■ Maumee, Sandusky & Portage rivers: As the water levels have retreated to a more seasonable range, anglers are reporting improved catches of smallmouth bass, and the mixed bag these streams offer. Fly angler Quinn Logsdon said smaller olive-colored crawfish patterns of about one-and-one-half-inch in length have been hooking smallmouth and rock bass on the Portage and Sandusky. He said clouser minnows have been a hit on the Maumee, along with orange and olive-patterned bunny f lies, and crawfish flies. Logsdon also relayed that small crawfish patterns have been fooling some husky carp around the islands. Logsdon reports finding cooperative smallmouth on the Sandusky, from the truss bridge at County Road 209 to Wolf Creek Park. He expects the fishing to keep improving as water levels remain low, requiring slightly weighted flies in the shallower sections of the streams.
■ Lake Erie: Captain Bob Brown Jr. aboard “Sundance” reports the fishing has been productive in recent days, despite the fluctuations in the weather. He said that the mayfly hatch is waning, but the recent cooler weather might slow that trend a bit. Brown added that some of the shallow- water areas are just starting to perk up as walleyes work the rocks searching for minnows. In recent days, Brown’s parties have been dodging the wind while drifting and casting with Weapons in gold, orange and yellow, along with other weight-forward rigs, and finding fish northwest of North Bass Island and south of East Sister, along the international border. The trolling contingent is focusing its efforts to the east, towards Vermilion. Brown said there have been decent catches of perch coming from the south side of Kelleys Island in about 26 feet of water, and in deeper water off Ballast Island.
■ Bass fishing: With the fish in full summer mode, the experts at Jann’s Netcraft recommend that anglers work the deeper water around the Lake Erie Islands with dropshot rigs for smallmouth, and focus their efforts for largemouth in the harbors with football jigs and crankbaits, fished along the rocks and breakwalls. From southeastern Ohio, guide and strip mine lakes bass fishing guru Corneilus Harris from Hocking Hills Adventure Trek recently sent details and stunning photos of a 6-pound 11-ounce largemouth he coaxed out of one of the numerous lakes and ponds in the vast AEP ReCreation area. Harris took the monster on a weightless lizard rigged Texas style. He said bass in the four and five-pound range have not been uncommon on his recent outings. This guy is the king of float tube fishing, which is the only practical way to fish many of these steep-walled, remote bodies of water that are loaded with fish.
■ Irish Hills: The bluegills worth bragging about seem to have settled into their summer pattern away from the spawning beds and are sometimes found suspending in deeper water above the thermocline. Fishing with weighted crappie rigs or slip bobbers will allow anglers to get their offerings of crickets or wax worms down to the fish at depths of 15 feet or more. Bass and pike are best located on the edges of the weeds, and along the breaks that transition from the flats into deeper water.
■ Castalia lottery: The deadline is Aug. 22 to get your name in the drawing for a session on fly fishing skills followed by the rare treat of fishing one of Ohio’s precious few trout streams. The Ohio Division of Wildlife holds a lottery for slots in its beginner fly fishing clinics, held on the grounds of the Castalia State Hatchery, and the instructional period leads into time on the stream, which holds a robust population of rainbows and a few feisty brown trout. Sessions are held on Fridays from Sept. 5 through Oct. 10, in both morning and afternoon blocks. To enter the lottery, submit a postcard listing name, address, and phone number to: ODNR Division of Wildlife District Two, 952 Lima Avenue, Findlay, Ohio 45840 Attention: Linda Ringer. Each successful applicant is allowed one guest, but the guest’s name must be listed on the postcard at the time of submission. Only one postcard per applicant and guest is allowed and no duplicates may be submitted.
■ Instructor workshop: There are spaces open for the certified fishing instructor workshop that will be held from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Aug. 13 at the Division of Wildlife District Two office in Findlay. The oneday session qualifies individuals to be instructors in the “Passport to Fishing” program. developed by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. Volunteers learn the basics of fishing and how to run an instructional session. They are supplied with a curriculum and training aids to teach kids in their communities about fishing. All participants are required to pass a background check before being certified. To register for the workshop, call Linda Ringer at 419-429-8347 before Aug. 6.