Report from the Dock
We sound like a broken record, but when conditions have been right, steelhead fishing on the northeast Ohio Lake Erie tributaries has been excellent. The Rocky and Chagrin rivers have been particularly good spots. Walleye and yellow perch fishing continues to be strong on Lake Erie for trolling anglers. Those fishermen launching out of Huron and fishing areas near there are having loads of luck. On inland waters, saugeye fishing has been at a level that we haven’t seen in some time. Those lakes that contain these hybrids are all giving up fish for anglers using a wide variety of offerings. Since our last report, deer gun season started with the opening day harvest being reported as 62% better than the three-year-average for opening day. There is an extra weekend of gun hunting on Dec. 18-19. Muzzleloader season is a bit later this year, running from Jan. 8-11. Archery season continues through Feb. 6.
Alum Creek Lake (Delaware County) – Saugeye fishing continues to go well at Alum Creek with anglers reporting catching good numbers of fish and sorting through some shorts to produce a legal limit. The south pool has been the hot spot in 22 to 28 feet of water. Look for ledges and drop- offs to present your bait of choice to the fish. Anglers are employing Vib-E blade baits in perch patterns to catch fish, but crankbaits in similar patterns are also taking saugeyes. The east side of the lake has reportedly been the most productive. Some crappie and smallmouth bass reports are also coming in.
Indian Lake (Logan County) – The saugeye bite at Indian Lake has been strong and it appears some of the best saugeye fishing of the year is happening right now. Water temperatures continue to fall and these hybrids are putting on the feed bag to fatten up for the long winter ahead. Blades such as Vib-Es are taking fish around Moundwood and Dream Bridge, according to recent reports. Crappies up to 11 inches are also being reported. The channel catfish bite has died down some since our last report.
Buckeye Lake (Fairfield, Licking, Perry counties) – Water temperatures are reportedly in the mid-30s and anglers are catching saugeyes in good numbers. Smelt patterned Powerbait is producing fish as are blades, crankbaits. These saugeyes are eating just about any offering put in front of their mouths right now. Saugeyes up to 22 inches have been reported. Crappie fishing continues to go well, and the channel catfish bite from the bank has also continued.
Sandusky Bay (Sandusky County) – Anglers fishing off the southern edge of Johnson’s Island are finding some largemouth and smallmouth bass as willing biters. They’re employing the typical bass baits, i.e. plastics, cranks, and stickbaits fished along the edge of cover or structure. Some decent size bass have been caught in recent days, according to local reports.
Maumee River (Lucas County) – According to a report in early December, river levels are falling and water temperatures are just about perfect for the fall bite, according to Maumee Bait and Tackle. Big Joshy paddletail type baits are producing both walleyes and steelhead for anglers fishing the river near Toledo. If the Big Joshy’s aren’t producing, tie on the tried and true jig and twister tail combo with a silver head.
Maumee Bait and Tackle, www.maumeetackle.net
Findlay Reservoir No. 1 (Hancock County) – Yellow perch has been the No. 1 target for anglers here. They’re having success using jig and minnow combinations to produce perch up to 10 inches. The key to finding them is to identify some type of weedline, according to anglers who regularly fish this reservoir. Crappies and bluegills will likely be hanging out in some of these same haunts.
West Branch Lake (Portage County) – Jigging Rapalas have been taking walleyes up to 23 inches in recent days. Anglers are focusing their efforts near the marina and are tipping the rig with minnows to produce the best results. Crappie fishing has been good, too, and fishermen are catching these panfish on the same offerings. A bunch of yellow perch have also been in the catch basket.
Lake Milton (Mahoning County) – Walleye fishing action has been top-notch at Milton in the past couple of weeks. Anglers are catching them in anywhere from 10 to 15 feet of water on blade baits vertically jigged. This is the typical fall pattern for catching walleyes here just before ice up, according to local reports. The big walleye is being reported as a healthy, 25-inch specimen. Crappie fishing, too, has been good with anglers dunking minnows to find them. Yellow perch are also an option.
Fairport Harbor pier (Lake County) – This is a different area that we’ve never reported on in the fishing report, but the bite is so good right now that this is a first. Steelhead up to a nice 28 inches are being caught off the harbor side of the pier on spoons. An orange and gold Cleo with a red treble hook is the specific offering that anglers have been presenting.
Caesar Creek Lake (Warren, Clinton, Greene counties) – The crappie and saugeye bite have been pretty good on this large, southwest Ohio lake in recent days. Blade baits and jerkbaits are taking their share of fish. Saugeyes up to 18 inches have been reported, coming in 12 to 15 feet of water. Jig and minnow combinations are producing panfish, including crappies, bluegills, and some yellow perch.
Cowan Lake (Clinton County) – Bass fishermen are targeting shoreline structure to produce some largemouths. They’re using Ned rigs or plastics in a variety of patterns to produce fish. Crappie fishing has been OK with fishermen employing swimbaits in shad patterns to catch fish up to 10 inches.
Great Miami River (various counties) – Anglers are using Rapala X-Rap jerkbaits on the river to catch saugeyes and even the occasional smallmouth bass. One angler reports casting around bridge abutments to produce saugeyes up to a respectable 19 inches. A Ned rig TRD bait has been producing nice size smallmouth bass on the river. Water temperatures on the river are in the upper 30s and falling.
Salt Fork Lake (Guernsey County) – Fishermen focusing their efforts in deeper water – 20 to 24 feet – are producing a mixed bag of fish here. Anglers are employing blade baits to catch crappies, white bass, and channel catfish, which have ranged up to a decent 6 pounds.
Leesville Lake (Carroll County) – The saugeye bite has slowed down some since our last report, but fishermen continue to report catching one here and there. The fall muskie bite on this lake known for its good muskie population has been going well. Water temperatures are in the mid-30s and muskies are being turned by big inline spinnerbaits and swimbaits. One angler reports catching a 36-inch muskie in recent days. The fish was released, as are most muskies that are caught by serious muskie fishermen.
Clendening Lake (Harrison County) – Anglers are focusing their efforts on the bridges and producing the occasional saugeye. The saugeye bite hasn’t been as good here as some other lakes in the region, according to local reports, but that hasn’t stopped anglers from fishing for them. They’re catching a few on shad-imitating crankbaits and stickbaits. Saugeyes up to 18 inches have been reported.
Lake Erie Region
• The daily bag limit for walleyes in Ohio waters of Lake Erie is six 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.
• On Sept. 1 the daily bag limit for trout and salmon changed to two 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 five fish (singly or in combination) per angler. The state also maintains a 14-inch minimum size limit on black bass.
Where: For anglers launching out of Huron, the area of Lake Erie just north of Old Woman’s Creek has been a top producer of walleyes in recent days. For trolling anglers, pink Bandits with a white belly has been a top producer of walleyes.
Where: Anglers fishing the Lakeside pier area and around Marblehead have fared well on perch in recent days. One pair of anglers reported catching 85 perch in just a few hours of fishing, keeping their allotted 60 fish, according to reports.
How: Perch spreaders tipped with emerald shiners have been the best setup for perch. Golden shiners will work, too, in a pinch.
The night bite for walleyes off the shoreline at E. 72nd Street and other spots around Cleveland continues to be good. Walleyes up to 30 inches have been reported. Anything from a crankbait to a swimbait will entice these fish that are moving in closer to the shoreline as winter approaches.
Anglers fishing the Central Basin waters off Avon Lake are producing quick limits in 25 to 30 feet of water. Some of these perch have been jumbos, taping up to 13.5 inches, according to local reports.