Report from the Dock
The white bass run on the Maumee River in particular is still going strong. Anglers over the Memorial Day holiday weekend were catching loads of fish, according to Maumee Bait and Tackle. Elsewhere in northwest Ohio, anglers were also catching white bass on the Portage River right around the Port Clinton area. Walleye limits on Lake Erie continue to be a regular occurrence, and the shoreline night bite for walleyes all along the north coast continues to be solid. Heavy rain across most of Ohio in mid- to late May have hampered angler efforts. Swollen creeks and rivers, particularly in southern Ohio, have created problems for fishermen. On the turkey hunting side of the ledger, the South Zone closed in May about 2,000 birds down from the same point a year ago. The Northeast Zone will close on May 31, but likely won’t add too much to the kill.
Buckeye Lake (Fairfield, Licking and Perry counties) – Anglers who have been able to find clear – or at least slightly stained – water are catching bluegills in the channels. Some small largemouth bass have also been in the mix. Anglers are using just about any type of plastic to get on the bluegill and bass bite.
Alum Creek Lake (Delaware County) – An abundance of rain has made Alum Creek almost unfishable, except for the south pool. The northern end of the lake above Cheshire Road is a muddy mess, according to angler reports. Might be a good time to try for the channel catfish bite if nothing else. A few anglers are venturing into the south pool to search out saugeyes and crappies. They’re casting jig and minnow or crawler combos or trolling Flicker Shad with some success.
Hoover Reservoir (Delaware, Franklin counties) – Anglers are doing really well on crappies right now. One angler reports catching 20 crappies in one outing, all in the range of 10 to 12 inches. The best bite is coming in 10 feet of water or less just outside of brushpiles. Straight minnows under a float is the best bet for bait right now.
Indian Lake (Logan County) – Fishermen are casting in the afternoons to pick up some saugeyes. They’re getting them on crankbaits and jig and twister tails tipped with a bit of nightcrawler. Others are trolling Flicker Shad with some success. Crappies, too, are biting for the daytime casters and trollers. Some catfish are being caught, including some good size channel cats.
West Harbor (Lake Erie) – Fishermen are catching good numbers and sizes of black crappies here. The baits have been a simple jig with or without a float over top. Tip the bait with a minnow for better results. Crappies are ranging up to a hefty 12 inches. One particular angler reports catching 16 keepers in one outing recently.
Maumee River (Lucas County) – As of this writing on May 26, the water temperature on the Maumee was 60 degrees, according to Maumee Bait and Tackle. The white bass run is kicking into high gear, with this past weekend producing many catches of plus-12-inch fish. As water levels continue to drop on the river, the white bass are becoming more accessible. Accesses at White Street, Orleans, and Fort Meigs were all producing white bass. Wading to Bluegrass Island was still not possible at the time of this writing.
Maumee Bait and Tackle, www.maumeetackle.net
Sandusky Bay (Sandusky County) – Fishermen continue to fish the bay hard for catfish and even some largemouth bass. For the catfish, they’re using creek chubs and shrimp. Some catfish up to 10 pounds have been caught. Anglers are also casting to the rocks for bass with inline spinnerbaits and rattle baits in crawfish patterns.
Portage River (Ottawa County) – Anglers are cashing in on some good white bass fishing on the Portage just outside of Port Clinton. The baits are simple: a wax worm or minnow under a small float. The occasional northern pike is also being spotted.
Berlin Lake (Portage, Mahoning, and Stark counties) – Walleye fishing is fairly good right now in shallow water. Anglers are targetting really shallow (5-7 feet) right now to pick up walleyes on jig and crawler combinations. Crappies, too, are being caught all over the lake in shallow water. Crappies up to 12 inches are possible. White bass are also being caught by the stringer-full on light jigs and Panfish Assassins.
Pymatuning Reservoir (Ashtabula County) – Anglers are catching walleyes by trolling and drifting worm harnesses. There isn’t one spot that’s particularly productive, but walleyes are biting all over the lake. Crappies and yellow perch, too, are being caught by both boat and shore anglers on jigs and minnows.
Atwood Lake (Carroll, Tuscarawas counties) – Saugeyes are the name of the game right now on this Muskingum Watershed Conservancy District lake. Boat anglers targetting humps and points here by using jigs tipped with big minnows.
Mosquito Creek Lake (Trumbull County) – Anglers are fishing south of the causeway in the stump fields and doing well on crappies. Many keeper crappies are being turned in shallow water among the stumps. The most popular bait has been just a simple nightcrawler under a float. Anglers using these baits are also catching yellow perch and pumpkinseeds, some of which have been keeper size. Walleye reports have been slow to come in.
Rocky Fork Lake (Highland County) – The saugeye bite has gotten tougher over the past two weeks, likely due to flooded conditions and turbid water. Crappies have been a different story: Fishermen are catching a load of them on jig and bait combinations but most of the fish have been small throwbacks. Some anglers are targetting catfish in the turbid water conditions and doing OK.
C.J. Brown Reservoir (Clark County) – One angler reports catching a 14-inch crappie among a load of fish in one outing recently. All of the crappies were reportedly caught by anglers dunking minnows under a float. Fishermen are concentrating their efforts on shallow water with wood.
Caesar Creek Lake (Warren, Clinton, and Greene counties) – Crappies continue to be the name of the game for anglers fishing in shallow water. Nothing fancy, these fishermen are using jig and trailer, jig and minnow, or wax worm combinations in 5 to 10 feet of water to catch them. A few saugeye and muskie reports are coming in, but neither species is on fire. Heavy rains in the area have muddied the lake, but the bite should turn back on after a dry stretch after Memorial Day.
Cowan Lake (Clinton County) – The crappie bite has slowed considerably with a bunch of precipitation in recent days turning the lake into coffee-colored water. Anglers are still catching a few in shallow water, but most are being undersize releases.
Salt Fork Lake (Guernsey County) – Fishermen are spending a lot of hours fishing for crappies here with some success to show for it. Anglers fishing in 12 to 15 feet of water are finding crappies ranging from 9 to 11.5 inches. The best set up has been a jig and chartreuse or orange Twister Tail. Some of the fish are coming in the brush while others are being caught offshore. Also, one angler reports catching a 34-inch muskie and releasing it.
Tappan Lake (Harrison County) – Some saugeyes are reportedly being caught. Nothing too big, most in the 16- to 18-inch range. The best bait has been any type of swimbait, according to local reporting. The best technique is to target the rocky shoreline and fish just off of it in about 15 feet of water. Some crappies, too, are being reported on these same baits.
Hocking River (Hocking County) – Anglers are fishing for catfish, primarily flatheads, with some success in recent days. Successful anglers are using creek chubs or suckers and running them under a float. Some of the flatheads being reported are good size specimens. Some channel catfish have also been in the mix, according to local reports.
Clendening Lake (Harrison County) – Flatheads and channel catfish are the hot ticket going right now. These big fish are cruising the shoreline in the evenings, looking for shad. Anglers are catching them on shad-imitating baits and are also targetting the bottom with nightcrawlers and chicken livers. Crappies and saugeyes have been slow, according to local reports.
Lake Erie Region
• The daily bag limit for walleye in Ohio waters of Lake Erie is 6 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 2 fish per angler. The minimum size limit is 12 inches.
• Black bass (largemouth and smallmouth bass): The daily bag limit is 5 fish per angler with a 14-inch minimum size limit.
Where: The shoreline night bite for walleyes has been good all along the north coast. Anglers are employing hair jigs to get on the walleye bite. As has been the case all spring, anglers are producing quick limits of walleyes in the Western and Central Basins. Around the Bass Islands in the west, anglers are fishing just offshore from Perry’s Monument on Put-In-Bay to catch walleyes. They’re dragging Bandits or Perfect 10s in 20 to 30 feet of water to get on the good bite. Anglers are also fishing east of Kelleys Island to produce limits of walleyes.
Cleveland Metropark area streams are muddy currently with more rain in the forecast. Wise anglers should monitor flow gauge and weather information prior to heading out to fish local streams. Prior to streams muddying from rain, catches of lake-run smallmouth bass had been good in the Rocky and Chagrin rivers. Smallmouth bass hit well on a 3-4-inch dark olive or brown tube jigs, Ned rigs, lures that imitate minnows (like a white and silver Rooster Tail spinner, Rapalas or white rubber flukes, and live bait (minnows and crayfish). Most of the remaining straggler steelhead are likely hightailing it back to Lake Erie in these elevated flows.
On May 15, Metroparks stocked 1,400 pounds of farm-raised channel catfish in Wallace Lake and at the Ohio and Erie Canal. Catfish bite baits such as nightcrawlers, shrimp (raw or cooked), and chicken liver fished on or near the bottom. Metroparks plans to stock Shadow Lake, Ledge Lake, Judge’s Lake, Ranger Lake and Oxbow Lagoon with more catfish in early summer. These fish are purchased using donations to the Cleveland Metroparks Fishing Fund. Additionally, local streams offer lake-run channel catfish this time of year, and E. 55th breakwall and Wendy Park pier at the old Coast Guard Station are also great spots to hook into a catfish.
In late April, 800 pounds of trout (originally scheduled for the now cancelled spring children’s fishing derbies) were stocked in Wallace Lake and the Ohio Division of Wildlife stocked 1,500 trout in the Ohio and Erie Canal. 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. NOTE: the limits on these trout at 3/day at Wallace, Ledge, Judge’s and Ranger lakes and 5/day at Shadow Lake and Ohio and 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 5/day as of May 16).
The breakwall at E. 55th, pier at Wendy Park (old Coast Guard station) and rocks/pier at Edgewater Park and E. 72nd offer a chance at walleye, bass (largemouth and smallmouth), steelhead, and a variety of other species in early spring. Walleyes have been hitting well after dark at E. 55th breakwall. In spring, these harbor areas are good locations to find pre-spawn 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 post-spawn shoreline bite for walleye in Cleveland has been picking up when waters are not too stained from rain and waves.
Cleveland Metroparks, www.clevelandmetroparks.com