Wildlife News Ohio Department of Natural Resources Division of Wildlife The Fish Ohio Report August 31, 2005 CENTRAL OHIO Delaware Lake (Delaware County) - This 963-acre lake north of Columbus provides the highest quality crappie fishing in central Ohio, which is a great family activity for the Labor Day weekend. Crappie must be nine inches or longer to keep. Fish the deep drop-offs with stumps to catch these eight to 13 inch fish. Channel catfish can be caught using shrimp, soft craws, and cut baits in the upper part of the lake. Most of these fish are 12 to 20 inches long. Fish the shallow woody cover along the shoreline and points, such as, fallen trees and tree stumps for largemouth bass. Largemouth bass must be 12 inches or longer to keep. The flats south of Cap Cole Bay will become productive as September progresses for saugeye. Knox Lake (Knox County) - Use chicken livers, shrimp, and night crawlers fished along the bottom next to woody shoreline cover and undercut banks when seeking channel catfish. Catfishing should remain steady even with our changing weather and some of these fish will weigh up to 10 pounds. Areas with submerged structure, the woody shoreline areas and those with aquatic vegetation are good places to fish for largemouth bass, though with abundant forage fish available, largemouth fishing may be difficult. The shoreline cover also provides good opportunities to fish for bluegill when using wax worms and larval baits. 10 horsepower limit. NORTHWEST OHIO Findlay Reservoir #1 (Hancock County) Some perch are being taken. Jigging minnows of off the bottom is working the best. Findlay Reservoir #2 (Hancock County) Catfish are being taken by drifting and trolling worms from a boat and by using shrimp or liver from the shoreline. Bluegill and crappie are being taken on wax worms and worms from near the fishing pier. Fostoria #3 (Hancock County) Small bluegill are being taken from the boat ramp area and from the parking area between Reservoir #2 and #3. A few catfish are being taken on worms fished under a bobber. North Baltimore #1 (Hancock County) A few small bluegills are being taken on worms fished under a bobber. The northwest corner is the best bet. North Baltimore #2 (Hancock County) Not much is being caught here. It should be noted that this should be a great fishery next year. Bass are growing in good numbers and the perch are reaching a catchable size. NORTHEAST OHIO Leesville Lake (Jefferson County) - This 1,045-acre lake is well known for its excellent muskellunge fishery. Not only do anglers catch more muskies here than most other bodies of water in the state, the numbers of big fish captured are often much larger too! As of July 31, nearly 260 muskies have been caught out of this lake in 2005 and that number will only continue to increase. The total for 2004 was a whopping 548 muskies! Currently, anglers are finding Ohios largest fish species in weed beds of embayments while using crankbaits or spinner baits in many different colors. Trolling has not proven to be very successful at this time, so casting is bringing great returns. Leesville Lake is found two miles southeast of Sherrodsville off of State Route 212. Tappan Lake (Harrison County) Channel catfish averaging 16 to 24 inches are hitting hard on night crawlers in this 2,131-acre lake. The best technique is to keep the hook very close to the bottom and if you are searching for a monster, use a lot of bait. The trick is to keep your bait geared to the size of fish that youd like to catch. Catfish have poor eyesight, so adding in some color and smell to your own recipe of stink bait wont hurt a bit. Saugeye are a little slow right now, so if catfish do not interest you, give bluegill a try. These delicious fish are averaging about 6 inches in length and will make a perfect meal. For recipe ideas visit, http://www.ohiodnr.com/wildlife/Fishing/recipes/frecipe.htm Wheelchair accessible shoreline fishing facilities available. SOUTHWEST OHIO C. J. Brown Reservoir (Clark County) - Walleye are being caught by anglers using crankbaits, jigs with plastic bodies or curly tails, small spinners, or live minnows, leaches, or night crawlers on a #6 long shanked hook as bait. Good curly tail color choices are white, orange, pink, or chartreuse. Fish by slowly jigging, trolling or drifting baits in 10 to 15 foot depths. Some anglers report successful catches using silver or gold blade baits. Anglers report walleyes are being caught in the main lake river channel, around structure, and over the humps. The best fishing is in the very early morning hours. Most walleye are undersized fish but some legal fish are being caught. REMEMBER all walleye less than 15 inches long must be immediately released back into the lake. The winners of the recent two-day Grand National Walleye State National Tournament held at C.J. Brown caught a total of 11 walleye weighing a total of 24.46 pounds. The winners successful method was trolling Reef Runner Rip Shad over the humps in 15 to 16 feet of water. Channel catfish are being caught by anglers using shad, shrimp, night crawlers, and chicken livers in the upper end of the lake. Fish the bait tight line or slowly drift the bait along the bottom at three to six foot depths. Caesar Creek (Clinton, Greene, and Warren counties) - From Interstate 75 take State Route 73 east about 17 miles, or From Interstate 71 take State Route 73 west about seven miles, or from State Route 42 take State Route 73 east about five miles. Anglers casting in-line spinners and crankbaits are starting to catch a few muskellunge and, also, having fish follow their baits. Saugeye anglers are catching a few 15 to 18 inch fish from six to 15 feet depths, but most fish are small. Troll medium or deep diving crankbaits along submerged points or underwater humps. Cast or drift with live night crawlers on a bottom bouncing harness rig, or use a lead head jig tipped with a piece of worm. Fish in the early morning and early evening hours. Channel catfish are being caught by shore anglers using night crawlers, shrimp, and chicken livers. Fish the bait tight line along the bottom in five to eight foot depths. Stillwater River (Miami County) - Access from Frederick Garland Rd., State Route 571, Calumet Rd., State Route 55, Fenner Rd., Sugar Grove Rd., State Route 36. Remember to ask permission before entering private property. Anglers are catching fair numbers of smallmouth bass and channel catfish. At this time of year the fish will be in the deep holes of the river. Smallmouth bass are being caught in the early morning and early evening hours. Popular baits are soft crayfish, tube jigs, small spinners, and small crankbaits. Remember there is a daily limit of one smallmouth that must be 15 inches or greater when fishing from Frederick-Garland Road to State Route 718. SOUTHEAST OHIO Dillon Reservoir (Muskingum County) Largemouth bass anglers continue to be challenged. The extent of forage fish has reduced angler success. However, the use of top water baits near weed-lines has produced bass in the weight range of two to three pounds. Anglers are using plastic worms in dark colors which include purple, motor oil, and black. Most successful times for fishing have been late evening, at night, and in the early morning hours of daybreak. Some bluegill sunfish have been caught using nightcrawlers fished below a bobber. Waters at this area are exceptionally clear and water temperatures are also in the low 80 degree level, but watershed events can modify lake conditions. Catfishing opportunities can be excellent in this reservoir and feeder tributary streams during a water rise after an extended low water condition. Chicken livers and night crawlers are the preferred bait, fished tight-line on the bottom near creek channels. Muskingum River (Coshocton, Muskingum, and Morgan counties) Catfish angling effort is correlated to thunderstorm activity within selected watersheds. The prospects for great catfishing abound for the week, if water rises are not excessive. Anglers continue to catch flathead catfish using goldfish and sunfish. Channel catfish anglers have been most successful using nightcrawlers, chicken livers, and cut bait from the river. The Muskingum River has individual flathead catfish up to 50 pounds as indicated from past netting surveys. The most productive sites continue to be at any of the low-head dams and at the mouth of larger tributary streams. Water conditions are variable from low and clear to sites with a water elevation increase and being slightly muddy with a temperature of 80 to 84 degrees. Seneca Lake (Noble County) Water temperature is 81 degrees with clear conditions and normal water elevation. Some tributary streams are contributing to some muddy flows from measurable rainfall events which can aid catfishing success. Largemouth bass angling should be improving with the cooling trend in water temperature. Reservoir bass have a high tendency to stage near woody structure at near shore locations. Saugeye and walleye fishing success continues to improve. This is quite apparent with good reports occurring during the daylight hours. The preferred lure color is silver and white and would include diving Shad Rap's and other similar imitations. Catches of saugeye 13 to 21 inches have been reported. Fish water in the depth range of nine to 19 feet associated with woody structure or unique lake basin features. LAKE ERIE Western Basin Walleye Walleye fishing effort has been low recently. Look for fishing to improve as the water cools, as fish from the 2003 year class surpass 15 inches, and when the migratory walleye return from the east. Yellow Perch Perch fishing has good lately with many limit catches. As with walleye, there are many fish from the 2003 year class. These 2003 yellow perch currently range from six to eight inches. As the 2003 perch continue to grow the average size of the catch will improve. The best areas have been the Toledo shipping channel turnaround buoy, the cans of the Camp Perry firing range, east of Ballast Island, and just north of Cedar Point. A perch spreader tipped with shiners is the most popular set-up. Smallmouth Bass The best smallmouth bass fishing has been around the Bass Islands, Kelleys Island and Sandusky Bay. Largemouth bass have been caught in Sandusky Bay, East Harbor and West Harbor. Central Basin Walleye Walleye fishing has been good in Ohio waters of the central basin. The best areas were the sandbar northwest of Lorain, seven to 14 miles north of Geneva in 68 to 72 feet of water, and seven to 14 miles north of Ashtabula in 68 to 72 feet of water. Trolling 30 to 50 feet down with spoons, crawler harnesses or stickbaits, using planer boards, dipsy divers, downriggers or jet divers, have produced the best catches. Fish have ranged from 15 to 27 inches. Yellow Perch Yellow perch fishing has been excellent north of Lorain in 37 to 43 feet of water, three miles north of Wildwood state park in 32 to 40 feet of water, three to six miles north of Ashtabula and Conneaut in 50 to 62 feet of water, and two to six miles northeast and northwest of Fairport Harbor in 45 to 60 feet of water. A perch spreader tipped with shiners is the most popular set-up. Fish have ranged from seven to 11 inches. Smallmouth Bass The best smallmouth bass fishing has been around breakwalls and rocky drop-offs from Lorain to Avon point. Tube jigs and drop-shot rigs with goby imitations have been the most productive lures. Steelhead Steelhead have been caught by walleye anglers in the same areas mentioned in the walleye report. Fish have ranged from 16 to 28 inches. Lake Erie surface temperatures are in the low to mid 70s. To view the predicted weather forecast for Lake Erie visit: http://weather.noaa.gov/cgi-bin/fmtbltn.pl?file=forecasts/marine/great_lakes/le/lez160.txt OHIO RIVER Belmont, Gallia, Lawrence, Meigs, Monroe, Scioto, and Washington counties Water temperature was reported at 81 degrees and conditions were clear and low. However, the rainfall from hurricane Katrina will create excellent opportunities for catfishing. Fishing has been slow in the Ohio River, but catfish, freshwater drum (sheephead), and a few hybrid striped bass and white bass have been observed. Catfish anglers are catching channel catfish and some flathead catfish on cut bait, chicken liver, and nightcrawlers fished tight-line on the bottom. Hybrid striped bass have also been caught using cut bait and chicken livers. Sheephead and white bass have been caught using white and yellow twister tails or grubs. Flathead catfish and channel catfish success is quite variable, but best results are primarily through the night and in the early morning hours before daybreak. Bass fishing continues to be extremely slow due to the extensive amount of natural bait within the river.