■ Maumee River: The waterway has settled into its summer mode, according to regular river watcher Joe Roecklein, who keeps an eagle eye on things all the way up to the Providence Dam. “Rocketman” reports so-so results on the smallmouth bass side, and spotty white bass catches along the river, except for at the dam, where the fishing seems to be noticeably better. Roecklein said there have been plenty of catfish caught at the dam, along with a few walleyes taken from the Mary Jane Thurston State Park side for anglers who work to find the holes. The Rossford Marina has been producing good numbers of catfish, and some bragging-sized ones, Roecklein said. Anglers are using worms and shrimp fished on the bottom.
■ Sandusky River: Bernie Whitt at Anglers Supply in downtown Fremont reports slow going for the crappie fishermen on the river, which he said is loaded with gar at this time. There have been decent catches of channel catfish in the 6-10 pound range, and a few smallmouth bass caught in the river, but the fishing pressure has been low, Whitt said.
■ Lake Erie: The fishing experts at Netcraft report a steady catch of walleyes in the Western Basin in recent days, with the area around Rattlesnake Island cited for its fish production. They suggest trolling worm harnesses and spoons behind Jet Divers at about 50 feet back. Patterns in copper, pink and purple have been the most reliable. The stretch of the lake from Crane Creek to the Toledo water intake is also serving up walleyes for persistent anglers. The walleye bite near Ashtabula and Conneaut has been excellent, the Netcraft anglers report.
■ Ohio muskies: Fred and Jake Lederer took part in the Ohio Huskie Muskie Clubs’ recent event at Salt Fork Lake in southwest Ohio, near Cambridge, and found surface water temps around 80 degrees, which is slightly lower than normal. In their practice session, the father-and-son team from Perrysburg found muskies staging at 12-15 feet in 20 feet of water. Jake landed a 38-inch muskie after a few hours of trolling, hooking it on a Ziggie in a hot perch pattern. Fred landed a similar size fish on the same pattern a while later. In the tournament that followed, Phil Cummings of Graytown won first place with a 44-inch beauty and a 37.75-inch companion. The top fish of the event was caught by Gloria Roberts with a 45-inch muskie. Fred said the Ohio muskies start smacking the big baits in May, and trophy anglers here will stick with the larger lures throughout the summer, while the muskie fishermen on Lake St. Clair tend to prefer baits in the 4-6 inch range. The Lederers will troll both sizes at the same time to increase the chances of coaxing a strike from one of these often unpredictable fish.
■ Irish Hills: The bluegills make the anglers work when the dog days of summer arrive, and the wise fishermen alter their approach to locate fish in deeper water. Some anglers will allow the breeze to carry them along over sections of water 12-25 feet deep, and set several rods at different depths to find the active zone. Light line, small hooks and wax worms, crickets, or pieces of night crawler are the preferred approach. If you locate an area that produces several pick-ups on the drift, consider anchoring nearby and working the water more thoroughly.
■ Lake St. Clair: Michigan DNR reports steady smallmouth bass catches off the Mile roads for anglers using spinners, night crawlers, tube baits and artificial crayfish. Sturgeon season has opened on both Lake St. Clair and the St. Clair River, and anglers are reminded they need a non-transferable Lake Sturgeon Tag in order to fish for sturgeon. These tags are available at all license vendors.
■ Lake Michigan: Anglers are catching trout and salmon 30-80 feet down while fishing in 100-200 feet of water off Manistee, according to MDNR. Boat anglers are picking up good catches of steelhead in the top 50 feet of the water column with bright-colored spoons. A little south off Ludington, anglers are using orange, yellow and pink spoons to take trout and salmon 40-90 feet down while working water that is 100-200 feet deep.