There’s never been a better time for spring fishing in Ohio, so grab your favorite rod and reel and hit the water! Here are the places you won’t want to miss.
Ohio River Bellville Pool
Sauger get active this month preparing for their late-winter spawn and one of the most popular places to fish for them during the winter months is in the Bellville Pool off Meigs, Athens and Washington counties. Popular destinations for anglers include the upper half of the pool in the tailwater, as well as at stream and river confluences such as the Hocking River and Willow Island. This time of year anglers use jig-and-grub combos, jig-and-minnow set-ups, and blade baits to catch their quarry.
Plenty of brown trout prowl the waters of Ohio’s most popular trout stream and keep the feedbag on during the early spring. The Mad River flows for nearly 70 miles through west-central Ohio from West Liberty through Springfield to the Grand River, where the upper reaches above Springfield offer best angling opportunities for brown trout and the river’s rainbow trout populations. Drift a fly, live minnow or red worm along cut banks or into pools.
The annual walleye spawning runs up this popular Western Basin Lake Erie tributary peak early in the month. The annual spawning run action normally starts in late March and continues through mid-April, but the migrating walleye may remain in the Lake Erie tributary through the end of the month. A popular access is at Maumee’s Side Cut Metro Park (www.metroparkstoledo.com). Use floating jig-heads rigged Carolina-style and tipped with shiners, pieces of crawlers or twister-tails.
Steelhead fishing can be on fire when the weather warms and fish start moving up and down Northeastern Ohio’s Lake Erie tributaries, including Conneaut Creek. Access the action at the Woodworth Road Launch Ramp south of Conneaut or upstream Lakeville Park. See the ODNR Conneaut Creek Steelhead Fishing Map at www.ohiodnr.com/Portals/9/pdf/conneaut.pdf
Several other Northeastern Ohio tributaries ofter similar action; visit the steelhead fishing link at wildohio.com for updated fishing reports and river conditions. Then use fly tackle, live bait or hardware to fool the lake-run rainbows.
Straddling Guernsey and Noble counties, Seneca Lake provides good catches of striped bass for anglers casting or trolling minnow-imitating stickbaits near the first small island outside of the lake’s no wake zone. Expect by-catches of large crappie and saugeye along with the targeted striped bass.
The annual white bass spawning run up the Sandusky River typically peaks early this month when water temperatures top 50 degrees. Popular fishing areas for finding white bass are from the State Street bridge in Fremont, upstream to the old Ballville Dam area. Anglers either wade or use small boats while casting small spinners, crankbaits and jigs to catch stingers of hard-fighting white bass. Boat ramps are available just north of the State Street Bridge in Fremont.
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