Ohio Outdoor News Fishing & Hunting Report – March 29, 2019
Alum Creek Lake (Delaware County) — Water temperatures are still running a little cold at Alum Creek, and not a lot of boats have been out as a result. The boats that are out are marking catfish, but finding the bite a tough one. Use chicken livers or nightcrawlers fished on the bottom to pick up a channel cat or two.
Buckeye Lake (Fairfield, Licking, Perry counties) — With water temperatures on the rise, anglers are fishing for saugeyes here with some success. Fish up to 17 inches are being reported on Husky Jerks or jig and trailer combos tipped with a minnow. Catfish too should be coming on soon.
Griggs Reservoir (Franklin County) — This reservoir that runs into the Scioto River is a main water supply lake for the City of Columbus. But the spring fishing for crappies and hybrid striped bass can be good, too. For crappies, tie on a jig and minnow or jig and wax worm combo and fish it under a float. For hybrid stripers, fish a bit deeper in the water column with chicken livers.
Willard Reservoir (Huron County) — Anglers continue to fish this Huron County lake, primarily for early spring catfish. For best results, fish chicken livers or nightcrawlers on the bottom. Some crappies and bluegills are also being caught in the shallows around blowdowns and wood.
Maumee River (Lucas County) — The walleye run is just getting started, according to Maumee Bait and Tackle. Wading to Bluegrass Island is not permitted as of March 19 but many other areas of the river are open for fishing. These include the Davis Overlook, Ft. Meigs, White Street, and the towpath from White Street to Side Cut park. After a big cleanup effort at Orleans Park, that area too is now open for fishing. The best colors for jigs and tails have been green heads with green/chartreuse tails, pink heads with rocket red tails, black heads with a shimmer shad tail, and orange heads with a fire tiger tail. The tackle shop reports slow walleye fishing so far, but the action should pick up in the next couple of weeks.
Maumee Bait and Tackle, www.maumeetackle.net
Bucyrus Reservoir No. 2 (Crawford County) — Anglers fishing this reservoir in recent days have been finding crappies and bluegills as willing biters. For early spring panfish, focus on any structure in the water such as wood and fish it hard. Try wax worms or minnows for bait. The early spring bite should last through at least the end of April.
West Branch Lake (Portage County) — This is a good time of year to target West Branch walleyes just after ice out. Crankbaits of various patterns will work on these predators. Anglers fishing into the evening hours are having the best luck. Muskies, too, are on the angler menu here and should not be overlooked.
Mosquito Creek Lake (Trumbull County) — Anglers are wading the shallows and others are bank fishing and picking up some yellow perch. Not much in the way of walleyes to report. One angler reported catching 30 perch in one outing, wading along the shoreline.
Berlin Lake (Portage, Mahoning, Stark counties) — Recent fishing reports indicate the causeway is the place to be on Berlin for early spring crappies. Tube jigs are working well as are any panfish-imitating baits. Some of the crappies being caught are nice 11- to 12-inch specimens. Not much to report on the walleye bite just yet.
Caesar Creek Lake (Warren, Clinton, Greene counties) — Anglers chasing panfish and white bass continue to fare OK on this big southwest Ohio lake. Crappies and bluegills can be caught on most any offering, but most anglers use a live minnow under a float or a jig tipped with a minnow. White bass will bite on most anything as well, but try a wax worm on a jig to pick up the bite. All three species can be caught on wax worms.
Rocky Fork Lake (Highland County) — Fishermen using jigs and minnows are catching yellow perch, crappies, and a few white bass. Fish the bait between 10 to 15 feet deep for best results. Target the area by the restaurant docks for the best panfish bite. For a full report on Rocky Fork Lake, see the back page of this issue of Ohio Outdoor News.
Adams Lake (Adams County) — Rainbow trout were stocked here by the DNR Division of Wildlife on March 8. A lot of anglers are reportedly fishing for them, but not catching much. Water clarity is reportedly poor due to a lot of rain in the area. Fish doughballs or canned corn for these rainbows in clearer water conditions.
Salt Fork Lake (Guernsey County) — Anglers are reporting that Salt Fork is muddy like chocolate milk from all the rain in recent days. Still, fishermen are trying for channel catfish, but there’s not a lot of catching going on. In muddy water, be sure the bait you’re using has extra scent on it. Catfish will be better able to located the bait due to its smell.
Seneca Lake (Noble, Guernsey counties) — Anglers are fishing the spillway at Seneca and reporting a few crappies and bluegills. Most are using minnows or wax worms in the turbid water. A jig with a twister tail is also an option, preferably in brighter patterns.
Tappan Lake (Harrison County) — The lake is fairly clear in water clarity, according to local reports. Anglers are fishing it, but pressure is not too heavy just yet. A few crappies have been reported, but nothing big enough to be kept. The saugeyes should turn on as water temperatures warm up a bit. For saugeyes, a Vib-E blade bait fished on points can’t be beat. Retrieve the bait slowly in cooler water conditions.
Lake Erie Region
• The bag limit for walleyes 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.
Lake Erie is currently in a period of transition from skim ice to open water. A few boats have been launched from mainland sites in recent days, but walleye reports have been slow to come in. Fishing on the reefs for males should commence in earnest in a week or two, according to local reporting.
The Rocky River and other area streams are offering very good conditions and steelhead fishing opportunities after being elevated earlier. This scenario may not last into the weekend, though, if we receive lots of rain. Anglers will need to check the flow gage trend before making a trip to the river. Steelhead are well dispersed throughout the river systems, with the freshest fish being concentrated in the northern river reaches closer to Lake Erie. Steelhead in late winter will bite a variety of offerings, including smaller dime size spawn bags, 1⁄32-1⁄64-ounce marabou jigs under floats (black, pink, and white are top colors), beads that mimic salmon eggs, and flies (egg patterns and baitfish streamers). In cold water, a wobbling crankbait worked slowly through a deep hole can also produce well at times. Steelhead numbers can be expected to peak into late March-April so the best fishing of the year is coming soon.
The north facing breakwall at E. 55th and the rocks at Edgewater Park offer a chance at steelhead and yellow perch. The boat launch ramp at Edgewater is usable for small boats. As these harbor areas open up further, anglers have a chance at pre-spawn northern pike and largemouth bass. A white spinnerbait with silver blades worked slowly is a good early season choice for both species.
Remaining ice is melting rapidly and opportunities for catching trout are very good at Cleveland Metroparks’ stocked inland lakes. And if rain fouls up river conditions this weekend this will be a great alternative. In early March, Wallace Lake received an infusion of 1,100 pounds of trout. About two-thirds of the fish are rainbow trout averaging a little over a pound each, but especially exciting was that over 100 quality size and colorful brook trout were included, as well as a fair number of golden rainbow trout and a few trophy brown trout. Throughout the winter, a total of 7,100 pounds of rainbow trout were stocked between Wallace, Shadow, Ledge, Judge’s, and Ranger lakes. Trout are also available at Ohio & Erie Canal fishing area down the hill from CanalWay Visitor Center off E. 49th Street. Please 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 typically bite well on PowerBait, jigs tipped with a few maggots/wax worms, and smaller spinners (such as Rooster Tail). Metroparks tentatively plans to begin spring stocking of rainbow trout in the East Branch Rocky River at Millstream Run Reservation in Berea and Strongsville next week. The Ohio Division of Wildlife is scheduled to stock pan sized rainbow trout at Hinckley and Shadow lakes on March 29.
Cleveland Metroparks, www.clevelandmetroparks.com