Report from the Dock
The walleye river runs were still going OK, though they were winding down. It’s been a good run on the Maumee and Sandusky rivers this spring with many anglers catching good numbers and sizes of walleyes. Look for the white bass run to commence on these same rivers any day now. In fact, we’re already hearing of some white bass being caught on the Sandusky in the Fremont area. Inland, crappies are staging in pre-spawn mode and are being taken in good numbers in shallow water. These same areas are holding saugeyes and walleyes as well. Bluegills and sunfish are also being caught on inland waters along with channel catfish and muskies. Spring turkey hunting in the South Zone will have started when this issue of Ohio Outdoor News hits mailboxes. The Northeast Zone begins a week later on April 30. The youth hunt produced underwhelming results. For a full report on the youth hunt, see Page 1 of this issue.
Alum Creek Lake (Delaware County) – Water temperatures are in the 50-degree range and anglers are out in force trying to catch saugeyes. Until the water temp reaches about 60 degrees, anglers are vertically jigging Vib-Es and Redeye Shad to find fish. They’ll switch over to crankbaits when the water warms sufficiently and begin trolling lures like Flicker Shad in various patterns. Some decent saugeyes, up to 22 inches, have been caught by the vertical jiggers in the past week. They’re also catching crappies and yellow perch on these same baits.
Indian Lake (Logan County) – Water temperatures are warming up and a bunch of precipitation over the past week have left some areas of Indian a muddied mess. Most of the lake, though, is clearing up and anglers are cashing in on saugeyes, crappies, yellow perch, and bluegills. Anglers targeting panfish are employing small jigs tipped with a wax worm to catch all of the above-mentioned species. Water temperatures are right around the 50-degree mark.
Hoover Reservoir (Franklin County) – Saugeyes should be in their spawning mode right now and can be caught in shallow water. Bank fishermen might even try their luck for these hybrids. Offerings such as vertically jigged Vib-Es and swimbaits in perch patterns will both work well. Focus your effort on low light conditions just before dark and then into the night. Crappies and bluegills can be caught in these same areas. All you’ll need on that end is a wax worm or minnow under a float. We’re not hearing of too many fishermen targeting blue catfish or channel cats right now.
Bresler Reservoirs (Allen County) – Anglers are taking advantage of the early morning bite to catch walleyes and crappies at this Allen County reservoir. The bait of choice has been a Joshy swimbait in shad pattern. Fishermen have been surprised to catch walleyes up to 18 inches on this bait in recent days. The crappies have ranged up to a respectable 10 inches as well.
Maumee River (Lucas County) – As of a report on April 14 from Maumee Bait and Tackle, water temperature on the Maumee was 46 degrees with 6-8 inches of water clarity. The walleye run is on its last legs, but still going. Heavier weights on the lead head jigs are the name of the game due to windy conditions and higher water. The jacks that are being caught are getting heavier, according to Maumee Bait and Tackle, and there are some females showing up with a recent push of precipitation. The run has been a particularly long one this year with fishing pressure on the Maumee quite heavy.
Maumee Bait and Tackle, www.maumeetackle.net
Sandusky River (Sandusky County) – As of April 13, the Sandusky River was about a foot high with a push of rain on the way to push it even higher in all probability. The water temperature was 57 at the State Street bridge. Anglers are catching good numbers of walleyes, particularly at Rodger Young park access and River Cliff. Some of these jacks have ranged up to 20 inches or better. The tried and true Carolina rig is the popular set up. Some white bass are also starting to move in and are being caught by the walleye fishermen in the Fremont area.
Angler’s Supply, Facebook Angler’s Supply
Pymatuning Lake (Ashtabula County) – There have been reports of walleyes being caught below the spillway and a few around the Harris Island stumps. For the walleyes, anglers are vertically jigging for them with Vib-Es or similar type baits. Crappies also are being taken in good numbers in a variety of places around the lake, most notably at Clark Island and Blackjack Swamp. Crappies are hitting on minnows, wax worms, or maggots. Bluegills by the bucketfull are also being caught in these same areas.
West Branch Reservoir (Portage County) – This is a good time of year to head up to the dam on West Branch and try for a muskie or two. Anglers in the past week have caught a few along the rocks at the dam, according to local reports. Anglers are throwing big swimbaits, Rapala Husky Jerks, or any kind of large stick bait to catch muskies up to 35 inches. All of the fish we’ve seen reported have been released. You could also target walleyes in these same areas with Shad Raps or any type of bait that gives off vibration like a Vib-E. We’re hearing of a few walleyes being landed up to 19 inches.
Mosquito Lake (Trumbull County) – Anglers are out wading near the state park to catch walleyes at Mosquito right now. They’re targeting their efforts on points and flats and using jig and minnow combinations to land walleyes up to 20 inches. We’ve seen photos of some good hauls of walleyes over the past week. Not any behemoths in the mix, but good eater size fish for the box. Crappies and yellow perch are also being caught all over the lake, but the spillway has been a prime location for fishermen.
Lake Loramie (Shelby, Auglaize counties) – Crappies are the name of the game at Loramie right now and fishermen are doing fairly well catching them. Water temperatures are warming up, pointing these panfish toward the spawn. They’re being caught in shallow water – 10 feet or less – on minnows under a float or simple jig and minnow combos. Bluegills and other types of sunfish have also been in the mix.
Cowan Lake (Clinton County) – Anglers are taking advantage of the shallow water shoreline bite for panfish – crappies and bluegills. Fishermen are hitting the spillway and the beach area to find these panfish in pre-spawn mode. Some type of minnow set up is all you’ll need for a day of good fishing. Some largemouth bass, too, are being reported.
Caesar Creek Lake (Warren, Butler counties) – An abundance of rain in the past week has the water at Caesar Creek a bit turbid and water temperatures right around 50 degrees. Anglers are managing to catch channel catfish in the muddy water. They’re employing swimbaits in search of saugeyes and crappies, but catching mostly catfish instead. Muskie anglers are doing OK by fishing the woody shorelines of the lake.
Salt Fork Lake (Guernsey County) – Much of the state of Ohio has been covered up with rain over the past week, which has served to muddy up the water at places like Salt Fork Lake in southeast Ohio. Still, shallow water fishermen are trying their luck for saugeyes and crappies. We’re not hearing of a whole lot of catching as of this writing in mid-April, but that hasn’t stopped anglers from trying. All you need at this time of year is some type of minnow rig, a slip bobber, and some patience. Crappies should be stacked up in shallow water in pre-spawn mode.
Wolf Run Lake (Noble County) – Slip bobbers in shallow water are the key to finding pre-spawn crappies right now. Anglers are baiting up with a minnow on line’s end to catch crappies in 12 feet of water or less. If you can find a laydown or some type of wood in the water, all the better. Fishermen are also catching largemouth bass in these same locations with the same baits.
Hocking River (Hocking County) – If you can find them at a local bait shop, anglers are having some luck dragging leeches across the bottom to pick up smallmouth bass. Otherwise, any helgrammite-type plastic should work just the same. Keep the bait ticking the bottom to pick up smallies up to 18 inches. A plethora of different species are possible in the Hocking, including saugeyes, flathead and channel catfish, rock bass, and largemouth bass.
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, 2021, 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: The reef bite is on with anglers casting hair jigs to catch fish in 18-22 feet of water. Others are trolling Bandits in purple and chrome patterns to catch walleyes up to 26 inches.
In the area of the Camp Perry firing range, anglers are trolling Perfect 10s and Bandits to catch walleyes up to 30 inches. The key, according to angler reports, is to find a stretch of clean water and then cover it thoroughly while trolling.
Where: Anglers trolling just west of the Vermillion River are catching walleyes in 40 feet of water. Bandits in emerald shiner, neon shad, taco salad, and sprinkle patterns were key to catching fish. Water temperature was still in the 40s, according to angler reports.
Steelhead, cleveland metroparks
The Rocky and Chagrin rivers are offering good conditions for anglers, although steelhead and stocked trout fishing opportunities into the weekend will depend on how much more rain is recieved. Anglers on all streams reported good success this week, with a mix of active spawning, pre-spawn, and post-spawn steelhead present. Best bets include nickel to dime size spawn bags (especially when the water is stained), salmon egg mimicking beads and soft rubber eggs (8-12 mm), small jigs tipped with maggots, and live minnows under a float for anglers fishing noodle rods or centerpin rigs. Fly anglers are doing well with egg flies (ie glow bugs and sucker spawn), streamers (Clouser minnows and wooly buggers) and beadhead nymphs. Anglers can also keep it simple and cast a medium size Little Cleo spoon, Roostertail spinner, or similar offering on a standard medium action spinning rod spooled with 8-pound line. Lake-run smallmouth bass and white suckers are also running in the Rocky and Chagrin rivers. Smallmouth bass will strike artificial lures similar to steelhead- such as medium size crankbaits, spinners, tube jigs (dark brown and olive are good) and marabou jigs under floats. Suckers will bite well on small flies, jigs, or a worm on the river bottom with a sinker.
Lake Erie harbors, such as Edgewater, Wildwood, and the E. 72nd boat ramp area are offering mixed catch opportunities for steelhead, northern pike, and pre-spawn largemouth bass, yellow perch, rock bass, and sunfish species. Courtesy docks are in at Gordon Park and Edgewater boat ramps and one is open at Emerald Necklace Marina on the Rocky. The fish cleaning station at Gordon Park was scheduled to re-open the week of April 18. Many of Cleveland Metropark lakes and ponds offer stocked trout. This winter, a total of 6,000 pounds of trout were stocked between Wallace, Shadow, Ledge, Judge’s and Ranger lakes.
Cleveland Metroparks, www.clevelandmetroparks.com