Ohio Outdoor News Fishing Report – Aug. 3, 2018

Central Region

Alum Creek Lake (Delaware County) – Fishermen are chasing crappies with some reported success. Crappies are biting all over the lake for anglers slow-trolling minnows. Thirty-fish limits are being reported. Some smaller saugeyes, up to 17 inches, will also be caught using these same trolling methods.

Olentangy River (Franklin, Delaware counties) – Anglers are doing quite well on channel catfish in this central Ohio river. The popular setup has been simply drifting a hook and minnow under a float. Some of the catfish have ranged up to 20 inches or better.

Hoover Reservoir (Delaware, Franklin counties) – Anglers are trolling minnows all over this reservoir to catch crappies. Fish the bait in five to 15 feet of water for best results. Also, inline spinnerbaits and jigs tipped with a piece of nightcrawler will also tempt crappies. Blue catfish are also on the angler’s menu here. Recently, some specimens that have been caught and released have gone over the 30-inch mark.

Indian Lake (Logan County) – Anglers are having success catching channel catfish on nightcrawlers, chicken livers, and raw shrimp. Some of the specimens have been decent size. There isn’t any one particular spot to try for catfish here as they are well distributed throughout the lake. Low light periods of the day are best, but you’ll also likely pick up some catfish while trolling for saugeyes.

Northwest Region

Sandusky Bay – Anglers are continuing to fish Sandusky Bay for channel catfish, but the bite has reportedly slowed down some. More sheepshead are being caught than catfish. Fish cut bait or shrimp on the bottom and you’ll likely catch both of these species.

West Harbor (Erie County) – Anglers are throwing a variety of plastics and swimbaits to catch largemouth bass on this Lake Erie harbor. If you can target lily pads, the bite will likely be better. Bass are ranging up to 16 inches.

Clear Fork Reservoir (Richland, Morrow counties) – The muskie bite on Clear Fork continues. Some fish up to 40 inches or better have been reported on large inline spinnerbaits.

Maumee River (Lucas County) – According to Maumee Bait and Tackle on July 18, anglers are managing a few northern pike in the Swan Creek area of the river. Swan Creek is a good place to catch pike, perch, white bass, and steelhead in the fall, according to Maumee Bait and Tackle.

Maumee Bait and Tackle, www.maumeetackle.net

Northeast Region 

Berlin Lake (Portage, Mahoning, Stark counties) – Anglers are fishing jig and crawler combos for crappies here with some success. Fish the bait between 10 and 15 feet deep around any type of structure. Walleyes have been tough to come by for most, however. Try trolling a crankbait or worm harness.

Pymatuning Lake (Ashtabula County) – If you can keep your bait from getting stolen by a channel catfish, you can catch a walleye or two here. Fish a jig and a hunk of nightcrawler about midway through the water column to get it off the bottom where the cats like to hang out. Some walleyes that have been caught recently have ranged up to 20 inches. If it’s catfish you’re after, just fish the same baits more toward the bottom of the lake.

West Branch Reservoir (Portage County) – Muskies are being caught in good numbers here with some decent size attached to some of them. West Branch ranks right at the top of Ohio muskie lakes. Try a big spinnerbait or swimbait cast among the cover to entice the muskie bite.

Mosquito Creek Lake (Trumbull County) – Mosquito Lake anglers are finding weed beds and fishing live bait such as nightcrawlers or leeches to catch walleyes. If it’s bluegills, channel catfish, or yellow perch that you’re after, fish nightcrawlers on the bottom. For the walleyes, low light periods of the day – daybreak and dusk – seem to be the popular times to fish.

Southwest Region 

East Fork Lake (Clermont County) – Anglers are still catching largemouth bass and crappies at this lake outside of Cincinnati. The successful bite is coming on soft plastics or on live bait such as minnows or waxworms, particularly for the crappies. For a full report on East Fork Lake, see the back page of this issue of Ohio Outdoor News.

Paint Creek Lake (Highland County) – Anglers are catching decent numbers of crappies in recent days. The popular setup has been a straight minnow or crawler fished under a float. Crappies mostly have been smaller fish, but some specimens will reach up to 11 inches.

Caesar Creek Lake (Warren, Clinton, Greene counties) – With water temperatures coming down slightly over the past week, Caesar Creek anglers are taking advantage to catch crappies. Fishermen are using light jig and minnow combos to catch these papermouths. Some of the crappies being caught have ranged up to 13 inches. A few muskies are also being reported on big bucktails.

C.J. Brown Reservoir (Clark County) – Anglers are fishing for walleyes and crappies with some success. The key has been to use live bait such as minnows or nightcrawlers to catch either species. Fish the bait between eight and 15 feet deep for walleyes and crappies.

Southeast Region

Seneca Lake (Noble, Guernsey counties) – Anglers continue to catch saugeyes here on spinnerbaits or live bait such as a minnow or nightcrawler. Fish the bait in 10 to 15 feet of water for the best results.

Salt Fork Lake (Guernsey County) – Anglers are fishing for channel and flathead catfish here with some success. Fish chicken livers, nightcrawlers, or raw shrimp for the best catfish bite.

Piedmont Lake (Belmont County) – Fishermen are catching largemouth bass, crappies, and bluegills on this Belmont County lake. Fish a tube around any type of cover you can find to produce fish. The bite is reportedly a shallow one, between five and 10 feet of water.

Leesville Lake (Carroll County) – Fishermen who are targeting muskies here are having some success, with a few fish topping the 40-inch mark. Leesville Lake is a top quality muskie lake in most years, and this year is no different, according to the DNR Division of Wildlife. Successful anglers are using big swimbaits fished in cover to entice the muskie bite.

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): The daily bag limit is five fish per angler with a 14-inch minimum size limit.

Anglers should note that the ramp at Catawba State Park is closed through the end of the year for construction, according to the DNR Division of Wildlife.


Where: Fishing remains good, with the best reports coming from northeast of West Sister Island in 25 to 35 feet of water, adjacent to Green and Rattlesnake islands, and east of Kelleys Island. Anglers fishing out of Huron and Vermillion have also done well casting and trolling by heading north into 40-plus feet of water.

How: Trolling worm harnesses or drifting with bottom bouncers seemed to catch the most fish. Anglers drifting are also picking up fish casting harnesses and weight forward spinners. The best colors have been purple and gold. Anglers are also having success trolling spoons behind divers and trolling deep diving crankbaits unassisted 30 to 50 feet back.

Yellow Perch

Where: Fishing for yellow perch has been fair-to-good, with best reports coming from the Toledo Water Intake, Little Cedar Point, near the Marblehead peninsula, and east of the monument near South Bass Island in 20 to 30 feet of water. Most fish have been in the 9- to 11-inch range.

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

Black Bass

Where: Anglers fishing for largemouth have been doing exceptionally well in the Portage River mouth, East and West harbors, and Sandusky Bay, as well as picking up the occasional fish around Catawba. Anglers targeting smallmouth have been having a tougher time but are still finding fish near the islands and reef complexes.

How: Texas-rigged soft plastic and wacky worms usually produce well for largemouth bass. For anglers targeting smallmouth, tubes and drop-shot rigs work well, though plenty of fish are being caught trolling crankbaits.


Where: Anglers targeting catfish are doing extremely well in Sandusky and Maumee bays. Shoreline fishing opportunities are available from the Jackson Street Pier, Shoreline Park, Battery Park, or Meigs Street Pier in Sandusky, and the Sandusky Bay Bridge access.

How: Shrimp is a popular bait in Sandusky and Maumee bays; although fish are also taken on shiners, nightcrawlers, and stink bait. Most anglers fish a Carolina rig, although fish can be taken below a bobber suspended just off the bottom.

Central Basin


Where: Excellent fishing continues with many limits reported in 40 to 60 feet of water north-northwest of Edgewater Park, in 45 to 50 feet of water northeast of Gordon Park, in 50 to 65 feet of water northwest to northeast of Fairport Harbor, and in 50 to 62 feet of water northwest to northeast of Ashtabula. Anglers are targeting fishing depths of 20 to 40 feet while trolling.

How: Walleye have been caught by trolling crankbaits, spoons, worm harnesses behind divers or flatline trolling, and by casting weight-forward spinners. Good colors to try are watermelon, green/white, orange, pink/purple, and chartreuse. Anglers fishing from shore are having the best luck in the evenings catching fish using spinners and stick baits.

Smallmouth Bass

Where: Fishing has been excellent in 15 to 25 feet of water around harbor areas in Cleveland, Fairport Harbor, Ashtabula, and Conneaut.

How: Anglers are trolling crankbaits, tube jigs and small spoons, and are using jigs tipped with maggots and golden shiners.


Where: Fishing for channel catfish has been good on the Grand River, Fairport piers, at the Route 535 bridge, and the Grand River landing.

How: Anglers are using live baits such as nightcrawlers, leeches, and shrimp.

Steelhead Trout

Where: Anglers are picking up steelhead while trolling for walleyes off Geneva and Ashtabula in 50 to 65 feet of water.

Smallmouth bass are typically found in the deeper, rocky pools of the Rocky 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 (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 abundant in the river. It is always encouraging to see most anglers releasing the larger bass recently so that these fine gamefish can be caught again. 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. In mid-late June farm raised catfish were stocked at Shadow (800 pounds), Oxbow Lagoon (350 pounds), Ranger (200 pounds), Ledge (150 pounds), and Judge’s (100 pounds) lakes. 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.

Some large carp will be found in the northern river reaches throughout the month, 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 contingent 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 abundant in the northern river reaches (north of Morley Ford) in early summer. For the angling generalist, any of the species mentioned thus far can be effectively targeted by fishing a nightcrawler worm 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. Anglers seeking panfish have experienced decent fishing at most of the ponds and lakes in Cleveland Metroparks in the past week. Crappie, bluegill, 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 the 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, white bass, northern pike, catfish, freshwater drum, and sunfish species can all be caught along the Cleveland shoreline of Lake Erie on offerings such as tube jigs and live minnows. Walleye fishing has been fantastic and yellow perch are biting in the nearshore waters of Cleveland, as well.

Cleveland Metroparks, www.clevelandmetroparks.com 


Lake St. Clair (Michigan)

The mayfly hatch was peaking on Lake St. Clair. The smallmouth action was tough with water temperatures in the 60s. A few fish were caught in Anchor Bay and off the mile roads near St. Clair Shores. Catfish, including some big ones, have been caught in front of the Clinton River Spillway. A few perch have been caught in Anchor Bay, too.

Lake Orion (Mich.)

Fishing has been pretty good around Lake Orion. Bluegills and a few crappies have been caught in Prince Lake and East and West Graham lakes, but the weeds are really starting to grow. Most of the larger fish have moved off the beds and into deeper water and weeds. The bass bite has been very good on Lake Orion. Buzzbaits and spinnerbaits zipped along the weeds have taken fish.

Luna Pier Area (Mich.)

Walleye fishing slowed on Lake Erie after the storms stirred up the lake and made it fairly muddy. Very few limits have been reported, but a couple were taken off Stony Point on crawler harnesses or crankbaits fished in 24 feet of water, and near the Banana Dike where the muddy water met the clear water.


Paw Paw Area (Mich.)

Bass fishing has been very good on Paw Paw Lake. Anglers report catching good numbers of both smallmouths and largemouths. A few bluegills are still bedding in five feet of water on Paw Paw. A few decent pike have been caught on Van Auken Lake. Try drifting a large sucker or chub along the weeds. The St. Joseph River is producing some decent walleyes. One angler caught a 40-pound catfish last week on 6-pound test line while walleye fishing.

Kalamazoo Area (Mich.)

Panfish have provided the best action. Live bait, such as red worms, have been great for catching good numbers of bluegill on inland lakes as well as bayous off of the Grand and Kalamazoo rivers. Bass and catfish have been biting in the rivers.

Grand Rapids Area (Mich.)

Those fishing down near the mouth of the Grand River reported catching skamania steelhead last week so the fish should be up to Grand Rapids by now. Boat anglers were getting some nice walleyes on crawlers and leeches. Bluegills can still be found in the bayous.


Saginaw Bay Area (Mich.)

Walleye fishing remains good on Lake Huron’s Saginaw Bay. The warmer temps are starting to move the fish to deeper water. Good reports have been coming from those fishing in 15 to 22 feet of water. Crawlers, spoons, and bodybaits are all producing limit catches. Most of the fish have been perfect size for eating but there have been quite a few lunkers caught in the last couple of weeks.

Lansing Area (Mich.)

The smallmouth bass bite on the Grand River has been good at the North Lansing Dam. A minnow fished under a bobber will almost guarantee a bite. Fish were also caught at the Smithville Dam in Eaton Rapids and at Fitzgerald Park in Grand Ledge. Some nice channel cats have been caught above the North Lansing Dam.

Ludington Area (Mich.)

Decent numbers of chinook and lake trout are being caught in Lake Michigan in 110 to 200 feet of water. The numbers were down but some bigger chinook were caught. Down at Pentwater, boats trolling 30 to 70 feet down in 80 to 150 feet of water reported catching chinook, steelhead, and coho on spoons and meat rigs. On Pentwater Lake, anglers fishing from Longbridge Road caught sunfish, smallmouth bass, rock bass, and brown bullhead.

Lake Erie (Pennsylvania) – Anglers were catching walleyes on plugs and crawler rigs in 50 feet of water. Lake trout were hitting on plugs in 100 feet out of Northeast Marina. The yellow perch bite was hit or miss. Smallmouth bass were biting drop-shot rigs and jerkbaits in 30 feet at the Ws near Northeast Marina.

Elk Creek (Erie County, Pa.) – This west side Erie tributary offered a nice nighttime catfish bite in recent weeks, with some fish reportedly weighing up to 25 pounds.

Lake Pleasant (Erie County, Pa.) —Panfish were reported on crawlers and bobbers on this small natural lake.

Edinboro Lake (Erie County, Pa.) – Bass were biting along the shoreline and first drop-off in recent weeks. Numbers of catfish also were reported.

Pymatuning Reservoir (Crawford County, Pa.) – As conditions allowed, anglers were catching walleyes and bluegills in recent weeks. The walleye bite ran shallow to deep, with anglers drifting crawler harnesses at mid-depths, pulling plugs deep, and pitching jigs and crawlers to weed edges. Anglers fishing the causeway were doing well at dusk, and the night bite on Bomber Long As was good. Walleyes also were hitting in the Shenango River below the dam. The south end of the lake was yielding some nice smallmouth bass. Crappies were hitting on deep structure and channel cats were all over the lake. Muskies were active.

Canadohta Lake (Crawford County, Pa.) – Muskies and northern pike were biting.

Conneaut Lake (Crawford County, Pa.) – Some northern pike were reported. Anglers are advised that there is a new boat launch at Fireman’s Beach.

Lake Wilhelm (Mercer County, Pa.) –  Nice numbers of crappies were hitting on jigs and twisters in recent weeks. Largemouth bass were hitting plastic worms and jigs.

Shenango River Reservoir (Mercer County, Pa.) – Hybrid striped bass were hitting in nice sizes and numbers, as were channel catfish, with both species coming for anglers trolling or casting crankbaits or crawler harnesses on large flats and points. Walleyes and panfish also were reported, but the walleye bite could be spotty. Largemouth bass were biting, and white crappies up to 11 and even 13 inches were biting on soft plastic shad on jigheads under bobbers over brushpiles.

Kahle Lake (Venango, Clarion counties, Pa.) – Texas-rigged crawlers were taking bass along weed edges in recent weeks.

Allegheny River (Venango County, Pa.) – Post-spawn bass up to 20 inches were active in July and hitting in the tail-out sections of pools. Soft jerkbaits were productive. Tubes, stickbaits, and crankbaits also were effective. In murky conditions, spinnnerbaits cast to the bank were effective. A 47-inch muskie and a 24½-inch brown trout were released.

Lake Arthur (Butler County, Pa.) – Hybrid striped bass, including many jacks, continued to chase alewives in the shallows. Anglers were catching the stripers on alewives, stick baits, and large poppers in the nighttime hours. Chicken livers off the bottom also were effective. Boaters were catching walleyes and channel catfish on nightcrawlers on the roadbeds and railroad ballasts day and night. Drifting nightcrawlers was working for some.

Glade Run Lake (Butler County, Pa.) – Anglers are reminded that they are prohibited from keeping warm-water species until further notice. Only trout can be kept at this time.

Categories: News, Ohio Fishing Reports

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