Ohio Outdoor News Fishing & Hunting Report – April 26, 2019
Buckeye Lake (Fairfield, Licking, Perry counties) – Anglers fishing shallow lily pads and boat docks are picking up channel catfish and bluegills. The successful bite is coming on live bait, either nightcrawlers or minnows under a float.
Alum Creek Lake (Delaware County) – Crappie fishermen are doing OK here by fishing baby-shad-imitating baits. Find any laydown on the lake and fish the bait directly under it. One angler reports catching 50 crappies in an hour using this method, although he didn’t keep all the fish.
Delaware Lake (Delaware County) – A few 30-fish crappie limits are being reported by anglers dunking minnows into stick-ups. Water temperatures right now are conducive to the good crappie bite.
Hoover Reservoir (Delaware, Franklin counties) – Anglers are fishing dark colored baits in shallow waters to pick up some crappies here. You also want to choose a bait with a bit of vibration to it, according to angler reports. Fish the bait slowly for best results.
Indian Lake (Logan County) – Fishermen are using jigs tipped with minnows to catch crappies at Indian Lake. Angler reports indicate the successful bite is coming for fishermen who are casting out their jigs and twitching them back to the boat. Crappies have ranged up to 12 inches.
Findlay Reservoir No. 2 (Hancock County) – Anglers are fishing for yellow perch, but finding the going tough. Some of the best reports are coming from the area around the main boat launch. The successful setup has been a jig and minnow combination or simply a straight minnow under a float.
Maumee River (Lucas County) – Darker colors seem to be working for anglers the past few days, according to Maumee Bait and Tackle. Orange and black, glow and dark blue, green and Christmas lights, and black and dark orange sparkle all appear to be working. Most of the fish being caught are at Orleans and White Street accesses. Ford Street and Fort Meigs can also be good areas to try for walleyes. Remember, the daily bag limit in the spring is four walleyes per angler and the minimum size limit is 15 inches.
Maumee Bait and Tackle, www.maumeetackle.net
Bresler Reservoir (Allen County) – Anglers are using ice-fishing techniques to land some bluegills and crappies. The best setup has been an ice jig tipped with a wax worm. Fish the bait shallow, in anywhere from five to 10 feet of water.
West Branch Reservoir (Portage, County) – Anglers are doing OK on muskies near the dam with a couple of 35-plus inchers being reported recently. The typical muskie baits are being used like big bucktail spinners and crankbaits. Walleyes are also being caught in these same areas.
Berlin Lake (Portage, Mahoning, Stark counties) – Walleyes have moved out to deeper water after spawning and are reportedly a hard target at Berlin right now. For crappies, fish for them in shallow water as the fish are looking for spawning habitat. Tie on a jig to trigger a reaction strike. Wipers are the best fish biting right now. Fish for them using chicken livers in deeper water.
Pymatuning Reservoir (Ashtabula County) – Walleyes and crappies are at the top of the angler’s menu right now. The jig bite is reportedly on for both species. Tip the bait with a minnow for better results. Not one particular spot is producing, but the bite is decent lakewide.
Nimisila Reservoir (Summit County) – Purple and chartreuse are the colors of choice right now for crappies. Anglers are using jigs with trailers in those patterns to catch decent numbers of crappies up to 12 inches.
Mosquito Creek Lake (Trumbull County) – The night bite has been the best thing going for walleyes at Mosquito Creek. Anglers are wading the shallows in the evening hours and doing good on walleyes, according to angler reports. Crappies, too, are being caught on simple jig and minnow combinations.
Rocky Fork Lake (Highland County) – Anglers are fishing anywhere from 10 to 15 feet of water for saugeyes and crappies. There isn’t much catching going on though, according to reports. Anglers are using jig and minnow combos.
Paint Creek Lake (Highland County) – Water levels aren’t great right now on this Highland County lake. Anglers might try fishing the spillway for saugeyes and/or crappies. Use small baits for best results. A tube jig in chartreuse or orange might be a good offering.
Grand Lake St. Marys (Mercer County) – Crappie is the name of the game right now on Ohio’s largest inland lake. Anglers are using jigs with chartreuse trailers, tipped with a minnow to catch fish. Most of the crappies here have moved into the shallows for spawning.
Caesar Creek Lake (Warren, Clinton, Greene counties) – Crappies are moving into shallower water for the spawn and right now is a good time to catch them. Successful anglers are using swimbaits in a variety of patterns. Fish are being caught in as little as five feet of water, according to angler reports.
Cowan Lake (Clinton County) – Anglers are trying for crappies here without much luck. Water is reportedly muddy from a lot of rain in the area recently. Fishermen are using the brightest colors they can find for the crappies. Try a jig with a chartreuse or orange trailer. Tip the rig with a minnow.
Piedmont Lake (Belmont County) – Anglers are searching out the shallow water crappie bite with some success here. Also, a few smallmouth bass of good size have been caught recently, according to local reports. Some saugeyes, too, are being caught close to the dam.
Salt Fork Lake (Guernsey County) – Action for crappies has been a hit and miss prospect. Local reports indicate the crappies are still in deeper water. A few are catching them on jigs tipped with minnows and a trailer. Others are trolling for muskies, but there’s been little report of success.
Burr Oak Lake (Morgan, Athens counties) – Bass fishermen are doing well on this nice southeast Ohio lake. Some specimens up to 4 pounds or better have been reported. The popular bait has been a suspended jerkbait, according to local reports.
Tappan Lake (Harrison County) – Anglers are reporting a tough largemouth bass bite on this lake, but when they do catch them the specimens have been good size for Ohio. Anglers are running jig and pig setups for bass up to 5 pounds.
Lake Erie Region
• The daily bag limit for walleye in Ohio waters of Lake Erie is four 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.
• 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 near 1 mph. Stick baits in dark colors with short leads have been producing best. Many anglers are using snap weights approximately 20 feet back, with another 20 to 30 feet to the lure. Action has been the best near the Camp Perry firing range and Kelleys Island in 25 to 35 feet of water. The jig bite will begin to pick up in the coming weeks, but anglers occasionally are doing well vertical jigging blade baits and spoons where fish are being marked.
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 and Chagrin rivers are offering good fishing conditions and steelhead and smallmouth bass are biting. Wise anglers will monitor the most recent river flows (and turbidity on the Rocky) before planning a trip. Rainbow trout are biting in the East Branch Rocky River and a variety of .species, including largemouth and smallmouth bass, yellow perch, and steelhead are being caught along the Lake Erie shoreline.
The Rocky and Chagrin rivers are offering good fishing conditions and steelhead fishing has been a highlight. There has been a mix of fresh (pre-spawn), spawning, and post-spawn steelhead available. The freshest fish are typically concentrated in the northern river reaches closer to Lake Erie. Steelhead spawning activity has been occurring in the East Branch of the river, in particular. Steelhead in spring will bite a variety of offerings, including dime to nickel size spawn bags, lightweight marabou jigs under floats (black, pink, and white are top colors), beads that mimic salmon eggs, and flies (egg patterns and baitfish streamers are top producers). The peak of the steelhead run is upon us and anglers can expect the run to taper off quickly later this month.
Complementing the steelhead are very good numbers of lake-run smallmouth bass. These fish are present in deeper, rocky holes throughout the main branch of the river. Anglers fishing a jig, wooly bugger, live shiner, or other lures/flies that mimic a baitfish have a shot at hooking “the silver and bronze” (a smallmouth or steelhead) in the same day for the next several weeks. The white sucker run is also going strong on local streams, with Morley Ford north of the Lorain Road bridge being a hot spot. A lead head jig with twister tail, nymph flies, or worm and small sinker fished near the river bottom will all take their share of suckers. Suckers are perfect for kids and less experienced anglers, although experienced anglers can find the fast action they afford to be lots of fun, as well.
The breakwall at E. 55th, pier and breakwall at Wendy Park (old Coast Guard station), and rocks at Edgewater Park and E. 72nd offer a chance at steelhead, yellow perch, and variety of other species. The boat launch ramps at Edgewater, Gordon, and Wildwood parks are all usable at this time, and the courtesy docks were installed at the Edgewater and Gordon park boat launches last week. These harbor areas in spring are a good place to find pre-spawn northern pike and largemouth bass, as well as panfish. A white spinnerbait with silver blades worked slowly is a good early season choice for both bass and pike. The post-spawn shoreline bite for walleye typically picks up around Cleveland around mid-April. Beginning this boating season Cleveland Metropark public boat launch ramps at Rocky River, Edgewater, Gordon, 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 improvement projects.
Opportunities for catching trout are good at Metroparks stocked inland lakes. The Ohio Division of Wildlife stocked pan-sized rainbow trout at Hinckley and Shadow lakes on March 29. In early March, Wallace Lake received a boost of 1,100 pounds of trout, and 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. These fish have seen plenty of fishing pressure at this point so the most successful anglers have been diverse in their offerings until they find what the fish want on a given day.
Rainbow trout were not stocked this week in the East Branch Rocky River, but there are plenty of trout around as Metroparks stocked 1,800 pounds since March 19. The stocking zone is 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 (such as Rooster Tail). 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 – Fishermen using chicken livers fished on or near the bottom are catching hybrid stripers, according to reports.
Greenup Dam – Fishermen are catching hybrid striped bass here by fishing smaller crankbaits or stickbaits.
Pike Island – Anglers fishing for saugers have done OK in recent days, fishing jig and minnow or jig and nightcrawler combinations.
New Cumberland Lock and Dam – Anglers in recent days have caught a mixed bag of fish from saugers to walleyes on jigs in chartreuse or fire red.