Ohio Outdoor News Fishing Report – Sept. 14, 2018

Central Region

Hoover Reservoir (Delaware, Franklin Counties) – Fishermen are doing OK on crappies here by slow trolling. The recommended depth is to fish the bait in eight to 10 feet of water. Anglers report the fish have been holding closer to shallow water this summer. Channel catfish, too, can be caught on nightcrawler rigs.

Deer Creek Lake (Pickaway, Fayette counties) – Fishermen using chicken livers have tied into some channel catfish recently, some over 20 pounds. Also, nightcrawlers and cut bait is working for the catfish. Those fishing for crappies with minnows haven’t had much luck catching panfish.

Delaware Lake (Delaware County) – Anglers are fishing for the typical crappie bite here, and are having some luck, although the fish being caught are reportedly small. Most crappies being caught on bass minnows are ranging in the sub-legal 6- to 8-inch range. Cooler fall temperatures and water conditions should change this scenario, however, in short order.

Indian Lake (Logan County) – Anglers are fishing for saugeyes with some success, although most of the fish have been reportedly smaller than is typical. Troll a stickbait or small crankbait at slow speeds to pick up saugeyes, crappies, and even channel catfish.

Northwest Region

Upper Sandusky Reservoir No. 2 (Wyandot County) – Anglers in recent days have been fishing for panfish and perch here, according to reports. You will need a bait that will punch through the weeds in order to fish this lake. Buzzbaits, frogs, etc., should catch the above-mentioned species along with some largemouth bass.

East Harbor (Erie County) – This is probably not a big secret to those who fish it, but East Harbor is one of the best holes in Ohio for largemouth bass fishing. Anglers are catching good numbers of fish by fishing the weedline with swimbaits or spinnerbaits. Some bass have been reported up to 4 pounds.

Maumee River (Lucas County) – According to Maumee Bait and Tackle on Sept. 2, water levels on the Maumee are just a bit low. Some fishermen are catching a stray smallmouth bass here and there but the bite is not the same hot ticket as it was last year. It has, however, been a good year for catfish. Sizes have ranged all the way up to 30 pounds, according to Maumee Bait and Tackle. Shad, nightcrawlers, crawfish, shrimp, and stink baits have all been successful. When temperatures cool down a bit, expect the crappie bite in the river to pick up.

Maumee Bait and Tackle, www.maumeetackle.net

Northeast Region 

Berlin Lake (Portage, Mahoning, Stark counties) – Anglers are catching walleyes near the dam by fishing jigs tipped with nightcrawlers. Many anglers are fishing for crappies with these same baits. Some smallmouth bass are being caught in the shallows and against the rocks on tube jigs.

Pymatuning Lake (Ashtabula County) – Fishermen are drifting worm harnesses in shallow water to catch walleyes. Also, walleyes are being caught by anglers trolling crankbaits at slow speeds. Some of the walleyes being caught are in the decent 18- to 20-inch range.

West Branch Reservoir (Portage County) – Crappies are the hottest ticket on West Branch right now. Anglers are catching them in shallow 4-6 feet of water. The crappie bite should pick up as fall approaches. Many fish have been in the sub-9-inch range.

Mosquito Creek Lake (Trumbull County) – Some anglers have been successful catching walleyes over weed beds. The popular bait has been crankbaits or swimbaits fished right in the weeds. Some walleyes are topping 17 inches. Crappies and channel catfish are also being caught.

Southwest Region 

Rocky Fork Lake (Highland County) – Anglers are fishing for crappies with some success. The popular setup has been the typical jig and minnow combination or simply a minnow under a float. The docks near the restaurant and the campground area are always good places to try at Rocky Fork.

Acton Lake (Preble, Butler counties) – Anglers are continuing to catch crappies at this Hueston Woods lake. Some are trolling smaller minnow-imitating baits for the best bite. For shorebound anglers, a minnow under a float fished near any laydowns or underwater cover is a good bet.

Caesar Creek Lake (Warren, Clinton, Greene counties) – A 43-inch muskie was caught in recent days, according to reports. Most anglers, though, are fishing for crappies with only decent success to show for it. Lots of baitfish in the water, according to reports. Try a minnow-imitating swimbait or other similar bait for the best crappie bite.

East Fork Lake (Clermont County) – Fishermen fishing deep structure with plastics have been rewarded recently with some largemouth bass. Some of the bass have been of the larger variety, too, up to 19 inches. Some anglers are fishing spinnerbaits in the weeds and against the rocks for the bass 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, have 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 using slip bobbers and minnows are doing OK on crappies here, according to reports. Most fish have been in the smaller 6- to 8-inch range, however. A few keepers have been thrown in the mix, but no one is slaying them.

Clendening Lake (Harrison County) – Channel catfish anglers have done well here in recent days, according to reports. The popular bait has been chicken livers or nightcrawlers fished on the bottom.

Tappan Lake (Harrison County) – Anglers are trolling worm harnesses for saugeyes here with some success in recent days, according to reports. The saugeyes haven’t been large, but most fish are in the 12- to 14-inch range. These same fishermen are catching some yellow perch and channel catfish using the same trolling methods.

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, though 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. Fishing has been better north of Huron and Vermilion in 25 to 45 feet of water.

How: Anglers trolling spoons behind divers 60 to 120 feet back have been doing the best. Anglers have also reported doing well on worm harnesses behind bottom bouncers or divers.

Yellow Perch

Where: Fishing for yellow perch has been good, with the best reports coming from southwest of Green Island in 25 to 30 feet of water, and near “F” can in 24 feet of water. Anglers are still doing well near the Toledo Water Intake, Toledo Harbor light, and West Sister Island in 15 to 25 feet of water.

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. 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 continues with limits reported from 73 to 77 feet of water north of Fairport Harbor and in 73 feet of water northwest of Ashtabula. The fish are suspended, and anglers are targeting fishing depths of 40 to 60 feet of water while trolling.

How: Walleyes have been caught by trolling crankbaits, spoons, and worm harnesses with divers. Good colors to try are blue, green and white, orange, black, pink and purple, and copper. Anglers fishing from shore are having the best luck in the evenings catching fish using spinners and stick baits.

Yellow Perch

Where: Prior to the heavy winds from the last few days, good fishing was reported in 38 to 52 feet of water northwest of Fairport Harbor at the hump, in 40 to 44 feet of water north of Ashtabula, and in 60 to 71 feet of water north of Conneaut.

How: Anglers are fishing from the bottom up to five cranks off the bottom. Try different depths near the bottom until you locate the fish. Use minnows on spreaders. Fish have also been taken on maggots. The best reports have been from the late afternoon and into the evening.

Smallmouth Bass

Where: Fishing has been good in 15 to 22 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 Pier, and Painesville Township Park Pier.

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 73 feet of water.

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


Lake St. Clair (Michigan)

Smallmouth bass action picked up on Lake St. Clair, especially for those fishing Anchor Bay and the main shipping channel. Fish were deep in both sections at around the 12 foot mark. Lighter colored soft plastics, especially tubes, have produced some big fish. Yellow perch were starting to show up in Anchor Bay, too. Try drifting a nightcrawler in front of the mile roads. Walleye action has tapered off a little bit, but decent numbers of fish have still been caught in the shipping channel. Everything from trolling to drifting was producing good results.

Lake Orion (Mich.)

Fishing has slowed a little, but bass and panfish are keeping anglers’ interest on most lakes in northern Oakland County. Largemouth bass and a few northern pike are hitting on Lake Orion and anglers report catching light numbers of bluegills on East and West Graham lakes. Bass, pike, and a couple of walleyes have been caught on Lakeville Lake, but no one is giving up any details.

Luna Pier Area (Mich.)

Local storms slowed the perch bite in the Western Basin of Lake Erie, but a few boats were still able to catch their limits. Fish were found in 22 to 25 feet of water near the E-Buoy and the Dumping Grounds, in 16 to 18 feet of water near the Red Buoy out of Bolles Harbor, in 14 to 16 feet of water in Brest Bay, and in 25 to 26 feet of water off the Fermi nuclear plant. Most were using minnows on perch rigs with green, orange, and chartreuse spinners, and crappie rigs. The best fishing has been between 6 and 11 a.m. Walleye limits were reported near the Dumping Grounds by anglers trolling spoons, and in 21 to 23 feet of water between Stony Point and Fermi with green, purple, blue, or chartreuse crawler harnesses. While perch fishing, anglers have also caught white bass, white perch, freshwater drum, and large channel catfish. The Hot Pond has produced good numbers of catfish for those using crawlers, and those bowfishing the same area got moderately sized common carp and various sized gar. Smallmouth bass were caught off the mouth of the River Raisin on green pumpkin tubes and drop-shot rigs. Smallies also have been caught in and around Bolles Harbor.


Coloma Area (Mich.)

Unstable weather wreaked havoc on fishing in Berrien and Van Buren counties. High winds blew cold water toward shore on Lake Michigan and the surface temperature dropped by more than 20 degrees overnight. Perch fishing has been slow as the fish have scattered. Fair numbers of bass have been caught on Paw Paw Lake. Fishing has been slow on the Paw Paw and St. Joseph rivers.

Coldwater Area (Mich.)

Fishing has been rather slow around Coldwater. Some decent numbers of crappies and bluegills have been caught on Gilead, Cary, and Coldwater lakes. A few walleyes have been caught on Madison Lake, but nothing to write home about.

Kalamazoo Area (Mich.)

Fishing for most species has been rather slow and inconsistent. Many anglers have reported catching very few to no fish on several bodies of water. The perch on Lake Michigan around the piers are still scattered, but once a group of them are found anglers have been catching good-sized fish. Most perch are being caught in about 60 feet of water. Bass fishing has been slow. River smallmouth fishing has been more productive than fishing for largemouths on inland lakes. Since water temperatures are fairly high on a lot of lakes, especially dark-bottomed lakes, the best fishing has been early in the morning and late in the evening.

Plainwell Area (Mich.)

Fishing has been slow and fishing pressure light on Gun Lake. Bluegills and crappies have been hitting in the coves, but the bite has been fair at best. Minnows have produced the most action. Smallmouth bass have been caught on coffee tubes.

Lake Erie (Pennsylvania) – Banner catches of walleyes continued in recent weeks. The walleye bite is still going on. Limits in mid-August were reported in 60 to 64 feet, although some anglers were doing well shallower and deeper. All manner of presentations were effective, including spoons, harnesses, crankbaits, and stickbaits, with bright colors working on sunny days and darker reds, purples, and blacks a little more effective under overcast skies. Some steelhead were reported along with walleyes in 40 feet.

Allegheny River (Warren County, Pa.) – Smallmouth bass were reported near Betts Park and at the mouth of Glade Run close to the Pennsylvania Avenue Bridge in mid-August. Some nice walleyes and white bass were hitting at the Kinzua Dam tailwaters.

Upper Clarion River, Piney Dam (Clarion County, Pa.) – Smallmouth bass were hitting in the shallows from Cooksburg downstream to the PFBC Millcreek Access Area through mid-August. Walleyes were biting in the early morning and late evening hours from the Clarion Borough water plant to above the Millcreek Access Area. Channel catfish were reported at night.

Lower Clarion River (Clarion County, Pa.) – Smallmouth bass were biting on flukes, spinnerbaits, and topwater lures on the entire length of the river in recent weeks. 

Allegheny River (Pa.) – Smallmouth bass were reported from Emlenton downstream to Lock No. 9 in recent weeks. Walleyes were hitting near the Parker islands. Anglers are catching channel catfish at night.

Redbank Creek (Clarion County, Pa.) – Trout and smallmouth bass were hitting near the dam in New Bethlehem.

Beaver Creek Ponds Project (Clarion County, Pa.) – Largemouth bass, bluegills, and catfish were reported on a variety of lures.

Kahle Lake (Clarion, Venango counties, Pa.) – A daytime largemouth bass bite was reported in recent weeks, with catches coming on soft plastics in a range of colors.

French Creek (Erie, Venango, Crawford, Mercer counties, Pa.) – Smallmouth bass and northern pike were reported on a variety of soft plastics and some topwater lures.

Allegheny River (Venango County, Pa.) – Smallmouth bass, channel catfish, and northern pike were taking soft plastics, spinnerbaits, stickbaits, and topwater lures.

Justus Lake (Venango County, Pa.) – Trout were reported in 25 to 40 feet in the warmer water.

Pymatuning Reservoir (Crawford County, Pa.) – Catfish were the main catch in the dog days of recent weeks. The walleye bite even at night had slowed considerably. Crappies were hit or miss, although one angler caught an 18-inch crappie. A few muskies up to about 40 inches were reported.

Conneaut Lake (Crawford County, Pa.) – Nice-size bluegills were biting in recent weeks. Deep-water pumpkinseeds also were hitting, as were black crappies, with some crappies measuring 14 inches.

Lake Wilhelm (Mercer County, Pa.) – Some nice crappies were coming in deep water. Lily pads in the bays also were yielding crappies. A 31.5-inch bowfin was released along with a few largemouth bass.

Shenango Reservoir (Mercer County, Pa.) – Warm water temperatures spurred hybrid stripers to feed, with schools chasing shiners near the main points of the lake and the shallow flats. Some nice-size white bass up to 16 inches were reported. Channel catfish were hitting, along with the occasional smallmouth bass. Crappies were schooling and hitting for those who could locate them.

Categories: News, Ohio Fishing Reports

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