When the ice melts, the calendars flip over to March and the sun emerges from its winter hideout, anglers return to Ohio waters.
It’s that time again … finally.
Here is the angling outlook for southwest Ohio’s major lakes and rivers, thanks to Debbie Walters and Marty Lindquist of the Ohio Division of Wildlife:
Acton Lake: Once again this will be a good lake to fish for bass, but you should become familiar with slot limits at several lakes. There’s also good fishing for crappies and saugeyes.
Caesar Creek Lake: In 2013, 193 muskies were caught at Caesar Creek (and reported to www.ohiodnr.com/muskielog). The largest fish reported caught in 2013 was 48 inches and the lake ranked fourth in the state for numbers of musky caught over 42 inches.
This lake offers good fishing for multiple species, including bass, saugeyes and white bass.
C.J. Brown Reservoir: This is the only lake in the district with significant numbers of walleyes, although they seem to be elusive to many anglers. The lake has been more about crappies and catfish lately.
Cowan Lake: One of the few areas with no limits on crappies. It’s also a lake with a tradition for bass fishing. Bluegill and catfish numbers are good, too.
East Fork Lake: One of two southwest Ohio lakes where you can catch hybrid striped bass. Muskie population is developing – if you catch one, report it on the Muskie Angler Log at www.ohiodnr.com/muskielog
. Grand Lake St. Marys: Crappie fishing has not quite returned to the “good old days,” but it’s getting close. Black crappies are plentiful. There are catfish galore, especially bullheads.
Indian Lake: It is one of the best lakes in Ohio for anglers seeking good numbers and sizes of saugeyes. Most fish 14-16 inches long, good numbers 18-22 inches in length.
Also rated excellent are sunfish with fish up to 8.7 inches, while crappies and catfish are considered good.
Kiser Lake: The 2011 hybrid striped bass should be about 15 inches. There are excellent numbers of largemouth bass. Super slot limit in effect: 3 fish limit, 2 fish less than 14inches and1 fish greater than or equal to 20 inches long may be kept.
Lake Loramie: The fishing is rated excellent for bullheads and channel catfish, while you’ll also catch plenty of bluegills and crappies. Spillway fishing for saugeyes is hot in the spring.
Paint Creek Lake: This is the crappie capital of southwest Ohio. (If you fish the tailwaters there are no crappie limits and large numbers of saugeyes, too.) Plenty of catfish and largemouth bass are available.
Rocky Fork Lake: The host of multiple bass tournaments and for good reason; strong numbers of largemouth and some smallmouth, too. It’s also a good lake for panfish, catfish and saugeyes.
Rush Run Lake: Trout (stocked this month) chances are excellent. It’s also a good spring bass lake.
Great Miami River: Excellent smallmouth bass fishing from Sidney downstream to Hamilton area. Try the tailwaters below low head dams and look for rocky areas along the river banks. Also plenty of rock bass, bluegill, carp, catfish and suckers along the whole length of the river.
Mad River: Brown trout stocked in October. Approximately 10,000 fish stocked. Good numbers of fish in the system. Larger fish tend to be U.S. 36 west of Urbana to Eagle City.
Stillwater River: Excellent fishing for smallmouth bass and rock bass. Best areas are from Covington downstream to West Milton.