Ohio Outdoor News Fishing Report – Aug. 17, 2018

Central Region

Alum Creek Lake (Delaware County) – Anglers are doing well on crappies by fishing shallow over structure. The best bite is coming in 10 feet of water or less, according to reports. Also, anglers are trolling shad-imitating crankbaits for saugeyes with some success. These fish are being found a little deeper, about 15- to 20-foot depths.

Olentangy River (Franklin, Delaware counties) – In addition to channel catfish catches, anglers are catching smallmouth bass in the Olentangy. The popular baits have been inline spinnerbaits or swimbaits fished in the deeper pools of the river. Some of the smallmouths have ranged up to 14 inches.

Hoover Reservoir (Delaware, Franklin counties) – Fishermen are both trolling and casting for good numbers of crappies on this popular Central Ohio lake. Fish have ranged in size from 6 to 12 inches, and many are being released. The popular bait has been a lively minnow or minnow-imitating crankbait.

Indian Lake (Logan County) – Fishermen are trolling shad-imitating crankbaits with some success for saugeyes. Anglers are reportedly catching a lot of fish, but only a handful of legal keepers are in the mix. Also, some channel catfish and crappies are being caught by the trollers.

Northwest Region

Sandusky Bay – Anglers are catching largemouth bass and channel catfish on this Lake Erie bay. The successful bait for catfish has been shrimp fished on the bottom. For bass, target the rocks with spinnerbaits or swimbaits.

East Harbor (Erie County) – Successful fishermen are catching good numbers of largemouth bass on this harbor in Lake Erie. Most anglers are using kayaks to get onto the best bite out into the harbor. Just about any type of plastic will work for bass.

Clear Fork Reservoir (Richland, Morrow counties) – Muskies are being caught in the shallows when anglers can find wood. Largemouth and smallmouth bass are also being caught in protected areas around docks and other structure. Crappies are also being caught.

Maumee River (Lucas County) – According to Maumee Bait and Tackle on July 29, there hasn’t been much change in river conditions for the past several weeks due to a lack of rainfall. Some catfish continue to be caught as well as smallmouth bass in the rapids, the bait shop reports.

Maumee Bait and Tackle, www.maumeetackle.net

Northeast Region 

Mogadore Reservoir (Portage County) – Crappies and largemouth bass are being caught on this Portage Lake right now. The successful bite is coming on jigs tipped with a minnow or a waxworms. Keep the setup simple and you’ll likely catch fish. Crappies are being measured up to 11 inches, and bass are checking in right around 12 inches.

Pymatuning Lake (Ashtabula County) – Anglers are doing well on channel catfish here, with which the lake seems to be loaded. The successful bite is coming on chicken livers just a couple of cranks up off the bottom. For walleyes, anglers are trolling jigs in a variety of patterns. Walleyes are being caught in 15-20 feet of water. Fish have ranged in size up to 21 inches.

West Branch Reservoir (Portage County) – Anglers continue to have success catching muskies on this Portage County lake. The successful fishermen are finding woody cover and casting big inline spinners at the fish. West Branch is among the absolute best muskie lakes in Ohio, according to the DNR Division of Wildlife.

Mosquito Creek Lake (Trumbull County) – Anglers are fishing hard for walleyes here, but the bite seems to have slowed over the past two weeks. Successful fishermen are finding weedy edges and fishing them with live bait such as nightcrawlers or leeches. There is no keeper size limit on walleyes here, but many fish are being released. Anglers are catching channel catfish and some crappies.

Southwest Region 

East Fork Lake (Clermont County) – Anglers are having good luck catching a mixed bag of fish at this Clermont County lake. According to reports, the successful bite for bass, crappies, and channel catfish is coming for trolling anglers using minnow-imitating crankbaits. Some of the largemouth bass being reported have been up to 20 inches. Crappies are checking in at a respectable 10 inches or better.

Acton Lake (Preble, Butler counties) – The crappie bite has been good on this lake in Hueston Woods State Park. Anglers are fishing minnow rigs in 10 to 15 feet of water for the best bite. Crappies have been of the larger variety, up to 13 inches, although anglers are sorting through a lot of shorts to get the bigger fish.

Caesar Creek Lake (Warren, Clinton, Greene counties) – Fishermen are trying their luck for saugeyes here with some success in recent days. Some of the bigger fish being caught have been in the 20-inch range for anglers trolling shad-imitating baits. Some crappies and white bass have also been thrown into the mix. Crappies have been a respectable 9-12 inches.

C.J. Brown Reservoir (Clark County) – The crappie bite on this Clark County lake has been the hottest ticket going lately. Anglers are reportedly catching loads of fish, although most have been smaller specimens. The largest crappie being reported is a 12-inch fish caught in a recent tournament.

Southeast Region

Seneca Lake (Noble, Guernsey counties) – Saugeyes are the main target right now, but the bite appears  to have slowed somewhat, according to reports. The anglers who are catching them are doing so on swimbaits and minnow-imitating crankbaits trolled at slow speeds. The top saugeye being reported is in the 16-inch range. Some incidental catches of crappies are also being reported.

Salt Fork Lake (Guernsey County) – The channel catfish bite appears to be the top ticket on Salt Fork right now. The successful anglers are fishing shrimp on the bottom.

Piedmont Lake (Belmont County) – Anglers fishing weed edges are having some success catching bass here. The successful bite is coming on a number of different offerings, from plastics to swimbaits to inline spinnerbaits. Drift along the shoreline and pound the cover for the best bass bite. For a full report on Piedmont Lake, see the back page of this edition of Ohio Outdoor News.

Leesville Lake (Carroll County) – Anglers are catching muskies on Leesville Lake just like they typically do at this time of year. Some of these fish have been large, topping 40 inches. If you catch a muskie at Leesville or any Ohio lake, report the catch on the DNR Division of Wildlife’s Muskie Angler Log. It can be found online at wildohio.gov.

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.

Western Basin

Walleye

Where: Fishing remains good. Although most of the larger fish have moved east to find cooler water, smaller fish remain plentiful. Reports of limits are still coming in from Toledo east to the islands, as well as off Huron and Vermilion.

How: Anglers trolling spoons behind divers have been doing well, as well as those trolling worm harnesses. There have been a few reports of anglers trolling crankbaits during low light hours and having success in shallower water, 15 to 20 feet deep.

Yellow Perch

Where: Fishing for yellow perch has been good with reports of limits coming from the Toledo water intake, West Sister Island, southeast of South Bass Island, and north of Kelleys Island. Anglers are mostly fishing in 20 to 30 feet of water.

How: Perch spreaders with shiners fished near the bottom produce the most fish. Fish have also been taken on maggots.

Black Bass

Where: Anglers fishing for largemouth 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. Smallmouth fishing has been good, with anglers targeting eight to 20 feet of water near Kelleys Island and the reefs around the islands.

How: Texas-rigged soft plastic and wacky worms usually produce well for largemouth bass. For anglers targeting smallmouths, tubes and drop-shot rigs have been working well, as well as weighted wacky worms.

Catfish

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 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.

Central Basin

Walleye

Where: Good fishing continues with a few limits reported in 35 to 45 feet of water north-northeast of Edgewater Park and in 40 to 50 feet of water north-northeast of Wildwood Park. Excellent fishing was reported in 62 to 70 feet of water northwest of Fairport Harbor and in 64 to 73 feet of water north-northwest of Geneva. Fish have been suspended, and anglers are targeting fishing depths of 25 to 50 feet while trolling.

How: Walleyes have been caught by trolling crankbaits, spoons, and worm harnesses with divers. Good colors to try are blue, green and white, orange, black and white, 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 good in 20 to 27 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 nightcrawlers.

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.

Steelhead Trout

Where: Anglers are picking up steelhead while trolling for walleyes off Geneva and Ashtabula in 65 to 70 feet of water.

How: See section on Central Basin walleyes for details. Try setting your lures down a bit deeper than for walleyes.

In summer highlight species targeted around Cleveland Metroparks include largemouth and smallmouth bass, walleye, yellow perch, panfish, channel catfish, and common carp.

Fishing can be a challenge in the warm waters of mid to late summer, and fishing early or late in the day is suggested. Channel catfish and carp are among the species that thrive in warm water and fishing for them can be a laid back and relaxing way to enjoy some time on the water. In mid-late June farm raised catfish were stocked at Shadow (800 pounds), Oxbow Lagoon (350 pounds), Ranger (200 pounds), 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.

Carp will be found throughout local rivers, as well. Carp can often be caught throughout the day on such bait as canned corn, carp dough baits, worms, or crayfish tails. Fly anglers looking for a challenge can sight fish to feeding carp, targeting them 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.

Smallmouth bass are typically found in the deeper, rocky pools of the 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. 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). Rock bass and largemouth bass are also present in the same river areas as smallmouth, and can be caught using the same offerings listed above.

Summer means family fishing time for many folks, and panfish fit the bill perfectly for a leisurely picnic and fishing outing.  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 aquatic weeds or shoreline brush is always a good bet. Wallace Lake, Shadow Lake, Oxbow Lagoon (in Rocky River Reservation), Ledge Lake, and Lakefront Reservation are just a few of many places in the parks to wet a line for various panfish species. Largemouth bass fishing is best in Hinckley and Wallace 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, crankbaits, spinners, 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 

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