Ohio Outdoor News Fishing and Hunting Report – Dec. 21, 2018
Alum Creek Lake (Delaware County) — There’s a layer of skim ice on Alum Creek Lake as of this writing on Dec. 9. Prior to ice-up, however, anglers were focusing their efforts on smallmouth bass and crappies. Some smallmouth were found in the south pool, biting on plastics. Crappies can be caught at this time of year using many of the same methods that you would while ice fishing. Tie on a jig and minnow and you’re likely to catch a panfish or two.
Buckeye Lake (Fairfield, Licking, Perry counties) — Temperatures have been cold enough in central Ohio for skim ice to form on many waterways, including Buckeye Lake. Prior to this, however, anglers were catching decent numbers of saugeyes at Lieb’s Island. The night bite seemed to be on, according to reports. The popular baits were Husky Jerks or any other type of jerkbait.
Indian Lake (Logan County) — Anglers continue to fish the Moundwood area of the lake as they will throughout the winter when there is open water. Very few reports of anyone catching saugeyes, though. A few are being caught right around dark, according to angler reports, but nothing to brag about.
Findlay Reservoir No. 2 (Hancock County) — Fishermen are trying for crappies and yellow perch without much luck, but the white bass bite appears to still be on, although somewhat less than it was two weeks ago. When the ice gets thick enough to support anglers, fishermen will be trying their luck for bluegills, perch, and crappies near the main boat launch.
Maumee River (Lucas County) — Fishing on the Maumee River is a tough proposition right now with cold temperatures and overnight lows in the 20s, making for a thin layer of ice on most northwest Ohio waterways. Good, fishable ice should be on the way, though, on local lakes and ponds. By the end of December, anglers could be on the ice in many locales. Panfish are the top early producers, so take a shot at crappies and bluegills first.
Maumee Bait and Tackle, www.maumeetackle.net
Lake Erie (various counties) — Anglers are successfully fishing for walleyes, yellow perch, and steelhead right now in multiple locations. In the Western Basin, perch are still being caught near Kelleys Island. Walleyes are being caught by trollers from Huron to Cleveland in 30 to 45 feet of water. Steelhead are being caught near the breakwalls at Fairport Harbor and Conneaut.
Berlin Lake (Portage, Mahoning, Stark counties) — When you can find open water at this time of year, a vertical presentation is the best ticket for catching walleyes at Berlin. Tie on a blade bait such as a Vib-E and go to work on drop-offs and ledges. Right now, though, the walleye bite seems to be a tough one, according to angler reports.
Mosquito Creek Lake (Trumbull County) — Anglers in this area are eagerly awaiting first ice to try their chances at walleyes and crappies. When the ice does come on, vertically jigging blade baits at points and drop-offs will produce both species, as well as channel catfish. Be absolutely sure, however, that there is safe ice before venturing onto the lake. Most experts recommend at least four inches of solid ice before anglers should venture out.
Atwood Lake (Carroll, Tuscarawas counties) — This is one of the lakes in the northeast Ohio area that will ice up early. When it does produce safe ice, one of the best spots to try is directly in front of the lodge. Saugeyes and white bass will be the primary catches, along with a few crappies.
Grand Lake St. Marys (Mercer, Auglaize counties) — Anglers are using jig and twister tail combos in the channels to catch crappies right now. The key is a slow retrieve on these presentations in the cold water. This lake is known as a good crappie lake with fish routinely up to 13 inches caught. Most reports recently have placed fish in the 9- to 11-inch range.
Paint Creek Lake (Highland, Ross counties — The spillway at Paint Creek is about the only place you can fish the lake at this time of year. Anglers are trying their luck for saugeyes and crappies, without a lot to show for their efforts. Dry weather should help stabilize things over the next couple of weeks, though, and the fishing should pick up.
Caesar Creek Lake (Warren, Clinton, Greene counties) — Anglers are fishing the spillway at Caesar Creek Lake for saugeyes and crappies. Some saugeyes are being caught, but most are in the short range, according to angler reports. Fishermen are not reporting much luck at all on crappies.
Salt Fork Lake (Guernsey County) — Reports of some muskies being caught at the lake top the list. Muskies in the 40-plus-inch range have been caught. Also, some channel catfish are being caught by anglers chasing muskies in the shallows.
Piedmont Lake (Belmont County) — Fishermen are successfully landing some saugeyes at Piedmont on blade baits. Vertically jig the bait in the customary wintertime presentation. The area around the dam has been the most productive, according to angler reports. Saugeyes up to 16 inches are being caught.
Leesville Lake (Carroll County) — Anglers are still fishing for muskies prior to ice-up on this lake in Carroll County known for its muskie population. A few have been caught in recent days, including a 42-inch specimen, according to angler reports.
Lake Erie Region
• The 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.
Where: Fishing has been good. Most anglers are focusing their efforts from Huron to Cleveland targeting 30 to 45 feet of water and moving nearshore around dusk and after dark. Anglers have also reported doing well off Kelleys Island in similar depths.
How: From Huron to Lorain, anglers have been trolling deep diving crankbaits 40 to 80 feet back at speeds of 1.2 to 1.7 mph. Moving farther east, anglers are trolling deep diving crankbaits at speeds of 1.4 to 1.8 mph, 90 to 130 feet back unassisted. Anglers have also reported success jigging lipless crankbaits and spoons tipped with shiners where fish are being marked.
Where: Fishing for yellow perch has been good. Fish have been caught in 20 to 30 feet of water off Huron and Vermillion, with good size fish (9 to 11 inches) being caught, but bites have been sporadic. Fish are being caught occasionally by the islands, south of Green Island, and east of Kelleys Island. Good fishing was reported in 40 feet of water northwest of Edgewater Park and in 48 feet of water north of Conneaut.
How: Perch spreaders with shiners fished near the bottom produce the most fish.
Where: Good fishing was reported from anglers trolling inside the Fairport Harbor breakwall and inside the Conneaut breakwall. Anglers fishing from shore are catching fish off the Edgewater, Gordon Park, Fairport Harbor, and Painesville Township piers, and Fairport Harbor breakwall.
How: The best baits have been small spoons and crankbaits for anglers trolling from boats, and jigs tipped with maggots fished under a bobber or small spoons for anglers fishing from shore.
The Rocky River and other area streams are offering good flow and stain for steelhead fishing, and anglers reported some of the best fishing of the year over the past few days. Wise anglers will check the trend from the flow gauge data before making a trip to the river. Fish are spread throughout the system at this time, with anglers reporting some better size fish (25-29 inches) in the mix. Steelhead have been caught on marabou jigs under floats, brightly colored dime to nickel size spawn sacs, beads that mimic salmon eggs, flies (egg patterns and baitfish streamers), and lures such as Little Cleo spoons and Vibrax spinners. Anglers by the marina reported the best luck on emerald shiners, which can be found in the river in that stretch at the present time.
Fishing along the Cleveland lakefront has been good with some catches of walleyes reported day and night from the E. 55th/E. 72nd breakwall areas. Lakefront steelhead have been biting on small jigs tipped with minnow suspended between four and six feet under a bobber, as well as for anglers casting spoons (i.e., Little Cleo or KO Wobbler) or spinner (i.e., Vibrax or RoosterTail). Some jumbo yellow perch are being caught on the west side of the E. 55th north facing breakwall on emerald shiners near the lake bottom.
In mid-October, rainbow trout (1,000 pounds) and farm-raised channel catfish (600 pounds) were stocked in the Ohio & Erie Canal fishing area off E. 49th Street and a fair number of these fish remain. Trout often bite well on a dime-sized ball of colorful PowerBait fished near the canal bottom with a sinker. Cleveland Metropark lakes/ponds were scheduled to be stocked with rainbow trout around mid-December.
Cleveland Metroparks, www.clevelandmetroparks.com
Lake St. Clair (Michigan)
Fishing pressure has been light on Lake St. Clair with high winds and rough water keeping anglers on shore. Those who could get out report catching a few walleyes. Skim ice was forming in the backwaters and canals in the mornings and anglers are punching holes and catching bluegills off the docks at Metro Beach. The firearms deer season was good the muzzleloader hunters are expecting a good season, too.
Lake Orion (Mich.)
There was no safe ice anywhere in Oakland County. Skim ice is forming in the mornings, but melting as the temperatures rise. Firearms deer season was pretty good at Bald Mountain Recreation Area with a couple of nice bucks being reported. Muzzleloader season should be good.
Trenton Area (Mich.)
Perch anglers were still getting some fish in the cuts and canals on the Detroit River, as well as in the mouth of the river, just south of Gibraltar Bay.
Luna Pier Area (Mich.)
When they can get out, anglers are catching decent numbers of walleyes on Lake Erie. The best reports were coming from anglers fishing east of Stony Point and out near the Michigan/Ohio boundary waters.
Coloma Area (Mich.)
Most lakes in southwestern Michigan are still wide open. The firearms deer season was fair. Muzzleloader season should be decent, especially with a little snow on the ground.
Union Area (Mich.)
The firearms deer season was good and the muzzleloader season should be pretty good, too. There was no ice on lakes in Cass County and there was about two inches of snow on the ground.
Grand Rapids Area (Mich.)
Ice was not forming on inland lakes around Grand Rapids. A few steelhead have been caught on the Grand River at the Sixth Street Dam.
Plainwell Area (Mich.)
There was no safe ice on Gun Lake. The firearms deer season was pretty good with several nice bucks being taken. There was about eight inches of snow on the ground. The muzzleloader deer season should be good.
Saginaw Bay Area (Mich.)
Perch have moved into the rivers and cuts along Lake Huron’s Saginaw Bay. When the wind allows, anglers report catching decent numbers of walleyes in deeper water. The firearms deer season was a good one in Bay County with several nice bucks being tagged. The muzzleloader season should also be productive with lots of deer in the area.
Baldwin Area (Mich.)
Steelhead fishing has been good on the Pere Marquette River, but fishing pressure has been light. Egg-related baits are producing the best results. Shelf ice has not started to form yet so access has been good. Skim ice was forming on some of the smaller inland lakes but nothing close to being safe, yet. The firearms deer season was decent. Deer movement seemed to be limited by high winds and poor weather. There was a dusting of snow on the ground. The muzzleloader season should be fair. Coyote hunting has been very good.
Weidman Area (Mich.)
The firearms deer season was pretty good. There was about six inches of snow on the ground. The muzzleloader season should be good, too. There was up to three inches of ice on some of the smaller lakes and anglers are slowly sneaking out. Anyone venturing out should use extreme caution. There was warm weather in the forecast. Coyote hunting has been good.
Presque Isle Bay (Erie County, Pennsylvania) — Perch were reported in Marina Bay. Walleyes also were in Marina Bay and off the tip of the South Pier. As lake perch moved into the bay, anglers on the North and South piers were making some nice catches. Steelhead were hitting in the bay, and northern pike were reported in Misery Bay.
Lake Erie tributaries (Pa.) — Stream levels were dropping, although rain was forecast. Winds were adding to chilly air temps and sending leaves onto streams. Steelhead were not active.