CLEVELAND - This is the time of year fishermen all over Ohio look forward to. It is the golden time when the bite for several sought after species really turns on. Right now, Crappie, Bass, Walleye, Saugeye, White Bass, Yellow Perch, Musky, Pike, and Panfish can all be had.
Let’s take a look around northern Ohio to see what’s biting:
The Walleye action has really picked up in the Central Basin. Craig Lewis at Erie Outfitters in Sheffield Lake says trolling has been the key from Cleveland west to Vermilion. Reef Runners and crawler harnesses have been producing. The problem has been the weather. High winds and rough waves have kept boats off the lake. Shore fishermen working the breakwalls from Cleveland west are also taking fish throwing diving plugs after dark.
Lewis says anglers targeting Smallmouth Bass have been catching them in rocky areas, especially around Ruggles Reef and Cranberry. Jerk baits and jigs have been producing best.
The Yellow Perch have just started to turn on. Because it is early in the season, catches have been inconsistent. Over on Cleveland’s east side, the folks at Wildwood Marina have started running Perch trips on their headboat. Catches have been hit or miss, but the size of the fish has been good. Emerald Shiners fished on spreaders or Crappie rigs are preferred. With the water temperatures climbing, Perch fishing should improve quickly.
In the Western Basin, the action has moved from jigging to trolling and drifting. The operators of the Sassy Sal out of Port Clinton say the water temperature is climbing. Trolling diving lures and drifting nightcrawler harnesses will produce fish.
The Crappie are still hitting in this popular chain of lakes just south of Akron. How well? Ron Slater at Portage Lakes Bait and Tackle says he is selling five thousand crappie minnows a week, right now. The best bets for Crappie are Rex Lake, Turkeyfoot, Mud, and East Reservoir. Ron says Largemouth Bass are also very active in East Reservoir. He suggests four inch plastic worms to catch fish. Jerry at Long Lake Bait says the panfish bite has picked up, too. Worms and waxworms will take hefty Bluegills. Catfish are being caught, too. Nimisila Reservoir has also been producing Crappies and Largemouth.
Crappies are also the story at West Branch. Alvin at Ron’s West Branch Bait says minnows are catching a lot of fish. They are also catching plenty of White Bass, too. Some Walleyes and Muskies are also being taken. Crawler rigs fished near drop offs will catch Walleye, large spinners cast near weed beds will produce Muskies.
Berlin & Milton
Walleye are finally starting to cooperate at these two lakes just west of Youngstown. Jigs tipped with nightcrawlers have been the key to success, especially when they are fished along drop offs and structure. Trolling Flicker Shads has also produced fish.
There is plenty of Crappie action at this impoundment just north of Warren. Tube jigs and minnows fished around brush in the shallows are producing fish. Out deeper, Walleye are being taken by trollers and drifters. Crawler harnesses seem to be triggering the most strikes.
Charles Mill & Pleasant Hill
These two reservoirs near Mansfield and Ashland are good producers of spring Saugeye. Trolling the main lake at Pleasant Hill with diving lures will produce, while fishing minnows below the dam at Charles Mill will also catch fish. Dusty at Mifflin Lakes Trading Post says the Wipers, which are Striped Bass-White Bass hybrids are really turning on above the dam at Charles Mill. He says jigs and twister tails, as well as chicken livers are catching a lot of fish. Minnows will also take Crappie, too.
There are more Crappie to be had at this Ashtabula County reservoir. And, just like everywhere else these days, minnows fished below a float are taking huge numbers of fish. The Walleye bite has picked up south of the causeway. Trolling and drifting nightcrawlers should produce.
This popular lake south of Medina is open to the public, again. Chippewa Lake Bait and Tackle reports plenty of Crappie and Panfish are being taken. Largemouth Bass are also hitting Shiners fished near structure. Some Yellow Perch and Channel Catfish are being caught, too.
Cleveland Metro Parks
Most of the Metro Parks lakes are producing nice Panfish catches. The Rocky River is also providing good results for Smallmouth Bass. Fishing jigs and plastics near structure are the key.
Jigging spoons are catching a lot of Sauger below the New Cumberland Dam in Columbiana County. Twister tails and minnows fished near the bottom are also taking fish. Limited numbers of Channel Cats are being caught, as well.
This is one of the top Panfish lakes in northeast Ohio, and it is producing, as usual. Good catches of Sunfish and Crappie are being made. Some Yellow Perch and Largemouth are also being taken.