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Friday, March 21, 2014 8:15 PM

OHIO DEPARTMENT OF NATURAL RESOURCES

Division of Wildlife

Weekly Fish Ohio Fishing Report!

LAKE ERIE

Regulations to Remember: The daily bag limit for walleye on Ohio waters of Lake Erie is four fish per angler through April 30; minimum size limit is 15 inches. … 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 2 fish; minimum size limit is 12 inches. … The black bass (largemouth and smallmouth bass) daily bag limit is five fish per angler with a 14-inch minimum size limit.

Walleye: Through March 15, ice anglers had been catching walleye 3-8 miles off Magee Marsh, -7 miles off Camp Perry and between Rattlesnake and Green islands. As of Tuesday, ice conditions have started to deteriorate. Be cautious when ice fishing the offshore areas of Lake Erie, as ice conditions can change quickly due to water currents and wind; travel with caution and regularly check ice conditions before proceeding. Most Lake Erie ice anglers targeting walleye are using jigging spoons tipped with emerald shiners.

Panfish: Panfish have been caught in East Harbor on ice jigs tipped with wax worms or soft plastics.

Maumee & Sandusky Rivers Report

MAUMEE RIVER

Water Conditions: High and 34º F. No walleye being caught at this time. White’s Landing and the Jerome Road area are accessible at this time.

SANDUSKY RIVER

Moderately high, 38º F, very light pressure. No walleye being caught at this time. Roger Young Park or between State Street and Hays Avenue bridge are best locations.

Best Baits (for both): Most commonly used bait is a Carolina-rigged twister tail with a 18- to 24-inch leader with about 1/4 - 1/2 oz of weight depending on water flow.

Outlook (for both): Walleye fishing will be slow until water temperatures climb into the 40s. The daily bag limit for walleye, saugeye and sauger is 4 fish through April 30; minimum size limit is 15 inches.

Walleye Fishing Tips

Each year the Division of Wildlife stocks over 20 million walleye fry and 2.5 million walleye fingerlings in 15-20 reservoirs to maintain high-quality fishing. Although walleye can naturally reproduce in Ohio reservoirs, natural reproduction is rarely sufficient to maintain a fishery; therefore, walleye produced naturally are typically considered a “bonus” in these waters. Natural reproduction of walleye does, however, sustain fisheries in the eastern portion of the Ohio River. Although walleye are not as common as sauger in Ohio River tailwaters, they are not uncommon and are typically caught using the same methods in those locations.

Walleye are present all year long in the Maumee and Sandusky Rivers in relatively low numbers; however, the number of walleye dramatically increases during annual spawning runs up these tributaries from Lake Erie. A variety of factors trigger the spawning run including: water temperature, river flow and photo-period (hours of daylight). Walleye spawning occurs anytime from mid-March through mid-April but frequently the peak activity occurs the last week of March through the second week of April. Walleye spawn when water temperatures range from 42°F to 52° F. High river flows will also increase the number of walleye in the river, especially if river temperatures are warmer than Lake Erie temperatures.

2014 Predictions

This should again be an excellent year to harvest walleye from the rivers. Fishing in 2013 was exceptional with the Sandusky River providing its best walleye fishing since 1997 along with the Maumee River having its best year since 2010.

In the Maumee River, male walleye from the strong 2003 and 2010 year classes will dominate the harvest in 2014, along with fish from the 2008 year class. Fish from the 2003 year class will range from 21-28 inches with most of the male walleye being around 22 inches; the female walleye will be in the mid- to upper-20-inch range. Smaller walleye in the harvest will most likely come from the 2010 and 2008 year classes. Some large walleye in the 22- to 30-inch range will be caught this spring. These large walleye are mostly from the 2003 and 1999 year classes. Walleye over 30-inches may date back to good year classes from 1993-94. Walleye harvested in past years have been as old as 26 years.

The 2009 and 2007 year classes are the most abundant year class in the Sandusky River but fish from 2006 will also contribute a large part of the harvest this year. Older fish in the Sandusky River harvest will come from the 1995, 1996 and 2001 year classes. Anglers are reminded that there is a 15-inch minimum size limit the entire season for walleye.

Fishing Tips: On the Maumee River, the best area to fish for walleye is from the Conant Street Bridge upstream to the end of Jerome Road in Lucas County. On the Sandusky River, the best area to fish for walleye is from Brady’s Island to Rodger Young Park.

Most anglers fish the rivers by wading, or fishing from shore. Car-top boats are sometimes used in both rivers. Trailered boats are used in the lower portions of both rivers. Boat ramps are available on the Sandusky River just north of the State Street Bridge in Fremont and on the Maumee River at the foot of Maple Street in Perrysburg and at Orleans Park also in Perrysburg. Caution is strongly recommended in both rivers as they are often high in the early spring and quite treacherous. The best baits for walleye are floating jigs tipped with white, yellow or fluorescent colored twister tails. Lures are available at bait stands set up along the Maumee River.

White Bass Fishing Tips: White bass can be caught in many of Ohio’s larger reservoirs and their tributaries. Some of the best white bass fishing in the state is in Lake Erie tributaries in the spring.

White bass migrate up most of the Western Basin tributaries from Lake Erie each year to spawn. The Sandusky, Maumee and Portage rivers typically have the most white bass moving up in the spring. White bass may be found in the rivers from mid-April, toward the end of the walleye spawning run, through early June. The peak of the run is usually some time in mid-May when water temperatures reach around 55 degrees F. The Maumee and Sandusky rivers usually have the best fishing for white bass but some years the Portage and Huron rivers also have good runs.

2014 Predictions

The 2014 white bass spawning runs up these rivers are expected to be good, if river conditions are good. The majority of white bass will range from 8-13 inches in size. Most of these fish will be from the strong 2007 year class, with the 2006 and 2005 year classes also contributing. Some larger white bass, up to 16 inches from the 2003 year class, will be caught. Recent white bass age studies using otoliths, an inner ear bone that is extremely accurate compared to scales, have shown that the oldest white bass in Lake Erie are from 10 to 12 years old.

Fishing Tips: The best fishing area for the Maumee River is from the Conant Street Bridge, in the city of Maumee, upstream to the end of Jerome Road, in Wood County and below the Grand Rapids-Providence Dam in Lucas County. In the Sandusky River, the best fishing area is from the State Street Bridge in Fremont, upstream to the Ballville Dam; however, the area on the Sandusky River from the Ballville Dam to the Toledo Edison power line (Old Ballville and Fifth Street line) located at the southeast corner of Roger Young Park (in the City of Fremont) is closed to all fishing from March 1 to May 1. In the Portage River, the best area is generally from just above Oak Harbor to the entrance of Sugar Creek. In the Huron River, try fishing from Mason Road to the Ohio Turnpike.

Most anglers fish the rivers by wading, or fishing from shore. Small boats are sometimes used in both rivers. Boat ramps are available on the Sandusky River just north of the State Street Bridge in Fremont and on the Maumee River at the foot of Maple Street in Perrysburg and at Orleans Park also in Perrysburg. Caution is strongly recommended in both rivers as they are often high in the early spring and quite treacherous.

The best baits for white bass are floating jigs tipped with a minnow or 1/8- to 1/4-oz. lead-head jigs (size depends on river flow, in lower flow use lighter lead) tipped with white, yellow or fluorescent colored twister tails. Small silver-colored spinners and spoons may also catch white bass. Small minnows are sometimes effective, especially when white white bass are biting slowly.

 

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