Report from the Dock
The stream flow on northeast Ohio rivers such as the Grand, Chagrin, and Rocky is primed right now for a good run of steelhead trout. On Thanksgiving Day, these rivers are typically filled with anglers vying for the elusive chrome and this year lined up to be one of the better holiday fishing outings in some time. The steelhead bite on these rivers, as well as on Conneaut Creek, has been fantastic in the past week. On Lake Erie proper, open-water fishermen continue to do well catching walleyes and yellow perch in good numbers and size. On inland waters, temperatures have cooled to the point that saugeyes, crappies, and muskies are all being caught with some regularity.
Alum Creek Lake (Delaware County) – Reports indicate that a few stray saugeyes are being caught in as little as 10 feet of water. The successful setup has been to troll Flicker Shad in purple-colored patterns. Crappies and white bass, too, are being caught by these trolling fishermen. The largest saugeye being reported was a 20-incher.
Hoover Reservoir (Franklin County) – Anglers fishing for largemouth bass here are focusing their efforts on riprap shorelines to catch fish. They’re using inline spinnerbaits or jig and trailer combos to produce reaction strikes. Most of the bass being caught have been released.
Deer Creek Lake (Pickaway and Fayette counties) – Fishermen are vertically jigging minnow rigs and also slow-trolling small baits to catch crappies. A pair of anglers recently reported catching more than 40 crappies in one outing using a combination of these fishing methods. The largest specimen being reported was right around 11 inches.
Indian Lake (Logan County) – Anglers are mentioning swimbaits and Vib-E blade baits as popular offerings for saugeyes right now. And, according to the reports, saugeye fishing is going very well. Saugeyes up to 22 inches are being reportedly caught at Dream Bridge and Moundwood. Most of the fish being caught are being landed by those anglers vertically jigging their bait of choice.
Blanchard River (Hancock County) – Anglers fishing this small river that runs through the city of Findlay have been catching largemouth bass in recent days. They’re using spinnerbaits, chatter baits and plastic worms pitched in to shoreline cover to catch fish. Most of the bass being caught are reportedly small, but it can provide an afternoon of fun fishing anyway.
Maumee River (Lucas County) – According to Maumee Bait and Tackle, it’s been a bit windy in recent days on the river, but that’s not stopping walleye anglers from fishing. One recently caught a near 11-pound fish to fill out a limit of other 20-plus-inch specimens. Anglers are focusing their efforts on current breaks to catch walleyes. White bass and crappies, too, are being caught on minnow rigs from crappie spreaders to jig and minnow combinations. The late evening bite has been the best.
Maumee Bait and Tackle, www.maumeetackle.net
Sandusky River (Sandusky County) – A few walleyes and white bass are being caught in the river in the Fremont area. Now that the Ballville Dam has been removed, anglers are reporting catching fish above the former dam site. Not big numbers to report, but the action, particularly for the white bass, can keep one busy for an afternoon. Many sub-legal walleyes are being reported along with the occasional 15-incher. The white bass are running up to 10 inches.
West Branch Reservoir (Portage County) – Anglers are catching crappies on spinner rigs tipped with minnows – sometimes two at a time! Perch and bluegills, too, are being caught by these same fishermen. Water temperatures are hovering right around 48 degrees, as of this writing on Nov. 20. The successful bite is coming in anywhere from 10 to 15 feet of water. No muskie reports to be had, and the walleye bite is also reportedly slow.
Pymatuning Reservoir (Ashtabula County) – The yellow perch bite continues to be fantastic on this lake straddling the Ohio/Pennsylvania state line. Anglers are using a variety of offerings to produce fish from small ice jigs under a small float to straight minnow rigs. Limits are being reported at times with a lot of jumbos in the catch. Anglers are reporting catching fish at various depths from 10 to 18 feet.
Lake Milton (Mahoning County) – Water temperatures are reported in the mid-40s and that seems to have triggered a decent walleye bite. Anglers report fishing 12 to 14 feet of water with blade baits such as Vib-Es to catch walleyes. Most of the fish being caught are legal 15-inchers and up, but a few shorts have also been in the mix.
Mogadore Reservoir (Portage County) – Yellow perch is the hot ticket on Mogadore right now. Anglers are catching them by the bunches in deeper water on any type of minnow-oriented offering. Some crappies, too, are being caught in these same places on the same baits.
Paint Creek Lake (Highland County) – Crappies are the popular quarry right now on this Highland County lake. Anglers are vertically jigging jig and minnow combinations to catch fish. Crappies are reportedly holding in about 18 feet of water and relating to structure. These panfish are ranging up to 11 inches.
Caesar Creek Lake (Warren, Clinton, Greene counties) – Anglers are vertically jigging blade baits and jig and skirt combos for crappies with some success. The deep bite in 25 feet of water or so is still producing fish. However, they’re also catching them in as little as 10 feet of water, relating to some type of structure. Crappies ranging up to the 12-inch mark have been typical in anglers’ creel baskets. A couple of 40-inch muskies have been reportedly caught on muskie jigs in the past month or so.
Acton Lake (Preble, Butler counties) – Anglers are using minnows under a float in 15 to 18 feet of water to catch crappies right now. This lake also has a good population of largemouth bass, and it also offers saugeyes. For a full report on Acton Lake, see the back page lake profile in this issue of Ohio Outdoor News.
Rocky Fork Lake (Highland County) – Crappie anglers have done OK on these panfish in recent days, according to local reports. Jig and minnow combinations are the hot ticket to produce fish. The bite has been best in 8 to 14 feet of water. The saugeye bite has been slow.
Leesville Lake (Carroll County) – Muskie fishermen are searching out balls of baitfish and vertically jigging baits for muskies. According to recent reports, they’re having some success, including a 39-inch muskie caught in recent days. Others are fishing for crappies and bluegills from the shoreline with a little bit of success. If you go with the second option, make sure to have some type of live bait offerings with you such as nightcrawlers or minnows.
Seneca Lake (Guernsey, Noble counties) – Some surprise smallmouth bass have been reportedly caught in recent days. Anglers are using rattle trap baits or inline spinnerbaits to catch smallmouth bass up against the rocks in the riprap. Also, some crappies are being caught in mid-depths – 11 to 15 feet.
Piedmont Lake (Belmont County) – Fishermen continue to employ a vertically jigging method to try for saugeyes and crappies. The bite for the crappies has been better than that for saugeyes in recent days. They’re using Vib-Es in many instances, and are also producing some white bass. The biggest crappie being reported was 10 inches. Fish are relating to some sort of structure, and more than a few anglers have mentioned targeting old road beds.
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 5 fish (singly or in combination) per angler. On Sept. 1 the daily bag limit for trout and salmon changed to 2 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 5 fish (singly or in combination) per angler with a 14-inch minimum size limit.
Where: Limits of walleyes continue to be caught on the Western Basin right now. The dumping grounds in Huron has been a popular spot for anglers trolling for fish.
How: Anglers are trolling spoons and Bandits in shallow water (15 to 18 feet) to catch limits of walleyes ranging up to 26 inches. Others are fishing from shore in many spots, casting crankbaits and catching walleyes, steelhead, and yellow perch.
Where: Anglers are reporting catching regular 30-fish limits west of the Toledo water intake in 22 to 27 feet of water.
How: Perch spreaders tipped with emerald shiners have been the best setup for perch.
The Rocky River and other area streams are offering low and clear conditions, making for more challenging steelhead fishing. The situation will not change until the northern portion of the state recieves more rain, which looks like it might be coming later into the weekend. The number of emerald shiners and small gizzard shad in the Rocky River marina area has subsided a bit, and steelhead there are noticing baits again in the crowd of forage and the bite has picked up. There have been reports of steelhead in deeper holes all throughout the main branch of the river and beyond. With the clear water, downsizing to smaller dime size spawn bags, salmon egg mimicking beads, small jigs tipped with maggots or live minnows under a float will gain the edge. With other streams so low, now is a great time to go exploring the Cuyahoga River for stray steelhead since it is a large watershed and the river maintains good flow longer than smaller area streams.
Lake Erie has been rough more days than not the past week, but when amenable Cleveland lakefront steelhead can be found off the rocks at Edgewater and breakwall/rocks at E. 55th/E. 72nd areas, the pier at Wildwood Park, and Wendy Park at the old Coast Guard station. An abundance of baitfish has been hampering the bite in these areas at times. Casting a spoon or spinner or drifting an ultralight marabou jig tipped with a wax worm or a few maggots under a float at these locations are a good bet for connecting with a steelhead trout. These lakefront areas have proved tough to catch walleyes from shore after dark, with an abundance of forage and larger schools of walleyes still hanging out in deeper water a few miles offshore the likely culprits. Walleye anglers typically do best casting Perfect 10 and other shallow running stick-style crankbaits and lipless rattle baits. For the convenience of anglers, a commercial grade fish cleaning station was recently installed at the lakefront and opened to the public.
Until the lake kicked up, a pleasant fall surprise was targetable numbers of jumbo yellow perch (many between 12-14 inches) being caught along the Cleveland shoreline. Boating anglers target around the east end of the city breakwall and Cuyahoga River lighthouse in about 36 foot of water, as well as off Lakewood in 28-32 feet of water, using emerald shiners on crappie rigs or spreaders on the bottom. Anglers were even making some good catches, at times, from shore at the E. 55th north-facing breakwall. It’s been a few years since we’ve seen good numbers of this culinary favorite of local anglers off Cleveland, so get out and enjoy the good fortune while it lasts!
At the end of October, Cleveland Metroparks released 500 pounds of mixed trout at Wallace Lake (these fish were delayed from stockings in May due to COVID-19). Most of the fish were rainbow trout averaging a pound, but quite a few trophy rainbows, brook, brown, and golden rainbow trout were in the bunch.In addition, in early October Metroparks stocked 1,000 pounds of rainbow trout and 600 pounds of channel catfish at the Ohio and Erie Canal off E. 49th Street. Note: the daily limit at Wallace Lake is 3 trout/angler and the limit at the canal is 5 trout/angler. The trout bite well on a hook filled with kernnels of canned corn, colorful dime size balls of power Bait dough, and smaller spinners.
Cleveland Metroparks, www.clevelandmetroparks.com