Ohio Outdoor News Fishing Report – Aug. 31, 2018

Central Region

Alum Creek Lake (Delaware County) – Fishermen are doing OK on saugeyes by fishing crankbaits around drop-offs. For crappies, tie on a jig and maggot combo or jig and minnow. Anglers have been catching both species by trolling as well. Some of the saugeyes have been up to 19 inches.

Olentangy River (Franklin, Delaware counties) – Anglers continue to catch smallmouth bass and channel catfish in the river all the way up to Delaware. Fish a swimbait anywhere that holds current and you’re likely to tie into one of these fish.

Hoover Reservoir (Delaware, Franklin counties) – Anglers are reporting limiting out on crappies in just a few hours of fishing. Fish have been hitting for trollers in eight to 10 feet of water. Some of the crappies have been decent size, 11-plus inches.

Indian Lake (Logan County) – Anglers are doing well on largemouth bass here, fishing low-light periods at daylight and dusk. The popular baits have been crankbaits and rattling baits fished along the rocky shoreline. In the early mornings, you can also throw a topwater frog to try to entice the bite.

Northwest Region

Sandusky Bay – The best advice being offered for catching largemouth bass on Sandusky Bay is to find the forage fish and hit the weeds and points for them. Anglers are catching a few bass here, along with a load of channel catfish, which is typical at this time of year on this Lake Erie bay.

East Harbor (Erie County) – Crappies and bass are being caught with some regularity by anglers fishing live shiners suspended in the water column. Some of the bass have been decent size, up to 16 inches. Crappies are topping out right around 11 inches.

Maumee River (Lucas County) – According to Maumee Bait and Tackle on Aug. 18, a little bit of rain toward the middle of August did little to change water levels on the Maumee, but it did trigger a better bite for smallmouth bass. Anglers are catching them at Bluegrass Island on chatter baits in dark colors. Another good area to try for smallmouth would be at Providence Dam up near Grand Rapids, Ohio, Maumee Bait reports.

Maumee Bait and Tackle, www.maumeetackle.net

Northeast  Region 

Berlin Lake (Portage, Mahoning, Stark counties) – Anglers are doing their best to catch walleyes here without much reported success. Most anglers are trolling crankbaits. Those same fishermen are catching loads of channel catfish, however, and a handful of crappies. The best bite seems to be suspended bait in deep water.

Pymatuning Lake (Ashtabula County) – Fishermen are catching a mixed bag of fish here, with channel catfish and crappies topping the list. Crappies can be caught on waxworms fished under a float or minnows fished the same way. Channel cats can be caught on cut bait, fished in deeper water on the bottom.

West Branch Reservoir (Portage County) – If you have a good pattern on catching walleyes here, consider yourself lucky. Anglers who are fishing for bass in recent days have incidentally caught a few walleyes. If you can locate deep-water structure anywhere in the lake, try it for walleyes. Muskies in good numbers continue to be caught, some in the 40-inch range.

Mosquito Creek Lake (Trumbull County) – Some fishermen are successfully catching crappies here on jig and minnow combinations. Some of the fish have ranged up to 12 inches. Successful anglers have been fishing their jigs on or near the bottom in five to 10 feet of water. Not much walleye action to report.

Southwest Region 

Rocky Fork Lake (Highland County) – Fishermen are trying their luck for largemouth bass with decent results. Most of the successful anglers are concentrating their efforts on the main lake anywhere they can find weeds. Fish a spinnerbait or buzzbait right in the weeds for best results in the summertime.

Acton Lake (Preble, Butler counties) – Crappies are the main quarry on this lake near College Corner in Hueston Woods. Keep the bait presentation simple: jig and minnow combos or straight nightcrawler under a float for best results. Some of the crappies are ranging up to 11 inches, according to angler reports.

Caesar Creek Lake (Warren, Clinton, Greene counties) – Anglers are doing OK on crappies here by fishing minnows and nightcrawlers under a float. Some of the crappies have been of decent size, up to 12 inches. Saugeyes, too, are being caught on these same baits by anglers trolling them. Others are trolling Flicker Shad or other types of crankbaits for saugeyes.

C.J. Brown Reservoir (Clark County) – Anglers fishing for walleyes at this lake near Springfield have been rewarded with a decent crappie bite, according to recent reports. Crappies have been in the 7- to 10-inch range for the most part. Fish for them in seven to 12 feet of water for the best bite.

Southeast Region

Seneca Lake (Noble, Guernsey counties) – The bite has been slow for saugeyes, but those anglers who are reporting success are focusing their efforts on structure fishing. Any type of blade bait, such as a Vib-E, has been top producers. You’ll catch a lot of shorts before running into a keeper, but the effort might just be worth if for an 18-inch saugeye or two.

Salt Fork Lake (Guernsey County) – Anglers are fishing for crappies with some success by using minnows or waxworms. Channel catfish, too, are being caught on these same baits. Look for mid-lake points and drop-offs for best results.

Piedmont Lake (Belmont County) – Fishermen are trying to catch saugeyes and largemouth bass at this popular Belmont County lake. Saugeyes are biting on trolled crankbaits, and you’ll also pick up a crappie or two by fishing in this manner. Largemouth bass can be caught anywhere along the shoreline in the rocks or weeds.

Tappan Lake (Harrison County) – Anglers are catching decent numbers of saugeyes here on a variety of offerings. Vib-Es and worm harnesses have taken their fair share of saugeyes, along with jig and minnow combinations. Most of the saugeyes have been short fish, however, but some keepers have been thrown into the mix.

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.

Western Basin


Where: Fishing remains good. Although most of the larger fish have moved east to find cooler water, smaller fish remain plentiful. Reports of limits are still coming from Toledo east to the islands, as well as straight out from Huron and Vermillion. 

How: Anglers trolling spoons behind divers have been doing well, as well as those trolling worm harnesses. There have been a few reports of anglers trolling crankbaits during low-light hours and having success in shallower water, 15 to 20 feet deep. Anglers around the islands have been throwing weight-forward spinners with some success as well. 

Yellow Perch  

Where: Fishing for yellow perch has been excellent near the islands, with the best reports coming from south of Green Island in 30 feet of water. Anglers are still doing well near the Toledo Water Intake, West Sister Island, and “A” can of the Camp Perry firing range. 

How: Perch spreaders with shiners fished near the bottom produce the most fish. Fish have also been taken on maggots. 

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. Smallmouth fishing has been good, with anglers targeting eight to 20 feet of water near Kelleys Island and the reefs around the islands. 

How: Texas-rigged soft plastic and wacky worms usually produce well for largemouth bass. For anglers targeting smallmouths, tubes and drop-shot rigs have been working well, as well as weighted wacky worms. 


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, though fish have also been taken on shiners, nightcrawlers, and stink bait. Most anglers fish a Carolina rig or three-way rig. Fish can also be taken below a bobber suspended just off the bottom. 

Central Basin


Where: Excellent fishing reported in 40 feet of water northeast of Rocky River, in 60 feet of water north-northeast of Gordon Park, in 65 to 74 feet of water northeast to northwest of Fairport Harbor, and in 71 to 75 feet of water north-northwest of Ashtabula. Fish are suspended, and anglers are targeting fishing depths of 35 to 55 feet while trolling. 

How: Walleyes have been caught by trolling crankbaits, spoons, and worm harnesses with divers. Good colors to try are purple, green and white, orange, black, watermelon, 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 good in 20 to 27 feet of water around harbor areas in Cleveland, Fairport Harbor, Ashtabula, and Conneaut. 

How: Anglers are using drop-shot rigs with crayfish and leeches, small spoons, and nightcrawlers. 


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 71 to 75 feet of water. 

How: See section on Central Basin walleyes for details. Try setting your lures down a bit deeper than for walleyes. 

In summer highlight species targeted around Cleveland Metroparks include largemouth and smallmouth bass, walleyes, yellow perch, panfish, channel catfish, and common carp.

Fishing can be a challenge in the warm waters of mid to late summer, and fishing early and late in the day are best bets. Channel catfish and carp are among the species that thrive in warm water 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 (800 pounds), Oxbow Lagoon (350 pounds), and 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. 

Carp will be found throughout local rivers, as well. Carp can often be caught throughout the day on such bait as canned corn, carp dough baits, worms, or crayfish tails. Fly anglers looking for a challenge can sight fish to feeding carp, targeting them with nymphs and crayfish imitations. 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 thus far can be effectively targeted by fishing a nightcrawler worm right on the river bottom with a sinker.

Smallmouth bass are typically found in the deeper, rocky pools of the 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. 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., minnows, 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). Rock bass and largemouth bass are also present in the same river areas as smallmouth, and can be caught using the same offerings listed above.

Summer means family fishing time for many folks, and panfish fit the bill perfectly for a leisurely picnic and fishing outing.  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 aquatic weeds or shoreline brush is always a good bet. Wallace Lake, Shadow Lake, Oxbow Lagoon (in Rocky River Reservation), Ledge Lake, and Lakefront Reservation are just a few of many places in the park to wet a line for various panfish species.  Largemouth bass fishing is best in Hinckley and Wallace 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, crankbaits, spinners, 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 

Categories: News, Ohio Fishing Reports

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