Monday, February 6th, 2023
Monday, February 6th, 2023

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Ohio Outdoor News Fishing Report – Sept. 29, 2017

Central Region

O’Shaughnessy Reservoir (Delaware County) – Anglers continue to troll for saugeyes with some success. The popular tactic has been a slow troll with a small to medium-sized crankbait. Some crappies, too, are being caught by trolling anglers. Also, jig and minnow combinations are picking up crappies and bluegills.

Alum Creek Lake (Delaware County) – The bite is on for crappies and bass at this large central Ohio lake. Crappie anglers are throwing tube jigs at the panfish with some success. Fish have ranged up to 11 inches. Both largemouth and smallmouth bass are also being caught. Try a topwater bait either early in the morning or just before dusk. Smallmouths in particular have ranged up to 15 inches.

Hoover Reservoir (Franklin, Delaware counties) – A few lucky anglers are catching channel catfish and blue catfish here. Some fairly good sized fish are being reported. Fish cut bait – shad or shrimp – on the bottom for the best results. Some fishermen are also pulling worm harnesses for crappies. These paper mouths have ranged up to 12 inches.

Indian Lake (Logan County) – The saugeye bite has been a tough one here in recent weeks. Anglers are trolling a variety of crankbaits in a variety of patterns to pick up small fish. The largest saugeye being reported is about 16 inches. Keep your lure near the bottom while trolling for the best results.

Northwest Region

Van Wert Reservoirs (Van Wert County) – Anglers are fishing for panfish at this pair of reservoirs in northwest Ohio. Popular baits have been waxworms under a bobber or pieces of nightcrawler. Crappies and bluegills can be caught by shore anglers. Fish the bait fairly shallow for the best panfish bite.

Findlay Reservoirs (Hancock County) – Anglers fishing these reservoirs have had limited success over the past two weeks. You can catch crappies and yellow perch here typically on jig and minnow combinations or waxworms under a bobber. For catfish, try tightlining on the bottom with chicken livers.

Bresler Reservoir (Allen County) – Anglers are fishing for panfish here with limited success. A few white bass have been taken by anglers drifting live bait such as nightcrawlers or minnows. Fish the bait 6-12 feet deep.

Northeast Region 

West Branch Lake (Portage, County) – Anglers are catching muskies here with some regularity. Successful fishermen are finding wood anywhere on the lake and casting big bucktail spinnerbaits for them. The largest fish reported recently was a 38-incher. Other anglers are catching channel catfish and crappies. For channel cats, tie on a nightcrawler. Crappies will hit nightcrawlers, too, but can also be caught on waxworms.

Pymatuning Reservoir (Ashtabula County) – Crappies are biting for anglers fishing this large lake that spans the Ohio-Pennsylvania border. The successful set up has been jig and waxworm combinations or jigs and nightcrawlers. Crappie fishermen are also picking up some bluegills and catfish on the same baits.

Mogadore Reservoir (Portage County) – This lake is historically known as a good spot for panfish. The redear sunfish and bluegill bite has been better in years past, but those fish can still be caught by the intrepid angler. Try waxworms or jigs tipped with minnows fished on the edges of weed beds, of which there are an abundance here. Largemouth bass, too, will hit these same offerings. For a full report on Mogadore, see the back page of the Sept. 29 issue of Ohio Outdoor News.

Mosquito Creek Lake (Trumbull County) – Anglers are catching good numbers of walleyes by vertically jigging Vib-Es or similar baits. Walleyes have had decent size on them too, some up to 19 inches. Jig your bait of choice slowly through the water column for best results.

Southwest Region

Rocky Fork Lake (Highland County) – Anglers are having some success catching crappies here on live bait as well as artificials. On the plastics side, try a tube jig in shad patterns. For live bait offerings, a minnow or a waxworm will do the trick. Fish the bait about six feet deep for the best panfish bite – both crappies and bluegills.

Cowan Lake (Clinton County) – The crappie bite here has turned on with the fall temperatures. Anglers are employing jig and minnow combos fished slowly. Also, a simple minnow under a float will boat some papermouths.

Grand Lake St. Marys (Mercer County) – Fishermen are trying for crappies here with some success. Try a nightcrawler fished under a bobber or simply a minnow and a float. Fish the bait about 10 feet deep for better results.

Caesar Creek Lake (Warren, Clinton, Greene counties) – Anglers are fishing for crappies, muskies, and catfish. For crappies, fish a minnow 6-10 feet deep. For muskies, a large inline spinner fished anywhere around woody cover will entice strikes. Fish cut bait on the bottom for channel catfish.

Southeast Region

Salt Fork Lake (Guernsey County) – Anglers fishing this Guernsey County Lake near Cambridge are producing a mixed bag of fish from crappies to white bass to channel catfish. Fish a minnow in 8-10 feet of water to catch any/all of the aforementioned species. Particularly for crappies, they still seem to be in their summer haunts, so fish for them accordingly.

Piedmont Lake (Belmont County) – Fishermen are targeting saugeyes here on live bait presentations. Saugeyes have ranged from 15 to 19 inches. Fish near the bottom using tightline presentations for the bite. Use jig and minnow combos or nightcrawlers for the best bite. A few bass, bluegills, and catfish can also be caught here using these same baits.

Burr Oak Lake (Morgan, Athens counties) – Fall crappies are on the agenda for anglers at this beautiful southeast Ohio lake. Successful fishermen are using waxworms fished under a float or nightcrawlers. Fish the bait 6-10 feet deep for best results.

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

Walleyes

Where: There were very few reports of anglers fishing for walleyes last week, but the best reports came from off Cedar Point.

How: Walleyes have been caught by casting mayfly rigs tipped with worms, or by trolling with crankbaits, or divers and spoons.

Yellow Perch

Where: Fishing has been good near buoy 13 of the Toledo shipping channel, near “D” can of the Camp Perry firing range, around Rattlesnake Island, off Ballast Island, near Lucy’s Point of Middle Bass Island, and east of the South Bass Island monument.

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

Smallmouth Bass

Where: Fishing has been good nearshore around Kelleys and South Bass islands, and on the reefs of the Camp Perry firing range.

How: Anglers are casting tube jigs or using dropshot rigs.

Central Basin

Walleyes

Where: There were a few reports of fish being caught in 70 feet of water north-northeast of Wildwood Park, and in 60 to 65 feet of water off Fairport Harbor. Good fishing was reported in 70 to 75 feet of water north-northeast of Ashtabula, and in 70 to 75 feet of water north-northeast of Conneaut. 

How: Walleyes have been caught by trolling crankbaits, spoons, and worm harnesses with planer boards or dipsy divers. The best colors have been purple, green, yellow, and pink.

Yellow Perch

Where: A few fish have been caught in 40 feet of water northeast of Gordon Park in Cleveland and in 48 to 50 feet of water north of Conneaut. 

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 dropshot rigs, tube jigs, and crayfish.

Steelhead Trout

Where: Fish are being picked up by anglers trolling for walleyes off Ashtabula and Conneaut. 

How: See section on Central Basin walleye.

As we begin our approach to fall, highlight species targeted by anglers along the Rocky River and other area streams include smallmouth bass, carp, panfish, and channel catfish with a watchful eye looking for early returning steelhead trout. The Rocky River is on the low and clear side. Lake Erie anglers are targeting walleyes, steelhead, white bass, yellow perch, smallmouth bass, white bass, and panfish, and inland lake/pond anglers are primarily pursuing largemouth bass, channel catfish, and panfish.

A few early steelhead are showing up around the Rocky River marina, off the rocks at Edgewater and E. 55th, and off the breakwall at Wildwood Park. Casting a spoon (i.e., Little Cleo or KO Wobbler) or spinner (i.e., Vibrax or RoosterTail) at these locations is as good a bet as any for connecting with an early steelhead trout, as is drifting a small jig tipped with minnow or maggots under a bobber. Any cool rain in the coming weeks should serve to entice a more early steelhead into the streams.

Anglers are also pursuing a mix of warmwater species in the streams. 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).

Channel catfish, carp, sheepshead, and several sucker species are also present in some of these same areas in the river, especially around the marina on the Rocky, and fishing for them can be a laid back and relaxing way to enjoy some time on the water. Catfishing is usually best during lower light conditions using baits such as nightcrawlers, minnows, chicken liver, and processed dough baits. Catfish often bite best following a rain when the water is a bit murky. Carp can often be caught throughout the day on such bait as canned corn, carp dough baits, worms, or crayfish tails. 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.

Anglers at Cleveland Metroparks’ inland lakes and ponds are catching catfish, largemouth bass, and panfish. Wallace Lake, Ledge Lake, Shadow Lake, and Beyer’s Pond are a few spots worth poking around in late summer and early fall.

Rock bass, largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, crappie, freshwater drum, and sunfish species can be found along the Cleveland shoreline in summer and can be caught on offerings such as tube jigs, dropshot rigs, and live bait. Some good eater size walleyes (15-20 inches) have been found in water only 16-24 feet deep by Cleveland area boating and even shoreline anglers. White bass fishing, which is typically good in late summer, has been slow lately. Yellow perch fishing off Cleveland has also been mostly slow.

Cleveland Metroparks, www.clevelandmetroparks.com

OHIO RIVER REGION

Meldahl Dam Catfish are being caught on cut baits fished on the bottom. Fish shad or shrimp with some weight to catch channels.

Greenup Dam Fishermen are trying for hybrid striped bass here with a little bit of success. Also, catfish will bite on the same baits as the wipers. Try chicken livers fished tightline on the bottom. 

Pike Island – Anglers are catching a mixed bag of fish here on jig and minnow combinations, spoons, and crankbaits. Walleyes, catfish, and smallmouth bass are all biting. Catfish from 18-26 inches in particular are hitting chicken livers fished on the bottom.

New Cumberland Lock and Dam – A few anglers are managing to catch some saugers here. The popular setup has been a jig and a skirt in either chartreuse or pumpkin color. Cast the jig out and wait a few pauses until it nearly hits bottom, then employ a slow retrieve.

BEYOND OHIO

Lake St. Clair (Michigan)

Walleye fishing has been sporadic on Lake St. Clair with anglers either doing exceptionally well or nothing at all. Those fishing around Harsens Island and the Lake St. Clair Metropark have reported the better catches. Bright colored crawler harnesses with green, yellow, and purple gave a lot of folks the edge. Same story with the yellow perch as anglers were doing very well or getting none. Smallmouth bass fishing was steady off the mile roads, along the southern portion of the lake, a mile or two out from the Clinton River spillway, and in the North Channel. Early goose hunting has been good.

Irish Hills Area (Mich.)

Bass and a few nice pike have been caught on Wamplers Lake by anglers casting crankbaits in 8-10 feet of water. Panfish were caught on the west end in 6-8 feet of water when drifting or still-fishing with worms. Over on Sand Lake, largemouth bass were caught while casting frogs in water less than a foot deep. Bass were also caught around the docks and rafts. Panfish were caught by anglers drifting a crawler harness in 6-8 feet of water and crappies were hitting artificial baits and minnows fished in 10-15 feet of water. The early goose season got off to a fair start.

Luna Pier Area (Mich.)

Anglers on Lake Erie continue to catch yellow perch off the mouth of the River Raisin, off Pointe Mouillee and near the Lake Erie Metropark. A couple of walleyes were caught in 23-25 feet of water off Stony Point. Goose hunting has been decent.

SOUTHWESTERN LP

Kalamazoo Area (Mich.)

Bluegills can be found in larger schools in 18-24 feet of water suspended 12-14 feet down. Slip-bobbers with small chunks of nightcrawlers have been working the best. Ron and Marilyn Stafford had a nice catch of ’gills at Portage Lake on Labor Day. Lots of bass are also being caught and northern pike are on the fall feed on most lakes in the area.

Grand Rapids Area (Mich.)

All of the fish ladders on the Grand River are open. DNR staff saw coho at the Sixth Street Dam recently. Anglers have reported catching a few coho.

Plainwell Area (Mich.)

Fishing has been slow on Gun Lake. A few walleyes have been caught but most anglers are waiting for the fall bite to heat up. Bluegills have been caught in the shallows and over deeper water, but the fish are scattered and anglers are having to work for each fish caught. Crappies are hitting minnows on Pine and Payne lakes. Goose hunting has been very good.

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