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Fish Ohio Report, May 23, 2012

May 23, 2012

Fish Ohio Report, May 23, 2012


Hargus Creek Lake (Pickaway County) - Crappies are active in coves and around woody cover, use minnows or small jigs under a bobber. A good number of bluegill and redear sunfish up to 8 inches can be caught on wax worms in shallow areas this time of year. A large population of largemouth bass from 12 to15 inches inhabits this lake with fish over 20 inches present. Largemouth bass can be caught on crankbaits, plastics tubes and creature baits, target woody cover and main lake points. Note: Hargus Lake has a 15 inch minimum length limit on largemouth bass and only electric motors can be used.

Kokosing River (Knox County) - Ohio's first water trail, this scenic river in Knox County offers paddlers and anglers access to 28 miles of river fishing. Smallmouth bass and rock bass can be caught on small crankbaits and jigs. Sunfish, crappies, and catfish are present and offer good fishing.


Killdeer Plains Pond #30 (Wyandot County) - This pond is located southeast of Harpster, off Township Highway 125. Just south of the railroad tracks turn west and follow the gravel lane back to the pond. Sunfish can be caught this month along the north and west banks. Try using wax worms or red worms fished under slip bobbers. No ramp is available; however small boats may be used. There is a 10 horsepower limit. Wading is also popular along the east and south shores.

Fact Box


Northeast Ohio Region - The crappie bite continues to ride its high peak in most reservoirs in northeast Ohio with the sunfish and catfish bite creeping up into the rankings.

St. Joseph River (Williams County) - Catfish, crappie, and largemouth bass can be caught in the river this time of year. The river is accessible at the bridge on County Road R, west of State Route 576 on Lake La Su An Wildlife Area. For largemouth and crappie, try fishing with wax worms and minnows under a slip bobber. For catfish, try using chicken livers tight lined off of the bottom.

Willard Reservoir (Huron County) - Bluegill and catfish are biting now at the reservoir which is located on State Route 61, 2 miles north of New Haven. Anglers have been having the best success on the west bank. Try fishing for catfish with worms on the bottom. For bluegills try using worms fished under a slip bobber. Anglers can fish from shore or from a boat. There is a boat ramp available, but only electric motors may be used. A boat permit must be obtained from the city of Willard at City Hall.


Northeast Ohio Region - The crappie bite continues to ride its high peak in most reservoirs in northeast Ohio with the sunfish and catfish bite creeping up into the rankings. With water levels being a bit low across the board this year, anglers are having to find new honey holes as many of their old ones are not holding fish. The walleye bite has had a lot of highs and lows. Anglers pursuing walleye should begin to think about transitioning to summer fishing patterns. Walleyes are starting to be caught by anglers drift fishing and trolling in deeper water. There has been no real set pattern on finding largemouth bass, but once they are located in the reservoir the bite has been solid. It has been one of the best years for smallmouth bass fishing in the Lake Erie tributaries. The low, crystal clear water requires that anglers approach their fishing holes a bit more cautiously to prevent spooking the fish.

Leesville Lake (Carroll County) - Leesville Lake is located in southwestern Carroll County and is approximately two miles southeast of Sherrodsville on County Road 22 and five miles south of Carrollton on State Route 332. Leesville Lake is one of Ohio's top Muskellunge lakes. Musky can be fished for this time of year by casting or trolling large crankbaits. Spinner baits or jerk baits are good casting lures as well for this top predator. A wire leader or very high pound test monofilament leader is a must, since muskellunge have an array of sharp teeth that will cut fishing line instantly.


AEP ReCREATION LANDS (Morgan, Muskingum, and Noble counties) - Bluegill are found in nearly every impoundment at the ReCreation lands. This time of year they should be on or guarding their beds, and the clear water in most of the lakes will make locating the bedding bluegill easier. Look in shallow water for circular depressions - in sandy/gravelly areas, sunfish spawn in groups so there will many beds together. Targeting them with live bait is a great choice; try small redworms, wax worms or crickets fished under a small bobber. If you prefer artificial baits, a small jig or fly under a float will work as well. Just make sure your bait is small enough that the bluegill can easily fit it in their mouths. Each pond at AEP is different, so if you're not catching big bluegill out of the one you're fishing move to another pond. Try using an online map service to locate ponds that might be just out of site from the roads. Most of the time a short hike to an "off the beaten path" pond will score you a bucket full of nice gills.

Fox Lake (Athens County) - Nice catches of catfish can be caught in the upper, shallow end of the lake and any of the water inlet areas. Try fishing shrimp off the bottom. Catches of sunfish should also be good with individuals up to eight inches - fish along the shoreline using a worm fished under a bobber.


Rocky Fork Lake (Highland County) - Prior to the heavy rains bluegills were being taken in 2-4 feet of water along shorelines with fallen trees and brush. Use wax worms, red worms, or pieces of night crawlers fished 1 ? - 2 feet below a small bobber. Try saugeye fishing in 5-10 feet of water near the islands and along shoreline points. Cast silver-colored crankbaits and jigs with twister tails, or trying slowly drifting while bouncing a night crawler along the bottom.

Acton Lake (Butler County) - Crappies are being caught at this lake in Hueston Woods State Park. Fish a live minnow or wax worm two to five feet below a bobber near fallen trees or brush along the shore. Also try casting jigs with plastic twister tails or tube bodies for crappies. Largemouth bass fishing is also excellent at this lake. Try casting crankbaits or jigs along the east shore from the lodge to the dam.

Ohio Brush Creek (Adams County) - The white crappies are being caught on live minnows around stumps and laydowns. Crappies up to 14 inches are being caught. Creek level is good and so is the water quality.


Greenup Tailwater Area - Water remains higher than normal, but don't let that deter your fishing efforts. Decent numbers of hybrid striped bass are still being caught on any standard float and jig. If you're looking for largemouth and smallmouth bass, stick to the sandy access area. Also try fishing worms, gizzard shad, or skipjacks on the bottom along the rip-rap for shovelhead catfish

Washington County - The Willow Island tail waters and the Muskingum River confluence are great areas to look for catfish. Flathead in the 20 to 30 inch size range can be reeled-in. Try using a Carolina rig with live bluegill or live/frozen shad while tight-lining.

Riverbend to downtown area (Hamilton County) - Water levels are still high but anglers report channel cats off gravel humps in about 20 feet of water near channel drop-offs. Fish depths from 15 to 30 feet and try cut skipjack and shad.

Regulations to Remember:

The daily bag limit for walleye on Ohio waters of Lake Erie is 6 fish per angler. The minimum size limit for walleye is 15".

The daily bag limit for yellow perch is 30 fish per angler on all Ohio waters of Lake Erie.

The trout and salmon daily bag limit is 5 fish per angler from May 16 through August 31. The minimum size limit for trout and salmon is 12 inches.

It is illegal to possess black bass (largemouth and smallmouth bass) in Ohio waters of Lake Erie from May 1 through June 29. The season re-opens on June 30 with a daily bag limit of 5 fish and a 14-inch minimum size limit.

Western Basin

Walleye fishing has been good over the past week (week of 5/14/12). Fish have been caught by trolling or drifting and casting from West Sister Island to the Gravel Pit, off of "A" can of the Camp Perry firing range, NW of North Bass Island, SW of Kelleys Island, and E of Kelleys Island and Kelleys Island Shoal. Trollers have been using worm harnesses with inline weights or divers, and also divers with spoons.

Yellow perch fishing has been slow, but fish have been caught on shiners off of the Toledo water intake, Marblehead, Kelleys Island, and Vermilion.

Central Basin

Walleye have been caught from Ruggles Reef to Vermilion in 26 to 32 feet of water, off of Cleveland in 35-50', in 37-38' N of Geneva, and 30-37' N of Ashtabula. Most fish have been caught with worm harnesses trolled with inline weights or divers.

Yellow perch fishing has been fair to average in 38' NE of Gordon Park, 30' NE of Wildwood State Park, 40-46' N of Geneva, and 38-54' NW of Fairport Harbor at the hump. Perch spreaders with shiners fished near the bottom produce the most fish. Shore anglers are catching fish off the Cleveland Piers and at Headlands Beach Pier in Mentor out at the lighthouse.

Anglers are using spreaders with shiners and the mornings have been best. Shore anglers are also catching rock bass off the Cleveland piers.

Smallmouth bass fishing has been very good in 15 to 25' around harbor areas in Cleveland, Fairport Harbor, Geneva, Ashtabula and Conneaut. Fish are being caught using drop shot rigs with rubber worms, soft-craws, leeches, tube jigs, and crankbaits. Anglers are also catching fish in the Grand River up to the Painesville dam using tube jigs and golden shiners.

The water temperature is 64 degrees off of Toledo and 56 degrees off of Cleveland according to the nearshore marine forecast.

Anglers are encouraged to always wear a U.S. Coast Guard-approved personal flotation device while boating.



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