Ohio anglers by year's end should be close to matching last year's performance in terms of catching record fish.
Three state records have been set thus far this year and Tom Cross, record fish chairman for the Outdoor Writers of Ohio, expects two more entries to be filed soon.
If those are certified, anglers would be just one shy of matching 1999 with nearly three months of catching to go.
OWO is the official keeper of fish records in the state and works closely with the Ohio Division of Wildlife. The division runs a separate angling-awards' program called Fish Ohio for large but not necessarily record fish.
The 2000 Ohio record fish include:
t Hybrid striped bass, 17.44 pounds, taken May 12 by Mike Norris, of Westerville, O., in a former gravel pit on Deer Creek, a stream below the dam of Lake Choctaw, a private lake in Madison County.
The hybrid striper was 293/4 inches long, though OWO acknowledges records now only by weight.
The prior record hybrid striper was 16.13 pounds, taken in 1985 in Little Three Mile Creek near Aberdeen in Brown County. Norris used a five-inch bluegill for bait.
t Lake trout, 20.49 pounds, taken by Tom Harbison, of Natrona, Pa., while perch fishing on Lake Erie on April 20. The prior record, dating to 1993, was 16 pounds, 11 ounces.
t Longnose gar, 12 pounds, 8 ounces, bowfishing division, a 47-incher taken by Jeff Cooper, Orient, O., in the Scioto River in Pickaway County on July 1. Cooper held the prior record, 12 pounds, which he took in 1999. He is the only Ohio angler to break his own state record.
For other details on the state record fish program, contact Cross at 1497 Cross Rd., Winchester, O., 45697, or call 937-386-2752.
wFishing report - The Lake Erie waters off Huron remain the place to be if walleye or yellow perch fishing is part of your outdoor autumn plans.
Excellent catches of walleye are coming anywhere from 5 to 10 miles off the Huron River mouth, heading slightly east of north. Both trollers and casters are doing well, weather permitting.
Skipper Paul Pacholski, of Point Place, and his party cast for and boated 165 pounds of walleyes Tuesday, said Rick Ferguson at Al Szuch Live Bait on Corduroy Road. Many of the walleye being taken there are Fish Ohio-size, added Rick Catley, of Rickard's Bait at Catwaba Island.
Catley said that yellow perch action is good off the southeast corner of Kelleys Island and off Kelleys and Gull Island shoals. Smallmouth bass, he said, are being taken on crayfish all around Kelleys, the southeast and southwest corners and the north bay in particular.
Pelee Island remains the best bet for smallies on the Canadian side. Perch action nearer Toledo has been erratic at best.
In other fishing news, the Ohio Division of Wildlife has scheduled releases this month of more than 26,000 rainbow trout at 25 lakes, including four in northwest Ohio, for its increasingly popular fall inland trout fishing program.
The region's release schedule includes:
3 Olander Lake, Sylvania Township, 1,000 trout, Oct. 16.
3 Lima Lake, Allen County, 1,300 trout, Oct. 16.
3 Norwalk Reservoir No. 1, Huron County, 1,000 trout, Oct. 17.
3 Daugherty Lake, Hancock County, 1,000 trout, Oct. 27.
The fish all measure 10 to 12 inches long and are available because of increased production from the division's new Castalia Fish Hatchery in Erie County. The daily creel limit on trout is five.
wThe access road through Magee Marsh State Wildlife Area to Crane Creek State Park and the Magee Marsh Bird Trail will be closed Tuesday through Nov. 25 because of controlled waterfowl hunts.
The road will be open, however, Saturday afternoons and all day on Sundays.
Access to the Sportsmen's Migratory Bird Center and the Magee Marsh Walking Trail near the center will not be affected by the road closure.
Hours for the center are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekends. For questions, call Magee, 419-898-0960, extension 31.
In other Magee Marsh news, 1,800 acres of the wildlife area in Ottawa and Lucas counties will be available for trapping this fall. The acreage primarily is open water and wetland cover.
Marsh units available for trapping can be viewed Oct. 17, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Bids will be opened Oct. 24 at 3 p.m. at Magee Marsh headquarters, 13229 West State Rt. 2, Oak Harbor.
Bid forms are available at the headquarters, or by calling Magee at 419-898-0960 extension 30, or Ohio Wildlife District 2, Findlay, 419-424-5000.
wNational Public Lands Day at Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge is set to be observed Saturday in a rescheduling of activities rained out on Sept. 23.
A trail work-day is planned from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. to help refuge staff trim brush and rake and spread gravel along a third of a mile path. A lunch is scheduled for volunteers.
The refuge is at 14000 West State Rt. 2, Oak Harbor.
For other details, call Rebecca Hinkle at the refuge, 419-898-0014, extension 815.