Central Ohio Fishing Forecasts


Staff Reports

Licking Valley Chapter of Whitetails Unlimited.

Licking Valley Chapter of Whitetails Unlimited.

Top 5 Inland Lakes for 2017

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. New this year, is an interactive fishing map which allows anglers to select features to customize their own fishing maps for Ohio’s inland lakes. The interactive map is even mobile friendly so anglers can access information right on the water. For more information, click the fishing tab at wildohio.gov.

Channel Catfish

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 20lbs. 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 Rd. 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 10hp 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.


Alum Creek Lake (Delaware County) – One of nine program lakes that gets stocked by the Division of Wildlife with muskies, Alum Creek provides a great opportunity 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 Rd. 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 Howard Rd. ramp offering boat access to the northern basin, Cheshire ramp in the middle basin, and New Galena and the State Park Marina in the southern basin.


Delaware Lake (Delaware County) – According to Division of Wildlife surveys, Delaware Lake ranks in the top 5 statewide for numbers of crappie over 10 inches. Delaware has numerous large coves with fallen trees and other cover that will hold large numbers of black and white crappies during the spring months. Summer and fall crappies will move to deeper habitats often associated with the original creek channel. This reservoir is surrounded by wildlife area on the east and state park area on the west allowing for extensive access to the shoreline. There are three boat ramps, including the State Park marina on the west shore in the middle of the lake. Delaware Lake is an unlimited horsepower lake that can experience substantial water level fluctuations after rain events. Be sure to check the Army Corps of Engineers website for current lake levels before your fishing trip.

Black Bass

Rush Creek Lake (Fairfield and Perry Counties) – This reservoir is one of the best in central Ohio when it comes to numbers and sizes of largemouth bass. Recent surveys by fisheries biologists have shown the numbers of bass over 15 inches on the rise. This is also one of the only lakes in the area to produce bass over 7lbs. Steeper shorelines along the south shoreline and near the dam are great places to catch bass year-round. Shallower areas on the east and west ends of the lake are filled with submerged logs and tree stumps that bass will use during the spring spawning season. Rush Creek has one recently upgraded boat ramp and parking lot (10hp limit lake). There are extensive areas of submerged trees that can be hazardous to boaters, so be sure to proceed cautiously if it’s your first time there.


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.

For more fishing forecasts and a list of other top inland lakes by species, visit wildohio.gov

Donation Assists Central Ohio Archers and Wildlife Law Enforcement

The Licking Valley Chapter of Whitetails Unlimited has generously donated $17,000 worth of equipment to the Hebron Fish Hatchery and county wildlife officers according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR).

The Hebron Fish Hatchery received $10,000 worth of archery targets for their public archery range. District One officers working in Licking County received $7,000 worth of equipment to aid in law enforcement. These items included binoculars, spotting scopes, trail cameras, license plate readers and a night vision scope.

Whitetails Unlimited is a national nonprofit conservation organization that was founded in 1982. Their mission is to raise funds in support of educational programs, wildlife habitat enhancement and acquisition, and preservation of the hunting tradition and shooting sports for future generations.

The Licking Valley Chapter of Whitetails Unlimited is entering its eighth year of fundraising. One of their primary efforts is to help the Food Pantry Network of Licking County. The chapter uses the money from their fundraising efforts to pay the processing fee for any harvested whitetail deer donated to the food pantries. The meat goes to one of 20 pantries in Licking Co.

More information about becoming a state wildlife officer or the ODNR Division of Wildlife can be found at wildohio.gov.


Field reports from ODNR Division of Wildlife Officers

Central Ohio – Wildlife District One

During the 2016 deer archery season, State Wildlife Officer Chad Grote, assigned to Marion County, was dispatched to Morrow County based on a Turn In a Poacher (TIP) call about a man shooting a deer with a rifle. He spoke with the complainant who had witnessed a man shoot a deer with a gun during archery season. The complainant stated that the deer was about 15 yards from where he was hunting in his tree stand when he heard a shot and watched the deer react. A short time later, a man walked by the hunter’s tree stand, threw the deer over his back, and walked away. The complainant believed he knew where the deer was taken and showed Officer Grote on a map. Officer Grote and State Wildlife Officer Maurice Irish, assigned to Delaware County, went to the residence with a Morrow County deputy and spoke with the suspect and two other men at the house. Further investigation revealed that the deer had been shot with a .22 rifle and brought back to the house where it was processed by the three men. The deer was not tagged and the man who shot it did not have a hunting license, a deer permit, or permission to hunt where he shot the deer. The man who shot the deer was issued 3 summonses and the other two men were also each issued a summons for aiding in the violation. All were found guilty in Morrow County Municipal Court and ordered to pay a total of $800 in fines and court costs. Their hunting licenses were revoked for two years and both the deer and firearm were forfeited to the ODNR Division of Wildlife.

During the summer of 2016, State Wildlife Officer Michael Budd, assigned to Knox County, was patrolling Brinkhaven Wildlife Area when he observed several men and women drive off the road to a remote spot at the wildlife area. Officer Budd observed the individuals build a fire and drink alcoholic beverages. Later, Officer Budd attempted to contact the individuals as they were leaving. The truck stopped and one individual fled of the truck, sprinting into the woods and ignoring Officer Budd’s commands to stop. Several citations were issued to the individuals in the truck for drinking and driving off-road. Each was found guilty and paid a $225 fine. The individual who fled the scene was identified and was contacted at his residence several days later. It was later discovered he had run because he was drinking under the age of 21. He was issued a summons to court for under age consumption and disobeying a lawful order. The individual was found guilty of both charges and ordered to pay $500 in fines and serve 10 days in jail.

Iconic Shawshank oak tree falls

Shawshank Trail continues to grow and draw fans

MANSFIELD – After sustaining heavy wind damage over the past several years, Richland County’s iconic Shawshank oak tree was cut down recently. The tree played a key role in the dramatic conclusion of the blockbuster movie, The Shawshank Redemption, which has drawn visitors from around the globe to the area to experience Mansfield’s Shawshank Trail.

A July 2011 storm first split the tree, which was located on private property, down the middle, taking out one side. Almost exactly five years later, a severe thunderstorm blew down the beloved oak. Despite the damage, fans of the film continued to visit Mansfield, to see the site, along with 13 other attractions along the popular Shawshank Trail. According to Destination Mansfield officials, the site of the tree will continue to be a stop on the Shawshank Trail.

Visitors are encouraged to continue to come to Mansfield, Ashland and Upper Sandusky to take the same paths that actors, film producers and directors walked while filming scenes for this timeless movie. With 15 different stops, including a new site in St. Croix, the tour starts at the historic Ohio State Reformatory and takes visitors step-by-step through the movie’s most meaningful scenes.

“While we’re saddened by the loss of the Shawshank Oak, we take pride in showcasing the remaining filming sites and invite Shawshank fans to continue to visit our celebrated Shawshank Trail,” Lee Tasseff, President of the Convention and Visitors Bureau said. “With a brand-new stop in the U.S. Virgin Islands, we are excited to continue the movie’s legacy for fans, both inside and outside our borders.”

A fan favorite, the historic Ohio State Reformatory surrounds visitors with the intriguing history of not only the movie, but of the reformatory itself. At six stories high, the reformatory houses the world’s tallest free-standing steel cellblock. Because of its remarkable history and architecture, the reformatory was selected as the set for a number of major motion pictures, national TV shows, music videos and other productions, including Air Force One, Tango & Cash, and shows on the Travel Channel, SciFi Channel and others.

After visiting the reformatory, the Trail continues to other scene settings from The Shawshank Redemption, including: The Brewer Hotel; the Portland Daily Bugle; Brooks’ Bench; the Road to Buxton; the Shawshank Wood Shop; the Trailways Bus Station, Maine National Bank; the courthouse where Andy is convicted, the pawn shop window, Red’s bus ride to Fort Hancock, Texas; and the beaches of Zihuantanejo, Mexico — all of which played major roles in The Shawshank Redemption when it was filmed in 1993, prior to its 1994 release.

Complete visitor information, including the free Shawshank Trail Drive-it-Yourself tour brochure is available at ShawshankTrail.com. Complete Mansfield Visitor information is found at DestinationMansfield.com or by calling (800) 642-8282. The Shawshank Trail is just one of a long list of truly one-of-a-kind experiences travelers find when visiting in Mansfield, Ohio. Breathtaking scenery and rural and hometown experiences, as well as hiking, biking, golf, cross-country and downhill skiing, bird watching and other outdoor adventures are among the area’s many attractions.

ODNR Continues to Support Aquatic Stewardship and Fishing Participation

A total of $190,000 was recently awarded to 43 different organizations, conservation clubs and communities from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) to increase aquatic stewardship and sport fishing participation in local communities. Provided by the ODNR Division of Wildlife, these assistance funds represent a continuing effort to promote aquatic stewardship and fishing participation in Ohio’s communities, especially among young people.

Each year, the ODNR Division of Wildlife offers aquatic education grants to schools, parks and recreation departments, conservation groups, local governments and other nonprofit organizations wanting to sponsor an aquatic or angler education program. Partnering with groups and other agencies exponentially increases the division’s ability to support these programs and reinvest in local communities. Funding for these grants is derived from the federal Sport Fish Restoration (SFR) program. No state tax dollars are used for this activity. This is a user-pay, user-benefit program.

The SFR program is a partnership between federal and state government, industry, anglers and boaters. When anglers purchase rods, reels, fishing tackle, fish finders and motor boat fuel, they pay an excise tax. The federal government collects these taxes, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service administers and disburses these funds to state fish and wildlife agencies. These funds are used to acquire habitat, produce and stock fish, conduct research and surveys, provide aquatic education to youth, and secure and develop boat accesses.

All Aquatic Education Grant programs must include an opportunity for participants to engage in an aquatic education learning session and provide a hands-on fishing opportunity. Examples include youth fishing camps, family fishing programs and fishing clinics.

Grant applications are accepted for programs ranging from $2,000 to $10,000. Multiple agencies may work cooperatively to conduct a program or event, but only one grant application may be submitted per program. A final report form must be submitted to the ODNR Division of Wildlife upon completion of the program.

Grant guidelines and the application form can be found at wildohio.gov or by emailing aquatic.education@dnr.state.oh.us.

Ohio Wildlife Council Approves 2017-2018 Hunting Regulations

The 2017-2018 hunting and trapping seasons were among the regulations approved by the Ohio Wildlife Council at its scheduled meeting on Wednesday, April 12, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR).

White-tailed deer hunting changes include modifications to bag limits for several counties throughout the state.

Overview of deer hunting seasons for 2017-2018:

  • Deer archery: Sept. 30, 2017-Feb. 4, 2018
  • Youth deer gun: Nov. 18-19, 2017
  • Deer gun: Nov. 27-Dec. 3, 2017; Dec. 16-17, 2017
  • Deer muzzleloader: Jan. 6-9, 2018

An increase in the bag limit, from two deer per county to three deer per county, was approved for Athens, Belmont, Carroll, Coshocton, Fairfield, Gallia, Guernsey, Harrison, Hocking, Jackson, Jefferson, Lawrence, Meigs, Monroe, Morgan, Muskingum, Noble, Perry, Tuscarawas, Vinton and Washington counties. These changes are designed to slow the rate of herd growth, while still allowing herds to increase.

A reduction in the bag limit, from three deer per county to two deer per county, was approved for Allen, Defiance, Fulton, Henry, Paulding, Putnam and Williams counties. These changes are designed to encourage herd growth in these counties.

All other county bag limits remain the same. The statewide bag limit remains at six deer. Only one deer may be antlered, and a hunter cannot exceed a county bag limit.

In other rule changes, any straight-walled cartridge rifle with a minimum caliber of .357 to a maximum caliber of .50 is now allowed for hunting deer in Ohio. There have been three seasons of hunting deer with straight-walled cartridge rifles in Ohio with no biological impacts to the herd or additional hunter incidents. Defining the allowable rifles makes the rule easily understood and easily enforced, while also being inclusive of a great number of rifle options.

Waterfowl Hunting

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) oversees all migratory bird regulations, including Ohio’s hunting seasons. A recent change in the USFWS process now allows Ohio to propose fall waterfowl regulations in January and vote on them in April, more than six months earlier than in previous years. Changes to the migratory bird regulations include increasing the canvasback bag limit to two per day and decreasing the pintail bag limit to one per day. The waterfowl bag limit for ducks and geese is consistent statewide and does not change by zone.

The youth waterfowl age limit has been lowered to include more young hunters. Anyone who is 17 or younger may now participate in the youth waterfowl hunts. The previous age limit was 15 or younger. The youth waterfowl weekend is Oct. 7-8.

Wild Turkey Hunting

Fall turkey hunting will be expanded to 11 additional counties for the first time: Allen, Champaign, Crawford, Fulton, Hardin, Henry, Logan, Paulding, Preble, Putnam and Wyandot. Harvest records and research indicates wild turkey populations have increased in these areas to a point where a fall harvest will not impact the overall numbers. Fall wild turkey hunting is Oct. 14–Nov. 26. The season will now be open in 67 of Ohio’s 88 counties.

Download a complete list of season dates and bag limits at bit.ly/OH1718HuntingTrapping.

The Ohio Wildlife Council is an eight-member board that approves all of the ODNR Division of Wildlife proposed rules and regulations. The council votes on the proposed rules and season dates after considering public input.

Council meetings are open to the public. Individuals who want to provide comments on a topic that is currently being considered by council are asked to register at least two days before the meeting by calling 614-265-6304.

Licking Valley Chapter of Whitetails Unlimited.
http://aimmedianetwork.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/48/2017/05/web1_thumbnail_IMG_0232.jpgLicking Valley Chapter of Whitetails Unlimited.


Staff Reports

ODNR ensures a balance between wise use and protection of our natural resources for the benefit of all. Visit the ODNR website at ohiodnr.gov.

ODNR ensures a balance between wise use and protection of our natural resources for the benefit of all. Visit the ODNR website at ohiodnr.gov.