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Ohio Outdoor News Fishing Report – July 8, 2021

Report from the Dock

The water temperature on most of Ohio’s inland lakes is nearing 80 degrees, which is making the fishing for such species as saugeyes a bit tough. Yet at the same time the catfish and crappie bite has been going strong. Anglers are fishing for catfish, particularly channels and blues, during low light periods of sunrise and sunset and after dark. On central Ohio’s Hoover Reservoir, anglers are catching some huge blues. Crappies are relating to some type of structure, whether it be in shallow or deep water. A minnow rig of some type can’t be beat for catching crappies. On Lake Erie, fishermen continue to produce walleye limits in both the Western and Central Basins quite regularly. Some of these walleyes are going better than 30 inches, proving once again that these are the heydeys of walleye fishing on Lake Erie. On the Maumee River, anglers are chasing smallmouth bass by using reaction baits like buzzbaits or chatterbaits. Wherever you fish, good luck this summer!

Central Region

Alum Creek Lake (Delaware County) – Smallmouth bass is the name of the game at Alum Creek Lake right now. Anglers are finding them in deep water. The key is to find a ledge in shallow water that drops off to deeper depths, anglers say. The smallmouths are sitting in those deeper holes, ambushing baitfish as they swim out from the shallows. Any type of minnow-mimicking bait will work, but most of the success right now is coming on swimbaits. Saugeye and crappie fishing has just been OK over the past two weeks as high water temperatures have those species feeling a bit sluggish.

Indian Lake (Logan County) – We seem to always report on the saugeye and crappie fishing at Indian and rightfully so as it’s one of the better lakes in the region for those species. However, one should not overlook the channel catfish potential here. In the past week, anglers are doing well on catfish using the traditional catfish baits of chicken liver or nightcrawlers fished deep. We’re even hearing reports of bank fishermen catching good size cats fishing at night. On the saugeye front, anglers are sorting through a bunch of short fish to find keepers.

Hoover Reservoir (Delaware, Franklin counties) – Blue catfish continue to be the story at Hoover with one particular angler reporting a 50-pounder in the past week. He had pictures to prove it. To catch them, anglers are fishing nightcrawlers primarily on the bottom and keeping the bait moving. Others are trying for crappies, but that bite has been tougher. Anglers are hitting the brush piles in shallow water, but are not catching loads of fish. Others are trolling Flickr Shad type baits for crappies and saugeyes to pick up a few fish in 18-20 feet of water.

Northwest Region

Upper Sandusky Reservoirs (Wyandot County) – Bluegills and crappies are the name of the game in Upper Sandusky right now. Anglers are catching them casting from shore with small inline spinnerbaits or small swimbaits. Bluegills up to a hefty 10 inches have been reported. The crappies are hanging out on shallow water brush piles.

Maumee River (Lucas County) – According to a report on June 28 from Maumee Bait and Tackle, the water temperature was 70 degrees. According to the bait shop, fishing has been a little slow on the river, most likely due to the heat. A good tip for fishing at this time of year is to try a buzzbait, chatterbait, or any other type of reaction bait to catch fish. One might catch smallmouth bass, largemouth bass, catfish, or sheepshead using these types of baits.

Maumee Bait and Tackle, www.maumeetackle.net

Sandusky Bay (Sandusky County) – Raw shrimp and gobs of nightcrawlers have been the baits of choice for channel catfish anglers on the bay right now. Anglers are targeting them right near the old railroad bridge, according to reports. Fish the baits in deep water right on the bottom to produce catfish that can tip the scales at better than 12 pounds. Sandusky Bay is truly one of the best catfish spots in the entire state of Ohio. Take advantage of good weather this summer to fish for them at the mouth of Lake Erie.

Northeast Region 

West Branch Reservoir (Portage County) – Shore fishermen fishing near the dam are reporting muskie follows in the shallows. According to the reports, baitfish are thick in the shallows right now and the muskies aren’t far behind. One angler reports catching and releasing a 40-inch muskie by casting a big bucktail jig. Walleye fishing has been decent also for trollers using Flickr Shad or similar type cranks. Worm harnesses, too, are taking their fair share of fish.

Pymatuning Reservoir (Ashtabula County) – Anglers are employing jig and crawler combinations to catch walleyes. The problem has been catching any of keeper size. One angler reports catching a dozen walleyes in one outing, but the biggest was just under the 15-inch minimum. They’re using simple setups like the aforementioned jig and crawler rigs or jig and minnow combinations. Actually the yellow perch and channel catfish bite has been better than the walleye bite. Anglers are catching these species on the same offerings.

Mosquito Lake (Trumbull County) – As is typical on this lake, the crappie fishing has been good lately. Anglers are finding them in 18 or so feet of water and enticing them with Bobby Garlands or minnows. Anglers are reporting a lot of throwback shorts, but also plenty of keeper crappies in the mix. Channel catfish have also been a good option. Some nice size bluegills have also been caught on wax worms or minnows fished shallow under a float. We’re hearing of a few keeper walleyes being caught, but that bite has been slow.

Dale Walborn Reservoir (Stark County) – Hybrid striped bass are being caught in decent numbers and sizes right now. The offerings have been varied from perch pattern crankbaits to nightcrawlers and chicken livers. One angler reports catching a 5-pound wiper while fishing for other species. 

Southwest Region 

Caesar Creek Lake (Warren, Clinton, Greene counties) – At the time of this writing in early July the water temperature was a balmy 78. Anglers report turning some muskies in shallow water with timber. At this time of year, though, take great care if you catch a muskie. Take a quick photo and get the fish back in the water as quickly as possible. Crappie action has been good, too, in shallow water relating to some type of structure. Crappies up to 11 inches have been reported. Saugeye fishing has been rather slow.

Great Miami River (various counties) – Anglers are catching football-size smallmouth bass on topwater baits in recent days. Floating Rapalas, a minnow-mimicking bait, has been employed most often to catch fish. According to reports, smallmouths are off the beds right now and a patrolling grass lines for an easy meal. Therefore, throw the Rapalas or similar poppers along the weedlines to catch smallmouths up to 5 pounds.

Cowan Lake (Clinton County) – The crappie bite has been good at Cowan in recent days. Anglers are finding them on brush piles or at the mouths of coves. The best setup has been a hair jig or light ice jig, the lightest you can get by with. Also, anglers have success trolling small crankbaits or swimbaits where shallow water meets deeper water. Some saugeyes are also being caught here.

Southeast Region

Leesville Lake (Carroll County) – Muskie follows have been good in recent days at Leesville. One angler reports catching a 42-inch muskie and immediately releasing it, as is the norm. They’re finding the muskies roaming the shoreline in search of ambush prey. Big plastics are the key. But, with water temperatures approaching 80 degrees right now, take care to get the fish back in the water quickly should you be lucky enough to catch one. 

Salt Fork Lake (Guernsey County) – Anglers are fishing for saugeyes in the Cabin Bay area, but are having better luck catching crappies. They’re using the typical minnow rig set up to try to find the saugeyes. Water temperatures are nearing 80 and clarity is muddy to stained. The crappies that are being caught are decent specimens, taping up to 11 inches. Shore fishing in this area can be good for crappies and channel catfish.

Tappan Lake (Harrison County) – Anglers are attempting to catch saugeyes at this Muskingum Watershed Conservancy District lake. The best action has come for anglers targeting flats with crankbaits fished deep. Saugeyes up to 17 inches are being reported. Crappie action has been better. Fishermen are catching them on jig and minnow combinations. Drop-shot rigs are also taking their fair share of bass along shallow water shorelines.

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


Where: Anglers are fishing off Cranberry Creek to catch walleyes up to 28 inches right now. They’re finding them suspended in about 20 feet of water and are catching them by trolling Bandits or worm harnesses. Some anglers are also casting old school Erie Dearies or similar weight-forward spinners to catch walleyes.

Yellow perch

Where: Very few anglers are targeting yellow perch but are catching a few incidentally while chasing walleyes. Not much size to them to report.

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

Smallmouth Bass

Where: Fishermen at Kelleys Island and off South Bass Island have been producing smallmouth bass in good numbers. Drop-shot rigs and Ned rigs are producing the most fish, according to island reports. Smallmouths up to 5 pounds have been reported.

Central Basin


Anglers fishing the Lake Erie waters off Geneva are producing big walleyes. One angler reports catching a 30-inch hawg walleye by trolling a pumpkinseed-patterned spoon. Off Ashtabula in 50 feet of water, anglers are also producing limits of walleyes by trolling deep-diving Bandits. 

Steelhead, Cleveland Metroparks

Channel catfish and large carp are present in the Rocky River at this time of year, and fishing for them can be a laid back and relaxing way to enjoy some time on the water. Lots of channel catfish stocked in late May also remain to be caught at Wallace Lake and the Ohio & Erie Canal fishing area in Cleveland Metroparks. More catfish were scheduled to be stocked at various locations in late June, as well.  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 liver, 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.

Some large carp will be found in the northern river reaches throughout the month, as well. Carp can often be caught throughout the day on such bait as canned corn, carp dough baits, worms, or crayfish tails. A growing contingent of fly anglers looking for a challenge are targeting carp with nymphs and crayfish imitations, as well.  The key to fishing for either carp or catfish is fishing on (or very near) the river/lake bottom. The walleye bite has been good overall in the nearshore waters of Cleveland, especially after dark. Casting crankbaits at Edgewater Park, E. 55th breakwall, Wendy Park at the old Coast Guard station pier, or Wildwood Park are all good bets.  Rock bass, northern pike, catfish, freshwater drum and sunfish species are also biting. 

Cleveland Metroparks, www.clevelandmetroparks.com

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