Monday, January 30th, 2023
Monday, January 30th, 2023

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Ohio Outdoor News Fishing Report – April 30, 2020

Report from the Dock

The crappie and saugeye bite on inland waters in the Buckeye State is finally starting to turn, with anglers reporting good catches of both species all around Ohio. On Lake Erie, quick limits of walleyes are coming for anglers jigging the reefs. Others are trolling Bandits and other similar baits to pick up limits around the Bass islands in the Western Basin. The river runs for walleyes have slowed down a bit, but that’s more a reflection of difficult access to the Maumee and Sandusky rivers. On the hunting side of the ledger, turkey season got off with a bang with the youth weekend, which produced a kill that was 39% higher than last year. Through the first week of the season in the south zone, a total of 7,873 turkeys killed. That compares to an opening week harvest of 8,908 in 2019. Good luck on the water and in the woods!

Central Region

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 7 to 12 inches, and many of the smaller ones are being thrown back, according to reports.


Alum Creek Lake (Delaware County) – Right now would be a good time to target muskies on the northern end of the lake. Focus your efforts on timber lines along the shoreline and you should be in business. For crappies and saugeyes, anglers have reported sporadic catches of both species in recent days. The jig bite is reportedly on for both saugeyes and crappies.


Deer Creek Lake (Pickaway, Fayette counties) – Anglers are fishing the spillway during the evening hours for saugeyes and crappies. One angler reports throwing everything from jigs to crankbaits at them with little to show for it. One report does indicate that an angler caught a good size shovelhead in the spillway. On other days, anglers report catching crappies on the main lake by jigging brush piles. It seems it just depends on the day and time you are there, anglers report.


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) – Anglers are finally reporting catching good numbers of saugeyes now that water temperatures have warmed up sufficiently. They’re using Perfect 10s and Joshy’s to get on the bite in most instances. One angler reports catching four saugeyes in one outing, all going over the 18-inch mark. The late evening bite has reportedly been better than the daytime bite.

Northwest Region

Sandusky River (Sandusky County) Unfortunately, the restrictions due to the coronavirus pandemic shut down the walleye run early on the Sandusky River. But, anglers who can find some access to the river outside of Fremont still have a shot at the white bass run. Prior to the access closure in Fremont, anglers were catching fish from State Street to the site of the former Ballville Dam.


Maumee River (Lucas County) As of this writing on April 27, the water temperature on the Maumee was 48 degrees, according to Maumee Bait and Tackle. Water clarity was reported at 12 inches. Access to the river and parking have been the biggest issues on the river since the COVID-19 closures. Again, at the time of this writing, wading to Bluegrass Island was permitted. If you can find a place to access the river, the walleyes – and now white bass – are there for the taking.

Maumee Bait and Tackle,


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.


Findlay Reservoir No. 2 (Hancock County) – Anglers are trying their luck for yellow perch with some success in recent days. They’re fishing for crappies and perch with the same spreader rigs tipped with minnows. Some decent size perch have been reported, up to 10 inches.

Northeast Region 

West Branch Reservoir (Portage County) – This is just about the right time for muskies to spawn and anglers should take advantage of it on this lake known for its good population of muskies. Target laydowns along the shoreline with big crankbaits or spinnerbaits. One angler recently reports fishing for several hours for muskies with a bunch of follows. One report indicates an angler hooked a 45-inch muskie but didn’t land the fish.


Berlin Lake (Portage, Mahoning, Stark counties) – Walleye fishing in recent days has been slow, but the fish should come off the bottom to feed as water temperatures warm up. Crappies are sitting in 15 to 20 feet of water, but the bite has been slow for them as well. Anglers are employing jig and minnow combinations and Gulp! minnows to get the fish that are biting. Hybrid stripers are being caught in decent numbers by anglers fishing soft plastics on jigs, according to local reports.


Pymatuning Reservoir (Ashtabula County) – Anglers are fishing Pymatuning hard right now for walleyes on the south end of the lake primarily. A few fishermen are catching them by trolling Perfect 10s or similar type baits. For crappies, the bite is a mid-deep one at 15-20 feet. Anglers are finding structure and focusing their efforts there for both walleyes and crappies.


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) – Anglers are drifting and casting for crappies with some success in recent days. Crappies are holding in deep water. Baits include jig and minnow combinations and straight minnows. For walleyes, reports have been few and far between. Some anglers are wading and casting for them with little results to show for the effort. Lots of rain and wind in recent days has equaled a muddy lake.

Southwest Region 

Rocky Fork Lake (Highland County) – Anglers are fishing for saugeyes and crappies here, but are catching more white bass than anything else. They’re using a variety of baits from small swimbaits, jig and trailers, and inline spinnerbaits. The white bass bite is coming in shallow – 5 to 7 feet – of water.


Acton Lake (Preble, Butler counties) – The crappie bite has been slow due to turbid water conditions and not just right temperatures so far this spring. The crappies that are being caught are in mid-level to deeper water. Popular baits in the spring are jig and minnow combos or small swimbaits. In turbid water, use something that provides a little flash to get reaction bites.


Kiser Lake (Champaign County) – Anglers are catching bluegills and crappies on the east end of the lake. Many of the fish are short and are being thrown back. They’re biting on the weed beds on creature baits and minnows for a live bait option. Gills and crappies should be on the spawning beds right about now.


Caesar Creek Lake (Warren, Clinton, Greene counties) – Crappies are being caught in decent numbers in deeper water, according to angler reports. The successful fishermen are using jigs tipped with minnows while others are using minnows under a slip bobber to get fish from 12 to 15 feet deep. Most of the fish have been on the small side (7-8 inches) and are being thrown back. Some keepers in the mix as well. For saugeyes, the reports have been few.


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. For a full report on Cowan Lake, see the back page of this issue of Ohio Outdoor News.

Southeast Region

Salt Fork Lake (Guernsey County) Anglers are fishing for muskies at Salt Fork, but not a lot of catching is going on. Water temperature is right around 50 degrees, but muddy, as of April 24. A few crappies are being caught in shallow water for those fishermen using minnows or wax worms. Find a laydown and fish it until you either get bit or not then move on to the next.


Tappan Lake (Harrison County) Saugeyes are biting in 10 to 15 feet of water on jig and crawler combinations, according to local reports. Some of the saugeyes have been in the decent 17- to 20-inch range. Crappies, too, are being caught on these same offerings.


Seneca Lake (Noble, Guernsey counties) – Anglers are launching their boats and fishing for largemouth bass along the riprap shoreline with some success in recent days. They’re catching them on crankbaits fished in the shallow shoreline water. Bass should be on the spawning beds right now. Water temperature was reportedly in the upper 50s as of April 24.


Hocking River (Hocking County) – Anglers are using slip bobber rigs with minnows to catch good numbers of crappies in recent days. The best bite is coming in the evening hours just before dark. Crappies up to a hefty 12 inches are being reported.

Lake Erie Region

• The daily bag limit for walleye 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 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: Anglers are fishing jigs around the reefs and islands to pick up walleyes, most in the 17- to 22-inch range. Due to water conditions in recent days, anglers are recommending dark colored jigs, including black and purple. Other anglers are trolling Bandits or similar type baits around Kelleys Island to pick up walleyes. Fish are biting in a variety of water depths, as shallow as 8 feet all the way down to 22 feet, according to angler reports.


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.


Cleveland Metropark area streams are in good shape but there is quite a bit of rain in the forecast leading into the weekend so wise anglers will monitor flow gauges and weather information prior to heading out. Steelhead are well-distributed throughout Cleveland area watersheds, with fresher fish generally downstream closer to the lake and spawning fish further upstream. The tide has turned for the spring steelhead run and numbers of postspawn (aka “dropback”) steelhead are being observed. Spring steelhead can be caught using all kinds techniques: drifting bait or jigs under floats, dead drifting or swinging flies and casting hardware like spoons, spinners, or crankbaits among them. A brightly colored (i.e., hot pink or chartreuse) nickel-sized spawn sac is a good option when water is stained and finesse tactics shine in clear water, such as smaller marabou jigs tipped with maggots or a wax worm, and live minnows. Steelhead can be expected in our streams through at least late April and the cooler weather could extend the season into May. Lake-run smallmouth bass are also present in good numbers in the northern few miles of river closer to Lake Erie.


Cleveland Metroparks did not stock trout this week but a total of 3,600 pounds were released since March 17 between the East Branch Rocky River and Wallace, Ledge, and Ranger lakes. The Ohio Division of Wildlife recently stocked Hinckley and Shadow lakes. The trout Metroparks stocked averaged 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-sized 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.  NOTE: The limits on these trout are three/day at Wallace, Ledge, Judge’s, and Ranger lakes and five/day at Shadow Lake and the Ohio & Erie Canal fishing area (there is no size limit, unlike the river, where trout need to be minimum length of 12 inches and you can harvest two/day this time of year). The Spring Children’s Fishing Derbies scheduled for May have been canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but trout and catfish that were slated for the event will still be stocked in the coming weeks, according to Cleveland Metroparks.


The breakwall at E. 55th, the pier at Wendy Park (old Coast Guard station), and the rocks/pier at Edgewater Park and E. 72nd offer a chance at steelhead, walleyes, and variety of other species in early spring. The boat launch ramps at Edgewater Park, Gordon Park, and Wildwood Park are all usable at this time, and the courtesy docks were installed at the Edgewater and Gordon park boat launches in March (the docks at the Rocky River Emerald Necklace Marina boat launch have not been installed yet because dredging is taking place). In spring, these harbor areas are good locations to find prespawn northern pike and largemouth bass, as well as a variety of panfish species. A white spinnerbait with silver blades worked slowly is a good early season choice for both bass and pike. The postspawn shoreline bite for walleye typically picks around Cleveland in late April.

Cleveland Metroparks, 

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