■ Maumee River: As the water level has dropped over the past week the action also has slowed, and Dennis Bryant of ZAP Custom Lures believes it is going to take an injection of rain in the next few days to possibly bring more walleyes into the river. Bryant said a few walleyes are being caught, and some white bass are showing up, but that run has not picked up any momentum yet. The river has gone from solid ice to high and fast water and now low water conditions – all in about a month. “Calling this a weird spring run is an understatement,” Bryant said.
■ Sandusky River: The walleye spawn is likely over, but a few of those fish remain in the river, according to Bernie Whitt at Anglers Supply in downtown Fremont. He saw a few limit catches of walleyes come from the Rodger Young Park area in mid-week, with the peak right before sundown. Whitt said the white bass action is picking up, and that the best fishing this weekend should be with crappies as anglers fishing minnows under bobbers are bringing in numerous huge slabs.
■ Lake Erie: Ross Robertson of Big Water Guide Service reports that when the wind cooperates and allows fishing, the big walleyes have been plentiful. Fishing in clean water, Robertson has found fish interested in Husky Jerks and Reef Runners trolled very slowly. The key has been moving the baits around in the water column to locate actively feeding fish, and using slight turns in the troll to trigger strikes. Bob Barnhart of Jann’s Netcraft said the jig bite around the Lake Erie reef complexes remains “as good as it’s been” with some anglers hitting a four-fish limit in less than an hour.
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■ Inland lakes, reservoirs: As the water warms, the angling activity on the inland waters is picking up. The DNR reports that the recently stocked rainbow trout in Van Wert Reservoir No. 2 are hitting on redworms, wax worms and trout nuggets, with mornings and evenings the best times to fish. Elsewhere, work the shallow bays for crappies and bluegills, and don’t overlook the panfish options in the area marinas, suggests Bob Barnhart of Netcraft.
■ Ohio steelhead rivers: These streams are in decent fishing shape as the water continues to clear and recede. There are steelhead present throughout the Rocky, Conneaut, Chagrin, Grand, and Vermilion rivers in the northeast corner of the state. Fly fishermen have found success with streamers, nymphs, wooly buggers, sucker spawn, and other egg patterns, while spin fishermen are catching steelhead with salmon or trout eggs, emerald shiners, or small marabou jigs tipped with maggots and fished under a bobber.
■ Michigan steelhead rivers: The water level on the Au Sable is close to normal stage, and steelhead are being taken between the mouth and Foote Dam, according to MDNR. Bottom bouncing, drifting or floating a variety of baits such as wax worms, spawn, spoons and small spinners has worked. The Betsie River should hold steelhead for the trout opener tomorrow. Anglers are taking steelhead on the Manistee River by bottom bouncing spawn with trout beads.
■ Detroit River: The walleye fishing has been good, and it has attracted a lot of boat traffic. If the weather cooperates and there is not a big push of dirty water entering the river, the fishery should stay hot for the next couple of weeks. Guide Spencer Berman of Spencer’s Angling Adventures reported limit catches with an abundance of big fish on several outings this week. Most anglers jig vertically for walleyes, and tip their baits with emerald shiners.
■ Lake St. Clair: The north winds earlier this week muddied the water and the lake will need a few days to settle before the walleye fishing picks up. The shallow areas in the canals and marinas warm up more quickly, and the bluegill and crappie fishing there is expected to improve over the next week, according to MDNR.
■ Irish Hills: As the lakes continue to warm, the panfish action is picking up throughout this region, especially in the smaller waters and in the shallow bays of the larger lakes. Bluegills and crappies have dominated the catch since ice-out, with a few pike caught by anglers focusing their efforts on panfish.