Buckeye Lake (Fairfield, Licking, Perry counties) – Fishermen employing minnows under a float have been rewarded with a mixed bag of fish recently. Crappies, largemouth bass, and catfish are all in the mix. The crappies are running from nine to 12 inches. Bass up to 2 pounds. A bunch of bluegills are also being caught on these same baits.
Alum Creek Lake (Delaware County) – Saugeyes are the main quarry at this large central Ohio lake right now. Anglers are successfully trolling small crankbaits to get saugeyes from 16 to 18 inches. Some crappies are also being caught by anglers fishing wood.
Knox Lake (Knox County) – This lake is known for its population of largemouth bass, and anglers are catching a few of them this spring. Anglers are fishing crankbaits near the dam to get largemouth bass up to 3 pounds. Most bass anglers release all of the fish they catch.
Hoover Reservoir (Delaware, Franklin counties) – Anglers fishing here recently have been able to find the crappies. The successful setup has been a small swimbait or crankbait, either trolled or cast. Anglers are reporting good size on these papermouths, up to 12 inches.
Indian Lake (Logan County) – Anglers are doing quite well on crappies here now that the water temperature has warmed a bit. The popular setup has been a crappie rig tipped with a minnow and a nightcrawler. Some nice size channel catfish are also being caught on these same outfits. Some anglers are also catching saugeyes by trolling small crankbaits.
Sandusky River (Sandusky County) – Now that the walleye run has ended, anglers are shifting their focus to white bass with some success. One angler recently reported catching more than 20 white bass in one day. The popular bait has been a jig with a chartreuse twister tail.
Maumee River (Lucas County) – White bass by the hundreds are being caught on the Maumee right now, according to Maumee Bait and Tackle. The majority of the white bass are being caught outside of the current and near shore. Also, channel catfish are being caught all up and down the river. A particularly large catfish was caught on Mother’s Day at Orleans Park.
Maumee Bait and Tackle, www.maumeetackle.net
Upper Sandusky Reservoir No. 2 (Wyandot County) – Crappies and bass are being caught on plastics of different varieties. Anglers are searching out cover and then casting to it to find fish, according to local reports. Bass have ranged from 12 to 16 inches, while crappies have been up to 11 inches.
West Branch Reservoir (Portage County) – Water clarity has improved in recent days, and anglers are going after muskies here with some success. Fishing large spinnerbaits and crankbaits, fishermen are catching some muskies. The best bite is coming in shallow water near wood.
LaDue Reservoir (Geauga County) – Fishermen are after largemouth bass here and are having some success. Anglers are casting all manner of plastics at the largemouths. Fish have ranged up to 3 pounds, and most fish are being released.
Lake Milton (Mahoning County) – Anglers are doing quite well here for crappies and white bass. The successful setup has been a simple minnow under a float.
Mosquito Creek Lake (Trumbull County) – Anglers are casting jerkbaits to catch walleyes here in good numbers. Fishermen are also doing well on crappies by anchoring near woody debris in the lake and fishing it with a jig and minnow combo.
Rocky Fork Lake (Highland County) – Anglers are catching some largemouth bass on the main lake at Rocky Fork. The best bite is coming on plastics in chartreuse and orange. Crappies, too, are being caught on the same baits. Fish the bait rather shallow, 5-7 feet, for better results.
Paint Creek Lake (Highland County) – Anglers are fishing the spillway area of the lake for saugeyes and crappies. Best results are coming on wax worms or minnows fished under a float. Keep the bait in 10 to 15 feet of water for better luck.
C.J. Brown Reservoir (Clark County) – Anglers are doing well shore fishing for crappies. A simple minnow or wax worm under a float should do the trick. The walleye bite, however, has been slow to report.
Caesar Creek Lake (Warren, Clinton, Greene counties) – Anglers are fishing for crappies and bluegills with some success. The bite is reportedly a deep one between 16 and 20 feet. The successful setup has been a crappie rig tipped with minnows.
Cowan Lake (Clinton County) – When water clarity has been decent, anglers are catching a few crappies in anywhere from five to 10 feet of water. You can’t go wrong on crappies at this time of year by fishing live minnows. Wax worms or maggots will also fit the bill for these papermouths.
Tappan Lake (Harrison County) – Crappies are reportedly on fire at this Harrison County lake. Anglers are fishing slip bobbers with a minnow for the best bite. Some fish have been slab size, up to 13 inches. Find any stickups or blowdowns and fish it at about 6-10 feet deep.
Salt Fork Lake (Guernsey County) – A few crappies are being caught in the shallows on wax worms and minnows. Bank fishermen are casting for crappies, and bluegills, with some success. Water clarity hasn’t been the best.
Seneca Lake (Noble, Guernsey counties) – Fishermen are successfully trolling Flicker Shad for saugeyes, crappies, and white bass. The saugeyes have been of decent size, up to 17 inches. Crappies, too, have been decent, up to 13 inches.
Piedmont Lake (Belmont County) – Fishermen are doing quite well catching saugeyes here, along with some largemouth and smallmouth bass, and crappies. Size on the saugeyes is ranging up to 16 inches, and the bass have been of decent size as well.
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 all Ohio waters of Lake Erie.
• The trout and salmon daily bag limit is two fish per angler. The minimum size limit is 12 inches.
• Black bass (largemouth and smallmouth bass): From May 1-June 21, the daily bag limit is one fish (singly or in combination) per angler with an 18-inch minimum size limit.
Where: Fishing has improved with more stable weather patterns. Anglers are still finding fish on and adjacent to the reef complex in the Western Basin, as well as near the islands and east to Vermilion. Fish are still being taken on hair jigs and blade baits, though trolling seems to be taking most of the fish. Deep diving crankbaits and stickbaits trolled 80-120 feet back without snap weights are producing the best.
How: Anglers have been jigging 5⁄8- to 1-ounce hair jigs in eight to 20 feet of water, with purple and black reported as the best colors. In addition, anglers jigging blade baits have also been successful. Anglers trolling have been having success using deep diving crankbaits and spoons at 35 to 55 feet back. Some anglers have started to switch to trolling harnesses with intermittent success.
Where: Largemouth and smallmouth bass will be moving up shallower to spawn in the coming weeks. Anglers are beginning to target largemouth in some of the harbors and tributaries, while reports of smallmouth bass have been trickling in from the lake. Reports of incidental catches have been reported near the Islands, the mid-lake reef complex, and near Vermilion.
How: Texas-rigged soft plastics and wacky worms usually produce well for largemouth bass. For anglers targeting smallmouths, tubes often work well, though plenty of fish are being taken on hair jigs and blade baits, as well as trolling crankbaits.
Where: Look for fish starting to move into harbors and river mouths in the coming weeks as fish begin staging to spawn. Anglers have reported intermittent success, but the warmer weather should start to bring fish into shore.
How: A 1⁄16- or 1⁄32-ounce jig and minnow fished under a slip bobber is the most common technique this time of year. Casting small crankbaits or jigs and plastics also works well.
The Rocky and Chagrin rivers are offering good fishing conditions at the moment, although rain forecasted could change that. Anglers should check the flow gauge trend before making a trip to the river. A fair number of postspawn steelhead were still being caught this week, but as is typical this time of year their numbers in the streams will dwindle quickly as many head back to Lake Erie. The cooler weather lately, though, has extended the season a bit. Stealing the spotlight from steelhead this time of year are very good numbers of lake-run smallmouth bass. These fish are present in deeper, rocky holes throughout the main branch of the river. Anglers fishing a jig, wooly bugger, live shiner, or other lures/flies that mimic a baitfish have a shot at hooking “the silver and bronze” (a smallmouth or steelhead) in the same day for the next few weeks. Note: as of May 1 the Lake Erie zone smallmouth/largemouth bass combined bag limit changes to one bass/day of 18 inches minimum size. The zone includes Lake Erie waters and (locally) the Rocky River to the Detroit Road bridge, Cuyahoga River to the Harvard Road bridge, and Chagrin River to the Route 283 bridge. Lake-run channel catfish and common carp are also showing up in the streams.
When the lake conditions haven’t been too rough, the Cleveland shoreline breakwalls are offering a hot postspawn night bite for walleyes. Perfect 10s, Husky Jerks, and glow swimbaits are a few of the offerings that produce. The breakwall at E. 55th, pier and breakwall at Wendy Park (old Coast Guard station), and rocks at Edgewater Park and E. 72nd are good spots for walleyes and also offer a shot at yellow perch, steelhead, and variety of other species. The harbor areas at Edgewater, Gordon, and Wildwood parks in spring are good places to find largemouth and smallmouth bass, northern pike, and panfish. A white spinnerbait with silver blades or shad crankbait is a good choice for both bass and pike. Beginning this boating season, Cleveland Metroparks public boat launch ramps at Rocky River, Edgewater, Gordon Park, and Wildwood will be charging a fee ($5 daily or season pass for $30 for Cuyahoga County residents and $35 for out-of-county residents) for trailered watercraft. Note that 100 percent of proceeds will go back into lakefront improvements projects.
Opportunities for catching trout are very good at the metroparks’ stocked inland lakes. Recently, metroparks stocked 400 pounds of trout at Ledge Lake, and on April 29 it stocked 600 pounds of trout in Wallace Lake, which included some brook and golden rainbow trout to add spice to the standard rainbow trout. The Ohio Division of Wildlife stocked pan-sized rainbow trout at Hinckley and Shadow lakes on March 29. A few trout are still present at Shadow, Judge’s, and Ranger lakes, as well as at the Ohio & Erie Canal fishing area down the hill from CanalWay Visitor Center off E. 49th Street. Most of these fish at the latter locations have seen a good amount of fishing pressure at this point so the most successful anglers have been diverse in their offerings until they find what the fish want on a given day.
Rainbow trout stocking in the East Branch Rocky River has concluded for the season. There are plenty of trout to go around as Metroparks has stocked 2,400 pounds in the river since March 19. The stocking zone is between Route 82 (Royalton Road) and the river crossing ford about a mile south of Wallace Lake. Metroparks has concluded river stocking for the spring season.
Trout typically bite well on PowerBait, small jigs (marabou, hair, or rubber) tipped with a few maggots/wax worms, and smaller spinners (such as Rooster Tail). Note the current seasonal trout regulations: Lake Erie and tributary streams two/day, minimum size 12 inches (this includes steelhead); three/day, no size limit at Wallace, Judge’s, and Ranger lakes, and five/day, no size limit at Shadow Lake and Ohio & Erie Canal. The Lake Erie and tributary streams bag limit will bump up to five/day starting on May 16.
Cleveland Metroparks, www.clevelandmetroparks.com
OHIO RIVER REGION
Racine Pool – Anglers are fishing for saugers here with some success. The best bait has been a lively minnow, on a jig. Fish the bait slowly in cold water.
Greenup Dam – Fish for hybrid stripers here like you would fish for catfish. These wipers will hit chicken livers and cut bait fished on the bottom.
Pike Island – Anglers fishing the dam area are picking up a few smallmouth bass, according to angler reports.
New Cumberland Lock and Dam – Anglers are catching catfish and saugers in this pool on jig and minnow combos or swimbaits. Saugers are running fairly small, however.