Ohio Outdoor News Fishing & Hunting Report – March 1, 2019
Alum Creek Lake (Delaware County) — About the only type of fishing going on right now at Alum Creek is below the spillway, and that isn’t such a sure bet, either. Water is reportedly muddy from all of the rain the area has received in the past two weeks. Not many anglers reporting catching anything, and there’s just a handful giving it a try, according to local reports.
Buckeye Lake (Fairfield, Licking, Perry counties) — It shouldn’t be long before open water dominates the conversation. One of the first willing biters at Buckeye in central Ohio is the channel catfish. Fish anywhere you can find shallow water and vegetation for the best catfish bite. Many baits will catch catfish, but veterans stick with a simple nightcrawler under a float to produce the bite.
Indian Lake (Logan County) — Anglers are fishing the shoreline at Moundwood and doing OK on saugeyes and decent size crappies. The successful bite is coming on small crankbaits or stick baits. If you go, be prepared to fish in a crowd, according to local reports. Indian is a popular angling destination at any time of the year.
Findlay Reservoir No. 2 (Hancock County) — Anglers fishing this northwest Ohio reservoir are having a hard time catching fish, according to reports. The Division of Wildlife stocks Findlay No. 2 with walleyes, but they are reportedly hard to come by. The best advice is to fish near the main boat ramp for walleyes and yellow perch. Try a minnow or minnow imitating artificial.
Lima Lake (Allen County) — Fishermen in recent weeks have been catching largemouth bass, according to reports. Bass have ranged from 12 to 14 inches and are being caught in shallow water near the shoreline. If you’re lucky, you might tie into an early spawning bass here. Use a nightcrawler under a float or about any type of plastic.
Lake Erie (East Harbor) — Anglers were still sitting on about six inches of ice here as of Sunday, Feb. 17, according to reports. Catches of yellow perch and crappies were common. Some of the perch were jumbo size, in the 12- to 13-inch range. Unfortunately, with warmer temperatures on the way it might be too soft to fish through the ice for much longer.
Berlin Lake (Portage, Mahoning, Stark counties) — Anglers in recent days have been fishing the shoreline in open water for largemouth bass. The best presentation offered for these early spawners is to fish in shallow water with jig and plastics or jig and minnow combinations. Not much success being reported for bass, but it’s about the only thing going right now.
Mosquito Creek Lake (Trumbull County) — As of Feb. 15, anglers were fishing the cemetery area of Mosquito through the ice but staying away from other parts of the lake. Local reports indicated about six inches of ice at the cemetery, but much less in other areas. Not much being reportedly caught, other than a few crappies.
Pymatuning Lake (Ashtabula County) — Anglers are reporting that there is no more good ice anywhere on Pymatuning. When temperatures warm up a bit, look for the lake’s crappies to turn on first. Also, white bass can be caught in the late winter and early spring here. In open water, try vertically jigging blade baits such as Vib-Es for crappies, walleyes, and white bass.
Paint Creek Lake (Highland County) — About the only fishing going on at Paint Creek right now is below the spillway, and even that is a tough proposal, according to angler reports. The lake is high and muddy due to all of the rain the area has received in the past week.
Rocky Fork Lake (Highland County) — Much like its neighbor in Paint Creek, Rocky Fork Lake is high and muddy at the moment. Some anglers are fishing off the docks, but with little success to report. The dock bite should pick up in a week to 10 days with more stable weather patterns and less precipitation in the forecast.
Grand Lake St. Marys (Mercer, Auglaize counties) — Fishermen are doing OK on crappies right now, primarily fishing from the shoreline in shallow water. The best bite is coming on minnows or wax worms under a float – the typical crappie presentation. Fish are ranging from eight to 11 inches.
Salt Fork Lake (Guernsey County) — Bluegills and crappies are being caught by shore anglers in recent days. The occasional channel catfish is also showing up in the mix. The best setup is a jig and wax worm combination or jig and minnow, the typical wintertime baits.
Seneca Lake (Noble, Guernsey counties) — Fishing the spillway at Seneca is about the only thing anglers can do right now, according to reports. Not many catching fish, other than the stray crappie here and there. When the water clears a bit from all of the rain, wise anglers can tie on a minnow under a float and catch crappies or saugeyes here.
Piedmont Lake (Belmont County) — Fishermen hitting up the spillway at Piedmont in recent days have caught the occasional saugeye, according to reports. Pressure is light. The few anglers who are fishing are reporting a tough bite for saugeyes, but they are catching them at times. The popular baits have been a live minnow or nightcrawler tied on line’s end.
Lake Erie Region
• The bag limit for walleye in Ohio waters of Lake Erie is four fish per angler. The minimum size limit for walleyes 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.
New for 2019:
A Lake Erie fishing permit is required for nonresidents from Jan. 1 to April 30 when fishing Lake Erie and areas immediately upstream in creeks, rivers, and tributaries.
Not much fishing going on at Lake Erie proper due to temperatures not cold enough for ice fishing and open-water opportunities limited by skim ice.
The Rocky River and other area streams were elevated and stained following the rain early this month, but should be in decent shape for the weekend. The ice is gone and steelhead will be available as the water clears. During a brief window of decent fishing conditions before the rain/sleet, several anglers reported success throughout the Rocky River. When the water is stained it’s tough to beat a nickel size bag of salmon eggs in brighter colors, such as hot pink or chatreuse. As waters contine to clear, the big trout will bite marabou jigs under floats, smaller dime size spawn sacs, beads that mimic salmon eggs, flies (egg patterns and baitfish streamers), and lures such as Little Cleo spoons and wobbling crankbaits. Steelhead numbers can be expected to peak into March-April.
During the brief period that anglers got on the ice in Cleveland area harbors on Lake Erie results were largely disappointing. The main issue was a hyper-abundance of gizzard shad. This is great for predator fish, but makes fishing tough. Harbors still have ice cover (boat launches are not usable), but the lake is ice free along the Cleveland shoreline as far as the eye can see. With a south wind, anglers have a shot at steelhead and yellow perch at the E. 55th breakwall.
Anglers are catching trout on various Cleveland Metroparks lakes. Throughout the winter, a total of 6,000 pounds of rainbow trout were stocked in Metroparks lakes, as follows: Wallace (2,800 pounds), Shadow (1,500 pounds), Ledge (1,200 pounds), Judge’s (300 pounds), and Ranger (200 pounds) lakes. In addition to rainbow trout averaging between 1 and 2 pounds, quite a few bonus brown, brook trout, and golden rainbow trout were included (especially in Wallace Lake). Trout are also available at Ohio & Erie Canal fishing area down the hill from CanalWay Visitor Center off E. 49th Street. Note the current seasonal trout regulations: Lake Erie and all streams, two/day, minimum size 12 inches (this includes steelhead); three/day, no size limit at Wallace, Ledge, Judge’s, and Ranger lakes; and five/day, no size limit at Shadow Lake and Ohio & Erie Canal. Trout through the ice bite well on small to medium size jigging spoons with silver or gold colors, small marabou jigs tipped with grubs, PowerBait in bright colors, live minnows, and salmon eggs/small spawn sacs.
Ice has degraded rapidly at Metroparks’ inland lakes and ponds recently and should not be considered safe. Anglers can still fish from the safety of shore in areas where the water drops off quickly, such as from docks, other platforms, etc. Due to the deterioration of ice conditions, Cleveland Metroparks is not planning to have an ice-fishing fundraiser derby this year.