Walleye fishing basically heated up as soon as the ice went off of Lake Erie.
Anglers have been doing well off the reefs of Camp Perry at Port Clinton and around Turtle Creek and Wild Wings, according to the Ohio Division of Wildlife.
The DOW said anglers have been successful trolling with crankbaits such as Rapala Deep Husky Jerks and deep diving Reef Runners at speeds from 1.0-1.6 mph. Hair jigs and blade baits have been the best baits for jigging.
As usual, the best spots are near Camp Perry’s firing range, especially for those trolling the eastern and northern cans. Jigging has been best on the reefs of the firing range and near shore around Turtle Creek and Wild Wings.
This should be another productive year for walleyes and with good numbers of an outstanding 2003 year class, a possible state record could be in the offing. That year’s class was the best on record. Most of the fish in that massive class should be 28 inches long, according to the DOW.
Chris Vandergoot, fisheries biologist supervisor at the DOW’s Sandusky Fish Research Station, said a good population of walleyes exists in Lake Erie because of consistent hatches in recent years.
For those anglers seeking walleyes during the spring spawning run in the Maumee River, the beginning of the week could be prime time for you.
The DOW reported a large number of fish have been seen in the Maumee as the run hits its peak. Water temperatures are in the mid-50s. The river began dropping quickly early last week after being extremely high over the weekend. The DOW was expecting good fishing for several days, but plenty of rain and high flows could quickly change that.
According to the wildlife agency, the most popular fishing spots have been between the Hays and State street bridges and the best locations have been from Orleans Park to Fort Meigs. Bright-colored jigs on a Carolina Rig about 18 to 24 inches and using a 1/4-5/8-ounce weight (depending on water flow) has been the most productive presentation.
Anglers are reminded the walleye bag limit in the Ohio waters of Lake Erie and its tributaries is four per day through April 30. The daily bag limit will be six walleye from May 1 to Feb. 28, 2016. From March 1-April 30, 2016, the daily walleye bag limit is four. A 15-inch minimum size limit is in effect during the entire season for walleye.
NEW HUNTING REGULATIONS
As expected, the Ohio Wildlife Council approved some new hunting regulations when the eight-member board okayed 2015-16 hunting regulations on April 8.
Among the approved proposals that were offered by the Ohio DOW were:
• Reduce bag limits in most counties, and remove antlerless permits in all but 10 counties. No county had a bag limit increase.
• Reduce the statewide bag limit of deer from nine to six.
• Suspend the antlerless-only muzzleloader weekend.
• Offer two additional days of deer-gun hunting, Dec. 28 to 29.
• Move muzzleloader season to Jan. 9 to 12, 2016.
• Move the start of fall turkey hunting to Oct 10, two days earlier than 2014.
• Add one straight-walled cartridge rifle, the .450 Marlin, to the existing list of legal hunting rifles during the deer-gun and youth deer-gun seasons.
NEW MICHIGAN FISHING REGULATION
If you fish in Michigan, there is one regulation change you definitely should know. Catch-and-immediate-release fishing for bass is now allowed all year, statewide (unless otherwise closed to fishing). Refer to the printed fishing guide for waters closed to fishing (Sylvania Wilderness Area, designated trout waters closed to fishing, etc.).
Those planning a fishing trip to Michigan should check out the Michigan DNR’s family-friendly fishing waters website, since it helps inexperienced anglers find great spots to go fishing in Michigan. The website connects interested individuals with local fishing opportunities.
The website can be found at michigan.gov/fishing and features a map of Michigan. Click on the county you are interested in fishing, and see a list of one or more family-friendly locations to fish. Every county in the state has locations featured.
The DNR said it provided the family-friendly designation based on their ease of access, high likelihood of success in catching fish, identified amenities and other details. To build this section of the website, the DNR is still looking for the public’s help in submitting locations from throughout the state that would be easy for new anglers to access and use. Potential locations will continue to be accepted by the DNR.
Each water body’s online profile includes its geographic location, driving directions, parking information, hours of operation, species of fish available, typical bait used, etc.
BE PREPARED FOR ACCIDENTS
Anyone who enjoys the outdoors should have a well-supplied first-aid kit.
You can buy one in a variety of sizes. You can certainly add to one you guy or you can make your own. If you already have a kit, make sure to take an inventory and replenish it when needed.
Anything can happen on a fishing, camping, hiking, canoeing or kayaking outing. Take advice from the Boy Scouts and be prepared.
There are certain standard items one should have.
Tops on a list should be rubber or exam gloves, since you might encounter blood.
Three “tools” that should be a must are tweezers, scissors and a hemostat.
Other items one should have include antibiotic wipes and hand sanitizer, antibiotic cream, hydrocortisone cream, eye-wash fluid, adhesive bandages, compression bandage, gauze, compresses, medical tape, aspirin or ibuprofen, Imodium A.D. or pink pills, an instant cold pack and a thermometer.
Depending upon how large a kit you want, you may add more.
Don’t forget to include a first-aid pamphlet or booklet.