Ohio Outdoor News Fishing & Hunting Report – April 12, 2019
Buckeye Lake (Fairfield, Licking, Perry counties) – Anglers are catching wipers here by tight-lining chicken livers or shrimp on the bottom, much like you would fish for catfish. For saugeyes, cast a crankbait in perch patterns for the best results. Saugeyes have been ranging up to 20 inches. Anglers are also catching catfish, crappies, and bluegills by fishing live bait.
Alum Creek Lake (Delaware County) – Muskie anglers are having some success here by fishing swimbaits. The largest muskie being reported recently was 46 inches. Find wood and fish it hard. Warmer temperatures in the forecast should also trigger a better bite for saugeyes and crappies. Troll Flicker Shads for the best results on these two species.
Delaware Lake (Delaware County) – Anglers are reportedly slaying the crappies at Delaware, a lake known for producing slabs. Some 30-fish limits have been reported in just a few hours of fishing. The popular set up has been slow trolling minnows in eight to 10.5 feet of water. Also, shore anglers are doing OK for crappies. Use a jig and minnow combination or just a straight minnow under a float.
Hoover Reservoir (Delaware, Franklin counties) – Limits of crappies are being caught by anglers fishing jigs tipped with minnows. Some are also slow trolling for the successful crappie bite with the same baits. Fish the bait between 10 and 15 feet deep for best results. White bass, too, are being caught by slow-trolling anglers.
Indian Lake (Logan County) – Anglers are hitting up the early spring bite for panfish here. Many bluegills and crappies are being caught, including some near limits on crappies. Try a jig and minnow combination or simply a minnow below a bobber. Wax worms under a float is also a good option for panfish.
Lima Lake (Allen County) – Anglers are fishing this reservoir hard for yellow perch with some success. Try a jig and minnow combination or just a minnow under a float. Fish the bait fairly deep for the best perch bite. Successful anglers might also tie on a crappie rig baited with minnows to pick up some perch and/or crappies.
Maumee River (Lucas County) – Though winter time cold temperatures still seem to be hanging on, anglers are catching walleyes on the Maumee. According to Maumee Bait and Tackle, the river level is dropping, which should allow anglers to hit some of their favorite spots. As of now, Orleans Park and the White Street access continue to be the popular spots. Ford Street and Fort Meigs just beyond the pillars can also be good in these conditions. Wading to Bluegrass Island was not possible in the early days of April. Popular colors were orange and black, glow and dark blue sparkle, green with Christmas lights, and black and dark orange sparkle.
Maumee Bait and Tackle, www.maumeetackle.net
Bresler Reservoir (Allen County) – Anglers are drift fishing live bait rigs with leeches, nightcrawlers, and minnows to pick up some white bass and crappies. Fish the bait between 10 and 12 feet deep for better results. Some catfish, too, are being caught by anglers fishing cut baits on the bottom.
West Branch Reservoir (Portage, County) – Fishermen at this lake are targeting crappies with some success. The best crappie bite is coming in six to 12 feet of water. Anglers are catching them on plastics as well as live bait such as nightcrawlers, minnows, or wax worms. Muskie reports have been few and far between. The largest muskie reportedly caught recently was a 30-incher.
Berlin Lake (Portage, Mahoning, Stark counties) – Anglers are successfully catching crappies here on a variety of tube jigs. The best bite is coming late in the morning or afternoon, according to angler reports. Fishermen are targeting river channels to find suspended fish. Other fishermen are focusing efforts on the 224 causeway with stickbaits and jerkbaits and doing OK in the nighttime hours primarily.
Pymatuning Reservoir (Ashtabula County) – Fishermen are catching channel catfish in this large Ashtabula County lake. Crappies and rock bass, too, are biting on minnows fished under a bobber. Find the crappies and rock bass near wood in the lake. Fish the bait at medium depths. Others are fishing for walleyes with limited success.
Nimisila Reservoir (Summit County) – Anglers are catching good numbers of crappies at this lake in the Portage Lakes region. Fishermen are finding these papermouths in the weeds in five to 10 feet of water. Successful anglers are using jig and minnow combos. Popular colors for the trailer have been purple, white, and chartreuse. Crappies are ranging up to a very good 13 inches.
Mosquito Creek Lake (Trumbull County) – Anglers are wading this large northeast Ohio lake and catching some walleyes. Shad-patterned crankbaits are the popular offerings. Anglers are also fishing at the spillway for walleyes with good results. There is no size limit on walleyes here, and anglers are catching fish ranging from 12 to 20 inches. The spring walleye bite on this lake should only get better as the water temperatures rise.
Rocky Fork Lake (Highland County) – Fishermen here are catching largemouth bass with some regularity. Plastics are working better than any other bait. Cast anywhere along the shoreline with topwater baits or swimbaits for better results. Catfish, too, are an option here and this is a decent lake for channels. Fish chicken livers tightline on the bottom for a successful catfish bite.
Paint Creek Lake (Highland County) – Anglers are fishing the spillway area of this lake for saugeyes and crappies with some success. The successful setup has been live bait such as nightcrawlers or minnows fished under a float.
Grand Lake St. Marys (Mercer County) – The crappie bite has been good recently on Grand Lake St. Marys. Anglers are fishing straight minnows or wax worms under a float for the best bite. Sizes have ranged up to a respectable 13 inches. The state has stocked perch here in recent years, so that may be an option for anglers, although perch reports are few and far between on this lake it seems.
Caesar Creek Lake (Warren, Clinton, Greene counties) – Fishermen are itching for the good crappie bite on this lake. Look for downed trees, stick-ups, any kind of cover in the early spring and you’ll likely find some crappies. Some muskies are being caught, but nothing of much size to report, according to local angler reports.
Great Miami River (various counties) – Anglers are hitting the GMR in a number of spots and catching smallmouth bass. For the best bite this spring, fish your bait shallow – such as 3-6 feet of water – and look for seams in the current. The best setup has been a 3- to 5-inch finesse tube fished slowly. These smallmouth are reportedly light biters, so set the hook at the first sign of resistance.
Clendening Lake (Harrison County) – Anglers are finding crappies suspended in about 20 feet of water here, close to downed timber. Look for any stick-ups and they should hold a fair share of crappies. The popular setup has been a live minnow under a float. Jigs, too, are also working in white, chartreuse, and pumpkinseed. Some anglers are catching a load of crappies on these baits, some up to 11 inches.
Hocking River (Hocking County) – Anglers are fishing the area of the river at White’s Mill to pick up some catfish. Both channels and flatheads are reportedly being caught. The popular setup has been a chub fished tightline on the bottom. When weather conditions permit, this can be a good place to fish for a variety of species.
Burr Oak Lake (Morgan, Athens counties) – Anglers fishing for bass here have had success in recent days. The popular pattern has been a deep-diving crankbait in a variety of colors. Fish points and rocky areas in 13 to 18 feet of water for the best results.
Piedmont Lake (Belmont County) – Anglers are fishing for saugeyes and muskies here with little to show for it, according to angler reports. Fishermen are throwing big bucktails in search of muskies, and some incidental catches of saugeye have occurred. Some anglers are trolling for both of these species, particularly near the dam area where there seems to be more fish. Still, few results to report.
Lake Erie Region
• The daily bag limit for walleyes in Ohio waters of Lake Erie is four fish per angler until April 30. 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.
• Black bass (largemouth and smallmouth bass): The daily bag limit is five fish per angler with a 14 inch minimum size limit.
Where: Open-water fishing is upon us, and anglers are doing well trolling around 1 mph. Stick baits in darker colors have been producing best with short leads. Action has been the best near the islands and Catawba peninsula in 25 to 35 feet of water.
Anglers are advised to be cautious in the early spring. Extremely cold water temperatures put anglers at a high risk for hypothermia. Always wear your life jacket and leave a float plan with someone on shore of your intended plans.
The Rocky River and other area streams are running low and clear, although this scenario likely not last into the weekend with quite a bit of rain in the forecast. Anglers should check the flow gauge 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. There has been very good fishing in the deeper water by the marina this week for very bright fish that are staging there. These fish will move upstream following this coming rain. Cleveland Metroparks has been hearing some reports of steelhead spawning in the shallow riffles this week, and expect this to ramp up in the coming few weeks. Steelhead in early spring 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). The water has been clear and finesse tactics have been especially effective lately – downsize leaders (4-6 pound fluorocarbon), smaller size No. 14-16 hooks, and smaller bobbers and split shot can pay off under these conditions. Steelhead numbers can be expected to peak into April.
The north facing breakwall at E. 55th and the rocks at Edgewater Park offer a chance at steelhead and yellow perch. The boat launch ramps at Edgewater, Gordon Park, and Wildwood park are all usable at this time, although courtesy docks will not go back in until approximately early April depending on weather. These harbor areas in spring are a good place to find pre-spawn northern pike or largemouth bass. A white spinnerbait with silver blades worked slowly is a good early season choice for both species. The post-spawn shoreline bite for walleyes typically picks up around Cleveland in mid-April. Beginning this boating season, Cleveland Metroparks’ public boat launch ramps at Rocky River, Edgewater, Gordon Park, and Wildwood will be charging a fee ($5 daily or season pass for $30 for Cuyahoga County residents and $35 for out of county residents) for trailered watercraft. Note that 100 percent of proceeds will go back into lakefront improvements projects.
Opportunities for catching trout are very good at Metroparks’ stocked inland lakes. And if rain fouls up river conditions this weekend, this will be a great alternative. In early March Wallace Lake recieved an infusion of 1,100 pounds of trout. These bonus fish were possible thanks to Metroparks’ park fishing fund doing well lately. 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 among 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. The Ohio Division of Wildlife was scheduled to stock pan sized rainbow trout at Hinckley and Shadow lakes on March 29.
On March 19 and March 25 a total of 1,200 pounds of rainbow trout were stocked in the East Branch Rocky River between Route 82 (Royalton Road) and the river crossing ford about a mile south of Wallace Lake. Metroparks will continue stocking trout in the river up until the end of April.
Trout typically bite well on PowerBait, small jigs (marabou, hair, or rubber) tipped with a few maggots/wax worms, and smaller spinners. 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, Judge’s, and Ranger lakes; and five/day, no size limit at Shadow Lake and Ohio & Erie Canal.
Cleveland Metroparks, www.clevelandmetroparks.com
OHIO RIVER REGION
Racine Pool – Anglers are managing to catch wipers and largemouth bass here. The wipers are biting on chicken livers fished on or near the bottom. Hit the rocks for the best bass bite.
Greenup Dam – Fish for hybrid stripers here like you would fish for catfish. These wipers will hit chicken livers and cut bait fished on the bottom.
Pike Island – Saugers are being caught by anglers fishing quarter-ounce jigs tipped with minnows. Others are casting spoons against the rocks without much success.
New Cumberland Lock and Dam – A few anglers are managing to catch some saugers here. The popular setup has been a jig and a skirt in either chartreuse or pumpkin color. Cast the jig out and wait a few pauses until it nearly hits bottom, then employ a slow retrieve.