Hoover Reservoir (Delaware, Franklin Counties) – Minnow rigs trolled slowly are taking their fair share of crappies on this central Ohio waterway. Some of the crappies have been slab size, too, up to 13 inches. The key is to fish the bait in 10 to 12 feet of water and pull the rig slowly, according to angler reports.
Buckeye Lake (Fairfield, Licking, Perry counties) – Chicken livers fished on the bottom are producing some channel catfish. Anglers are fishing all over the lake for catfish that will range up to about 12-16 inches. Saugeyes, too, should turn on as water temperatures cool further into the fall.
Delaware Lake (Delaware County) – Panfish is the hot ticket on Delaware Lake right now, provided water levels come down a bit from all of the rain the area has seen in recent weeks. Anglers are dunking minnows in 10 to 12 feet of water to catch crappies.
Alum Creek Lake (Delaware County) – Anglers are slow trolling minnow rigs to pick up saugeyes and white bass. Flicker Shads seem to be the go-to bait. Also, fishermen are targeting largemouth and smallmouth bass on topwater plugs fished in lily pads or against any type of cover. Bass have ranged up to 14 inches.
Indian Lake (Logan County) – The bite for channel catfish is still going strong at Indian, with some fish up to 18 inches being caught. Use the typical catfish baits – nightcrawlers, chicken livers, etc. – and fish the bait close to the bottom.
Clearfork Reservoir (Richland, Morrow counties) – Anglers report that the water is still muddy, but a few panfish are being caught, according to reports. The catches of crappies and bluegills are coming on black and blue jigs tipped with a nightcrawler or minnow.
East Harbor (Erie County) – Fishermen continue catches of largemouth bass in this Lake Erie harbor. Most are using live bait such as crawfish or nightcrawlers to catch the bass. Use a small boat if you have one available, or simply fish from the shoreline.
Maumee River (Lucas County) – According to Maumee Bait and Tackle on Sept. 29, smallmouth bass action on the river has been heating up. Larger crawfish baits fished along the edge of faster water is the recommended ticket. Also, a few stray walleyes are being caught on jig and minnow combos or jig and nightcrawler rigs. Maumee Bait and Tackle recommends spraying some scent on the bait to entice walleyes into biting.
Maumee Bait and Tackle, www.maumeetackle.net
Berlin Lake (Portage, Mahoning, Stark counties) – Anglers are trolling Flicker Shads to pick up a mixed bag of fish here. Crappies, bass, and channel catfish have all been in the mix. The key, according to anglers, is to troll slowly to keep the bait suspended in the water column for as long as possible. A few northern pike are also being caught on large inline spinnerbaits.
Pymatuning Lake (Ashtabula County) – Anglers report that the crappie bite on Pymatuning is still a deep bite, despite the cooling temperatures experienced recently. Anglers are catching them on minnows, jig and minnow combinations, and on nightcrawlers fished under a float.
Mogadore Reservoir (Portage County) – A few anglers are catching bluegills here with some regularity. The popular bait has been a jig and minnow setup, or simply a minnow fished under a bobber. Bluegills are ranging from 7 to 10 inches.
Mosquito Creek Lake (Trumbull County) – Anglers are trying their level best to catch walleyes here without many good results. Fishermen are trolling and casting for the walleye bite without much to show for it, according to reports. When fishermen are lucky enough to catch a walleye, though, the size structure has been fairly decent, up to 24 inches in some reports.
Rocky Fork Lake (Highland County) – Shore fishermen are hitting the docks at Rocky Fork for bluegills in the 8- to 9-inch range. Get a supply of fresh minnows before heading out. Also, the bass bite continues to be OK for anglers targeting shoreline structure.
Cowan Lake (Clinton County) – Anglers throwing jigs at this lake just outside of Wilmington are catching a mixed bag of fish. Crappies, largemouth bass, white bass, saugeyes, yellow perch, and bluegills have all been in the mix. Chartreuse seems to be the top producing color. None of the fish are reportedly trophy size, and in particular crappies are topping out at about 10 inches.
Caesar Creek Lake (Warren, Clinton, Greene counties) – Water temperatures as of this writing were still in the mid- to upper 70s, according to angler reports. Also, water clarity has been good. Anglers are successfully pulling jig and minnow combinations to catch crappies. The popular jig color has been chartreuse. Fish are biting in 10 to 12 feet of water.
Muskingum River (various counties) – Anglers fishing the river near Zanesville have been rewarded with a decent bite on stripers, according to angler reports. Some channel and flathead catfish are also reportedly being caught on spinnerbaits and swimbaits. Use these same baits in the same areas for the stripers.
Piedmont Lake (Belmont County) – Anglers are doing quite well fishing for smallmouth bass at Piedmont, according to reports. Most fish are being caught on spoons fished in 18-20 feet of water. Fishermen are also catching saugeyes and white bass – sometimes in big numbers – on these same baits.
Tappan Lake (Harrison County) – Anglers trolling worm harnesses are catching good numbers of white bass. The best bite is coming in eight to 12 feet of water. The white bass aren’t particular, either, and will bite on just about any bait you throw at them, according to reports.
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.
Anglers should note that the ramp at Catawba State Park is closed through the end of the year for construction, according to the DNR Division of Wildlife.
Where: Fishing has been fair with the best reports coming from Huron and Lorain in 35 to 50 feet of water. Anglers are reporting limits of 17- to 22-inch fish. Fish are being caught less than one mile offshore east of Kelleys Island as well.
How: Anglers trolling small spoons behind divers have been doing the best from 45 to 80 feet back, depending on where the fish are. Anglers trolling deep diving stick baits are starting to have better success as the fish start moving nearshore during the fall chasing gizzard shad.
Where: Fishing for yellow perch has been fair with the inconsistent weather patterns. Some success has been reported near the “A,” “D,” and “G” cans of the Camp Perry Firing Range in 22 to 30 feet of water. A few good reports came from the “Sputnik” buoy near Toledo as well.
How: Perch spreaders with shiners fished near the bottom produce the most fish.
Where: Fishing for largemouth bass continues to be good for anglers in the Portage River mouth, East and West harbors, and Sandusky Bay. According to a small number of reports, smallmouth fishing has been good near Toussaint Reef, Niagara Reef, and near the islands.
How: Texas-rigged soft plastics and spinnerbaits have been producing well for largemouth bass on the outside of weed edges. Target smallmouth near the reefs and islands in approximately 15 feet of water using tubes, Ned rigs, and weighted worms.
Where: Anglers targeting catfish are doing extremely well in Sandusky and Maumee bays. Shoreline fishing opportunities are available from the Jackson Street Pier, 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, though fish have also been taken on shiners, nightcrawlers, and stink bait. Most anglers fish a Carolina rig or three-way rig. Fish can also be taken below a bobber suspended just off the bottom.
Where: Good fishing with some limits caught were reported in 70 feet of water north of Gordon Park, in 72 feet of water northwest of Wildwood Park, in 68 to 72 feet of water northwest of Fairport Harbor, in 72 feet of water north-northeast of Ashtabula, and in 72 to 74 feet of water north-northwest of Conneaut. Fish are suspended, and anglers are targeting fishing depths of 30 to 60 feet while trolling.
How: Walleyes have been caught by trolling crankbaits, spoons, and worm harnesses with divers. Good colors to try are silver, green, orange, watermelon, white and silver, and copper. Anglers fishing from shore are having the best luck in the evenings catching fish using spinners and stick baits.
Where: Prior to the recent rough lake conditions fish were being caught in 51 to 54 feet of water northwest of Fairport Harbor, and in 60 feet of water north of Conneaut.
How: Anglers are fishing from the bottom up to 5 cranks off the bottom. Try different depths near the bottom until you locate the fish. Use minnows on spreaders. Fish have also been taken on maggots. The best reports have been from the late afternoon and into the evening.
Where: Fishing has been good in 15 to 22 feet of water around harbor areas in Cleveland, Fairport Harbor, Ashtabula, and Conneaut.
How: Anglers are using drop-shot rigs with crayfish and leeches, small spoons, and night crawlers.
Where: Anglers are picking up steelhead while trolling for walleyes off Geneva and Ashtabula in 68 to 72 feet of water.
How: See section on central basin walleye for details. Try setting your lures down a bit deeper than for walleye.
As we enter fall, highlight species targeted by anglers along the Rocky River and other area streams include steelhead trout, smallmouth bass, carp, panfish, and channel catfish.
The Rocky River is flowing high and muddy, but as it drops and clears into the weekend anglers can expect some fresh run steelhead to be available in the northern river section. Early steelhead also show up around off the rocks at Edgewater and E. 55th, Wildwood Park, and in the northernmost river sections by the lake. Casting a spoon (i.e., Little Cleo or KO Wobbler) or spinner (i.e., Vibrax or RoosterTail) at these locations are as good a bet as any for connecting with an early steelhead trout. Things traditionally start to heat up with the steelhead fishing into October.
Anglers are also pursuing a mix of warmwater species in the streams. Smallmouth bass are typically found in the deeper, rocky pools of the river during the day in 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 about 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). A surprise during recent sampling was a respectable number of keeper size walleyes by the Rocky River marina. There have been a shocking number of baby walleyes in Cleveland Metropark streams lately, as well. Please be gentle handling these cigar size fish from the outstanding 2018 hatch.
Anglers at Cleveland Metroparks’ inland lakes and ponds are catching catfish, largemouth bass, and panfish. Two weeks ago, metroparks staff released 746 largemouth bass, sunfish, and channel catfish at Beyer’s Pond following the Middleburgh Heights Family Fishing Days in mid-September. Wallace Lake, Ledge Lake, and Shadow Lake are a few other spots that can be worth poking around in early fall.
Rock bass, largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, crappie, freshwater drum, and sunfish species can be found along the Cleveland shoreline in fall and can be caught on offerings such as tube jigs, drop-shot rigs, and live bait. Some good eater size walleyes (15-20 inches) have been found in water as shallow as 16-24 feet by Cleveland area boating anglers, although more consistent catches are being made in 68-70 feet of water. Yellow perch fishing off Cleveland has been heating up off Wildwood Park in 32-38 feet of water.
Cleveland Metroparks, www.clevelandmetroparks.com