Great fishing spots plentiful


It’s no secret if you are a regular reader of my column that I spend a lot of time fishing on Lake Erie now that I am retired.

The abundance and diversity that it offers is truly amazing and we are able to enjoy a resource that is currently at its peak. Whether you want to chase walleye, smallmouth bass, largemouth bass, or perch, Lake Erie can offer amazing catches. However, not everyone has the opportunity to fish Lake Erie for various reasons. That doesn’t mean we don’t have some wonderful fishing locations closer to home.

Clear Fork Reservoir is considered one of the best locations in the state for largemouth bass. Explore the shallow western end and target bass hiding among fallen trees and stumps. In spring, cast along the eastern end near the dam for larger fish. Division of Wildlife sampling surveys consistently show an abundance of bass longer than 20 inches. The lake is also known for its tremendous musky population.

The reservoir features a multilane concrete boat launch ramp as well as a full-service marina. This is an unlimited horsepower lake with an 8-mph speed limit. The daily limit for bass is five, with a minimum length requirement of 12 inches.

Pleasant Hill Reservoir continues to be the best crappie producer in northwest Ohio, with many crappie longer than the minimum length requirement of 9 inches. The daily limit is 30 crappie. Fishing along the rocky ledge on the southern shore and small coves along the southern neck of the reservoir often leads to full coolers. Cast near trees or logs submerged in the water where crappie seek cover.

The northern end of the reservoir has abundant cover and is often popular in the summer. The also offers great opportunities for both species of bass as well as saugeye. Pleasant Hill has a boat launch with courtesy docks as well as an accessible fishing dock near. This lake is an unlimited horsepower lake that attracts many boating enthusiasts. Try fishing in the upper end of the reservoir when it gets crowded.

Delaware Reservoir is a great place to catch bass and crappie. The upper end of both rivers are a great place to start in the spring. The lower end offers deeper rocky edges which are more productive in the summer as the water heats up. Both the east and west sides of the lake offer boat ramps for easy access.

Alum Creek Lake has long been known as a largemouth bass destination, but it has recently gained a reputation for great smallmouth bass fishing. Abundant submerged aquatic vegetation in the lake provides plentiful habitat for smallmouth bass. As the water temperature warms, bass move to offshore structure in the main lake. Many smallmouth anglers catch 4-pound and heavier bass from Alum.

Boat anglers often target large points or drop-offs with plastic baits or crankbaits. Alternatively, shoreline anglers can find success all season fishing in vegetated areas with plastic creature baits or topwater lures. Bordering state park property provides unlimited shoreline access. Boat anglers can use four public boat launches as well as the marina on the western side. Alum Creek Lake’s daily limit is five bass, with a minimum length requirement of 12 inches.

Buckeye Lake has been a top saugeye destination for years. In 2023, it was one of the best inland waters for Fish Ohio-qualifying saugeye (minimum length 21 inches). Division of Wildlife fish management staff confirmed Buckeye Lake’s saugeye prominence with a fall 2023 survey which showed that 83% of the lake’s saugeye population was of a keeper size (15 inches).

Rocky, main lake areas and channels with deep water should be excellent places to catch saugeye. In the summer, boat-based anglers can find success with saugeye by trolling crankbaits or worm harnesses through open water. The daily limit in Buckeye Lake is six saugeye, with a minimum size requirement of 15 inches.

Hoover Reservoir is known for excellent catch rates for crappie. Anglers who find schools of larger fish will have the most success filling their cooler, although many smaller fish are likely to be caught. Fish near shore cover in June as crappie move to shallower water to spawn. The daily limit at Hoover Reservoir is 30 crappie, with a minimum size requirement of 9 inches.

Hoover is also consistently ranked as the best catfish fishery in central Ohio, Blue catfish were first stocked in 2011, and the oldest individuals have already surpassed 40 pounds. Generally, the northern section of the lake (above Sunbury Road) hosts the best catfishing. Using cut bait is a widely successful technique. The daily limit for blue catfish is one fish 35 inches or longer, with no limit on shorter fish. Hoover Reservoir has a 10-horsepower limit on outboard motors. The reservoir has five boat launches, including popular accesses at Walnut Street, Redbank, and the newly renovated Oxbow launch.

Until next time, Good Hunting and Good Fishing!

Ken Parrott is a retired Northmor High School Agricultural Science teacher.

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