Ohio Outdoor News Fishing Report – May 25, 2018

Central Region

Buckeye Lake (Fairfield, Licking, Perry counties) – Fishermen employing minnows under a float have been rewarded with a mixed bag of fish recently. Crappies, largemouth bass, and catfish are all in the mix. The crappies are running from 9 to 12 inches. Bass up to 2 pounds. A bunch of bluegills are also being caught on these same baits.

Alum Creek Lake (Delaware County) – Saugeyes are the main quarry at this large central Ohio lake right now. Anglers are successfully trolling small crankbaits to get saugeyes from 16 to 18 inches. Some crappies are also being caught by anglers fishing wood.

Knox Lake (Knox County) – This lake is known for its population of largemouth bass, and anglers are catching a few of them this spring. Anglers are fishing crankbaits near the dam to get largemouth bass up to 3 pounds. Most bass anglers release all of the fish they catch.

Hoover Reservoir (Delaware, Franklin counties) – Anglers fishing here recently have been able to find the crappies. The successful setup has been a small swimbait or crankbait. Anglers are reporting good size on these papermouths, up to 12 inches.

Indian Lake (Logan County) – Anglers are doing quite well on crappies here now that the water temperature has warmed a bit. The popular setup has been a crappie rig tipped with a minnow and a nightcrawler. Some nice size channel catfish are also being caught on these same outfits. Some anglers are also catching saugeyes by trolling small crankbaits.

Northwest Region

Sandusky River (Sandusky County) – Now that the walleye run is winding down, anglers are shifting their focus to white bass with some success. One angler recently reported catching more than 40 white bass in one day. The popular bait has been a jig with a chartreuse twister tail.

Maumee River (Lucas County) – The white bass run in the Maumee River is on, according to Maumee Bait and Tackle. Most of the fish are being caught in the areas of Bluegrass Island, Buttonwood campground, and the Jerome Road rapids. A few walleyes are also being caught, although as of this writing on May 15 water clarity was poor.

Maumee Bait and Tackle, www.maumeetackle.net

Upper Sandusky Reservoir No. 2 (Wyandot County) – Anglers have had better luck catching largemouth bass here over the past two weeks. The successful fishermen are throwing plastic worms to any type of cover they can find. Some bonus crappies are also being caught.

Northeast Region 

West Branch Reservoir (Portage County) – Water clarity has improved in recent days, and anglers are going after muskies here with some success. Fishing large spinnerbaits and crankbaits, fishermen are catching some muskies. The best bite is coming in shallow water near wood.

LaDue Reservoir (Geauga County) – Fishermen are after largemouth bass here and are having some success. Anglers are casting all manner of plastics at the largemouths. Fish have ranged up to 3 pounds, and most fish are being released.

Lake Milton (Mahoning County) – Anglers are doing quite well here for crappies and white bass. The successful setup has been a simple minnow under a float.

Mosquito Creek Lake (Trumbull County) – Anglers are casting jerkbaits to catch walleyes here in good numbers. Fishermen are also doing well on crappies by anchoring near woody debris in the lake and fishing it with a jig and minnow combo.

Southwest Region

Rocky Fork Lake (Highland County) – Anglers are catching some largemouth bass on the main lake at Rocky Fork. The best bite is coming on plastics in chartreuse and orange. Crappies, too, are being caught on the same baits. Fish the bait rather shallow, 5-7 feet, for better results.

Paint Creek Lake (Highland County) – Anglers are fishing the spillway area of the lake for saugeyes and crappies. Best results are coming on waxworms or minnows fished under a float. Keep the bait in 10 to 15 feet of water for better luck.

C.J. Brown Reservoir (Clark County) – Anglers are doing well shore fishing for crappies. A simple minnow or waxworm under a float should do the trick. The walleye bite, however, has been slow to report.

Caesar Creek Lake (Warren, Clinton, Greene counties) – Anglers are fishing muddy water here for crappies and bluegills with some success. The bite is reportedly a deep one between 16 and 20 feet. The successful setup has been a crappie rig tipped with minnows. For a full report on Caesar Creek lake, see the back page of this edition of Ohio Outdoor News.

Cowan Lake (Clinton County) – When water clarity has been decent, anglers are catching a few crappies in anywhere from five to 10 feet of water. You can’t go wrong on crappies at this time of year by fishing live minnows. Waxworms or maggots will also fit the bill for these papermouths.

Southeast Region

Tappan Lake (Harrison County) – Crappies are reportedly on fire at this Harrison County lake. Anglers are fishing slip bobbers with a minnow for the best bite. Some fish have been slab size, up to 13 inches. Find any stickups or blowdowns and fish it at about 6-10 feet deep.

Salt Fork Lake (Guernsey County) – A few crappies are being caught in the shallows on waxworms and minnows. Bank fishermen are casting for crappies, and bluegills, with some success. Water clarity hasn’t been the best.

Seneca Lake (Noble, Guernsey counties) – Fishermen are successfully trolling Flicker Shad for saugeyes, crappies, and white bass. The saugeyes have been of decent size, up to 17 inches. Crappies, too, have been decent, up to 13 inches.

Piedmont Lake (Belmont County) – Fishermen are doing quite well catching saugeyes here, along with some largemouth and smallmouth bass, and crappies. Size on the saugeyes is ranging up to 16 inches, and the bass have been of decent size as well.

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.

• Black bass (largemouth and smallmouth bass): May 1 through June 29 is closed to possession (catch-and-release is legal).


Where: Locust and Niagara reefs continue to boast high catch rates. A lot of anglers are reporting limits in two hours or less. Anglers are also reporting success jigging near the mouth of the Vermilion River and near Ruggle’s Reef, and trolling nearshore from Cleveland and farther east. 

How: Anglers have been jigging 5/8- to 1-ounce hair jigs in eight to 20 feet of water, with purple and black reported as the best colors. In addition, anglers jigging blade baits have also been successful. Anglers trolling have been having success using deep diving crankbaits and spoons at 35 to 55 feet back. Some anglers have started to switch to trolling harnesses with intermittent success.

Smallmouth Bass

Where: Largemouth and smallmouth bass will be moving up shallower to spawn in the coming weeks. Anglers are beginning to target largemouth in some of the harbors and tributaries, while reports of smallmouth bass have been trickling in from the lake. Reports of incidental catches have been reported near the islands, the mid-lake reef complex, and near Vermilion.

How: Texas rigged soft plastics and wacky worms usually produce well for largemouth bass. For anglers targeting smallmouths, tubes often work well, though plenty of fish are being taken on hair jigs and blade baits, as well as trolling crankbaits.


Where: Look for fish starting to move into harbors and river mouths in the coming weeks as fish begin staging to spawn. Anglers have reported intermittent success, but the warmer weather should start to bring fish into shore. 

How: A 1/16- or 1/32-ounce jig and minnow fished under a slip bobber is the most common technique this time of year. Casting small crankbaits or jigs and plastics also work well.

The Rocky and Chagrin rivers got a modest bump in flow with recent rains, and there is quite a bit of rain in the forecast over the weekend. Wise anglers will check the rainfall and river flow data before embarking on a trip to the river. A fair number of steelhead are still around but the majority are post-spawn (dropback) fish. The remaining spawning steelhead can be found in shallower riffle and tailout areas, while post-spawn fish can be found in holes and runs, especially just downstream of spawning areas, as they travel back toward Lake Erie. Keep in mind that warming river temperatures are stressful on trout, and playing and releasing fish as quickly as possible is a responsible plan. Some steelhead are around until mid-May in a typical year.

Edging the remaining steelhead out of the spotlight are very good numbers of lake-run smallmouth bass. These fish are present in deeper, rocky holes throughout the Rocky, Chagrin, and Cuyahoga rivers. Anglers fishing a jig, wooly bugger, live shiner, or other lures/flies that mimic a baitfish have a shot at hooking the “silver and bronze” (a smallmouth or steelhead) in the same day in late spring. Note: smallmouth/largemouth bass may not be kept in Lake Erie or the Rocky River north of the Detroit Road bridge, Chagrin River north of the SR 283 bridge, or Cuyahoga River north of the Harvard Avenue bridge between May 1 and June 29.

Cleveland shoreline breakwalls are offering a hot post-spawn night bite for walleyes right now. Perfect 10s, Husky Jerks, and glow swimbaits are a few of the offerings that produce. Additionally, marinas and harbors on Lake Erie in spring also offer anglers a shot at catching smallmouth/largemouth bass (see prohibited possession regs above), northern pike, steelhead, and panfish. Productive spots include Edgewater, Wildwood, and East 72nd/Gordon Park boat ramp areas. For almost any of these species a medium size silvery spoon or spinner is a good all-around choice. Note to boaters: the launch ramp docks are in at all Cleveland Metroparks locations at this time.

Cleveland Metroparks did not stock this week because our supplier had technical difficulties with equipment, but over the course of this spring Metroparks stocked 3,000 pounds of rainbow trout in the East Branch Rocky River between Route 82 (Royalton Road) and the river crossing ford about a mile south of Wallace Lake. Of the six spots Metroparks routinely stock, Bonnie Park (on both the upstream and downstream side of the dam) receives the lion’s share of these fish.

Cleveland Metropark’s inland lakes are offering very good fishing opportunities at this time. Maintenance at Wallace Lake is complete and the lake is back to normal level. Largemouth bass, rainbow trout, panfish, and coho salmon are being caught at Wallace on live bait and smaller lures. On March 29, the Ohio Division of Wildlife stocked 816 rainbow trout at Shadow Lake and 2,759 rainbow trout at Hinckley Lake. 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/salmon regulations: Lake Erie and all streams two/day, minimum size 12 inches (this includes steelhead – but changed to five/day starting on May 16); 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, www.clevelandmetroparks.com 


Racine Pool Anglers are fishing for saugers here with some success. The best bait has been a lively minnow, on a jig. Fish the bait slowly in cold water.

Greenup Dam Fish for hybrid stripers here like you would fish for catfish. These wipers will hit chicken livers and cut bait fished on the bottom.

Pike Island – Anglers fishing the dam area are picking up a few smallmouth bass, according to angler reports.

New Cumberland Lock and Dam – Anglers are catching catfish and saugers in this pool on jig and minnow combos or swimbaits. Saugers are running fairly small, however.


Lake St. Clair (Michigan)

Catch-and-immediate-release smallmouth bass fishing has been good on Lake St. Clair, especially off the mile roads, in front of Selfridge, and along the shoreline between the Harley Ensign launch and Metro Beach. The best action has been in eight to 12 feet of water. The shoreline between the 9-Mile launch and Masonic Park was also producing a good number of fish. Anglers also picked up a couple of walleyes. Largemouth bass are in the shallows and the canals. Sizable pike and undersize muskie have also been caught. Crappie and sunfish cruising the marinas and back channels were hitting small jigs, minnows, and crawlers.

Trenton Area (Mich.)

Walleye fishing remains good in the Detroit River. Most of the larger females have dropped back into Lake Erie, but the bite remains very good for those jigging live and plastic minnows and worms. Handliners also report good action after dark.

Luna Pier Area (Mich.)

Walleye fishing has been good on Lake Erie with limit catches being reported. A few anglers found success while jigging minnows just outside of Otter Creek and around Turtle Island in 10 to 14 feet of water. Stony Point was producing larger fish at a variety of depths. Anglers were fishing anywhere from 15 to 22 feet of water and some did well running their baits eight to 10 feet deep while others did well 13 to 18 feet deep. Crawler harness and bottom bouncer have produced good results.


Kalamazoo Area (Mich.)

Good catches of bluegills and crappies are being reported by anglers fishing in six to nine feet of water. Hogsett Lake, Sugarloaf Lake, Cedar Lake, and Pine Lake have been popular spots. Keep an eye out for darker bottom areas as these spots tend to warm up faster than the rest of the lake and you’ll be sure to find fish there. Turkey hunting has been very good. There are a lot of birds in the area.

Grand Rapids Area (Mich.)

Anglers are still getting a couple of steelhead in the Grand River. Look for walleyes up near the dam and around the bridges. Those fishing the Rogue River reported catching a couple of steelhead. Look for more fish to move into the tributaries with warm weather and warm rain in the forecast. Bluegills and crappie have been caught in the shallows on most lakes in the area. Turkey hunting has been very good. Toms are gobbling.


Saginaw Bay Area (Mich.)

Walleye fishing has been pretty good on Lake Huron’s Saginaw Bay. Those fishing out of Linwood were concentrating on the Black Hole and one to two miles northeast of Spoils Island, when boats could get out there. Bodybaits off planer boards were the ticket, although some anglers were vertical jigging near Spoils Island. On the Saginaw River, boat anglers vertical jigging in the lower river were taking some walleye. Shore anglers at Smith Park caught mainly white bass, freshwater drum, catfish, and a couple of pike. Smallmouth bass have been caught and released in the marinas. Turkey hunting has been good. Toms are gobbling and there are a lot of birds in the area.

Lansing Area (Mich.)

Lots of smallmouth bass continue to be caught in the Grand River, especially near the North Lansing Dam. Try crawlers, minnows and crankbaits. The crappie bite has picked up at Eaton Rapids and above the Moore’s Park Dam. Anglers are using minnows. Look for crappie and smallmouth bass near the bridges along the river. Over on Lake Ovid, crappie fishing has been very good for anglers fishing with minnows. Toms are gobbling and hens are nesting in the afternoons.

Grand Haven Area (Mich.)

Anglers trolling the shoreline of Lake Michigan are catching a few brown trout on small orange spoons. Boats going offshore looking for coho salmon reported slow fishing. The best action was 60 to 140 feet down in 160 to 230 feet of water. Orange and green spoons have produced the best results. Yellow perch have been caught in 60 to 80 feet of water south of the channel. Pier anglers have caught a few brown trout on spawn. Construction has started on the south pier, which is now closed from the first lighthouse to the end. Turkey hunting has been good.

Lake Erie, Presque Isle Bay, tributaries (Erie County, Pennsylvania) – Perch were hitting in the deeper waters of the bay in late April, but crappies weren’t very active. Steelhead were in the bay and some fresh steelhead came into the tribs during a rainfall. Suckers were in the tribs, and a few smallmouth bass were moving in.

Pymatuning Reservoir (Crawford County, Pa.) – A sporadic crappie bite was reported on the north end in recent weeks. Walleyes up to 29 inches were hitting for night-time anglers, including those targeting rocky shoals. Bladebaits and chartreuse Rapalas were productive. A few daytime catches were reported on jigs and minnows. A 39.5-inch muskie was released. Perch were hitting in the outflow of the dam. Just three bass totaling 5.96 pounds were weighed in a bass tournament in mid-April, when water was unseasonably cold.

Woodcock Creek and Dam (Crawford County, Pa.) – Trout were reported on crawlers, minnows and spinners in recent weeks.  

Canadohta Lake (Crawford County, Pa.) – Crappies were hitting at this natural lake in recent weeks.

Edinboro Lake (Crawford County, Pa.) – Crappies were hitting in recent weeks.

Lake Wilhelm (Mercer County, Pa.) – As of April 23, fishing pressure was light, and shore anglers were catching bluegills at Launch 3.

Shenango River Reservoir (Mercer County, Pa.) – White bass and hybrid striped bass were biting in the usual spring spots. Many fish were in transition from deep to shallow water around April 21 when water was 52 degrees. Northern pike were reported along shoreline areas and taking shallow-running crankbaits. Largemouth bass were beginning to appear in the shallows.

Sugar Creek (Venango County, Pa.) – Anglers released numbers of rainbow trout and a few brown trout up to 22 inches in late April. Anglers did well with spinners, corn-colored salmon eggs, crawlers, and fathead minnows.

Allegheny River (Venango County, Pa.) – Success was mixed on releases of smallmouth bass in recent weeks with some anglers releasing fish up to 20 inches on tubes and crankbaits. Northern pike and small muskies also were reported.

Ohio River (Pa.) — Smallmouth bass and freshwater drum were released on soft-plastic swimbaits and hard-bodied minnow imitations in recent weeks.

Categories: News, Ohio Fishing Reports

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