Anglers Encouraged to Enjoy Fall Fishing Opportunities in Northeast Ohio
AKRON, OH - Summer is nearing an end but Buckeye State anglers need not hang up those fishing rods for the year just yet according to the ODNR Division of Wildlife. Fish are just coming out of their summer feeding slumps and fishing now can be as good as traditional springtime opportunities.
“Anglers have a wide variety of choices right now,” said fish management supervisor Phil Hillman. Virtually any species of fish that can be caught in the spring months can be caught now if anglers have the inclination. Just go against the grain of thinking that fishing is done by Labor Day. Don’t lose a great opportunity,” Hillman explained.
Read below for species specific tips and tactics for the fall season:
Inland channel catfishing is excellent in late September and early October since they forage heavily on gizzard shad. Cast nets are legal for gathering shad from inland waters, but not Lake Erie. Anglers are encouraged to review the 2010-2011 fishing digest before netting bait fish. Using one to two inch shad in their entirety or cut up and then suspended about five to six feet under a bobber is a successful method. Any of the Portage Lakes, including East Reservoir, North Reservoir, West Reservoir, Long Lake, and Turkeyfoot Lake (Summit County) would be good choices to target. Other good lakes include Atwood Lake (Carroll and Tuscarawas counties), Mosquito Lake (Trumbull County), Leesville Lake (Carroll County), Tappan Lake (Harrison County), Clendening Lake (Harrison County), Springfield Lake (Summit County), and Nimisila Lake (Summit County).
Crappie also can be caught in relatively shallow water (six to 10 feet) until mid-October. During this time, crappies are not necessarily associated as much with brush as in the springtime. Light-weight jigs (1/32 or 1/64 in calmer conditions) such as twister tails either tipped with minnows or without are the best choices. The best lakes for crappie in Northeast Ohio include Mosquito Lake (Trumbull County), Pymatuning Lake (Ashtabula County), and Berlin Lake (Mahoning, Portage, and Stark counties), and Tappan Lake (Harrison County)..
Steelhead trout start cruising the break-walls along the Lake Erie shoreline around Labor Day and start making their way upstream thereafter. Rain events trigger early runs and less rain triggers later runs. Try casting spinners, spoons (1/4 ounce to 2/5 ounce) or small crankbaits. Fluorescent spinners and spoons are the best for muddy conditions; chrome crankbaits are good for clear water conditions. Jigs (1/64 ounce) tipped with maggots work well, especially when combined with a Styrofoam bobber and lead pin (for casting weight). The best choices for fishing break-walls include the Headlands Breakwall (Lake County), the East Fairport Harbor Breakwall (Lake County), and the west break-wall in Conneaut (Ashtabula County).
Inland largemouth bass fishing offers good fishing opportunities in the fall. Spinner baits and crankbaits are good choices for lures. Plastic worms will work especially when there are not too many weeds. Bass are found in relatively shallow water (less than 10 feet) this time of year. The Portage Lakes (mentioned earlier) are always a good bet for largemouth bass. LaDue Reservoir (Geauga County), Clendening Lake (Harrison County), and Tappan Lake (Harrison County) are also possibilities for catching bass.
For the anglers looking for a more adventurous fishing experience, muskellunge fishing shifts from primarily trolling to casting. Good muskie fishing is usually pretty solid through the end of October. Large spinner baits and jerk baits are the way to go. Jerk baits allow the angler to impart action on the lure, simulating a dying fish. Be prepared for the strike with a tight line since muskies will most often snatch the lure when it is diving or on the rise as it surfaces. The best muskie lakes in Northeast Ohio include Leesville Lake (Carroll County), West Branch Lake (Portage County), Lake Milton (Mahoning County), and Pymatuning Lake (Ashtabula County).
Walleye and saugeye fishing can be very good, especially where current is found within inland lakes. Fishing for these species is effective around bridge crossings for example. Both of these species come into very shallow water, particularly during the night-time hours. Crankbaits are good choices if there are not too many weeds. Light-weight jigs tipped with minnows and fished in less than five feet of water should work well. Walleye and saugeye tend to chase vertical jigging lures around the aforementioned bridge crossings. Select choices for Northeast Ohio walleye fishing include Mosquito Lake (Trumbull County), Pymatuning Lake (Ashtabula County), and Berlin Lake (Mahoning, Portage, and Stark counties). The better lakes for saugeye include Atwood Lake (Carroll and Tuscarawas counties), Tappan Lake (Harrison County), and Leesville Lake (Carroll County).
For more information on fall fishing in Northeast Ohio, call Wildlife District Three’s fish management section at (330) 644-2293. Site-specific fishing maps can be viewed and printed at www.wildohio.com or obtained at no charge by calling 1-800-WILDLIFE (945-3543).