did well casting a shallow-running minnow imitation over weeds. Numbers of bass were reported on various presentations. Crappie and bluegill fishing was good around islands on the north end and off the Andover causeway, and a few small perch were being caught. Some crappies were taken on drop-shot minnows, and others on small soft plastics. Some crappies were grouped on brushpiles or cribs in deeper water. Catfish were all over the lake. Muskies up to 40 inches also were reported.

Woodcock Creek Lake (Crawford County, Pa.) – Smallmouth bass were reported in shallow water in mid-July. One shore angler did well on tube jigs.

Shenango River Reservoir (Crawford County, Pa.) – Channel catfish were everywhere in mid-July. Hybrid striped bass were biting Bomber Long-As and feeding on top, along with white bass, in the early morning and late-afternoon hours. Crappies were hitting around the lake, although many were running small.

Lake Wilhelm (Mercer County, Pa.) – Some bluegills were hitting in mid-July. Largemouth bass were reported. One angler caught a 20-incher on a purple plastic worm. Crappies also were hitting, but the bite had slowed.

Allegheny River (Venango County, Pa.) – Bass up to 19 inches were reported on tube jigs, crankbaits, spinnerbaits, and other lures in mid-July. Walleyes also were reported.

Justus Lake (Venango County, Pa.) – Nice numbers of largemouth and smallmouth bass were reported, but many were running sub-legal in size in mid-July. A 45-inch tiger muskie was reported. Bluegills also were biting.

Sugar Creek (Venango County, Pa.) – Smallmouth bass, including a 20-incher, were reported in recent weeks, with drifted crawlers effective.

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