The Fish Ohio program recognizes noteworthy catches of 25 different species at inland lakes and reservoirs, Lake Erie, the Ohio River, and other public waterways, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources Division of Wildlife. Fish Ohio records show that three popular species, largemouth bass, saugeye, and crappie, are abundant across the Buckeye State.

One of the most popular sport fish pursued at inland Ohio lakes and reservoirs is the largemouth bass, an aggressive predator that can grow to large sizes. It has an appetite for frogs, crayfish, large insects, and other fish. Artificial lure presentations that mimic these prey items are excellent choices when fishing. Also try minnows or worms fished under a bobber near submerged vegetation.

Two area lakes made the Buckeye Top Ten list for best lakes to catch Fish Ohio largemouth. The top ten lakes are: 1. Portage Lakes, 2. Appalachian Hills, 3. Alum Creek, 4. Nimisila, 5. Mosquito, 6. Clear Fork, 7. Hoover, 8. Upper Sandusky, 9. Wellington, 10. Mogadore.

Both black crappie and white crappie are native to Ohio, and are common in lakes, reservoirs, streams, and rivers. A black crappie has irregular blotches or spots along its sides, while a white crappie has more uniform dark stripes.

Crappies are usually situated around structure, such as points, drop-offs, creek beds, brush piles, fallen trees, and stumps. Light tackle (fishing rod, reel, line, and bait) are the best choices to catch a crappie. Use minnows, small jigs, or rubber worms to catch the most fish. Crappie fishing is a good way to start someone new to this activity because the action is fast when fish are biting.

The top ten Ohio inland lakes for large crappies are: 1. Mosquito Creek, 2. Indian Lake, 3. Alum Creek, 4. Hoover, 5. Pymatuning, 6. West Branch, 7. Leesville, 8. Berlin, 9. Delaware, 10. Salt Fork.

A hybrid cross between a walleye and a sauger, saugeye are stocked in more than 60 Ohio lakes and reservoirs by the Division of Wildlife. These fish grow fast and are caught throughout the year, making them a favorite of many Buckeye State anglers.

The best way to identify a saugeye is to look for dark bars or vertical spots between the spines of the first dorsal fin. Saugeye also have dark, oblong blotches on their sides. Food items include gizzard shad and other small fish. Artificial lures such as twister tails, jigs, and crankbaits often entice a bite. Minnows and night crawlers are good choices for live bait. Saugeye are active around dawn and dusk, and night fishing is also a good time to fish.

The top ten Ohio inland lakes to catch large saugeye are: 1. Indian Lake, 2. Buckeye, 3. Alum Creek, 4. Salt Fork, 5. Caesars, 6. Atwood, 7. Charles Mills, 8. Piedmont, 9. Tappan, 10. Loramie.

Unfortunately, this spring’s weather has been pretty tough on the weekend angler. Constant cold fronts and north winds seem to greet the working man every Friday. In fact, the area lake’s water temperature hasn’t climbed up at all and is still in the fifties where it was a month ago. Fingers are crossed that May tends to stabilize more and give us some warmer days with less wind so that lakes can warm up and the fishing will turn on.

• For the first time, a Saturday opening day and weekend start to Ohio’s spring wild turkey hunting season resulted in 3,875 birds taken by hunters on April 24-25, according to ODNR Division of Wildlife. The 2021 spring wild turkey hunting season started on a Saturday instead of the traditional Monday following a change approved by the Ohio Wildlife Council in 2020.

Wild turkey hunting was open in Ohio’s south zone only beginning Saturday, April 24. Hunting in the northeast zone, comprising five counties in Ohio’s snow belt, opens Saturday, May 1.

As of April 25, the Division of Wildlife issued 47,560 wild turkey permits, valid throughout the spring hunting season. In addition to the opening weekend results, youth hunters harvested 1,473 wild turkeys during Ohio’s youth season on April 17-18. In 2020, 3,566 birds were checked during the opening two days in the south zone.

Ohio has two zones for 2021 spring wild turkey hunting: the south zone and the northeast zone. Hunting in the south zone is open until Sunday, May 23. The northeast zone is open from Saturday, May 1 to Sunday, May 30. Hunters are required to have a hunting license in addition to a spring permit. The spring hunting season limit is two bearded wild turkeys, but hunters may harvest only one bearded turkey per day.

Until next time, Good Hunting and Good Fishing!

Water and Wings by Ken Parrott

Ken Parrott is an Agricultural Science teacher with Northmor High School.