October 05, 2010
Here's a sampling of 36 first-rate fishing destinations for you to consider as you plan your Ohio angling getaways in 2010. (February 2010)
Buckeye State anglers are lucky. There are so many great fishing holes in Ohio that the biggest problem an angler has is figuring out where to spend his limited fishing hours. Lake Erie offers world-class fishing for smallmouth bass, walleyes, trout and salmon.
The state's many rugged river systems are teeming with hard-hitting bass, muskellunge, saugeyes and trout. Inland lakes and ponds offer four-season opportunities for all those species plus catfish, panfish and more.
Here's a roundup of some of the best waters to try in 2010 for memorable fishing expeditions:
Walleyes: Berlin Lake
This 3,321-acre lake in Portage, Mahoning and Stark counties is a popular destination for hardwater anglers targeting walleyes. Ice-fishing with jigs and blade lures tipped with minnows leads to walleye success here. The lake is also home to other popular species, including largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, muskellunge and crappies.
Check DeLorme's Ohio Atlas and Gazetteer, Map 42, for details.
White Bass: Findlay Reservoir No. 2
This 643-acre hardwater destination in Hancock County offers excellent opportunities for white bass ranging from 12 to 15 inches. Findlay No. 2 is also home to good numbers of walleyes, yellow perch and white crappies.
Check DeLorme's OAG, Map 36, for more information.
Muskellunge: Leesville Lake
This 1,045-acre lake in Carroll County is the leading lake in the Buckeye State for numbers of muskellunge caught. Better yet, according to angler surveys, 99 percent of the fish caught are released for other anglers to enjoy!
Leesville Lake is also home to saugeyes, walleyes, largemouth bass and channel catfish.
To get there, take Deer Road from Route 212 south of Sherrodsville.
Saugeyes: Lake Logan
This 333-acre lake is within Lake Logan State Park in Falls Township about three miles west of Logan. Saugeye fishing is best here winter, spring and fall when waters are cooler. Twistertail jigs tipped with live bait or stick baits fished slowly near the surface will produce saugeye strikes. The lake also offers plenty of opportunities for anglers to catch catfish, muskellunge and crappies.
Access is off Lake Logan Road via State Route 664.
Yellow Perch: Lake Erie
Yellow perch are plentiful in Lake Erie, most ranging from 7 to 13 inches. The central basin tends to give up larger yellow perch than other locations. Lake Erie is also home to smallmouth bass, steelhead (primarily in tributaries), walleyes and white bass. Anglers can also expect to catch largemouth bass, plenty of panfish and the occasional northern pike or muskellunge.
The best action is along the lake's shoreline. The lake remains open at its center pretty much year 'round.
Check DeLorme's OAG, maps 28, 31, 32, 33, 38 and 40, for access details.
Saugeyes: Lake LeComte
This 133-acre lake in Hancock County is known for its excellent population of saugeyes ranging up to 25 inches long. The saugeye action should continue to improve as the 19,566 fingerlings stocked here reach maturity.
The lake is also home to good numbers of yellow perch, crappies and largemouth bass.
Walleyes: Sandusky River
The best times to fish for walleyes in downtown Fremont is from late March through early April. Use twistertail jigs and doll flies.
The majority of the catch each year consists of males averaging 20 inches in length. A variety of year-classes are available, dating back to the late 1980s in the case of some 30-inch whoppers.
The Sandusky, which flows through Sandusky and Seneca counties, is also a good destination for smallmouth bass, white bass and crappies. Check DeLorme's OAG, maps 37 and 38.
Rainbow Trout: Lima Lake
This 85-acre lake in the Ottawa Metro Park east of the Allen County town of Lima has been stocked with thousands of catchable rainbow trout in recent years. Lima is also a good destination for largemouth bass, saugeyes and white bass.
From Interstate Route 75, take exit 127 and drive east for about 1.5 miles.
Muskellunge: Piedmont Lake
This 2,273-acre lake in Belmont County is known for producing muskies in excess of 50 inches. The Ohio Huskie Muskie Club reports that catch rates for big muskellunge have been on the rise in recent years. The lake is also home to largemouth and smallmouth bass, saugeyes and channel catfish.
For more details, check DeLorme's OAG, Map 62.
Crappies: East Branch Reservoir
According to a 2007 creel survey on this 394-acre lake in Geauga County, the average length for white crappies was 10.3 inches. Try fishing miniature jigs in bright colors tipped with maggots or mousies.
Check DeLorme's OAG, Map 32, for details.
Rainbow Trout: Adams Lake
This 36-acre lake in Adams County is stocked each March with some 2,400 catchable rainbow trout, which provide excellent fishing through late April. The lake also offers anglers opportunities to catch largemouth bass, channel catfish and bluegills. Shoreline access is plentiful. Only electric motors are allowed.
White Bass: Delaware Lake
This 1,017-acre lake in Delaware County is known for its reliable white bass action. Fish here average between 8 and 13 inches. Fishing for white bass is best through mid-May as spawning bass travel up the Olentangy and Whetstone branches of the lake. Try small spinners, crankbaits or jigs.
Walleyes: C.J. Brown Reservoir
This 2,022-acre lake in Clark County has a large population of walleyes, most ranging from 13 to 20 inches, with some individuals up to 12 pounds.
There is a 15-inch minimum length limit in effect. The best fishing is from May through June. Cast or troll crankbaits or bounce a light jig tipped with a minnow or worm along the bottom.
Smallmouth Bass: Huron River
This northwestern Ohio flowage offers anglers good numbers
of bronzebacks, especially the stretch from Milan to Lake Erie. The Huron is also a good destination for steelhead, at least until waters warm later in the season.
Access sites are multiple, including one off River Road in Milan.
Largemouth Bass: Clendening Lake
This 1,702-acre lake in Harrison County was surveyed in 2008. Nearly 46 percent of the bass sampled measured at least 12 inches, with 12 percent topping 15 inches.
Check DeLorme's OAG, Map 62, for details.
Smallmouth Bass: Willard Reservoir
This 194-acre lake in Huron County offers anglers good fishing for bronzebacks in spring and summer. Jigs, night crawlers and lively minnows attract hungry bass.
Willard Reservoir is also home to yellow perch and has been stocked with more than 100,000 walleye fingerlings in recent years.
Access is off state Route 61.
Largemouth Bass: Salt Fork Lake
This 3,057-acre lake is in the Salt Fork Wildlife Area in Guernsey County. Bass fishing peaks this month when fish move into shallower waters. Christmas trees submerged at several locations around the lake concentrate bass in those areas.
Saugeyes: Deer Creek Lake
This 1,287-acre lake in Fayette and Pickaway counties offers good fishing for saugeyes, especially in the tailwater pool below the dam and in the stream above the lake proper. Large numbers of fish congregate in the tailwater pond year 'round, making this a popular spot with anglers. Deer Creek Lake is also home to bluegills, white crappies, channel catfish, white bass, largemouth and smallmouth bass, carp and flathead catfish.
Channel Catfish: Pike Lake
A few years back this tiny lake within Pike Lake State Park was drained and restocked with channel cats, bass and bluegills. Fish night crawlers or liver chunks off the bottom to attract hungry catfish.
The park entrance is at 1847 Pike Lake Road in Bainbridge.
Saugeyes: Ottawa Reservoir
This 20-acre lake in Putnam County was stocked with nearly 9,000 saugeye fingerlings that should provide good fishing. A recent survey yielded one individual measuring 26.5 inches.
Check DeLorme's OAG, Map 35.
Striped Bass: Seneca Lake
This 3,508-acre lake in Noble and Guernsey counties has an expanding population of stripers, thanks to a generous stocking program. Fish up to 38 inches have been reported. There's a one-fish, 26-inch minimum bag limit on striped bass. The lake also offers angling opportunities for largemouth bass, saugeyes and channel catfish.
Channel Catfish: Hoover Reservoir
This 2,818-acre lake in Delaware and Franklin counties offers good fishing for channel cats. Fish the north end of the lake with cut bait and shrimp.
There's no bag limit on channel catfish, but only one fish 28 inches or longer may be kept. Hoover is also home to saugeyes, largemouth bass, white bass, crappies and bluegills.
Largemouth Bass: Oxbow Lake
This 40-acre lake in Defiance County has an excellent population of bucketmouths with fish up to 21 inches. There's an 18-inch minimum length limit in effect here. Oxbow is also home to good numbers of channel catfish and bluegills. Motors up to 9.9 horsepower are allowed.
Access is off state Route 15 northwest of Defiance.
Walleyes: Lake Erie
Biologists predict that anglers will catch fish mainly from the 2003 walleye hatch, but with some contributions from 2001 and 2005 year-classes. Walleyes from the 2003 hatch are at least 19 inches long by now. There are some monster fish left over from strong hatches in the 1980s and mid-1990s that will provide anglers with "Fish Ohio" trophy catches.
See DeLorme's OAG, maps 32 and 33, for access details.
Largemouth Bass: Rocky Fork Lake
Good to excellent numbers of bass may be taken from this 2,088-acre lake in Highland County.
The lake has been stocked with hundreds of thousands of saugeyes annually for several years.
Rocky Fork is also home to channel catfish, flathead catfish, crappies, white bass and bluegills.
Catfish: Grand Lake St. Mary's
This 12,626-acre lake in Mercer and Auglaize counties has a large population of channel cats, some up to 15 pounds. The lake has a growing number of flathead catfish ranging from 5 to 20 pounds. Night-fishing is best when targeting catfish.
The lake also contains largemouth bass, yellow perch and crappies.
Hybrid Striped Bass: Ohio River
The mighty Ohio provides plenty of opportunities for hybrid striped bass. Fish here measure up to 20 inches and often weigh up to 9 pounds. Try fishing stream confluences in the upper New Cumberland Pool with spoons, spinners and twistertail jigs.
Check DeLorme's OAG, maps 63, 81, 83, 84, 85 and 87, for details.
Crappies: Paint Creek Lake
This 1,150-acre lake in Highland and Ross counties is noted for its excellent crappie fishing. Good numbers of fish are available in the 9- to 12-inch range. Use minnows, twistertails or small tubes.
Late fall fishing is usually best along steep, rocky shorelines.
Rainbow Trout: Tawawa Lake
This tiny lake within Tawawa Park in Sidney is stocked with catchable (11 inches or longer) rainbow trout in October. Shoreline access is easy, making this a great destination for anglers of all ages.
Check DeLorme's OAG, Map 55, for details.
Smallmouth Bass: Stillwater River
This 67-mile river flows through western Ohio, providing excellent fishing for bronzebacks. Bass fishing is especially good in the stretch from Covington downstream to West Milton.
For more information, check DeLorme's OAG, Map 55.
Steelhead : Vermilion River
The Vermilion River has been stocked with yearling steelhead since 2003. Excellent fishing occurs from October through April. The best steelhead opportunities are within Lorain County's Metro Park property.
There's a 12-inch minimum length limit on trout, with a daily bag of two fish from Sept. 1 to May 15.
Muskellunge: Alum Creek Lake
This 3,192-acre lake in Delaware County provides anglers with catch rates above the state average for these toothy predators. The growth rate here for muskellunge is good, with fish
reaching better than 30 inches in three years. Try fishing big crankbaits, wobbling lures or jerkbaits on a wire leader.
Rainbow Trout: Rush Run Lake
This 52-acre lake in Preble County is stocked with 3,000 catchable trout each March, and an additional 1,200 trout in mid- to late October. Easy shoreline access provides great fall fishing.
There's a 10-horsepower motor limit in effect.
Check DeLorme's OAG, Map 63, for details.
Largemouth Bass: Nettle Lake
This 101-acre lake in Williams County has a good population of largemouth bass ranging from 10 to 22 inches. The lake also offers anglers opportunities for channel catfish, black and white crappies and bluegills.
Smallmouth Bass: La Due Reservoir
This 1,475-acre lake in Geauga County offers anglers opportunities to catch some big bronzebacks. Biologist surveys in 2007 showed 73 percent of the smallmouth bass here measured 11 inches or more, and of those, 53 percent topped 14 inches. Twenty-seven percent of the sampled fish were over 17 inches long.
Muskellunge: Salt Fork Lake
This 2,815-acre lake is within Salt Fork Lake State Park in the Guernsey County town of Cambridge.
Muskie catch rates have been on the rise in recent years. The lake also provides angling opportunities for largemouth and smallmouth bass, saugeyes and crappies. Check DeLorme's OAG, Map 61, for details.