Ohio Outdoor News Fishing Report – Dec. 7, 2018

Central Region

Alum Creek Lake (Delaware County) — Anglers fishing the main lake are catching crappies and saugeyes. For the saugeyes, which have been in the 15- to 16-inch range, fishermen are using Smithwick Rogues and swimbaits. For the crappies, a jig and minnow combination is working the best. Many anglers are fishing off the marina docks, too, to catch crappies in the cold water.

Buckeye Lake (Fairfield, Licking, Perry counties) — Anglers fishing at Fairfield Beach in recent days have caught some nice saugeyes in the 17- to 20-inch range. The popular bait has been a swimbait in a variety of colors. Try different patterns until you latch onto one that works. Fish the bait between 10 and 14 feet deep.

Indian Lake (Logan County) — Fishermen employing blade baits have caught saugeyes in recent days at Moundwood. Most fish have been either short or in the 16- to 17-inch range. The Moundwood area is heavily pressured, but that’s where you’ll catch fish at this time of year. Tie on a swimbait here and you might catch a crappie or two as well.

Northwest Region

Findlay Reservoir No. 2 (Hancock County) — White bass seem to be the one consistent species that will bite on this reservoir in Findlay. Anglers have caught white bass in recent days by fishing waxworms or minnows. Most fishermen are trying for walleyes and yellow perch, but are not finding those two species very cooperative. In any event, the white bass being caught have ranged up to 13 inches.

Maumee River (Lucas County) — Maumee Bait and Tackle recommends trying for steelhead on the Maumee River right now. Conditions are right – cold and clear water – to tie into a steelhead or two on the river. Target areas that have some riffles or rapids. If there is a creek feeding nearby, that is a good area to try as well. A simple method for catching steelhead is to float a minnow, fly, or egg sac down these areas to see if you can pick up some fish.

Maumee Bait and Tackle, www.maumeetackle.net

Lake Erie (various counties) — The surface temperature of Lake Erie was just above freezing as of Nov. 25 (36-38 degrees). The night bite for walleyes from the shoreline has been hit and miss, according to Maumee Bait and Tackle. Yellow perch fishing from shore has also been inconsistent, but the fish that are being caught are primarily jumbos. Shore fishing out near Maumee Bay has been somewhat productive for walleyes and perch. 

Northeast Region

Berlin Lake (Portage, Mahoning, Stark counties) — Anglers using blade baits such as Vib-Es are catching a few walleyes here and there. Also, vertical jigging spoons are taking some fish. The largest walleye being reported is a 22-inch specimen. Jigging Rapalas have also caught fish. The point is to try different baits until you find one that works. Shift up the patterns, too, to determine what is working best.

Mosquito Creek Lake (Trumbull County) — Walleyes are on the angler’s menu here right now, but they are proving to be a tough catch. The best results being reported is in 16 to 20 feet of water just off the bottom. Anglers are tempting the walleyes with bottom bouncing rigs or straight nightcrawlers on the bottom. A jig and minnow combo might also pick up a few fish.

Atwood Lake (Carroll, Tuscar-awas counties) — Fishermen are catching a few saugeyes here, and even managing a few keepers in the mix. The saugeyes are biting on blade baits and Jigging Rapalas. White bass, too, are an all-too common catch on these baits as well. It’s safe to say you’ll catch a bunch of white bass to every saugeye caught.

West Branch Reservoir (Portage County) — Anglers are catching muskies and northern pike here. Some shoreline anglers are reporting muskie follows, and a few are hooking up with the toothy critters. Try a variety of baits from big swimbaits to larger inline spinnerbaits to catch both muskie and pike. West Branch is typically one of the better muskie lakes in northeast Ohio, according to the DNR Division of Wildlife.

Southwest Region

Grand Lake St. Marys (Mercer, Auglaize counties) — Fishermen are doing well right now for crappies using straight minnows under a float. If you can find a stick up in the lake, dunk a minnow into it and you’ll likely produce a panfish or two. Crappies mostly have been in the 9- to 11-inch respectable range.

Paint Creek Lake (Highland, Ross counties — Anglers are catching crappies and channel catfish at the spillway here. Use a jig and minnow combo or cast a swimbait to catch fish at this time of year.

Caesar Creek Lake (Warren, Clinton, Greene counties) — The best advice being given is to find a school of shad and fish below it with a blade bait or a jigging spoon. You’ll likely find white bass, saugeye, and crappies traveling with these shad schools, according to reports. Another tip is to fish fairly deep from 15 to 25 feet for the best action.

Southeast Region

Salt Fork Lake (Guernsey County) — Anglers are catching crappies on jigs and tails. Fish are fairly deep, in 15 to 20 feet of water. Jig and minnow/twister tail combos are working best, but a straight minnow under a float will also catch fish at times. Crappies have been in the 8-10-inch range.

Tappan Lake (Harrison County) — Fishermen using blade baits such as Vib-Es are trying for saugeyes but more often than not are catching crappies. Also, jig and twister tail combos are catching largemouth bass. Most of the bass are being released, but crappies in the 9-12-inch range are being kept.

Leesville Lake (Carroll County) — Anglers in search of muskies have found a few in recent days with the largest specimen being a 44-inch fish. Leesville is annually on the DNR Division of Wildlife’s top list for muskie waters. If you catch a muskie, please report it to the Division of Wildlife’s Muskie Angler Log.

Lake Erie Region

• The bag limit for walleye in Ohio waters of Lake Erie is six fish per angler. The minimum size limit for walleye 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.

Walleye 

Where: Fishing has been good as the water is clearing up. Most anglers are focusing their effort from Huron to Cleveland targeting 30 to 45 feet of water. Anglers fishing from shore are having limited success fishing off breakwalls and piers from Catawba to Ashtabula. Fish have been caught in 50 feet of water northwest of Edgewater Park, in 47 to 55 feet of water northwest of Fairport Harbor, and in 60 to 70 feet of water northwest of Conneaut.

How: From Huron to Lorain, anglers have been trolling deep-diving crankbaits, 40 to 80 feet back at speeds of 1.2 to 1.7 mph. Farther east anglers are trolling deep-diving crankbaits at speeds of 1.4 to 1.8 mph, 90 to 130 feet back unassisted. Anglers fishing from shore have been throwing large crankbaits, shallow or deep diving, with a slow retrieve. Alternatively, large paddle-tail swimbaits have been taking a few fish from shore.

Yellow Perch

Where: Fishing for yellow perch has been good. Fish have been caught in 20 to 30 feet of water off Huron and Vermillion, with good size fish (nine to 11 inches) being caught, but bites have been sporadic. Fish are being caught occasionally by the islands, south of Green Island, and east of Kelleys Island. Good fishing was reported in 40 feet of water northwest of Edgewater Park and in 48 feet of water north of Conneaut.

How: Perch spreaders with shiners fished near the bottom produce the most fish.

Steelhead Trout

Where: Good fishing was reported from anglers trolling inside the Fairport Harbor breakwall and inside the Conneaut breakwall. Anglers fishing from shore are catching fish off the Edgewater, Gordon Park, Fairport Harbor, and Painesville Township piers, and Fairport Harbor breakwall.

How: The best baits have been small spoons and crankbaits for anglers trolling fishing from boats, and jigs tipped with maggots fished under a bobber or small spoons for anglers fishing from shore.

The Rocky River and other area streams are offering good flow, but the bite has been more challenging. Many anglers suspect that tannins from fallen leaves, which give the river a darker tea stain, make the steelhead bite a bit sour. These will be flushed from the river over the next few rains and the bite will improve. 

But steelhead are still being caught, so don’t let this deter you from giving the river a look in the meantime. As is typical this time of year, the greatest concentration of steelhead is in the northernmost river stretches, although fish are well spread at this time. The big trout, averaging 5-7 pounds as of late, have been biting especially well on marabou jigs under floats, brightly colored dime to nickel size spawn sacs, beads that mimic salmon eggs, flies (egg patterns and baitfish streamers), and lures such as Little Cleo spoons and Vibrax spinners. Fly anglers who enjoy swinging flies appreciate the stronger flows we’ve had, too. The fall run is going strong, overall, and more steelhead will continue to migrate up area streams into the late fall and early winter seasons.

Fishing along the Cleveland lakefront has been hampered by a great abundance of gizzard shad having moved into nearshore waters. In this case, what is great for the fish is bad for the angler –  there is a hyperabundance of bait for anglers to compete with. Still, fair catches of walleyes are being made day and night from the E. 55th/E. 72nd breakwall areas. Lakefront steelhead will bite on a whole nightcrawler on a plain hook or small jig tipped with minnow suspended between four and six feet under a bobber, as well as for anglers casting a spoon (i.e., Little Cleo or KO Wobbler) or spinner (i.e., Vibrax or RoosterTail).

In mid-October rainbow trout (1,000 pounds) and farm raised channel catfish (600 pounds) that were stocked in the Ohio & Erie Canal fishing area off E. 49th Street and a decent number of these fish remain. Trout often bite well on a dime sized ball of colorful PowerBait fished near the canal bottom with a sinker. Cleveland Metropark lakes/ponds are scheduled to be stocked with rainbow trout around mid December.

Cleveland Metroparks, www.clevelandmetroparks.com

BEYOND OHIO

Lake St. Clair (Michigan)

Fishing pressure has been light, but the perch bite has been good on Lake St. Clair, when the wind allows anglers to get out. The best fishing has been along the American side of the lake with fish up to 11 inches being caught. Those fishing in 17 feet of water off the Art Van store reported a very good bite. Bucks are chasing does. The rut is on and the firearms deer season should be good.

Irish Hills Area (Mich.)

Fishing pressure has been light on inland lakes in Jackson County. Corn is almost all down for the firearms deer season. Bowhunters had a pretty good season with several big bucks being taken, including 20 over 200 pounds. Waterfowl hunting remains good. Buffleheads were moving through southern Michigan last week.

Lake Orion (Mich.)

Most anglers have traded their fishing poles for firearms, but those still wetting a line are catching fair numbers of bluegills on Lake Orion and Stringy Lakes. A few pike have been caught, too. The archery deer season was very good in Oakland County. Hunters reported seeing good numbers of deer including some big bucks. The rut is on and the firearms season should be very good. Crops were 70 about percent harvested.

Trenton Area (Mich.)

Anglers report good walleye action and light fishing pressure on the Detroit River. Fish are hitting along the American and Canadian sides of the river with lots of 15- to 18-inchers being caught. Those handlining first thing in the mornings report limit catches in a couple of hours.

SOUTHWESTERN LP

Coloma Area (Mich.)

Steelhead fishing has been fair on the Paw Paw River. Those using spawn or beads report the best action. The archery deer season was good with a few nice bucks being taken. Deer numbers are in pretty good shape. Bucks are scraping and chasing. Crops were about 50 percent harvested as of last week.

Kalamazoo Area (Mich.)

Fishing pressure has been light, but those heading out report pretty good action. Steelhead fishing has been good in the St. Joe and Kalamazoo rivers. Anglers fishing with spawn, beads, flies, and spinners are all catching fish. Bluegill and crappie fishing has been good on Reynolds, Gull, and Van Auken lakes. Bowhunting has been very good with several nice bucks being taken. The firearms deer season should be good. The rut is on.

Grand Rapids Area (Mich.)

Fishing pressure has been light around Grand Rapids, but a few steelhead are being caught on the Grand River at the Sixth Street Dam. Spawn, spinners, and beads are taking most of the fish. Crops are falling fast and the rut is on. Bucks are scraping and chasing does. The firearms deer season should be very good with a lot of deer in the area.

Plainwell Area (Mich.)

Fishing pressure has been light on Gun Lake and the few anglers who are getting out aren’t talking. The archery deer season was pretty good in Barry.

Categories: News, Ohio Fishing Reports

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