Report from the Dock
One of the highlights of this fishing report is the bass bite on East and West Harbors on Lake Erie. Anglers in the past couple of weeks are pulling some nice largemouths out of the water in both of these locations. Smallmouth bass are always a good option on Lake Erie proper, and the walleye and yellow perch fishing on the big lake is better than anyplace else you might try. High water is the name of the game right now on most inland waters, given an abundance of precipitation over the past two weeks. Add in the heat of summer and fishermen on inland waters are struggling to get on a quality bite. Those who have been fortunate are focusing their efforts on low light periods of the day – sunrise and sunset.
Alum Creek Lake (Delaware County) – High water is the current situation on Alum Creek as an abundance of rain has hit the area over the past two weeks. Anglers are still managing to catch fish, but they’re working hard for the good bite. Saugeyes have been tough to come by during the heat of the day, but they can be found on points and dropoffs at sunrise and sunset, waiting to ambush their prey. The crappie bite has been decent, particularly for those fishermen fishing the lake’s coves. Largemouth and smallmouth bass are also good targets here.
Scioto River (Franklin, Delaware counties) – Anglers fishing this stretch of the river are focusing their efforts at the head of riffles to catch hybrid striped bass and saugeyes. The wipers are taping up to a respectable 21-inches and saugeyes up to 18 inches. One angler reports using a 3-inch fluke on a jighead to catch both species of fish. Crappies and catfish are also available in the river.
Hoover Reservoir (Franklin County) – It’s pretty much the same story on Hoover: catfish and crappies. Not too many people are mentioning catching saugeyes or the lake’s newly stocked walleyes. But for catfish, this place is your best bet for catching a trophy size blue in all of Ohio. Live bait is the key whether you are using shad or a bluegill. Flatheads are also possible. Crappies are being caught all over the lake, although water levels are high right now.
Lima Lake (Allen County) – This lake in Lima is always a good bet for channel catfish, but it’s the bluegills that we’re focusing on in this report. Anglers are breaking out the ice-fishing gear to catch bluegills right now. Tungsten ice jigs tipped with a wax worm has been the best setup for bluegills ranging up to a respectable 9 inches.
Findlay Reservoirs (Hancock County) – For a full report on this pair of reservoirs in Findlay, see the back page of this issue of Ohio Outdoor News. The Division of Wildlife just recently began a saugeye stocking program in Findlay because these fish seem to be more shoreline oriented than the walleyes that have been stocked here for years. Right now, the best bet is yellow perch, which can be found hugging the weedlines. Simple baits such as jig and minnow combos will tempt these tasty fish. For the aforementioned walleyes, these fish will be holding deep right now so fish for them accordingly with Rapala X-Raps or similar type baits.
West Harbor (Lake Erie) – Anglers are using tubes in green pumpkin pattern to pull some hefty largemouth bass out of West Harbor. They’re ripping the baits through the grass to get these big fish to react. Some of the bass we’ve seen reported are up to 4 pounds or better. East Harbor is another good bet for bass.
Punderson Lake (Geauga County) – If you like to throw big topwaters for largemouth bass, Punderson Lake might just be a place to try. Anglers fishing the east side of the lake in recent days have been using Hula-poppers and floating frogs to catch topwater bass. Some of these specimens are ranging up to 3 pounds, which would mean one heck of a fight. Crappies and catfish are also options at this medium-sized Geauga County lake.
Mosquito Lake (Trumbull County) – Anglers fishing for crappies are drifting Bobby Garlands tipped with crappie nibbles to pick up fish along with a handful of bluegills. The best depth has been 10 to 12 feet of water. Fishermen are trying to beat the heat and are fishing at sunrise and sunset to produce better results. There have been a lot of throwback crappies in the mix, but the largest fish is being reported at 13.5 inches. The bluegills are mostly hand-sized, 8-9 inches. Not much to report on the walleye bite.
Pymatuning Lake (Ashtabula County) – The fishing hasn’t been great in the past couple of weeks at this large lake spanning the Ohio-Pennsylvania border, but it’s getting better. Anglers have been casting the shallows in the north end of the lake at sunrise and sunset to catch walleyes up to 19 inches. The popular baits have been Rapala X-Raps and jig and minnow or jig and worm combinations. Yellow perch and channel catfish are also being caught on these same offerings.
Caesar Creek Lake (Warren, Clinton, Greene counties) – Crappie fishermen are doing pretty well when they can find the deep water haunts that these fish are holding at right now. The best bet is to find some deep water structure like a brush pile and fish it hard with swimbaits or jig and minnow combinations. Saugeyes are another option and can be caught in most of the same areas as the crappies. This lake also holds muskies, but should you catch one in this heat, be certain to quickly release it to fight another day.
Great Miami River (Butler, Warren counties) – Anglers have been hitting up the GMR in the past couple of weeks in search of smallmouth bass, but the saugeye bite has been a better option. A simple Ned rig is the popular bait option to catch these slamming saugeyes. The big fish was reported right at 20 inches, a nice specimen coming out of a stream. The smallmouth bite has been a little tougher, but fishermen are managing a few on the same baits. Floating Rapalas will also take smallmouths in some of the deeper holes of the river.
East Fork Lake (Clermont County) – East Fork has a reported algae bloom right now, but fishing options are still available outside of that area. This is a pretty good lake for crappies, and anglers are managing some by fishing smaller swimbaits, either cast or trolled. Saugeyes are another option here, although that program is just a couple of years old and these fish don’t seem to be showing a definite pattern right now. Catfish are another option, and there are some big ones here. Fish for them with nightcrawlers or chicken liver on the bottom.
Salt Fork Lake (Guernsey County) – Crappies and bluegills are about the only species being reported by anglers right now. Water levels are high due to an abundance of rain and high temperatures aren’t helping matters, either. If you go out for panfish, concentrate your efforts on low light periods of the day when it’s not so hot. The crappies and bluegills call for simple baits such as a minnow or worm on a hook under a float. Catfish can also be caught in the heat of the summer by fishermen employing cut baits, nightcrawlers, or chicken liver fished on the bottom.
Piedmont Lake (Belmont County) – Anglers are having good luck catching smallmouth bass at Piedmont right now. The big fish being reported was a 24-inch specimen, a hardy fish for Ohio waters. The bait of choice was a buzzbait ripped through the water column. Saugeye fishing has been tough as water temperatures are heating up. Crappies, too, have been harder to come by than usual. High water levels have limited fishing prospects over the past two weeks.
Leesville Lake (Carroll County) – Leesville is known as one of the top muskie lakes in all of Ohio, but right now the saugeye and crappie bite is the only thing worth reporting. Anglers are finding both species relating to deep-water structure. They’re being caught on jig and minnow combos or swimbaits in shad or perch patterns.
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: Fishermen going out of Cranberry Creek are finding good numbers of walleyes. Lots of 24- to 25-inch fish for the cleaning table and some bigger. Both trolling and casting in 10 to 40 feet of water is working.
Where: Fishermen are pulling spoons in deep water off Conneaut to produce limits of walleyes. Sixty feet or so has been the proper depth.
Anglers fishing out of Ashtabula harbor are also producing limits of walleyes by pulling spoons in 70 feet of water or so.
Anglers are running a good seven miles out of 72nd Street in Cleveland to find good schools of perch. They’re fishing for them in deep water, 60 feet or so, and finding jumbos up to 12 inches. Shiners on a spreader is the best bet.