Ohio Outdoor News Fishing Report – Sept. 28, 2018

Central Region

Hoover Reservoir (Delaware, Franklin Counties) – Fishermen dunking their baits in seven to 12 feet of water are doing OK catching crappies at this central Ohio reservoir. Despite warm water temperatures, the crappies have yet to go deep, according to angler reports. The best bite is coming for those fishermen trolling live minnows very slowly.

Scioto River (various counties) – Anglers are doing well for flathead catfish on the Scioto River just south of Columbus. Some of these specimens have been decent size, up to 32 inches. The popular baits have been nightcrawlers and chicken livers fished on the bottom.

Delaware Lake (Delaware County) – Fishermen slow trolling minnows are catching a few crappies on this lake known for its panfish. No one is reporting catching a load of fish, but a few 12-inch specimens have been in the mix. Also, shore anglers are reportedly catching largemouth bass and a few crappies by using minnows or nightcrawlers.

Alum Creek Lake (Delaware County) – Anglers are searching for saugeyes here with some success. The successful bite is coming for those fishermen trolling Flicker Shads or other similar baits. Also, a few muskies are being caught, although the largest being reported was a 25-incher. Smallmouth, too, are biting for anglers fishing inline spinnerbaits and buzzbaits in the lily pads.

Indian Lake (Logan County) – Channel catfish is about the only species that anglers are catching right now. Artificials that work have included inline spinnerbaits, while other anglers are using nightcrawlers fished on the bottom. Most of the cats are ranging in size from 16 to 22 inches.

Northwest Region

Upper Sandusky Reservoir No. 2 (Wyandot County) – Fishermen fishing for bass are experiencing a tough bite on this reservoir just outside of the city of Upper Sandusky. The best advice being offered is to use a weedless bait or something that will punch through the vegetation.

Clearfork Reservoir (Richland, Morrow counties) – Water clarity has been poor, but a few anglers are managing to catch and release largemouth bass. The successful anglers have been using bright-colored plastics, including crankbaits and swimbaits.

East Harbor (Erie County) – Anglers are catching and releasing largemouth bass here in recent days. Just about any bait will catch bass, including live nightcrawlers and plastics. Anglers in smaller boats like kayaks and canoes seem to do well here.

Maumee River (Lucas County) – According to Maumee Bait and Tackle on Sept. 18, smallmouth bass action on the river has been good. Popular areas to try are Side Cut Park, Bluegrass Island, Buttonwood, and near the 475 bridge. Also, the bait shop reports that catfish are biting on any number of live baits, including nightcrawlers, crawfish, minnows, and shad. The crappie bite has not yet picked up in the river, but area ponds and lakes are giving up good numbers of bluegills.

Maumee Bait and Tackle, www.maumeetackle.net

Northeast Region 

Berlin Lake (Portage, Mahoning, Stark counties) – Anglers using jigs tipped with maggots or waxworms are catching crappies. Minnows are also catching fish. Some channel catfish ranging from 10 to 14 inches are being caught on these same baits, according to reports.

Pymatuning Lake (Ashtabula County) – Anglers trolling worm harnesses are catching walleyes. The key, according to reports, is to troll the bait slowly. Walleyes are ranging up to 20 inches. Also, some crappies and channel cats are being caught on nightcrawler setups.

Mogadore Reservoir (Portage County) – A few anglers are catching bluegills here with some regularity. The popular bait has been a jig and minnow setup, or simply a minnow fished under a bobber. Bluegills are ranging from 7 to 10 inches.

Mosquito Creek Lake (Trumbull County) – Some channel catfish and crappies are being caught in seven to 12 feet of water. Anglers are using nightcrawlers or minnows to entice the bite. Not much action on walleyes to report.

Southwest Region 

Rocky Fork Lake (Highland County) – Anglers are fishing for largemouth bass here with some success. The best bite is coming for anglers using plastic worms or inline spinnerbaits. Bass are ranging in size from 12 to 18 inches.

Acton Lake (Preble, Butler counties) – Fishermen are slow-trolling minnows or minnow-imitating baits for the crappie bite here. Fish the bait in 10 to 12 feet of water for best results. Crappies up to 12 inches have been caught.

Caesar Creek Lake (Warren, Clinton, Greene counties) – Anglers are catching saugeyes, although most fish appear to be in the short 12-14-inch range. The successful bite is coming on medium size crankbaits in a variety of patterns. Also, some crappies are being caught by fishermen dunking minnows. White bass are also being caught on just about any offering.

East Fork Lake (Clermont County) – Anglers are searching for a good bass bite here with little success to show for it. Fishermen are casting spinnerbaits against the rocks and docks to catch a few smaller fish. About the biggest largemouth being reported is in the 14-inch range.

Southeast Region

Seneca Lake (Noble, Guernsey counties) – The saugeye bite at Seneca hasn’t been great, but a few anglers are catching them on blade baits such as Vib-Es in a variety of patterns. Most fish are running in the shortish 10-14-inch range, but there are a few keepers mixed in.

Salt Fork Lake (Guernsey County) – Fishermen are catching crappies and channel catfish with some regularity. The successful setup for catching fish has been simply a minnow or nightcrawler under a float. Some of the catfish being reported have topped 20 inches.

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 Flicker Shad in a variety of patterns to catch saugeyes, according to reports. The successful bite is coming in 10 to 12 feet of water. Troll the bait slowly for best results. Some crappies and channel catfish are also being caught by the trollers.

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 has been fair with the best reports coming from Cedar Point, Huron, and Vermilion in 25 to 45 feet of water. Anglers are reporting limits of 17- to 22-inch fish. Fish are being caught less than one mile offshore east of Kelleys Island as well.

How: Anglers trolling small spoons behind divers have been doing the best, from 45 to 80 feet back depending on where the fish are in the water column. Orange and purple have been working well. Fish have been caught trolling crankbaits and stick baits with increasing success. Anglers have also reported doing well on worm harnesses behind bottom bouncers or divers.

Yellow Perch

Where: Fishing for yellow perch has been fair due to the inconsistent weather patterns. Prior to this past week’s storm, the best reports came from south of Green Island in 25 to 30 feet of water, and near the Camp Perry “D” can. Look for the fishing in these areas to pick up after the weather stabilizes.

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

Black Bass

Where: Fishing for largemouth bass continues to be good for anglers in the Portage River mouth, East and West harbors, and Sandusky Bay. Smallmouth fishing has been fair.

How: Texas-rigged soft plastics and spinnerbaits have been producing well for largemouth bass on the outside of weed edges.


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 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: Good fishing reported in 65 feet of water northeast of Wildwood Park. Excellent fishing continues with limits reported in 69 to 73 feet of water north of Geneva, and in 70 to 72 feet of water north of Ashtabula. Fish are suspended, and anglers are targeting fishing depths of 40 to 60 feet while trolling.

How: Walleyes have been caught by trolling crankbaits, spoons, and worm harnesses with divers. Good colors to try are silver, green, orange, black, white and silver, 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 storms this past week, fishing had been good in 44 feet of water north-northwest of Fairport Harbor, and in 60 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 69 to 73 feet of water.

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

As we begin our approach to fall, highlight species targeted by anglers along the Rocky River and other area streams include smallmouth bass, carp, panfish, and channel catfish – with a watchful eye looking for early returning steelhead trout. The Rocky River was stained and muddy from rain this week but is dropping into fishable shape.

Lake Erie anglers are targeting walleyes, yellow perch, smallmouth bass, and panfish; inland lake/pond anglers are primarily pursuing largemouth bass, channel catfish, and panfish. 

Early steelhead first show up off the rocks at Edgewater and E. 55th, Wildwood Park, and in the northernmost river sections by the lake. The lake has been fishable with mostly moderate size (three foot or less) waves the day leading up to this report. Casting a spoon (i.e., Little Cleo or KO Wobbler) or spinner (i.e., Vibrax or RoosterTail) at these locations are as good a bet as any for connecting with an early steelhead trout. The cooler rain we just received this week will surely entice some early steelhead into the streams, but any fish caught this early should be considered a bonus. Things traditionally start to heat up with the steelhead fishing into October.

Anglers are also pursuing a mix of warm-water species in the streams. Smallmouth bass are typically found in the deeper, rocky pools of the river during the day in 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 about 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).

Channel catfish, carp, sheepshead, and several sucker species are also present in some of these same areas in the river, especially around the marina on the Rocky. Catfishing is usually best during lower light conditions using baits such as nightcrawlers, minnows, chicken liver, and processed dough baits. Catfish often bite best following a rain when the water is a bit murky. Carp can often be caught throughout the day on such bait as canned corn, carp dough baits, worms, or crayfish tails. 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.

Anglers at Cleveland Metroparks inland lakes and ponds are catching catfish, largemouth bass, and panfish. Wallace Lake, Ledge Lake, Shadow Lake, and Beyer’s Pond are a few spots that can be worth poking around in late summer.

Rock bass, largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, crappie, freshwater drum, and sunfish species can be found along the Cleveland shoreline in summer and can be caught on offerings such as tube jigs, dropshot rigs, and live bait. Some good eater size walleyes (15-20 inches) have been found in water as shallow as 16-24 feet deep by Cleveland area boating anglers, although more consistent catches are being made in 68-70 feet of water. Yellow perch fishing off Cleveland has been heating up off Wildwood Park in 32-38 feet of water.

Cleveland Metroparks, www.clevelandmetroparks.com

Categories: News, Ohio Fishing Reports

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