Wildlife News Ohio Department of Natural Resources Division of Wildlife The Fish Ohio Report May 11, 2005 Tip of the Week: Drag is an adjustable mechanism on the fishing reel that allows a fish to take out line without exceeding the pound test on the fishing line. Adjust the drag on your fishing line before landing the fish on it. Usually you will want to set the drag a few pounds under the pound test of your fishing line. (This is the time it is helpful to read the manufacturers directions.) Be careful to not reel in against the drag. The line will twist and tangle. Reel the fish in when it stops taking out line. Try out the drag on a fishing reel before purchasing. Purchase the reel that has a smooth drag with no halts or jerks. For more information on fishing, check us out on the web at www.ohiodnr.com. CENTRAL OHIO Delaware Lake (Delaware County) -- Crappie anglers will find excellent opportunities in this 963-acre lake north of Columbus. Crappies must be nine inches or longer to keep. Use a minnow suspended under a bobber around shoreline cover to catch these eight to 13-inch fish. White bass can be caught in early May as fish have move up the Olentangy and Whetstone arms to spawn. Saugeye fishing in the tailwater can be good after high water releases. Oakthorpe Lake (Fairfield County) Fishing opportunities for bass in this 41-acre lake are rated excellent this year. The best location is the area of the western side of the lake near the deep drop-offs. Anglers should use crank baits, plastic worms, and live baits while fishing during the morning and evening hours. This lake is also the only public lake in central Ohio with redear sunfish. Try using a night crawler suspended by a bobber or catch them fly-fishing. Fish in shallow water from the shoreline with larval baits and meal worms to take other sunfish like the popular bluegill. The deep western shoreline cover offers good fishing action for crappies, which are biting everywhere right now, when using jigs and minnows. Fish along the lake bottom with night crawlers and dough balls when seeking carp. Electric motors only. NORTHWEST OHIO Lima Lake (Allen County) Saugeyes in the one to two-pound range are being taken on the bottom using minnows, night crawlers and jigs. Evening is the best time. The south side of the reservoir seems to be the best. Auglaize River (Putnam County) Smallmouth and rock bass are being taken in the deeper holes near Defiance trail Road and Bliss Road. Rooster tails and white jigs are working great. Paulding Reservoir (Paulding County) The water temperature is 58 degrees. Saugeyes 15 to 18 inches in length are being caught in the early mornings and in the evenings. Leeches and minnows below a bobber fished on the wave-washed shore is best for catching saugeyes. Maumee River (Lucas and Wood Counties) The water temperature is 51 degrees. The river is cloudy and water levels are normal, but dropping. Anglers are taking fair numbers of walleyes 16 to 22 inches in length using floating jigs in the faster waters near Buttonwood and Bluegrass Island. Anglers are also taking good numbers of white bass (8 to 12 inches) and white perch by using 1/8 ounce jigs with white and chartreuse twister tails, tight-lining with minnows and night crawlers, and by using minnows under bobbers. Best locations are White Street Access and Orleans Park. Sandusky River (Sandusky County) The water is 51 degrees and the water level is normal with six to eight inches of clarity. Anglers are catching white bass off the bottom or by using minnows under bobbers. White perch are being caught using worms. Anglers are still taking a few walleyes. NORTHEAST OHIO Mogadore Reservoir (Portage County) -- This 1,076-acre lake is one of the most popular panfishing lakes in northeast Ohio. Bluegills reaching well over seven inches in size are biting on dugworms, maggots, and redworms on weed beds in five to six feet of water. Crappies, most five to eight inches, are hitting on rosie-red minnows in 10 to 15 feet of water. Electric motors only; wheelchair accessible shoreline facilities available. West Branch Lake (Portage County) -- Known for its excellent muskellunge fishing, this large 2,616- acre lake is full of trophy fish. Many of these fish reach nearly 50 inches in length, with a few exceeding this size. Anglers trolling the lake are doing well on shad-imitating crankbaits. Visit http://www.ohiodnr.com/wildlife/fishing/huskie/muskiearticle04.htm for more information. Unlimited horsepower; wheelchair accessible shoreline facilities available. Spencer Lake (Medina County) -- This 50-acre lake offers some terrific largemouth bass fishing. While there is a 15-inch length limit, a relatively high percentage of bass exceeds 15 inches (based on spring 2004 electrofishing surveys). Spinner baits have anglers reeling these fish in. Electric motors only; wheelchair accessible shoreline facilities available. SOUTHWEST OHIO East Fork Lake (Clermont County) -- Crappies are being caught by anglers using white or chartreuse colored curly tails, tubes on 1/32 ounce jig heads, or jigs tipped with live minnows as bait. Cast into areas with submerged trees and brush or near other woody debris. Keep the bait between four and seven feet deep. Choose a #6 to #8 sized bait-holding hook. Paint Creek Lake (Highland County) -- Crappies are being caught by anglers using jigs with plastic bodies, curly tails, or live minnows as bait. Good color choices in artificial lures are black, blue and chartreuse, and chartreuse. Fish from a boat when possible. Cast into areas with submerged trees and brush, as well as in and around weed beds. Fish the bait slowly along the bottom. Keep the bait between four to seven feet deep. Choose a #2 or a #1/0 sized long-shanked hook. SOUTHEAST OHIO Piedmont Lake (Belmont County) Water temperature in the main body of this 2,273-acre lake is averaging 59 degrees with temperatures being slightly warmer in the coves. Saugeyes 13 to 18 inches in size can be caught on white and chartreuse jigs tipped with minnows or worms and fished in eight feet of water. Shad-Rap crank baits which are shad colored and dive down to about eight feet are also successful. Cast away from the shore and use a steady and slow retrieve. Recommended areas are near the Reynolds Road ramp to the backwaters. Catfish can be caught by tight-lining on the bottom with worms and chicken liver. Tight-line with worms and small hooks to catch bluegills. Dillon Reservoir (Muskingum County) Water conditions are clear and at normal pool with water temperature around 58 degrees. This 1,560-acre lake is providing excellent fishing for crappies and bluegills near the main marina, around trees along the shoreline, and by the concrete dam structure. Use minnows, night crawlers, and 1/32 ounce jigs. Largemouth bass are hitting soft baits, such as pumpkin seed, or black jig-n-pigs cast out and retrieved slowly around shallow tree structures coming off the shore off the point to the right of the marina. Yellow perch can be caught on worms under a bobber in the backwater areas. Small channel catfish can be caught in the evening on night crawlers and liver. Lake Rupert (Vinton County) Water conditions are clear and at normal pool with water temperature at 65 degrees. This 325-acre lake in the Wellston Wildlife Area is producing nice catches of white crappies 6 to 10 inches in length. Both shore and boat anglers fishing the shallow weed beds are successful when using black and white PowerBait with bright jig heads. Small channel catfish can be caught during the evening hours from both the shoreline and boat when using night crawlers or chicken livers. Bass 12 to 17 inches in length can be caught by boat anglers during the morning hours on buzz baits and spinners fished along the shallow banks. Shore fishermen will catch bluegills on wax worms around the weed beds. LAKE ERIE ** The 15 walleye minimum size limit remains in effect for the entire season. Beginning May 1 the walleye daily bag limit on Ohio waters of Lake Erie returned to six fish. Anglers are reminded that the daily bag limit for trout and salmon on Lake Erie and its tributaries is two through May 15. On May 16 the trout and salmon bag limit increases to five fish per day. The minimum size limit is 12 inches.** **From May 1 through Friday June 24 there is a no-possession season for smallmouth bass on Lake Erie. Anglers can legally target smallmouth bass, but they must be immediately returned to the water.** Walleyes are currently migrating away from their spawning grounds and can be caught in traditional post-spawn areas. Walleyes have been caught from Maumee Bay to West Sister Island (including the Toledo shipping channel), the flats around the Camp Perry firing range, north and west of North Bass Island, around Kelleys Island, and from Sandusky to Vermilion as post-spawn females begin to migrate east. Popular techniques include drifting with mayfly spinner rigs or trolling crankbaits, crawler harnesses or spoons. Yellow perch fishing has been good off of Marblehead, east of Kelleys Island, around the Sandusky Bay foghorn, north of Ruggles Reef, and within one to two miles of the ports from Vermilion east to Conneaut. Lake Erie surface temperatures range from 48 to 55 degrees. To view the most recent Maumee River and Sandusky River fishing reports visit: http://www.dnr.state.oh.us/wildlife/fishing/freport/walleyerunreport.htm To view recent updates regarding the tributary steelhead fishery visit: http://www.dnr.state.oh.us/wildlife/Fishing/fairport/steelhead.htm To view the predicted weather forecast for Lake Erie visit: http://seaboard.ndbc.noaa.gov/data/Forecasts/FZUS61.KCLE.html OHIO RIVER Monroe County While fishing pressure is still low along the river, catfish can be caught during the evening hours on night crawlers tight-lined on the bottom. Anglers can also catch sheepheads (freshwater drum) by using the same method. Water conditions at this level are clear and normal with water temperature around 64 degrees. Lawrence County Conditions in this stretch of the river are clear, at summer pool, and 66 degrees. Both striped bass and hybrid striped bass up to eight pounds can be caught on night crawlers and minnows. Channel catfish up to five pounds and freshwater drum will hit night crawlers.