Ohio Outdoor News Fishing & Hunting Report – Jan. 4, 2019

Central Region

Alum Creek Lake (Delaware County) — When they can find a pocket of open water, anglers have done well on saugeyes, smallmouth bass, and crappies. A week of warm temperatures and rain in late December allowed what ice had formed on the lake to dissipate. Anglers are using jerkbaits to catch saugeyes and crappies, and smallmouth bass are biting on live bait fished about halfway down the water column.

Buckeye Lake (Fairfield, Licking, Perry counties) — The night bite for saugeyes continues to be about the only thing going on Buckeye at the moment. Anglers are using Husky Jerks or other types of jerkbaits to entice the saugeye bite. A few crappies have been reported, too, around Lieb’s Island.

Indian Lake (Logan County) — The waters of Indian Lake were locked into a thin sheet of ice for a while in early December, but warmer weather and rain wiped that out. As of Dec. 21, anglers were fishing all over the lake, especially at Moundwood, without much to show for it. Water is reportedly very dirty, which is making for a tough bite.

Northwest Region

Findlay Reservoir No. 2 (Hancock County) — Still not enough ice thick enough to fish on this northwest Ohio reservoir in the city of Findlay, and fluctuating temperatures could put things on hold for a while. In the winter months, Findlay No. 2 is a decent place to catch perch and panfish when weather conditions permit.

Maumee River (Lucas County) — We’re at that time of year when fishing the Maumee River is a tough proposition. It’s too cold for most anglers to get out, but too warm for ice to form for ice fishing. On Lake Erie, though, there have been reports of fishermen doing well from the various fishing piers after dark. Walleyes have been caught by these anglers. The ’eyes are chasing shad near the shoreline right now, bringing them closer to shore.

Maumee Bait and Tackle, www.maumeetackle.net

Lake Erie (Central Basin) — The DNR Division of Wildlife shared news recently of a successful walleye and yellow perch hatch in the Central Basin of Lake Erie. Preliminary data from this year’s fall trawl show and exceptional hatch of walleyes and an average hatch of perch, the DNR reports. The DNR Division of Wildlife’s results from the 2018 survey indicate that young-of-the-year walleye catch rates were the highest recorded in the past 20 years of the Central Basin trawl survey (32 fish per hectare). This year’s results, combined with the excellent 2015 year-class, will ensure adult walleye abundance in the Central Basin will continue to increase. Trawl survey results for yellow perch indicate the hatch was the highest observed since 2014 (40 fish per hectare) and just below the long-term average (45 fish per hectare) for the Central Basin. In the individual management units, the western portion of the Central Basin (Huron to Fairport) index was 28 fish per hectare, below the average of 42 per hectare. The index in the eastern portion of the Central Basin (Fairport to Conneaut) was 51 fish per hectare, above the average of 41 per hectare.

Northeast Region

Berlin Lake (Portage, Mahoning, Stark counties) — Fluctuating water levels make wintertime fishing a bit of a difficult proposition here. But, anglers report that they do catch walleyes in the winter on blade baits such as Vib-Es. For a complete report on Berlin Lake, including information from northeast Ohio fish management supervisor Curt Wagner, see the back page of the Jan. 4 issue of Ohio Outdoor News.

Mosquito Creek Lake (Trumbull County) — Skim ice is forming on Mosquito Creek, but we’ve yet to hear of a report of anyone getting out. Warm temperatures and rain the week of Dec. 17 probably washed out any of the ice that had formed. When the ice does come on, expect to catch walleyes, yellow perch, and crappies through the holes. Blade baits will work in a vertical jigging presentation and jig and maggots will catch panfish.

Nimisila Reservoir (Summit County) — Fishermen are taking advantage of open water conditions to catch yellow perch in recent days. Not a lot of perch are being reported, but the anglers who are catching them are using jig and minnow or jig and skirt combos.

Southwest Region

East Fork Lake (Clermont County) — Fishermen are reporting some success catching crappies at this lake outside of Cincinnati. The problem is that most of the crappies being caught are short fish. Anglers are complaining that normal fall/winter patterns have not produced on this lake. Try fishing a jig and minnow combination or straight minnow a little bit deeper in the water column.

Rocky Fork Lake (Highland, Ross counties — Anglers are fishing the docks at Rocky Fork and producing a mixed bag of fish. Crappies, yellow perch, and white bass have all been in the mix. The popular bait has been an ice spoon tipped with a waxworm. White bass are the most willing biters, according to reports, and can be caught by the bucket full.

Caesar Creek Lake (Warren, Clinton, Greene counties) ­— The crappie bite has reportedly picked up a little in recent days, according to angler reports. Successful fishermen are simply tying on a minnow beneath a float in 15 to 20 feet of water to get the crappies to bite. Many fish are being caught, though most are running on the small side.

Southeast Region

Salt Fork Lake (Guernsey County) — Anglers are trying their level best to catch saugeyes, but are mostly striking out. A few fish are being reported, but nothing of any size to mention. The channel catfish bite has been better, though. And crappies too seem to be hard to catch. Try ice-fishing techniques for the panfish.

Tappan Lake (Harrison County) — Anglers are focusing their efforts on the bridge overpasses in the evening hours to catch crappies. Fishermen are throwing a variety of baits at them, including jigs, spoons, and blade baits. Some of the crappies have been decent size, around the 12-inch range.

Leesville Lake (Carroll County) — Fishermen are still chasing muskies on this lake prior to ice-up. A period of rain and warmer temperatures has served to keep the main lake waters open. Nothing much to report on the muskie bite, however.

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.

Walleye

Where: Fishing has been good for anglers who have been able to get out. Most anglers are focusing their effort from Huron to Cleveland targeting 30 to 45 feet of water. Some reports are coming from north of Kelleys Island in 40 to 50 feet of water as well.

How: From Huron to Lorain, anglers have been trolling deep diving crankbaits 40 to 120 feet back at speeds of 1.0 to 1.4 mph, adding snap weights up to 2 ounces to get down to the fish. Anglers have also reported success jigging lipless crankbaits and spoons tipped with shiners where fish are being marked.

Yellow Perch

Where: Fishing for yellow perch has been decent. Good fishing reported in 40 feet of water north of Gordon Park, and in 48 feet of water north of Conneaut with reports of fish over 13 inches.

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

Steelhead Trout

Where: Good fishing 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 the Fairport Harbor breakwall.

How: The best baits have been small spoons and crankbaits for anglers trolling fishing from boats, and jigs tipped with maggots fished under a bobber or small spoons for anglers fishing from shore. 

As of Dec. 24, the Lake Erie water temperature was 33 off Toledo and 39 off Cleveland, according to the nearshore marine forecast. 

The Rocky River and other area streams are offering good flow and stain for steelhead fishing, and anglers reported good fishing recently. But there is rain in the forecast so wise anglers will check the trend from the flow gage 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. Overall, the general feeling is that this steelhead season has been somewhat below average overall, although the past two weeks have offered some of the best fishing of the year so far.

Anglers fishing along the Cleveland lakefront have a shot at late season walleye from the E. 55th/E. 72nd breakwall areas. Lakefront steelhead have been caught on small jigs tipped with a 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, as well as by boaters off the east end of the city breakwall.

Cleveland Metroparks recently stocked 3,000 pounds of rainbow trout, as follows: Wallace (1,400 pounds), Shadow (750 pounds), Ledge (600 pounds), Judge’s (150 pounds), and Ranger (100 pounds) lakes. The size of the trout averages about 1.5 pound each, although fish range from .75 pounds to 2.5 pounds. Along with the predominantly standard rainbow trout are a fair number of colorful golden rainbow trout. Please note: the limits on these trout is at three/day at Wallace, Ledge, Judge’s and Ranger lakes and five/day at Shadow Lake and Ohio & Erie Canal fishing area (there is no size limit, unlike the river where trout need to be minimum length of 12 inches and you can harvest 2/day). The second and final round of winter trout will go into the same lakes around mid to late January. These trout bite well on jigging spoons, brightly colored PowerBait, and small jigs tipped with a few maggots or a waxworm. Metropark lakes should be ice free for the weekend based on the current forecast.

Categories: Hunting News, News, Ohio Fishing Reports

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