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The Fish Ohio Report

June 15, 2004

Tip of the Week - Make sure to throw away old fishing line. Leaving fishing line on the bank is littering. The line can be a hazard for fish, birds and mammals. Always cut up and throw discarded fishing line into the trash. Leave the fishing site cleaner than when you found it -- pick up and properly dispose of trash and discarded fishing line. For more information on fishing, check us out on the web at www.ohiodnr.com. Enjoy.


Knox Lake (Knox County) - With recent heavy rains, anglers should stick to smaller lakes and community ponds for the best fishing this week. Knox Lake, at 486-aces in area, offers a "large lake" feel with the characteristics of a small waterway. The woody shoreline and areas with aquatic vegetation are the best places to fish for largemouth bass, which produce excellent catches at this lake. Similar areas are good for catching 6 to 12 inch black crappie. For family fun on Father's Day, try for easy-to-catch bluegill along the shorelines. This time of year, areas with shoreline cover are good places for most fish as they stay out of the heat of the sun. Over 11,000 yearling channel catfish were stocked in fall 2002. Use shrimp or night crawlers fished along the bottom to take channel catfish at night. 10 horsepower limit. Oakthorpe Lake (Fairfield County) - This secluded, 41-acre Fairfield County lake provides the only fishing for redear sunfish in the public waters of central Ohio, as is often publicized. This will be a fun fish to try for with dad on Father's Day, especially with kids or new anglers. Use a night crawler or cricket suspended by a bobber to catch this fish. Carp can be taken using doughballs and night crawlers fished on the bottom. Crappie may be taken using the traditional minnow suspended by a bobber, look for drop-offs on the western side of the lake. This lake has a very good largemouth bass population with many large fish in the 14 to 20 inch range. Try using spinner baits, plastics, and crankbaits along cover on the western side of the lake. Electric motors only.


Bellevue Reservoir #5 (Huron County) - Crappie in the 7 to10 inch range are being taken in this reservoir. Dusk seems to be the best time to catch them and they are being caught in all areas of the reservoir. Minnows or 1/8 ounce white jigs fished at a depth of 3 to 4 feet is the best method this week.

Norwalk Reservoir #3 (Huron County) - Channel catfish in the 16 to 22 inch range are being caught in the mornings and evenings. Fishing with night crawlers in 6 to 8 feet of water is the way to catch these big cats. The best spots seem to be along Old State Road.

Pleasant Hill (Richland County) - Crappie are being taken in this body of water in the mornings. Minnows and jigs fished at 2 to 5 feet in depth seem to work well. The shallow areas are the hot spots.

Clear Fork (Richland County) - Nice numbers of saugeye are being caught at Clear Fork in the mornings. Night crawlers and wax worms fished at a depth of 3 to 10 feet is the best method. West of the boat ramp is where the best catches are being taken.


Zepernick Lake (Columbiana County) - This 36-acre lake is offering prime catfishing at this time. Yearling channel catfish have been regularly stocked in alternating odd-numbered years. A total of 965 catfish (10-inch +) were stocked in 2003. While anglers can catch an occasional 8 to 12 inch bass or 6 to 8 inch bluegill, cats are exceeding 13 inches. Almost any bait is working: cheese, shrimp, hot dogs, or most prepared baits. Only electric motors are permitted and please help stop the spread of aquatic nuisance species cleaning your boat thoroughly and removing weeds that are attached to the trailer. It is not necessary to clean the boat if it has been shore-bound for at least a five day period.

Leesville Lake (Carroll County) - This lake is the best muskellunge lake in the state for total numbers of fish caught and oftentimes for numbers of large fish caught. Muskie anglers are trolling the weed beds with shad imitation crank baits. As of November 2003, a total of 462 muskellunge had been reported through the Ohio Huskie Muskie Club. A total of 62 fish of 42 inch and greater were also recorded. A total of 1,250 advanced fingerling muskie (at least 9 inches) were stocked in 2003. Visit http://www.ohiodnr.com/wildlife/Fishing/huskie/muskiearticle04.htm for more information about muskie fishing or to obtain a map of Leesville Lake. 983-acres. 10 horsepower limit.


Tranquility Wildlife Area Pond (Adams County) - Bluegill, sunfish, largemouth bass, and channel catfish are being caught using spinner baits, stink baits, plastic worms, red worms, mealworms, chicken livers, or earthworms as bait. Cast from a boat or the shoreline. Keep the bait under a slip bobber so that is suspended about 3 to 4 feet deep. Good hook size choices are #4 or 5 longshanked hook.

Paint Creek Lake (Highland County) - Crappies are being caught by anglers using curly tails, jigs with plastic bodies, spinnerbaits, or live minnows. When using live bait use a #4 sized fine wire hook. White or chartreuse are good color choices for artificial lures. Cast into areas with submerged trees and brush. Keep the bait under a slip bobber and about 5 to 6 feet deep. Some anglers are finding success with minnows under a bobber. Bluegill and sunfish are being caught by anglers using red worms or wax worms as bait. Fish the bait under a slip bobber and keep the bait about 3 to 4 feet deep. A good hook size to choose is a #6 fine wire hook. Look for good fishing in areas with woody debris such as fallen trees or over-hanging brush.


Seneca Lake (Noble County)-Walleye and saugeye are being caught around the islands and near boat docks and about 8 to 10 feet deep. Most fish are in the 14 to 16 inch range. Anglers are using worm harnesses with spinners fished right off the bottom 8 to 10 feet deep. Channel catfish are also being caught at the same locations using the same baits as saugeye anglers. Anglers are catching channel catfish weighing up to 2.5 pounds. Bluegill are being caught off the bottom in 8 to 10 feet of water by using a slip bobber and larval baits.

Muskingum River (Morgan County) - Water temperature is 70 degrees Fahrenheit. The Muskingum River is up and muddy from recent rains. However, nice catches of flathead catfish are occurring at tributary confluences and in the backwaters of tributaries. Good catches of flathead catfish have been noted in the 38 to 50 pound range using live goldfish for bait.

Turkey Creek Lake (Scioto County) - Water temperature is 76 degrees Fahrenheit. Channel catfish are being caught from the dam at this small lake in Shawnee State Park. Most fish are in the 20 to 24 inch range and are being caught on the bottom using chicken livers.

Scioto Brush Creek (Scioto County) - Spotted bass are being caught by anglers floating between the villages of McDermott and Arian. Most "spots" are running in the 10 to 12 inch range and are being caught on 3-inch green pumpkinseed colored weedless tube worms.


** The 15-inch walleye minimum size limit remains in effect for the entire season. From May 1 to June 26 smallmouth bass possession is illegal. Anglers may catch and release smallmouth, but possession is not permitted.**

Surface temperatures are in the 60's.

Western Basin

Walleye - The best walleye fishing has been in the triangle between Niagara reef, Green Island and Northwest Reef (W of North Bass Island). The walleye have generally been near the bottom in 30 to 32 feet of water. Drifting mayfly rigs and trolling spoons produce the most fish. Walleye above the 15 inches minimum size limit have ranged from 16 to 24 inches with a few larger fish mixed in. Many of the walleye hatched in 2003 are being caught already. The yearling walleye range from 5 to 10 inches. Please handle these sub-legal fish as gently as possible and quickly return them to the water.

Yellow Perch - Yellow perch fishing has been best near the Marblehead lighthouse, on the Kelleys Island airport reef, and near Niagara Reef. Fish just off the bottom using perch spreaders tipped with shiners.

Smallmouth Bass - The best smallmouth bass fishing has been around the Bass Islands, Kelleys Island and Sandusky Bay.

Central Basin

Walleye - The best walleye fishing has been from Vermilion to Beaver Creek, from Lorain to Avon Point, 4 to 6 miles NE of Ashtabula in 50 to 60 feet of water, 8 to 9 miles N of the Chagrin River in 48 to 60 feet of water, and 3 to 6 miles E of Geneva in 50 to 60 feet of water. Trolling spoons and crankbaits have produced the best catches.

Yellow Perch - Yellow perch fishing has been best off of the Vermilion River mouth, within one mile of Lorain, 3 to 4 miles N of Cleveland in 30 to 40 feet of water, 1 to 2 miles out from Geneva to Conneaut in 30 to 40 feet of water, and 2 to 4 miles NW of Fairport in 42 to 52 feet of water. A perch spreader tipped with shiners is the most popular set-up.

Smallmouth Bass - The best smallmouth bass fishing has been around Ruggles Reef and the shoreline and harbors in 15 to 30 feet of water around Fairport, Geneva, Ashtabula and Conneaut. Jigs tipped with shiners, tube jigs and crankbaits have been the most productive lures.

To view the predicted weather forecast for Lake Erie visit: http://seaboard.ndbc.noaa.gov/data/Forecasts/FZUS61.KCLE.html


Ohio River (Scioto County) - Water temperature is 74 degrees Fahrenheit. Although the river is up and muddy from recent rains, anglers are catching nice slab crappie over 12 inches in a few of the backwaters. Captains Cove at Holiday Point marina is one backwater that's producing good catches of slab crappies. Most crappies are being caught on minnows fished under slip bobbers or using crappie cane poles. Fish around and in areas with submerged brush and woody debris.

Ohio River (Adams, Brown, Clermont, and Hamilton) - The river is high and muddy.
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