Ohio Outdoor News Fishing & Hunting Report – May 10, 2019
Buckeye Lake (Fairfield, Licking, Perry counties) – Fishermen are concentrating on docks to catch crappies in good numbers. Some are slow trolling crappie rigs to pick up fish. The crappies are ranging from seven to 12 inches, and many of the smaller ones are being thrown back, according to reports.
Alum Creek Lake (Delaware County) – Anglers are catching smallmouth and largemouth bass here with some regularity. Some of the smallmouth being reported have topped 4 pounds. The successful bite is coming on roostertail spinnerbaits, according to reports, on the south end of the lake.
Deer Creek Lake (Pickaway, Fayette counties) – Anglers are catching good numbers of crappies on the main lake, according to local reports. The largest fish has been around 11 inches, but there are a lot of fish around that size. Fish a jig and minnow for best results.
Hoover Reservoir (Delaware, Franklin counties) – Fishermen are fishing the mouth of Walnut Creek for white bass with some success. The fish are ranging up to 12 inches, and are biting on a variety of offerings from live bait such as wax worms under a float to jig combinations.
Indian Lake (Logan County) – The best recommendation being reported is that the night bite is best for crappies and saugeyes. The jig bite is reportedly on for both species. The South Bank area has been best recently, but some fish are being caught in the lake’s many channels, too. Some anglers are trolling Flicker Shads in a variety of patterns to catch saugeyes. Troll the bait slowly is the key.
Sandusky River (Sandusky County) – Anglers are fishing for white bass now that the annual run has started with some success. The best white bass bite is coming in the area of State Street to the former site of the Ballville Dam.
Maumee River (Lucas County) – With the walleye limit increasing to six fish per angler per day on May 1, anglers are still catching a few walleyes on the Maumee, though the annual run is over for this year. The white bass run on the river is heating up, however, and anglers are catching good numbers of fish, according to local reports. The Maumee recently experienced a period of high water, but the river was receding as of this writing on April 30. Cooler water temperatures should keep good numbers of walleyes in the river in May as well, according to Maumee Bait and Tackle.
Maumee Bait and Tackle, www.maumeetackle.net
Bresler Reservoir (Allen County) – Fishermen are still catching bluegills and largemouth bass on this Allen County lake. Fish a jig tipped with a minnow, or a straight minnow under a float for the panfish, including crappies. Fish plastics among shoreline cover for the bass.
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) – Crappies are being caught in shallow bays that receive a lot of sun, which in turn warms the waters some. Anglers are focusing on brush piles and stick-ups with light jigs or minnows under a float. Walleyes are moving into deeper areas, and have been caught in the area of the 224 bridge in recent days on jigs and blade baits.
Pymatuning Reservoir (Ashtabula County) – Anglers are wading on the south end of the lake for walleyes with a little bit of luck. More muskies are being caught by these waders, however. Most of the walleye effort has been in the evening hours with little to show for it so far. Anglers are catching channel catfish by fishing cut bait on the bottom.
Mogadore Reservoir (Portage County) – Bluegills and bass are the name of the game right now. Bluegills remain in shallow water, and will bite about any offering thrown their way. The bass are hitting Rapalas, according to local reports.
Mosquito Creek Lake (Trumbull County) – Waders for walleyes are fishing flats and points and are picking up a few fish, according to local reports. Fishing has been best in 10 to 12 feet of water. Most walleyes being caught are in the 18- to 25-inch range.
Rocky Fork Lake (Highland County) – Anglers are catching good numbers of crappies up to 11 inches, and are throwing back more small ones. The best bite is coming in shallow water tight to cover, according to local reports.
Acton Lake (Preble, Butler counties) – Crappies are spread out on this lake in Hueston Woods state park and are being caught in small numbers, according to local reports. A lot of the crappies being reported are in the six- to nine-inch range, with the smaller fish being thrown back.
Grand Lake St. Marys (Mercer County) – Crappies continue to be caught in good numbers here. Anglers are using crappie rigs tipped with a minnow near shallow water structure to catch fish. Some specimens have ranged up to 12 inches.
Caesar Creek Lake (Warren, Clinton, Greene counties) – Saugeyes are still being caught in shallow water. Saugeyes are being caught on jig and minnow combinations and blade baits such as Vib-Es. The crappie bite, too, continues to be good for anglers fishing crappie rigs tipped with a minnow. The saugeyes are ranging up to a respectable 18 inches.
Cowan Lake (Clinton County) – Fishermen are focusing their efforts on crappies and largemouth bass right now. The crappie bite continues to be in shallow water and the bass are starting to move into the shallows. Anglers are using spinnerbaits or chatterbaits to pick up fish.
Salt Fork Lake (Guernsey County) – Fishermen are employing jigs and skirts for crappies, but are reporting a tough bite on these papermouths. Fish are still in shallow, and should be targeted around any type of structure. The key is to find clean water and fish it for the crappie bite, according to local reports.
Tappan Lake (Harrison County) – Largemouth bass action is picking up in shallow water. Anglers are tempting the largemouth with jig and minnow combinations or soft plastics. Crappies, too, are being caught on the same baits.
Burr Oak Lake (Morgan, Athens counties) – Bass anglers continue to do well here fishing in shallow water. A near 6-pounder was reported recently, according to local reports. Anglers are fishing plastics in a variety of patterns.
Seneca Lake (Noble, Guernsey counties) – Anglers are trolling Flicker Shads in fire tiger and pink and purple to pick up crappies. Good numbers of eight- to 11-inch fish are being caught, according to local reports. The best crappie bite is coming in 10 to 15 feet of water.
Lake Erie Region
• The daily bag limit for walleyes in Ohio waters of Lake Erie is six fish per angler, as of May 1. 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): As of May 1, the daily bag limit is one fish per angler with an 18-inch minimum size limit.
Where: Fishing has been tough recently due to the very turbid water conditions caused by the rain and winds. Anglers have been doing best where they can find cleaner water. Trolling stick baits in darker colors has been producing best with leads ranging from 30-120 feet back at 1.2-1.6 mph. Action has been best north and west of Kelleys Island in 25-35 feet of water. Anglers are still picking up the occasional fish jigging on the mid-lake reef complex, but the bite has been tougher given the poor water clarity.
Anglers are advised to be cautious in the early spring. Extremely cold water temperatures put anglers at 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 fishing has been good. There is rain in the coming days, though, so anglers should check the flow gauge trend before making a trip to the river. 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, but also in shallow gravel riffles throughout the main branch of the river. Steelhead in spring will bite a variety of offerings, including dime to nickel 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 are top producers). The peak of the steelhead run is just past us and anglers can expect the run to taper off quickly in the coming weeks.
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. Note: starting on May 1 the Lake Erie zone smallmouth/largemouth bass combined bag limit changes to one bass/day of 18 inches minimum size. The zone includes Lake Erie waters and (locally) the Rocky River to Detroit Road bridge, Cuyahoga River to Harvard Road bridge, and Chagrin River to Route 283 bridge.
The breakwall at E. 55th, the pier and breakwall at Wendy Park (old Coast Guard station), and rocks at Edgewater Park and E. 72nd offer a chance at yellow perch, walleyes, steelhead, 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 have been installed at the Edgewater and Gordon park boat launches. 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 walleyes typically picks up around Cleveland starting about now. Beginning this boating season, Cleveland Metroparks’ public boat launch ramps at Rocky River, Edgewater, Gordon, and Wildwood parks 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. Recently, Metroparks stocked 500 pounds of trout in Wallace Lake, which included some brook and brown trout as well as golden rainbow trout to add spice to the standard rainbow trout. The Ohio Division of Wildlife stocked pansized rainbow trout at Hinckley and Shadow lakes on March 29. A few trout are still present at Shadow, Ledge, Judge’s, and Ranger lakes, as well as at the 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 stocked recently at the East Branch Rocky River (600 pounds), and there are plenty of trout to go around as Metroparks has stocked 2,400 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.
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 tributary 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. The Lake Erie and tributary streams bag limit will bump up to five/day on May 16.
Cleveland Metroparks, www.clevelandmetroparks.com