Ohio Outdoor News Fishing Report – July 20, 2018

Central Region

O’Shaughnessy Reservoir (Franklin County) – Anglers are employing spider rigs for crappies with some success. Some slabs, up to 13.5 inches, have been in the mix. Some are trolling for the best bite while others are casting.

Alum Creek Lake (Delaware County) – Fishermen are catching decent numbers of 16-18-inch saugeyes by trolling Flicker Shads in a variety of patterns. Some smallmouth bass, too, are being caught during early morning or evening outings. Some crappies and bluegills are also being caught, although most fish have been dink size specimens.

Deer Creek Lake (Pickaway, Fayette counties) – Anglers are fishing points and drop-offs on the main lake with some success for saugeyes. Fish anything from a crankbait to a stick bait in perch patterns for best results. Most of the saugeyes being kept are in the 15-16-inch range. A few white bass are also being caught.

Hoover Reservoir (Delaware, Franklin counties) – Anglers continue to slow troll here for crappies with some success. The popular setup has been a crappie rig baited with minnows. Some limits are being reported. Fish the bait in about 15 to 16 feet of water for best results.

Indian Lake (Logan County) – Some successful fishermen are trolling crankbaits at slow speeds for saugeyes. Some good eating-size fish have been reported, but nothing very large. Some nice crappies are also being caught by the trollers. Some of these fish have ranged up to 13 inches.

Northwest Region

Sandusky Bay – The channel catfish bite on the bay continues to go strong as we wind our way into summer. Anglers are fishing cut bait and other prepared baits to catch fish. Fish the bait deep or on the bottom for the best results. Some bullheads and white bass are also being reported.

Willard Reservoir (Huron County) – Catfish numbers on this Huron County lake appear to be healthy, judging by fishermen’s catches in recent weeks. Channel catfish up to 25 inches have been caught by anglers fishing chicken livers or nightcrawlers on the bottom.

Clear Fork Reservoir (Richland, Morrow counties) – Anglers are catching some decent sized muskies here in recent weeks. Reports indicate that some of the larger muskies have been right around 36 inches. Throw big bucktail spinners or other similar baits along wooded shorelines for the best muskie bite.

Maumee River (Lucas County) – According to Maumee Bait and Tackle on July 8, the water level is down and the river is cooling. Channel catfish are being caught from downtown Toledo all the way to Grand Rapids. The smallmouth bass bite has been good, and some crappies are being caught in the creek mouths. For the bass, Maumee Bait and Tackle recommends using a plastic frog to “match the hatch.” These bass are feeding on live frogs, thus the term.

Maumee Bait and Tackle, www.maumeetackle.net

Northeast  Region 

Berlin Lake (Portage, Mahoning, Stark counties) – Fishermen are trolling crankbaits and picking up some nice size walleyes for the effort. Some of the walleyes being caught have been up to 3 pounds. A few channel catfish are also being caught using these same methods.

Pymatuning Lake (Ashtabula County) – Anglers are drifting nightcrawler harnesses in shallow water and trolling crankbaits for the walleyes here. Some limits of walleyes are being reported in just a few hours of fishing. Some of the walleyes have been fairly large, up to a reported 26 inches. Some yellow perch are also being caught by these same fishermen.

West Branch Reservoir (Portage County) – If you want to try for muskies, this lake is hard to beat, according to the DNR Division of Wildlife. More muskies come out of West Branch each year than any other lake in the state. If you do catch a muskie, please report it on the Division of Wildlife’s Muskie Angler Log. For a complete report on West Branch, check out the back page of this edition.

Mosquito Creek Lake (Trumbull County) – The walleye bite on Mosquito Lake is the top ticket right now. Some anglers are trolling Flicker Shads or other crankbaits for them, while others are casting jig and nightcrawler combinations. The bite is reportedly a shallow one, anywhere from four to 10 feet of water. Some of the walleyes have been 20-inchers or better.

Southwest Region 

East Fork Lake (Clermont County) – Fishermen are having decent luck catching largemouth bass and crappies on plastics. The successful anglers are casting the baits to any type of cover they can find. Some 20-inch largemouths are being reported along with 12-13-inch crappies.

Paint Creek Lake (Highland County) – Anglers using jig and minnow combos are doing quite well for crappies and bluegills here. Fish the bait in 10 to 16 feet of water for best results. The campground area has been a hot spot.

Caesar Creek Lake (Warren, Clinton, Greene counties) – Water temperatures are warm with all of the hot weather we’ve experienced over the past two weeks. Nevertheless, anglers are catching some saugeyes and crappies, although many of these fish are reportedly dinks. Most anglers are reportedly casting crankbaits for the saugeyes and crappies.

C.J. Brown Reservoir (Clark County) – Anglers are catching a few walleyes by using jig and minnow or jig and nightcrawler presentations. You’ll have to work hard to catch a limit of keepers, however, according to angler reports. Most of the walleyes being caught are just shy of the 15-inch mark. Some crappies are being caught as well on the same baits.

Southeast Region

Seneca Lake (Noble, Guernsey counties) – The saugeye bite on this picturesque lake in southeast Ohio is the prime ticket right now. Anglers who have been successful are employing jig and minnow or nightcrawler presentations. Some of the saugeyes being reportedly caught in 12 feet of water have gone over 20 inches.

Salt Fork Lake (Guernsey County) – Anglers are searching out the shallow water bite for saugeyes with some success. Try a slip bobber presentation with a nightcrawler and you’re likely to catch a saugeye or crappie. Fish anywhere from five to 10 feet of water for best results.

Piedmont Lake (Belmont County) – Fishermen are catching largemouth bass, crappies, and bluegills on this Belmont County lake. Fish a tube around any type of cover you can find to produce fish. The bite is reportedly a shallow one, between five and 10 feet of water.

Tuscarawas River (Tuscarawas County) – Anglers are catching smallmouth bass and saugeyes in the river right now. The successful bait has been a pumpkinseed tube jig or similar offering. Saugeyes being caught have been decent sized fish, up to 20 inches. Both species can be caught in the river close to cover or on rocky points.

Lake Erie Region

• The daily 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.

• Black bass (largemouth and smallmouth bass): The daily bag limit is five fish per angler with a 14-inch minimum size limit.

Walleye

Where: Fishing slowed with the mayfly hatch and recent weather, but catches were still above average with a lot of 17- to 18-inch fish being caught. Fishing was best north and northeast of West Sister Island in 25 to 35 feet of water, near the War buoy, and around Gull Island Shoal in 30 feet of water.

How: Trolling worm harnesses or drifting with bottom bouncers seemed to catch the most fish. Anglers drifting are also picking up fish casting harnesses and weight forward spinners. The best colors have been purple and gold. Anglers are also having success trolling spoons behind divers and trolling deep diving crankbaits unassisted 30 to 50 feet back.

Yellow Perch

Where: Fishing for yellow perch has been fair-to-good, with best reports coming from Little Cedar Point, West Sister Island, and the Toledo Water Intake in 20 to 30 feet of water.

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

Largemouth and Smallmouth Bass

Where: Anglers fishing for largemouths have been doing exceptionally well in the Portage River mouth, East and West Harbors, and Sandusky Bay, as well as picking up the occasional fish around Catawba. Anglers targeting smallmouth have been having a tougher time but are still finding fish near the islands and reef complexes.

How: Texas-rigged soft plastic and wacky worms usually produce well for largemouth bass. For anglers targeting smallmouths, tubes and drop-shot rigs work well, though plenty of fish are being caught trolling crankbaits.

Catfish

Where: Anglers targeting catfish are doing extremely well in Sandusky and Maumee bays. Shoreline fishing opportunities are available from the Shoreline Park, Battery Park, or Meigs Street Pier in Sandusky, and the Sandusky Bay Bridge access. 

How: Shrimp is a popular bait in Sandusky and Maumee bays; although, fish are also taken on shiners, nightcrawlers, and stink bait. Most anglers fish a Carolina rig; although, fish can be taken below a bobber suspended just off the bottom.

Central Basin

Walleye 

Where: Good fishing was reported from Huron to Lorain in 32 to 50 feet of water, and Avon Point in 25 to 40 feet of water. Excellent fishing continues with many limits reported in 12 to 40 feet of water north-northwest of Edgewater Park, in 15 to 35 feet of water north-northeast of Gordon Park, in 37 to 51 feet of water northwest to northeast of Fairport Harbor, in 20 to 60 feet of water northwest to northeast of Geneva, and in 20 to 50 feet of water northwest to northeast of Ashtabula.

How: Walleyes have been caught by trolling crankbaits, spoons, worm harnesses behind planer boards and divers or flatline trolling, and by casting weight-forward spinners. Good colors to try are purple, green and white, orange, pink and purple, and chartreuse. Anglers fishing from shore are having the best luck in the evenings catching fish using spinners and stick baits.

Smallmouth Bass

Where: Fishing has been excellent in 10 to 20 feet of water around harbor areas in Cleveland, Fairport Harbor, Ashtabula, and Conneaut.

How: Anglers are trolling crankbaits, tube jigs, and small spoons, and are using jigs tipped with maggots and golden shiners.

Catfish

Where: Fishing for channel catfish has been good on the Grand River, Fairport piers, at the Route 535 bridge, and the Grand River landing.

How: Anglers are using live baits such as nightcrawlers, leeches, and shrimp.

Smallmouth bass are typically found in the deeper, rocky pools of the Rocky River during the day in early summer, and often move to the heads of such pools in the early morning and evening hours to feed actively. A dark olive or brown tube jig of 3-4 inches length is one of the best producers of bass in the river. “Smallies” also bite well on live bait (i.e., minnow, crayfish, and leeches), lures (i.e., spinners and minnow plugs), and flies (i.e., crayfish patterns, Clouser minnows, dark brown or olive sculpin or muddler minnow patterns). Bass of all sizes are abundant bass in the river. It is always encouraging to see most anglers releasing the larger bass recently so that these fine gamefish can be caught again. Rock bass are also present in the same river areas as smallmouth, and can be caught using the same offerings listed above.

Channel catfish and large carp are also present in some of these same areas in the river. In mid-late June farm raised catfish were stocked at Shadow (800 pounds), Oxbow Lagoon (350 pounds), Ranger (200 pounds), and Ledge (150 pounds), and Judge’s (100 pounds) lakes. Good numbers of channel catfish stocked in May also remain to be caught at Wallace Lake and the Ohio & Erie Canal fishing area. Plenty of catfish are available in the northern Rocky River, as well. Catfishing is usually best during lower light conditions using baits such as nightcrawlers, minnows, chicken liver, and processed dough baits.

Some large carp will be found in the northern river reaches throughout the month, as well. Carp can often be caught throughout the day on such bait as canned corn, carp dough baits, worms, or crayfish tails. A growing contingent of fly anglers looking for a challenge are targeting carp with nymphs and crayfish imitations. The key to fishing for either carp or catfish is fishing on (or very near) the river/lake bottom. In addition, freshwater drum (sheepshead), white perch, and bullhead catfish are also abundant in the northern river reaches (north of Morley Ford) in early summer. For the angling generalist, any of the species thus far can be effectively targeted by fishing a nightcrawler worm right on the river bottom with a sinker.

Summer means family fishing time for many folks, and panfish fit the bill perfectly for a leisurely picnic and fishing outing. Anglers seeking panfish have experienced decent fishing at most of the ponds and lakes in Cleveland Metroparks in the past week. Crappie, bluegill, and other sunfish species can be taken with a number of offerings, but a waxworm or red worm on a small hook (or tiny jig) suspended under a stick float and fished around a weedbed or shoreline brush is always a good choice.  Wallace Lake, Shadow Lake, and Lakefront Reservation are just a few of many places in the park to wet a line for various panfish species. Largemouth bass fishing is often best in Wallace and Hinckley lakes, although bass can be found in most park waters.

Rock bass, largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, white bass, northern pike, catfish, freshwater drum, and sunfish species can all be caught along the Cleveland shoreline of Lake Erie on offerings such as tube jigs and live minnows. Walleye fishing has been fantastic and yellow perch are biting in the nearshore waters of Cleveland, as well.

Cleveland Metroparks, www.clevelandmetroparks.com 

BEYOND OHIO

Lake St. Clair (Michigan)

The mayfly hatch was peaking on Lake St. Clair. The smallmouth action was tough with water temperatures in the 60s. A few fish were caught in Anchor Bay and off the mile roads near St. Clair Shores. Catfish, including some big ones, have been caught in front of the Clinton River Spillway. A few perch have been caught in Anchor Bay, too.

Lake Orion (Mich.)

Fishing has been pretty good around Lake Orion. Bluegills and a few crappies have been caught in Prince Lake and East and West Graham lakes, but the weeds are really starting to grow. Most of the larger fish have moved off the beds and into deeper water and weeds. The bass bite has been very good on Lake Orion. Buzzbaits and spinnerbaits zipped along the weeds have taken fish.

Luna Pier Area (Mich.)

Walleye fishing slowed on Lake Erie after the storms stirred up the lake and made it fairly muddy. Very few limits have been reported, but a couple were taken off Stony Point on crawler harnesses or crankbaits fished in 24 feet of water, and near the Banana Dike where the muddy water met the clear water. 

SOUTHWESTERN LP

Paw Paw Area (Mich.)

Bass fishing has been very good on Paw Paw Lake. Anglers report catching good numbers of both smallmouths and largemouths. A few bluegills are still bedding in 5 feet of water on Paw Paw. A few decent pike have been caught on Van Auken Lake. Try drifting a large sucker or chub along the weeds. The St. Joseph River is producing some decent walleyes. One angler caught a 40-pound catfish last week on 6-pound test line while walleye fishing.

Kalamazoo Area (Mich.)

Panfish have provided the best action. Live bait, such as red worms, have been great for catching good numbers of bluegill on inland lakes as well as bayous off of the Grand and Kalamazoo rivers. Bass and catfish have been biting in the rivers.

Grand Rapids Area (Mich.)

Those fishing down near the mouth of the Grand River reported catching skamania steelhead last week so the fish should be up to Grand Rapids by now. Boat anglers were getting some nice walleyes on crawlers and leeches. Bluegills can still be found in the bayous.

CENTRAL LP 

Saginaw Bay Area (Mich.)

Walleye fishing remains good on Lake Huron’s Saginaw Bay. The warmer temps are starting to move the fish to deeper water. Good reports have been coming from those fishing in 15 to 22 feet of water. Crawlers, spoons and bodybaits are all producing limit catches. Most of the fish have been perfect size for eating but there have been quite a few lunkers caught in the last couple of weeks.

Lansing Area (Mich.)

The smallmouth bass bite on the Grand River has been good at the North Lansing Dam. A minnow fished under a bobber will almost guarantee a bite. Fish were also caught at the Smithville Dam in Eaton Rapids and at Fitzgerald Park in Grand Ledge.  Some nice channel cats have been caught above the North Lansing Dam. 

Ludington Area (Mich.)

Decent numbers of chinook and lake trout are being caught in Lake Michigan in 110 to 200 feet of water. The numbers were down but some bigger chinook were caught. Down at Pentwater, boats trolling 30 to 70 feet down in 80 to 150 feet of water reported catching chinook, steelhead and coho on spoons and meat rigs. On Pentwater Lake, anglers fishing from Longbridge Road caught sunfish, smallmouth bass, rock bass, and brown bullhead.

Lake Erie (Pennsylvania) – Poor Richard’s Bait & Tackle reported June 23 that walleyes were in 30 to 40 feet and hitting on crawler harnesses as conditions allowed. Erie Dearies, worm burners, and jet divers with spoons were productive. The best plugs were Bay Rats and Bandits in chartreuse or green. Perch were in 20 to 30 feet.

Presque Isle Bay (Erie County, Pa.) – When the main lake’s conditions were rough mid-month, anglers were advised to fish the bay instead. Misery Bay, Marina Lake, and Thompson Bay were yielding bluegills and other panfish. Most bass had returned to the main lake.

Eaton Reservoir (Erie County, Pa.) – A good largemouth bass bite was reported. Northern pike were hitting on golden shiners, and crappies were being caught from shore near evening. 

Lake Pleasant (Erie County, Pa.) – Big bluegills were biting on this small natural lake in recent weeks.

Kahle Lake (Clarion County, Pa.) – Nice numbers of largemouths were reported, as well as bluegills, crappies and yellow perch. 

Piney Dam, Upper Clarion River (Clarion County, Pa.) – Smallmouth bass, walleyes, yellow perch and crappies were hitting.

Lower Clarion River (Clarion County, Pa.) – A few walleyes and numbers of smallmouth bass were hitting near the confluence with the Allegheny River.

Allegheny River (Pa.) – Smallmouth bass were reported throughout the length of the river. Walleyes were hitting near the confluence with the Clarion River.

Redbank Creek (Clarion County, Pa.) – Trout and smallmouth bass were reported from the dam in New Bethlehem to Mayport. Bass and a few walleyes were reported from the dam in New Bethlehem to the confluence with the Allegheny River.

Allegheny River (Forest County, Pa.) – Northern pike were biting spoons and live bait near the Sand and Gravel Launch.

Pymatuning Reservoir (Crawford County, Pa.) – Walleyes, including a reported 31-incher, crappies and bluegills were biting in recent weeks. Walleyes were being taken by trollers using crawler harnesses, shad raps, and hot-n-tots. Shore anglers also were catching walleyes in the evenings. Muskies, largemouth and smallmouth bass and catfish also were reported.

Conneaut Lake (Crawford County, Pa.) – Some nice bass and panfish were reported in recent weeks. Bluegills were hitting off the humps of this large natural lake.

Woodcock Creek Lake (Crawford County, Pa.) – Walleyes and muskies were in the spillway. Woodcock Creek was yielding some nice trout.

Canadohta Lake (Crawford County, Pa.) – Muskies were taking big baits.

Sugar Creek Lake (Venango County, Pa.) – Panfish were reported.

Justus Lake (Venango County, Pa.) – Largemouth bass in mixed sizes, running from many sub-legals to 17 inches, were reported in recent weeks. A few smallmouth bass were hitting. A 23-inch walleye and a tiger muskie also were reported.

Allegheny River (Venango County, Pa.) – Smallmouth bass were reported on flukes and spinnerbaits. Walleyes up to 27 inches also were hitting.

Lake Wilhelm (Mercer County, Pa.) – Crappies, including one reportedly 3 pounds, were hitting from the marina to the dam in early June. Walleyes up to 25 inches and largemouth bass also were reported.

Shenango Reservoir (Mercer County, Pa.) – Nice catches of keeper-size crappies were reported. Hybrid striped bass up to 12 pounds were released on circle hooks. Some pike were in the shallows. Channel catfish were caught all over the lake.

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