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Ohio Outdoor News Fishing Report – June 24, 2021

Report from the Dock

The walleye bite on Lake Erie has returned to its normal excellence after a series of big storms on the lake shut things down for a period. As a bonus, the world-class smallmouth bass fishing has been terrific, too, in places such as Kelleys Island. On Sandusky Bay and numerous inland waters, channel catfish are in the spotlight right now. Anglers are catching big numbers of cats on the bay by the railroad bridge on raw shrimp and nightcrawlers. On inland waters, Hoover Reservoir just outside of Columbus in Central Ohio offers a chance at a trophy blue or channel catfish. The ODNR Division of Wildlife also started stocking pure-strain walleyes at Hoover several years ago and some of those small fish are showing up in angler catch and release tactics. Crappies, saugeyes, and muskies are all good summertime offerings on inland waters as well. If you catch a trophy fish this summer, be sure to share it with us at www.outdoornews.com/ohio. Good luck!

Central Region

Alum Creek Lake (Delaware County) – Anglers are searching out saugeyes, crappies, and smallmouth bass back in the coves on Alum right now. Their catching saugeyes, mostly shorts but a few keepers in the mix, on swimbaits such as Big Joshys. The fish are up in shallow water, feeding on minnows, according to local reports. The crappies are taping up to 12 inches and are being caught in these same spots. Bass are relating to structure along the shoreline, feeding on bedding bluegills.

Deer Creek Lake (Pickaway, Fayette counties) – The crappie bite ise on fire at Deer Creek right now. Water temperatures have warmed up to 78 degrees and the fish are relating to offshore structure. Anglers are catching them by simply dunking minnows. Crappies up to 13 inches have been reported. Water clarity is reportedly good, unlike a lot of other lakes in the area. A tip for this lake is to fish it during the week if at all possible. It gets fairly crowded from the recreational crowd on the weekends.

Hoover Reservoir (Delaware, Franklin counties) – A 43-inch blue  catfish caught by an angler in the past week highlight the report. Anglers are reporting many catches of channel cats and blue cats throughout the reservoir. They’re primarily using raw shrimp for bait, fished on or near the bottom in the deeper depths, according to local reporting. Others are trolling minnows for crappies with some success, particularly in the Oxbow area of the lake.

Northwest Region

Findlay Reservoir No. 2 (Hancock County) – If you wantto chase walleyes and don’t want to make the drive all the way to Lake Erie, Findlay No. 2 isn’t a bad bet. Anglers who know this lake say the evening bite is best for walleyes. Fish for them near sundown in shallow water as the walleyes come in to feed. A jig and minnow combination is all you need.

Maumee River (Lucas County) – According to a report on June 14 from Maumee Bait and Tackle, the water temperature was 72 degrees. Catfish have been active on the river as water clarity improves and river levels come close to normal. Most anglers right now are hitting up areas with faster moving water such as the Jerome Road rapids, the Bluegrass/Buttonwood area, and up by the dam at Grand Rapids. Along with the catfish, anglers are also beginning to catch smallmouth bass in these areas. White bass and crappies have also been mentioned, but not in big numbers.

Maumee Bait and Tackle, www.maumeetackle.net

Sandusky Bay (Sandusky County) – Fishermen are catching catfish on the bay right now in big numbers and sizes. They’re mostly fishing around the railroad bridge and having good luck with channel cats and the occasional sheepshead thrown in. One angler reports catching a dozen catfish in one outing, only one of which was under 6 pounds. The big fish of the bunch was a shade over 13 pounds.  Raw shrimp has been the bait of choice, and nightcrawlers have been a close second.

Northeast  Region 

Dale Walborn Reservoir (Stark County) – Hybrid striped bass are being caught at Dale Walborn in recent days. Anglers who have been trying for bass have been rewarded with the surprise wiper here and there. One fisherman reports catching an 11.5-pound wiper and 9.5-pound wiper on back-to-back casts. Those two fish were caught on a crankbait. But, anglers say these fish aren’t picky and will hit buzzbaits, swimbaits, spinnerbaits, and even a Ned rig. A good tip is to fish for them early in the morning for the best bite. 

Pymatuning Reservoir (Ashtabula County) – Anglers fishing the north end of the lake are finding a decent walleye bite. Fishermen are using jig and minnow combinations to catch walleyes up to 19 inches. Some yellow perch have also been in the mix, caught using these same tactics. Crappies and bluegills, too, are being reported.

Mosquito Lake (Trumbull County) – Anglers are finding that crappies are willing biters right now. They’re finding them in 15-20 feet of water. Bobby Garlands and minnows seem to be the most popular offerings. Color doesn’t seem to matter a whole lot. Some big channel catfish are also being caught on jig and crawler rigs. Catfish up to 10 pounds have been reported. Walleye fishing has been slow, according to local reports.

Lake Milton (Mahoning County) – Anglers have caught a mixed bag of fish here in recent days. Those who have been successful are trolling crankbaits on the south side of the lake close to the eastern shore flats. Walleyes have been caught in sometimes less than 10 feet of water. The largest walleye being reported was an 18-inch specimen with many other shorts being caught and released. Largemouth bass and white bass are also being caught using these methods. A 32-inch muskie was a bonus catch recently for an angler, who immediately released the fish.

Southwest Region 

Caesar Creek Lake (Warren, Clinton, Greene counties) – The crappie bite is the best thing going at Caesar Creek right now. Anglers are finding them in shallow water feeding on small minnows. Therefore, fish a minnow-imitating swimbait in 10 feet of water or so to catch these panfish. A few anglers are mentioning muskies as well. Water temperatures right now, though, are approaching 80 degrees. If you do catch a muskie, take a quick photo and release the fish back into the water as quickly as possible.

East Fork Lake (Clermont County) – Crappies and hybrid stripers are being caught in recent days. Crappie numbers have been good with the biggest fish being reported taping at 11 inches. Anglers are catching them on some type of minnow offering. Hybrid stripers will hit chicken livers used as bait. Fish for them like you would for catfish: on the bottom.

Cowan Lake (Clinton County) – This lake in Clinton County appears to have an emerging saugeye fishery. Anglers in recent days report catching a few of these stocked walleye/sauger hybrids. They’re using crawler harnesses, drifted and cast. Crappies, too, are a good option at Cowan. You can’t hardly go wrong with some type of minnow setup for crappies.

Paint Creek Lake (Highland County) – Water clarity on this southern Ohio lake is as good as its been in a long time, according to angler reports. The largemouth bass bite hasa been decent lately with anglers employing spinnerbaits and buzzbaits in the shallows to catch fish. Target the rocky shoreline of this lake right now for bass aqnd you’ll likely pick up a few bluegills as well.

Southeast Region

Seneca Lake (Noble, Guernsey counties) – One of the more pictureesque lakes in the southeast Ohio region, Seneca Lake can be good for largemouth bass at times. Anglers target the rocky shorelines to catch bass on plastics, spinnerbaits, or crankbaits. One fishermen recently reported catching a largemouth bass of 20 inches in length here. The lake also is stocked with saugeyes every year by the ODNR Division of Wildlife.

Salt Fork Lake (Guernsey County) – For shorebound fishermen, there are several places around this large lake to wet a line. Anglers will find shore access around both marinas, at the lodge, and near the cabins here. The lake is stocked with saugeyes and channel catfish, and fishing for both can be good at times. Recently, the crappie bite has been the thing that has anglers talking. They’re catching them in shallow water, relating to structure like laydowns and brush piles.

Rose Lake (Hocking County) – This small lake not far from Old Man’s Cave in the Hocking Hills region can offer some fast fishing for bass at times. Fish the lake, which for most is a short hike in from State Route 374, in the early morning or evening hours with topwater baits and you’ll likely catch all the small bass you can handle. This lake is stocked with rainbow trout in the spring, and a few of those fish likely remain now. Fish for them in deeper water with canned corn kernels.

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 walleyes is 15 inches.

• The daily bag limit for yellow perch is 30 fish per angler in most Ohio waters of Lake Erie. As of May 1, the daily bag limit for perch shifted to 10 between Huron and Fairport Harbor.

• 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. 

Western Basin

Walleye

Where: Anglers fishing the area around West Sister Island are producing limits of walleyes with fish up to 26 inches in the creel. Most are trolling deep-diving Bandits or similar type crankbaits or drifting with worm harnesses.

Yellow perch

Where: The perch bite continues to be a tough one, although the Western Basin bite has been better than the Central Basin. Not many 30-fish limits being reported and also not many jumbos in the mix.

How: Perch spreaders tipped with emerald shiners have been the best setup for perch. 

Smallmouth Bass

Where: Anglers fishing for bass off Kelleys Island are doing great. The smallies are coming in droves with most fish right around the 3- to 4-pound range. Ned rigs are taking the most fish, according to local reports.

Central Basin

Walleye

Anglers fishing the Lake Erie waters off Fairport Harbor are catching walleyes in anywhere from 20 to 40 feet of water. They’re finding the fish suspended up high in the water column. Anglers are trolling shallow Bandits or Perfect 10s or drifting worm harnesses.

Steelhead, Cleveland Metroparks

Smallmouth bass are typically found in the deeper, rocky pools of the Rocky River during the day in early summer, and often move to the heads of such pools in the early morning and evening hours to feed actively. Bass of all sizes are abundant bass in the river, with a healthy number of trophy lake-run fish available. It has been very encouraging to see most anglers releasing the larger bass recently so that these fine gamefish can be caught again.  Rock bass are also present in the same river areas as smallmouths.

Channel catfish and large carp are also present in some of these same areas in the river. Lots of channel catfish stocked in late May also remain to be caught at Wallace Lake and the Ohio & Erie Canal fishing area. More catfish were scheduled to be stocked at various locations in mid and late June. These will include Shadow Lake, Ledge Lake, Ranger Lake, Oxbow Lagoon, Judge’s Lake and Strawberry Pond. Catfishing is usually best during lower light conditions using baits such as nightcrawlers, minnows, chicken livers, and processed dough baits.  A good number of larger catfish are moving into the river from Lake Erie on their spawning run.   Resident channel catfish are available in the river all summer.

The walleye bite has been good overall in the nearshore waters of Cleveland, especially after dark.

Cleveland Metroparks, www.clevelandmetroparks.com

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