Ohio Outdoor News Fishing Report – March 16, 2018
Alum Creek Lake (Delaware County) – Anglers are fishing mostly around the spillway to pick up a few stray saugeye and some crappies. Word is that the Vib-E bite is going strong. As water temperatures continue to warm, look for this trend to continue to get better. Early mornings and evenings have been the best time to capitalize on the good bite.
Indian Lake (Logan County) – Anglers here have turned their attention to open-water opportunities and are hitting the Moundwood ramp area fairly heavily. Fishermen have reported catching saugeyes and channel cats on Vib-Es and jerkbaits with the later evening bite being the best. Some crappies, too, are being caught on minnows under a float.
Buckeye Lake (Fairfield, Licking, Perry counties) – One of the first species that will bite in open water are channel catfish near the marsh. Fish cut bait on the bottom for the best results. Anglers are also fishing for saugeyes with Husky Jerks and Countdown Rapalas. The key, anglers say, is to jig the bait slowly in cold-water conditions. Some Fish Ohio saugeyes have been caught recently.
East Harbor (Lake Erie) – Finally getting into some open-water action, anglers are fishing for panfish here with some success. The popular setup for early spring fishing for panfish is a jig and minnow or waxworm under a float. Some crappies are being caught. The key, anglers say, is to jig the bait slowly in cold-water conditions.
Maumee River (Lucas County) – According to reports from Maumee Bait and Tackle, the walleye run is still a little ways off but fishing is improving. Some walleyes as of early March were being caught off Jerome Road. Wading to Bluegrass Island is not possible at this time, the bait store reports. The popular color to start the season has been just about any variation of green chartreuse, Maumee Bait and Tackle reports.
Fostoria Reservoir No. 5 (Hancock County) – Anglers fishing the reservoir in search of saugeyes have instead been rewarded with channel catfish and white perch, according to reports. The best set up has been a light Vib-E or a straight minnow under a float.
Pymatuning Reservoir (Ashtabula County) – Anglers are catching bluegills and crappies in the shallow bays on the north end of the lake. Fishing a jig and minnow combination seems to be the best bet. Fish the bait shallow, in as little as five feet of water. According to reports, the causeway here is littered with dead shad. The walleye bite should turn on again as water temperatures warm into the 40s.
Nimisila Reservoir (Summit County) – Anglers are catching good numbers of panfish here on jig and minnow combos or on waxworms or spikes. The best bite is coming at any time of day, anglers report. For a full rundown on Nimisila’s offerings, see the back page of this issue of Ohio Outdoor News.
Mosquito Creek Lake (Trumbull County) – Anglers are getting their first taste of open water here and are catching yellow perch and crappies. Most fish are running small, however. The best bite is coming on a waxworm or minnow under a float. It won’t be long before anglers are wading for walleyes here.
Acton Lake (Preble, Butler counties) – Anglers are still hitting the spillway on this lake near College Corner in search of saugeyes with some luck. Fishermen are throwing jerkbaits and crankbaits at the saugeyes and a few are being caught. Fish have reportedly ranged from 15 to 17 inches.
Paint Creek Lake (Highland County) – Anglers fishing off the docks near the restaurant are catching some crappies on small ice jigs tipped with a minnow. This is a popular fishing spot in the winter, though, so be prepared to deal with a crowd. The best crappie bite is coming in six to 10 feet of water.
Grand Lake St. Marys (Mercer, Auglaize counties) – Anglers fishing ice-out have been rewarded with this lake’s fabled crappies. Waxworms, minnows, and nightcrawlers will all take their fair share of these panfish. Try fishing for them in shallower water at this time of year.
Tappan Lake (Harrison County) – Anglers are using Vib-Es to pick up some saugeyes on this good size Harrison County lake. A variety of patterns and bait sizes are working, according to angler reports. Saugeyes have ranged up to 18 inches.
Seneca Lake (Noble, Guernsey counties) – Anglers fishing for saugeyes here haven’t had much luck with the sought-after species, but they are catching some channel catfish and yellow perch. The best bite is coming on Vib-Es and Gulp! minnows. Some of the channel cats that are being caught have ranged up to 20 inches. Fish anywhere from 10 to 15 feet of water for the best bite.
Piedmont Lake (Belmont County) – Fishermen are picking up some smallmouth bass and saugeyes in the early open-water season here. Fish a jig and minnow combination slowly is the best advice anglers are giving. Smallmouths have ranged up to 13 inches and the saugeyes are coming in right around the 15-inch mark.
Lake Erie Region
• The bag limit for walleye in Ohio waters of Lake Erie is four fish per angler through April 30. 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.
In Cleveland Metroparks, a combined 3,000 pounds of rainbow trout were stocked at Wallace, Shadow, Ledge, Judge’s, and Ranger lakes in late January, and these lakes are currently offering fantastic open-water fishing opportunities. The Lake Erie marina and harbor areas are also largely ice free at this time and are offering steelhead trout, northern pike, largemouth bass, and panfish.
Area streams have been elevated and muddy for the better part of two weeks straight with lots more rain forecast. We will need several days in a row of dry weather before the river is fishable again. Some anglers on the Rocky and Chagrin rivers still reported catching a few steelhead in the muddy water. In stained water, a brightly colored spawn sac about the size of a nickel has been the top producer, although bright or contrasting colored jig and fly patterns also catch muddy steelhead under such conditions. Smaller tributaries, such as Euclid Creek at Wildwood Park and Porter Creek at Huntington Reservation will drop and clear more rapidly than the larger rivers and will offer decent prospects while the larger rivers are still flowing hard. Anglers can look forward to some of the best steelhead fishing of the season as the river levels recede and begin to clear. The annual white sucker run has also kicked-off on local streams.
Although Lake Erie has had high waves and is muddy, the Cleveland shoreline marinas and harbors on Lake Erie are currently offering open water, and anglers have a shot at catching steelhead, along with northern pike, largemouth bass, and panfish. Productive spots include Edgewater, Wildwood, and East 72nd/Gordon Park boat ramp areas. For steelhead, a medium size Little Cleo spoon (or similar) or jig tipped with minnow or maggots suspended under a float are top producers. For northern pike and largemouth bass a white and silver spinnerbait is often a producer.
Cleveland Metropark’s inland lakes are offering open water and great trout fishing opportunities at this time. Metroparks stocked 3,000 pounds of trout in late January, as follows: Jan. 22, Shadow (750 pounds), Ledge (600 pounds) and Judge’s (150 pounds) lakes, and on Jan. 24, Wallace (1,400 pounds) and Ranger (100 pounds) lakes. Most impressive were the Wallace Lake batch in terms of size and species diversity. The average rainbow trout was between 1 and 2 pounds, but there were many trophy fish in the 5-10-pound range in the mix. And there were plenty of brook and brown trout up to 2 pounds, and even a peppering of foot-long golden rainbow trout. These fish complement the 3,000 pounds stocked back in mid-December at the same locations. This concludes Cleveland Metroparks’ scheduled winter trout stocking. Some trout also remain from an October stocking at Ohio & Erie Canal fishing area down the hill from CanalWay Visitor Center off E. 49th Street.
Trout typically bite well on PowerBait, jigs tipped with a few maggots/waxworms, and smaller spinners (such as Rooster Tail). Note the current seasonal trout regulations: Lake Erie and all streams, two/day, minimum size 12 inches (this includes steelhead); three/day, no size limit at Wallace, Judge’s and Ranger lakes; and five/day, no size limit at Shadow Lake and Ohio & Erie Canal. Note: Ledge Lake is posted as catch and release fishing only until further notice. Cleveland Metroparks tentatively plans to begin spring stocking of rainbow trout in the East Branch Rocky River at Millstream Run Reservation around mid-March.
Cleveland Metroparks, www.clevelandmetroparks.com
Lake St. Clair (Michigan)
Ice conditions were deteriorating quickly on Lake St. Clair and warm runoff from rains will melt shoreline ice, which will make accessing the ice difficult to impossible. The lake is experiencing heavy river flows, increased current, open spearing holes, which will only increase in size, and fog. The safest decision is to stay off the ice.
Lake Orion (Mich.)
Inland lakes in Oakland County were in poor shape with shoreline ice melting and pulling away. The best bet is to stay off the ice and start preparing for the open-water season. A few rabbits have been taken at the Bald Mountain and Metamora state recreation areas, but now that the snow has melted, hunting will be a little tougher.
Union Area (Mich.)
Ice was in very poor shape in Cass County following days of rain and unseasonably warm temperatures. Stay off the ice until winter returns or open water arrives. Hunting pressure also has been very light due to the dismal weather.
Plainwell Area (Mich.)
The ice was deteriorating rapidly on Gun Lake and anglers were advised to stay of the lake. Rabbit and coyote hunting pressure has been very light with all the rain that has been falling in Branch County.
Saginaw Bay Area (Mich.)
It is recommended that no one venture out onto the ice on Lake Huron’s Saginaw Bay due to flooding, rising water levels, and quickly deteriorating ice conditions. The rain, warmer temperatures, and snow melt were creating dangerous conditions.
Weidman Area (Mich.)
Unseasonably warm temperatures and heavy rain blew out the shorelines of inland lakes in Isabella County and ice fishing has stalled. Coyote and rabbit hunting were both very good until all the snow melted away.
Ludington Area (Mich.)
Anglers were still getting out on lakes around Ludington. Warm temperatures and lots of rain have melted a lot of the ice so anglers are advised to use extreme caution when heading out. There’s a decent perch bite on Pere Marquette Lake. Good numbers of eight- to 12-inch perch have been caught, but anglers are having to sort through the fish to find the keepers. The Pere Marquette River was running high and dirty and fishing there has stalled. Hunting pressure has been very light.
Caseville Area (Mich.)
Some anglers were getting out on Lake Huron but the ice was deteriorating. Anglers were getting out on foot at Bayshore Marina and Bayport. Perch, bluegills, and crappies were hitting close to shore. Rabbit and predator hunting was pretty good before the snow melted. Since then hunting pressure has been very light.
Port Huron (Mich.)
The St. Clair River was full of floating ice as warm temperatures and rain were making a mess of things. The walleye bite had been very good in the open water for both shore anglers and boaters, but everything has shut down until the river clears. Atlantic salmon and steelhead action had been good in Lexington Harbor until all the shore ice melted away. Hunting pressure has also been very light.
Lake Erie tributaries (Erie County, Pennsylvania) – Most eastside streams were ice-jammed through mid-February, but Sixteen Mile was yielding steelhead from the water treatment plant to the lake. Anglers were catching steelhead on Elk where open water allowed.
Presque Isle Bay (Erie County, Pa.) – The eastern end of the bay by DonJon’s Ship Yard and into Misery Bay had open water by mid-February. Anglers were fishing off Liberty Park and Chestnut Street. Yellow perch were hitting minnows, while steelhead, walleyes, and muskies were hitting tip-ups with shiners on a variety of lures.
Lake Pleasant (Erie County, Pa.) – This small natural lake was yielding trout and panfish on small jigs and maggots.
Lake Wilhelm (Mercer County, Pa.) – Bluegills were hitting in the stumps and the upper part of the lake through mid-February.