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Ohio Fishing Report – April 16, 2020

Report from the Dock

The inland panfish bite is as strong as we’ve seen it in a long time, according to angler reports. Crappies and bluegills are on the spawning beds right now and biting on any number of live-bait offerings from jig and minnow combinations to wax worms or maggots. Anglers can pick an inland lake in the Buckeye State and virtually be assured that you’ll catch at least a few panfish. On the Maumee and Sandusky rivers, the walleye run is showing some signs of slowing. Access points in Maumee and Fremont have been closed by government order, further hampering angler plans. On the Maumee, the Jerome Road area has been a highlight with anglers continuing to catch 18- to 19-inch fish through the time of this writing. Spring turkey season started for most of the state on April 20. The northeast zone opens May 4. Good luck out there!

Central Region

Alum Creek Lake (Delaware County) – Anglers are fishing the west side of the lake, north of the marina, for crappies and saugeyes. Fishing pressure has been relatively heavy in recent days, according to local reports. Anglers are having a tough time finding saugeyes, but crappies have been more willing biters. The fish that have been caught are coming on Flicker Shad or similar type baits. Crappies up to 12 inches are being caught in shallow water spawning areas.

 

Buckeye Lake (Fairfield, Licking, Perry counties) – Fishermen are hitting Buckeye for crappies and saugeyes right now, but only one of the species is cooperating, according to local reports. Crappies are biting jigs under a float, fished in 10 to 15 feet of water. Crappies are ranging up to 12 inches, and one angler reports catching 10 fish in five hours of fishing. The saugeye action, as it has been all winter, has been slow.

 

Indian Lake (Logan County) – Saugeyes are in spawning mode right now, although the whole process is futile for these non-reproducing hybrids. As a result, though, anglers are starting to get some reactionary bites, according to local reports. The popular baits being used right now are Flicker Shad or similar type baits in a variety of patterns. Perch patterns, though, are always a popular option. Anglers are reporting catching a lot of short saugeyes before they’re catching many keepers.

Northwest Region

West Harbor (Lake Erie) When clear water has cooperated, anglers are catching panfish, according to local reports. They’re keeping it simple – a minnow dunked under a bobber – to catch crappies ranging up to 12 inches. The problem has been that heavy rains have muddied the water in recent days.

 

Maumee River (Lucas County) With many of the Maumee River access points closed due to the coronavirus outbreak, anglers are reportedly spreading out on the river, practicing social distancing, and catching walleyes. One of the more popular areas has been the Jerome Rapids area. Anglers report catching walleyes here in decent numbers, ranging up to a respectable 20 inches. As of April 14, according to Maumee Bait and Tackle, water temperature was right around 50 degrees. The spring bag limit is six walleyes this year with a minimum keeper length of 15 inches.

Maumee Bait and Tackle, www.maumeetackle.net

 

Lima Lake (Allen County) – Fishermen in recent days have had good luck catching crappies, bluegills, and largemouth bass. The good bite is coming on a variety of offerings, from jig and minnow combos to straight minnows under a float, to small rattle baits. The crappies and bluegills are biting shallow – 5 to 7 feet of water – on the spawning beds. Anglers are throwing the rattle baits in the shallows also for largemouth bass.

Northeast Region

Berlin Lake (Portage, Mahoning, Stark counties) – Walleyes are moving out of the river and into the main lake during a period of transition that will have them feeding heavier in a week to 10 days from now. Wise anglers would be throwing jig and crawler or jig and minnow combinations for walleyes in the willows, according to local reports. Crappies are still a little deeper – between 10 and 15 feet – and are biting on wax worms under a slip bobber or jig and minnow combos. Catfish are also being caught in shallow water on sunny, warm days near the shoreline.

 

Mahoning River (Mahoning County) – Walleye Assassins have been the hot bait for walleyes in the river right now, according to local reports. Anglers are catching them throughout the day on these baits with the largest specimen being reported a 19-inch fish. Anglers are catching walleyes any time the water is receding. The first white bass reports are also coming in, signaling that the annual spring run is on.

 

Mogadore Reservoir (Portage County) – Fishing pressure, according to the locals, has been extremely heavy, particularly for shore anglers. Some are managing to catch crappies, bluegills, and yellow perch, however. They’re using the typical spring setup of jig and minnow combos or wax worms or crawlers beneath a float. Some of the crappies have been decent 12-inch specimens.

 

Mosquito Creek Lake (Trumbull County) – Anglers are focusing their early spring efforts north of the causeway to pick up crappies and yellow perch. Water clarity hasn’t been great with a lot of rain in the area recently. Fishermen are having some luck fishing minnows in the shallows for crappies and perch. One angler reports catching an 18-inch keeper walleye on a Vib-E blade bait.

 

Pymatuning Lake (Ashtabula County) – Crappies continue to be the hot ticket right now on Pymatuning, according to local reports. Anglers are finding them in shallow – 5 to 8 feet – of water and are catching them on straight minnows under a float. The key is to find some type of structure and fish it hard. Walleye reports have been hard to come by, but anglers are fishing for them in shallow water with small crankbaits and jerkbaits.

Southwest Region

Caesar Creek Lake (Warren, Clinton, Greene counties) – Anglers are launching at Wellman’s to fish this tricounty lake in southwest Ohio. Most are targeting crappies, and despite turbid water conditions are managing a few keepers. Fishing pressure has been heavy, and anglers report that there are frequent tie ups at the ramp for boating anglers waiting to get on and off the lake. Anglers who have been fishing haven’t had much to show for their effort. A few crappies have been caught on waxies with a few keepers in the mix. No saugeye reports whatsoever coming in from the locals.

 

Cowan Lake (Clinton County) – Turbidity remains a problem with a lot of precipitation in the area in recent days. The few anglers who have been going out – fishing pressure has been light – are going after crappies and saugeyes. Crappies have been more cooperative with some fishermen catching a few keepers here and there. They’re using minnows, crawlers, or waxies under a float to get the bite.

 

Rocky Fork Lake (Highland County) – As is the case with most lakes in southwest Ohio right now, turbidity is a problem for anglers at Rocky Fork. Some anglers are fishing the spillway when conditions allow, but there’s not much being reported in the way of catching. They’re fishing for crappies, catfish, and saugeyes.

Southeast Region

Lake Logan (Hocking County) Fishing pressure has been light. One husband and wife team fishing in recent days report a haul of crappies and undersized saugeyes, which were released. The crappies were caught on 1⁄16-ounce jigs tipped with minnows. The fish were biting in 10 to 15 feet of water.

 

Salt Fork Lake (Guernsey County) Anglers are fishing stumps and laydowns for crappies and white bass, but the bite has been a tough one, according to local reports. One angler reports catching a 13-inch white bass on a minnow dunked under a stump. The crappies have been less cooperative, but fishermen are trying for them with jig and minnow combos in shallow water. Water clarity has been poor in recent days.

 

Leesville Lake (Carroll County) – Anglers are continuing to catch muskies in the early spring days at the Muskingum Watershed Conservancy District lake. Fishermen report catching muskies in shallow water among the wood. They’re tossing large swimbaits in the shallows – 6 to 8 feet of water. The muskies being reported in recent days were all over 38 inches in size.

Lake Erie Region

• The daily bag limit for walleyes in Ohio waters of Lake Erie is six 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 (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.

 

• Effective Jan. 1, 2020, it is legal to use three rods per angler in the Lake Erie Sportfishing District.

 

• A Lake Erie fishing permit is required for nonresidents from Jan. 1 to April 30, 2020, when fishing Lake Erie and areas immediately upstream in creeks, rivers, and tributaries.

Western Basin

Walleye

 

Where: Fishing has been good as weather permits. Limits have been reported in as little as two to three hours. Most reports are coming from the islands area, with the northwest of Kelleys Island being the most commonly reported, though some reports near the Camp Perry firing range have been coming in. Anglers are advised to use extreme caution with cold water temperatures, and to use life jackets or float coats at all times.

 

How: Trolling deep diving crankbaits and stickbaits has been the most popular technique at speeds of 1.4 to 1.6 mph. Anglers have been experimenting with lures 50-150 feet back without any additional weight, or 15-30 feet back from a planer board to a 2-ounce weight, and another 15-30 feet back to the lure. Bright lure colors have been good, as well as those with contrasting colors. Anglers have also reported success jigging blade baits, jigging raps, and spoons in 25-30 feet of water near the islands.

 

Area streams to Cleveland Metroparks are elevated and muddy with more rain forecast, and weekend prospects on the rivers will depend on how much more rain is received. If the main rivers are muddy, the smaller streams should be in decent shape for the weekend. A few examples of smaller steelhead streams in Cleveland Metroparks would be Euclid Creek at Wildwood Park, Porter Creek at Huntington Reservation, and Tinker’s Creek in Bedford Reservation. Streams have been offering a mix of chrome prespawn, spawning, and postspawn steelhead. Steelhead are well-distributed throughout our area watersheds, with fresher fish generally downstream closer to the lake and spawning fish farther upstream. In stained water, steelhead bite well on dime to nickel size spawn sacs in bright colors (hot pink and chartreuse are favorites). When streams levels drop and begin to clear, spring steelhead can be caught using all kinds of techniques: drifting bait or jigs under floats, dead drifting or swinging flies, and casting hardware like spoons, spinners, or crankbaits among them. Steelhead can be expected in our streams through at least late April or early May. Lake-run white suckers are intermixed with steelhead in area streams, as well as the first few lake run smallmouth bass of the season.

 

Metroparks lakes and ponds offer rainbow trout fishing opportunities even when streams are muddied. Recently, Metroparks stocked 600 pounds of rainbow trout with two-thirds going into Wallace Lake and one-third going into the East Branch Rocky River. Also, Metroparks recently stocked 600 pounds of trout at Ledge Lake and the Ohio Division of Wildlife stocked trout at Hinckley and Shadow lakes. The trout Metroparks stocks average 15-17 inches (with some even bigger) and the state-stocked trout run 11-12 inches. Stocked trout bite on brightly colored PowerBait shaped into dime size balls, 3-inch rubber trout worms (pink, orange, and white), small jigs tipped with a few maggots or a wax worm and small to medium size spinners. 

 

Cleveland Metroparks, www.clevelandmetroparks.com

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