■ Maumee, Sandusky & Portage rivers: The fishing pressure remains light on area rivers, with smallmouth bass and catfish dominating the catch for the few anglers religiously working the waterways. On the Maumee, river guru Joe Roecklein reports that the area below the dam at Mary Jane Thurston State Park is loaded with small shad, so the river dwellers appear to have plenty of food on hand. The Rossford Marina is still a hot spot for catfish, with live baits fished on or near the bottom proving most productive. The smallmouth are coming on spinners and small twisters for the anglers using lightweight spinning gear, and on an assortment of yellow and brown wooly buggers, and any pattern that mimics a crayfish, for the fly fishermen.
■ Swan Creek: Fly angler Hunter Hayes reports that he is catching carp and bluegills on this and other smaller waterways in the Maumee system, using an assortment of egg patterns. Hayes recommends crawdad patterns for bass in the streams, and dragonfly patterns and slow-moving wooly buggers for bass in ponds.
■ Lake Erie: The fishing experts at Netcraft report that many Western Basin anglers have made the transition from walleyes to yellow perch as the water begins to cool. The best spots this week have been the area northeast of North Bass Island, and east of Kelleys Island in about 30-35 feet of water. There are also good catches of yellow perch coming from the area around West Sister Island and the gravel pit. Netcraft stresses the need to have both wire spreaders and perch rigs at the ready, so you can efficiently fish a variety of depths. On the walleye front, Capt. Dave Spangler reports the fishing has been slow in recent days, with some walleyes taken in the Canadian waters around Pelee Island. He said perch fishing is a better option now, with the areas around D-can and Rattlesnake Island also on the list of locations worth trying. He recommends taking plenty of bait, since sorting through numerous small perch is usually part of the deal.
■ Lake Erie fish safe to eat: Anglers are reminded that fish from the lake are safe to eat, despite the recent algae scare. Extensive testing of fish tissues has indicated no toxins present in the meat. After the fish are cleaned, the fillets should be rinsed well.
■ Ohio strip mine lakes: Largemouth bass in the 3-5 pound range are being caught on lightweight plastics, such as 4-inch tubes, according to guide Corneilus Harris with Hocking Hills Adventure Trek. Harris said working the edges of the moss beds and around the timber along the banks has been the most productive approach.
■ Ohio muskies: Muskie fishermen in the Buckeye State have been riding the roller coaster lately, according to Fred Lederer of Perrysburg, former president of the Ohio Huskie Muskie Club. Lederer said cooler water temperatures have allowed the fish to roam wider areas, adding a bit more challenge to an already challenging game. He recommends tapping into local advice on the current movement patterns before venturing out on any of Ohio’s muskie waters.
■ Michigan muskies: Lake St. Clair muskie guide Spencer Berman reports a consistently strong bite in recent days, with a number of big fish making it to the landing net. His clients have been casting with Bulldawgs and Medussas around the cabbage weeds or schools of shad. Berman said trolling has been more problematic, since the recent floods have flushed a lot of debris into the lake.
■ Irish Hills lakes: There is a little more work involved in filling a limit of bluegills in late summer, especially on the days when the anglers’ barometer says to expect tough fishing. The fish are out of the shallows and are usually found around depths of about 20 feet, but that can vary depending on the location. Live crickets and/or worms are the go-to baits, often fished in tandem on customized crappie-style rigs. The bass fishermen are jumpy, moving around a lot to locate areas near the edges of the weed beds where the bass know the refuge of deep water is nearby. Bass anglers are employing soft baits, crankbaits, tubes and spinners in their efforts to seduce fish that see a lot of presentations, and a lot of pressure.