Central Ohio Fishing Forecasts – Top Inland Lakes for 2018
COLUMBUS — As the spring days grow warmer, more and more Ohioans will be venturing out to go fishing. Ohio offers many fantastic opportunities for the public to fish, including 124,000 acres of inland water, 7,000 miles of streams, 2.25 million acres of Lake Erie water, and 481 miles of the Ohio River, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR). Here are a few areas in central Ohio anglers may want to check out.
The ODNR Division of Wildlife has numerous resources available to assist anglers, including lake maps, fishing tips by species, and fishing forecasts based on survey data. Anglers are also encouraged to use an online, interactive fishing map which allows users to select features in order to customize their own fishing maps for Ohio’s inland lakes. This map and the selective features are even mobile-friendly so anglers can access information right on the water. For more information, click the “fishing tab” at wildohio.gov.
Knox Lake (Knox County) — Knox Lake has a high abundance of largemouth bass that consists of many large fish (61% of fish are 15 inches or longer.) It’s recommended to fish structures along the shoreline below the Old Mansfield Road access. The section of lake above the Old Mansfield Road boat ramp is a stump field and can be difficult to navigate; caution is advised in this area.
Anglers fishing from shore can access the lake at the marina, dam, the Old Mansfield Road boat ramp on the north side of the lake, and a pull-off on Old Mansfield Road located on the south side of the lake. Boats with motors larger than 9.9 horsepower are restricted to idle-only speeds.
Madison Lake (Madison County) – Madison Lake, located southwest of Columbus, ranks first in the state for numbers of crappie and is number two in the state for crappie over nine inches. Relatively shallow compared to other local lakes, such as Alum Creek Lake or Hoover Reservoir, makes for better fishing earlier in the season. Fishing reports have shown anglers having success at this lake later in the day after the sun has heated up the water. Target areas of woody habitat with small jigs under a float. Pink, gold, or chartreuse are good color choices for big crappie.
This lake is popular with recreational boaters, including sailboats, rowboats, and canoes. Electric motors are the only motors permitted on the lake. The boat ramp for this 106-acre lake is located on the lake’s southeastern shore, near the intersection of Cheseldine Road and East Park Drive.
Hoover Reservoir (Franklin and Delaware counties) — This City of Columbus water supply reservoir has emerged as one of the best catfish fisheries in the state. Not only does it rank as one of the best lakes to fish for the more common channel catfish, but it also produces good numbers and sizes of the much larger flathead catfish. In 2011 Hoover became one of the first inland reservoirs in the state to be stocked with blue catfish. Recent surveys and fishing reports from Hoover have already produced blue cats over 20 pounds. Drifting cut shad in the northern basin of the lake is one of the best overall techniques to catch both large blue and channel catfish. Live bait, such as chubs, sucker, and bluegill is often more effective for catching flathead catfish which tend to associate more with cover like rocks or submerged wood.
Sunbury Road runs along the west side of the lake and has numerous pull offs and parking areas for anglers to access, while the town of Galena on the north end has more access areas including a large boardwalk. Hoover is a 10 horsepower limit lake and has five boat ramps, including Big Walnut in the lower basin, Red Bank in the middle basin, and Oxbow in the northern basin.
There was a fishing tournament at Hoover on April 7.
Indian Lake (Logan County) – Indian lake is consistently ranked as the top lake in the state for both numbers and sizes of saugeye. From fall through spring, shore fishing from the south bank and the Moundwood channel can produce good numbers of fish. During the summer, trolling crankbaits throughout the large western basin of the lake is a popular technique with anglers. Channels, bridges, and pinch points between islands can be good as well, especially if there is wind blowing through these areas.
At just over 5,000 acres, Indian Lake is one of the largest reservoirs in the state and has a large amount of public access with several boat ramps, the most popular of which are the Moundwood, Lakeview, and Blackhawk ramps. Indian Lake is an unlimited horsepower lake and has many private residences along the shoreline, which can result in days with large numbers of recreational boaters.
Alum Creek Lake (Delaware County) – One of nine program lakes that gets stocked by the ODNR Division of Wildlife with muskies, Alum Creek provides a great opportunity for anglers to catch a trophy-sized fish. From late March through May, and again in the fall, top spots will be coves with steep shorelines and fallen trees that extend into deep water. As summer approaches, muskies will move out to the main lake and can be caught trolling large crankbaits along the many underwater points and drop offs that can be found in the lower basin south of Cheshire Road. Throughout the year, trolling or casting any of the rip rap areas, including the dam and causeways, can also be effective.
State park land surrounds the lake, offering excellent access for shore anglers. The lake is an unlimited horsepower lake with the Howard Road ramp offering boat access to the northern basin, the Cheshire ramp for the middle basin, and the New Galena and the State Park Marina for the southern basin.
Updated Ohio Wildlife Council Meeting Date Announced
The Ohio Wildlife Council meeting that was scheduled for Wednesday, May 9, has been rescheduled to Thursday, May 17, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR). The meeting will begin at 6:30 p.m. at the ODNR Division of Wildlife District One office, located at 1500 Dublin Road, Columbus 43215.
The purpose of the meeting is to approve or disapprove proposed changes to division rules concerning the taking, possession, management and protection of wild and captive held animals; the establishment of open and closed seasons; methods of taking; bag and possession limits; administration of division owned, administered and leased lands; special permits; and rules establishing procedures for providing notice to the public regarding hearings conducted by the Ohio Wildlife Council for the purpose of promulgating rules.
At this meeting, the Ohio Wildlife Council will vote on the proposed rules and season dates for the 2018-2019 hunting season. The council first heard proposals at their January and February meetings.
No other business will be conducted at this meeting, and no public comments will be accepted.
The Ohio Wildlife Council is an eight-member board that approves all ODNR Division of Wildlife proposed rules and regulations. All Ohio Wildlife Council meetings are open to the public.
Spring Welcomes Spectacular Wildflower Display to the Buckeye State
Ohioans will soon be treated to a spectacular display of native spring wildflowers during the months of April and May. Follow along as the bloom unfolds from south to north this spring with the Ohio wildflower bloom report, published each Friday by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR).
This year’s season started quite early, when spring-like weather arrived in late February. But March brought freezing temperatures and snow to much of Ohio, putting the wildflower season on pause. This pattern sets the season to reach peak around the middle of April in our southernmost counties, late April for central counties and early to mid-May in our northernmost counties.
Ohio’s spring wildflowers bloom early in the spring, before the leaves unfurl on the trees above. Very quickly, the canopy closes above, ending the season, leaving only a few weeks to see these gems of Ohio’s woodlands. The best days to venture to the woods to look at open wildflowers are warm, sunny spring days with temperatures above 50 degrees.
Early bloomers include harbinger-of-spring, snow trillium and hepatica. These are soon followed by spring beauty, cut-leaved toothwort and bloodroot. Finally, showier flowers like large white trillium, Virginia bluebells and wild geranium carpet the forest floor with a wash of color.
In each Ohio Wildflower Bloom report, ODNR details which species are blooming where, and makes specific recommendations for seeing the best displays of spring bloomers across the state. Visit naturepreserves.ohiodnr.gov/wildflowers to read each weekly report.
ODNR and TourismOhio encourage people to take spring wildflower photos and upload them to social media using the hashtag, #OhioWildflowers. Follow @ohiodnr and @OhioFindItHere on Twitter, @ohiodnr on Instagram and ODNR Division of Natural Areas and Preserves and Ohio Find it Here on Facebook to see more spring wildflower photos.
Getting outdoors is an ideal way to relieve stress and boost mood levels. ODNR’s new Explore Ohio initiative is aimed at encouraging people to exercise outdoors and become healthier in the process. Participants can log their miles, share their photos and create friends groups on the Explore Ohio website at ExploreOh.com. Whether people are running, hiking, biking, climbing, walking or paddling, Ohioans can keep track of their progress at ExploreOh.com and share their adventures on social media using #ExploreOhio. After reaching 100 combined miles of activity on the site, each registered user will receive an email with a certificate good for 15 percent off camping at any Ohio State Park.
ODNR ensures a wise balance between the use and protection of our natural resources for the benefit of all. Visit the ODNR website at ohiodnr.gov.