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Ohio Fishing Report – Dec. 20, 2019

Central Region

Knox Lake (Knox County)– The crappiebite continues to be OK on this Knox County lake known for its largemouth basspopulation. Anglers are keeping their choice of baits simple: minnows or wax worms under a float. Crappiesup to 11 inches have been caught.


Alum Creek Lake (Delaware County)– Fishermen are using stickbaitsin shallower water to catch late-fall/early-winter saugeyes right now. One angler reports catching a 24-inch fish at this large central Ohio lake. X-Rapsare taking their share of fish as are other stickbaits. Some limits are being caught, although anglers report sorting through a bunch of short fish before that is accomplished.


Hoover Reservoir (Franklin County)– When anglers have been able to get on the water here they’re catching crappies, catfish, and white bass. The baits they are using are simple ones, such as jigand minnow combos or simply a nightcrawler under a float.


Indian Lake (Logan County) – Anglers targeting Moundwood and Dreambridge are doing OK, although water clarity is rather poor right now. When the bite is good, anglers are catching saugeyes, crappies, and yellow perch. Saugeyes are ranging up to 16 inches, according to local reports.


Northwest Region

Willard Reservoir (Huron County) Yellow perch, crappies, and an occasional largemouth bassare on the angler’s menu here right now. They’re catching them on minnows on a slip bobber rigor by casting out crappie spreaders. Largemouth bassare biting on small crankbaitsretrieved slowly among shoreline cover.


Maumee River (Lucas County) According to Maumee Bait and Tackle, the river temperature as of Dec. 7 was right around 37 degrees. So, it won’t be long before a thin layer of ice covers the river. Anglers right now are taking advantage of the open-water opportunities to catch steelheadand walleyes. They’re using jigand minnow combinations and blade baitssuch as Vib-Es. Local ponds and reservoirs will freeze up first, well before Lake Erie sees any ice.

Maumee Bait and Tackle,


Sandusky Bay (Sandusky County)Smallmouth bassand catfish are being chased by anglers on the bay right now. Anglers are using shrimp for the catfish bite, and spinnerbaitsor swimbaitsfished along shoreline cover for smallmouth bass. Some nice smallmouthsare being caught, according to local reports.


Northeast Region

Mogadore Reservoir (Portage County)– Like many other bodies of water in northeast Ohio anglers are searching for crappiesat Mogadore right now but are catching more perch. One angler recently reported catching 30 decent size perchin one outing. Fishermen are using a variety of baits from crappie rigsto ice spoonsto blade baits. Keep the bait in 16 to 22 feet of water for the best bite.


Nimisila Reservoir (Summit County)– Anglers are trying their luck for crappiesright now, but are catching more yellow perchthan anything. Simple baits such as jigand minnow combos will work for perch, as will wax worms under a small float. Perchare ranging up to a respectable 10 inches.


Tuscarawas River (Tuscarawas County)– A few lucky anglers in recent days have been pulling northern pike from the Tuscarawas River near Bolivar. They’re biting on spinnerbaitsprimarily. One pike reported topped 35 inches.


Mosquito Creek Lake (Trumbull County)– The popular quarry on Mosquito right now is panfish, particularly yellow perch. Anglers are using drop-shot rigstipped with a minnow to get the perchto bite in 12 to 15 feet of water. Perchup to 10 inches have been caught. Walleyereports have been few and far between.


Southwest Region

Mad River (Champaign County)Fly fishermenfishing the river near Urbana are catching a few brown trout. One fisherman reports catching a few brownsup to 14 inches.


Caesar Creek Lake (Warren, Clinton, Greene counties)– Anglers are doing well catching cold-water crappiesat Caesar Creek right now. One fishermen reports catching 16 keepers in a few hours of fishing with a lot of throwbacks in between. The popular baits have been Twister Tail jigs, tube jigs, and live minnows.


Rocky Fork Lake (Highland County)– Anglers using ice-fishing gear near the docks at Rocky Fork have been rewarded with crappiesin recent days. They’re catching them on ice spoonsand jigstipped with a minnow. Crappiesup to 12 inches are being reported.


Southeast Region

Burr Oak Lake (Morgan, Athens counties) The crappiebite continues to be OK on this southeast Ohio lake popular with bassfishermen in the warmer months. Anglers are finding crappiesin 15 to 22 feet of water, and many are catching them in decent numbers. Crappiesup to 12 inches have been reported.


Salt Fork Lake (Guernsey County) Fishermen continue to focus their fishing efforts near the dam here with some good catches of crappiesand white bass being reported. They’re using blade baitsand minnow combinations for the best bite. Crappieshave ranged up to 11 inches, although there are a lot of shorts being caught to find those numbers.


Tappan Lake (Harrison County)Blade baitssuch as Vib-Esare taking a few saugeyes here and there on this Harrison County MWCD lake. Saugeyes haven’t been overly large – 15 to 16 inches – but that size is a good-eating fish. Some crappies, too, are being caught by these same anglers.


Lake Erie Region

• The daily bag limit for walleyein Ohio waters of Lake Erie is six fish per angler. The minimum size limit for walleyeis 15 inches.

• The daily bag limit for yellow perchis 30 fish per angler in all Ohio waters of Lake Erie.

• The troutand salmondaily bag limit is currently two fish (singly or in combination) per angler. The minimum size limit is 12 inches.

Black bass (largemouth and smallmouth bass): The daily bag limit is five fish (singly or in combination) per angler with a 14-inch minimum size limit.


Western Basin


Where: Walleyesare being caught sporadically in their traditional fall feeding grounds from Huron to Cleveland. East of Kelleys Island in 35-45 feet of water was good this past weekend, as was 45-55 feet out of Cleveland. Finding areas of better water clarity has resulted in improved success. Anglers fishing from shore have been targeting fish after dark from Port Clinton east to Geneva with variable success.

How: Trolling deep-diving crankbaitsand stick baitshas been the most popular technique at speeds 1.2 to 1.8 mph. Anglers have been experimenting with lures 50-150 feet back without any additional weight, or 20-40 feet back to a 2-ounce weight, and another 20-40 feet back to the lure. Slower presentations have been better after dark. Shore-bound anglers can start picking up walleyesnear and after dark casting stick baits and lipless crankbaits that imitate shad.


Steelhead Trout

Where: Anglers are catching fish trolling inside the Fairport Harbor breakwall and the Grand River. Shore anglers are catching fish off the Edgewater Park, Gordon Park, Fairport Harbor, and Painesville Township piers, and the Fairport Harbor breakwall.

How: Best baits have been trolling small spoonsand crankbaitsfor the boat anglers, and jigstipped with maggots fished under a bobberand small spoonsfor the shore anglers.


Yellow Perch

Where: Yellow perchfishing has picked up slightly, but limits are still tough. The best reports are coming from west of Catawba in 18-22 feet of water, north and southwest of Kelleys Island, and between Huron and Vermilion in 28-32 feet of water.

How: Vertical crappie rigsseem to be producing better where baits can be presented at different depths. Anglers are reporting that small lifts and long pauses between lifts have been triggering the most bites.


Central Basin


Where: Fish are being caught in 50-65 feet of water north of Gordon Park during the day. The night bite is along the Cleveland breakwall. Shore anglers are catching walleyesoff the Cleveland piers and the Fairport Harbor short pier in the evenings. Boat anglers during the day are targeting fishing depths of 20-40 feet.

How: Most anglers are trolling using planer boards, and dipsy and jet diverswith crankbaits. Shore anglers are casting crankbaits.


Yellow Perch

Where: A few reports of yellow perchbeing caught in 30-35 feet of water off the East 72nd St. lighthouse in Cleveland. Shore anglers are catching a few fish in the mornings and evenings off the breakwalls in Cleveland.

How: Try minnows on spreadersand crappie rigsnear the bottom.


Steelhead Trout

Where: Anglers are catching fish trolling inside the Fairport Harbor breakwall and the Grand River. Shore anglers are catching fish off Edgewater Park, Gordon Park, Fairport Harbor, and Painesville Township piers, and the Fairport Harbor breakwall.

How: Best baits have been trolling small spoonsand crankbaitsfor the boat anglers, and jigstipped with maggots fished under a bobberand small spoonsfor the shore anglers.


Smallmouth Bass

Where: Best spots have been in 20-30 feet of water in the harbor areas and rock piles in Cleveland, Fairport Harbor, Geneva, Ashtabula, and Conneaut.

How: Anglers are using crankbaitsand drop-shot rigstipped with nightcrawlers.

The Lake Erie water temperature off Toledo is 41 degrees, off Cleveland 45 degrees, and off Erie 53 degrees.


According to Cleveland Metroparks, the Rockyand Chagrinrivers have receded following a modest bump in flow, which enticed a modest push of fresh fish farther into those watersheds. The best steelheadfishing this week remained in the northern portion of the rivers closer to Lake Erie. The steelheadbite has been good this week from the rocks and breakwalls along the Cleveland shoreline at E. 55th breakwall, Edgewater Park, Gordon Park at E. 72nd, Wendy Park pier at the old Coast Guard station, and Wildwood Park breakwall/pier. Of these spots, Edgewater Park breakwalls by the boat launch, Wendy Park, and E. 55th breakwall are most protected by the outer city breakwall during wavier conditions.

The majority of steelheadremain most concentrated in the deeper northern reaches of local streams awaiting higher flows before heading farther upstream. This scenario has allowed for good opportunities for staging steelheadat the Emerald Necklace Marinaand river mouth area at Lake Erie (access to the latter requires a small watercraft). Steelheadare hitting dime to nickel size spawn sacs and small marabou jigstipped with maggots drifted near the river bottom under a float, as well as spoons. A few bigger fish pushing hard to beat the 30-inch mark have turned up in the past couple of weeks.

In October, the Ohio & Erie Canalfishing area (off E. 49th Street) was stocked with 1,000 pounds of rainbow trout(including a few dozen golden rainbow trout) and 600 pounds of farm-raised channel catfish.

Rainbow troutare tentatively scheduled to be stocked in Wallace,Shadow,Ledge,Ranger,andJudge’slakes the week of Dec. 16.

Cleveland Metroparks,

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