■ Maumee River: The recent rains and the push of fresh water into the river is not necessarily a bad thing, according to Bob Barnhart of Netcraft, who said a good rain can spark activity. He said that although the walleye bite is slowing down, there are still fish to be caught in some of the pools. The white bass action has been hot when the water level allows anglers to reach the traditional fishing sites, stretching from Orleans Park upstream to Jerome Road. Jigs dressed with brightly colored plastic tails are the standard approach for getting river-run white bass to strike, but Barnhart said rooster tails are also picking up both white bass and walleyes.
■ Sandusky River: Most of the heavy rains that hit the area earlier this week missed the Sandusky drainage, according to Bernie Whitt at Anglers Supply in Fremont, so when the water level remained normal, the white bass fishing was very productive through midweek. A round of storms can change that quickly, however, and leave the river in the downtown fishing zone high and muddy for a few days. When the water level cooperates, Whitt said he has seen some “huge ones” come from this year’s white bass run. Twister tails, spinners and minnows fished under bobbers are producing coolers full of fish.
■ Lake Erie: The trolling anglers are having success catching walleyes around the Bass Islands and Kelleys Island, when the wind and weather permit. They have been using deep-diving crankbaits, and worm harnesses rigged with in-line weights or bottom bouncers. The jig fishermen are still taking walleyes off the reefs, and in Maumee Bay, using hair jigs tipped with emerald shiners.
■ Lake Erie islands, bays: Although the season is closed from May 1 through June 27 and all largemouth and smallmouth bass are to be immediately released, the catch-and-release fishing for these species has been exceptional, according to Bob Barnhart of Netcraft. He said the fishing around the Lake Erie Islands has been “phenomenal”, and the mouths of the rivers feeding the lake are also hot spots for bass right now.
■ Ohio steelhead rivers: The ODNR reports that while persistent rains can quickly raise levels and stain the water, when the streams in the northeast corner of the state are moderately clear, spin fishermen have been successful with salmon or trout eggs, emerald shiners, and small marabou jigs tipped with maggots and fished under a bobber. Fly fishermen have used streamers, nymphs, wooly buggers, sucker spawn, and other egg patterns to entice steelhead.
■ Inland lakes & reservoirs: An infusion of new water from the recent rains, plus the continually rising water temperatures, have the panfish becoming more active in the nearshore areas. Mike Wilkerson, fish management supervisor with the Division of Wildlife, said he expects the fishing for bluegills and crappies to continue to improve. Wax worms on tiny jigs fished under bobbers are a good choice, along with small minnows when crappies are the target species.
■ Irish Hills: The shallow water areas are warming and producing crappies and bluegills for anglers using small jigs tipped with worms or maggots, and crickets fished on crappie rigs. Work around any structure or vegetation. Bass are becoming more active, and a few pike should be feeding near the dropoffs.
■ Detroit River: Windsor- based guide Job Bondy reports that there are still plenty of walleyes being caught in the river, with many fish up to seven pounds helping anglers make their limit. The standard jig head tipped with a brown or black worm, or the Fin-S soft-bodied lure that mimics a baitfish have been taking the most fish. Bondy expects the night crawler harness bite to turn on soon. Bondy said the river, and the shallow waters of Lake St. Clair, are producing tremendous numbers of bragging- size smallmouth bass.
■ Lake St. Clair: The warmer weather has moved more fish into the shallows, according to guide Spencer Berman, who said most of the fish are not yet on spawning beds. Deep-diving crankbaits and jerkbaits have been hammering the fish, Berman said. Once the fish move onto the beds, Berman expects tubes to be the top producers.
■ Whitten wins LEWT event: Toledo angler Joe Whitten teamed with Ronnie Rhodes from the Cleveland area to win the recent Lake Erie Walleye Trail Lakevue event. The duo negotiated potent waves produced by 25 to 35 mph winds, and boated five fish that weighed in at 35.3 pounds while fishing west of North Bass Island. Whitten said they fished 41-feet back at 1.0 to 1.1 mph with an in-line one-ounce weight. The event opened with a moment of silence as Boat #42 was called, in memory of Bryan Huff and Amy Santus, who were lost in a tragic boating accident in April. Whitten and Rhodes dedicated the win to their former teammates, Bryan and Amy.