Alum Creek Lake (Delaware County) — Anglers are being careful at Alum Creek, and most are fishing just the coves through the ice. The bite has been reportedly a tough one, though. A few stray saugeyes are being reported north of Cheshire Road. Ice was said to be 41⁄2 to 5 inches thick in most of these places. Also, a few crappies are being caught on jigs tipped with a minnow.
Buckeye Lake (Fairfield, Licking, Perry counties) — Anglers fishing through the ice in shallow water have picked up the saugeye bite in recent days. The successful fishermen report fishing in four to five feet of water at Fairfield Beach. They’re using ice spoons tipped with live bait. By this time, there should be plenty of fishermen on the ice here. Just look for the crowds and shanties and pick out a spot. Ice is reportedly 4-5 inches thick in most spots.
Indian Lake (Logan County) — Anglers were finally on some good ice as of this writing on Feb. 2. The successful bite was on for saugeyes and crappies with anglers using ice spoons tipped with a wax worm or jig and minnow combinations. Ice was reported by the locals to be at least 5-6 inches thick in most places.
Findlay Reservoir No. 2 (Hancock County) — Anglers were fishing through the ice on Findlay No. 2, but reports of catches were few and far between. Most of the angling effort is concentrated near the boat ramp. Look for yellow perch and walleyes with ice spoons tipped with a wax worm or maggot or a jig and minnow combo.
Lima Lake (Allen County) — Ice anglers on Lima have reported catching largemouth bass, crappies, and bluegills. The bass have been decent 12- to 14-inch specimens, according to angler reports. Bluegills and crappies are running on the smallish 6- to 8-inch range.
Lake Erie (East Harbor) — Anglers fishing on up to eight inches of ice on Feb. 4 were rewarded with catches of yellow perch, crappies, and bluegills. Fishermen were reportedly keeping a lot of 81⁄2-inch perch and 9-inch crappies and bluegills. The popular baits were pin mins tipped with a wax worm or jig and shiner combinations.
Mogadore Reservoir (Portage County) — Anglers are getting on 6-7 inches of good ice here to fish primarily for panfish. Some good reports of crappies, bluegills, and redears are coming in. The successful bite is coming on jig and minnow combinations or ice spoons under a small float.
Mosquito Creek Lake (Trumbull County) — Anglers fishing the buoy line and near the cemetery are doing OK on crappies and bluegills, but walleyes seem to be tough to come by, according to reports. Most of the walleye reports coming in have been for smaller fish. The lake in most spots has 6-8 inches of solid ice.
Pymatuning Lake (Ashtabula County) — Anglers were reporting about six inches of good ice on most of Pymatuning. Crappies, bluegills, and yellow perch have all been willing biters in recent days, and there were a handful of reports of walleyes being taken. Fishermen are using the traditional ice fishing baits – spoons, jigs, etc. – tipped with a bit of live bait such as minnows or wax worms. Anglers are catching fish on tip-ups as well as ice fishing rods.
C.J. Brown Reservoir (Clark County) — Some anglers are on the ice here, fishing for crappies and walleyes, but the more common sight here is fishermen fishing through the thin ice from the safety of the docks. Some nice crappie catches are being reported. One fishermen noted catching several crappies that ranged around 12 inches.
Kiser Lake (Champaign County) — This lake in Champaign County is one of the better lakes for ice fishing in southwest Ohio. Locals are reporting up to eight inches of good ice now, and anglers are taking advantage. Mostly crappies and bluegills being caught on wax worms or minnows under a small float.
Grand Lake St. Marys (Mercer, Auglaize counties) — Anglers fishing the coves of Grand Lake St. Marys through the ice have been catching the typical crappies. According to local angler reports, the ice is about 5-6 inches in most spots, particularly in the bays and coves leading into the lake. Crappies have been averaging a respectable 9 inches.
Salt Fork Lake (Guernsey County) — Channel catfish are being caught, as are bluegills and crappies, according to angler reports. Fishermen are using the typical wintertime baits such as jigged Vib-Es, Sonars, and Cicadas to pick up some fish.
Seneca Lake (Noble, Guernsey counties) — Anglers are consistently fishing the Seneca Lake spillway, which through the winter can provide a nice dinner of crappies for the lucky angler. Some crappie catches are being reported, but most fish are running on the small 6-7-inch range.
Piedmont Lake (Belmont County) — Anglers are fishing the spillway at this Belmont County lake for saugeyes, crappies, and channel catfish. A warm-up in the forecast should serve to help what’s been a tough bite here, according to angler reports. The only consistent reports have been for fishermen catching catfish.
Lake Erie Region
• The 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.
New for 2019:
A Lake Erie fishing permit is required for nonresidents from Jan. 1 to April 30 when fishing Lake Erie and areas immediately upstream in creeks, rivers, and tributaries.
As of this writing in early February, there were a handful of ice shanties on Lake Erie between South Bass and Rattlesnake islands, according to reporting done by contributing writer John Hageman (See story, Page 1).
Anglers were reporting catching limits of walleyes through the ice, mainly fish in the 18- to 20-inch range.
Other reports were coming from the area of Kelleys Island, where bigger walleyes were being caught. Some of these were in the 30-inch range.
East Harbor was another popular ice-fishing spot, with anglers there catching bluegills, pumpkinseeds, and a few bass, according to Hageman.
Area streams near Cleveland Metroparks are largely filled with ice and slush and are offering very limited steelhead fishing opportunities. The Cuyahoga River is among the last streams to freeze, especially near the Route 82 area dam in Brecksville. In a typical year, steelhead numbers can be expected to peak into March-April, although a thaw prior to that can offer windows of good fishing in winter.
A highlight this week has been ice fishing for trout on various Cleveland Metroparks lakes. Throughout the winter, a total of 6,000 pounds of rainbow trout were stocked in Metroparks lakes, as follows: Wallace (2,800 pounds), Shadow (1,500 pounds), Ledge (1,200 pounds), Judge’s (300 pounds), and Ranger (200 pounds) lakes. In addition to rainbow trout averaging between 1 and 2 pounds, quite a few bonus brown, brook trout, and golden rainbow trout were included (especially in Wallace Lake). Trout are also available at Ohio & Erie Canal fishing area down the hill from CanalWay Visitor Center off E. 49th Street. Note the current seasonal trout regulations: Lake Erie and all streams two/day, minimum size 12 inches (this includes steelhead); three/day, no size limit at Wallace, Ledge, Judge’s, and Ranger lakes; and five/day, no size limit at Shadow Lake and Ohio & Erie Canal. Trout through the ice bite well on small to medium size jigging spoons with silver or gold colors, small marabou jigs tipped with grubs, PowerBait in bright colors, live minnows, and salmon eggs/small spawn sacs.
Anglers are just beginning to venture onto Cleveland area harbors of Lake Erie to seek steelhead, yellow perch, northern pike, and panfish.