Good places for panfish found in area

Nicer weather and warmer temperatures are reportedly coming in the next few days, which likely means more anglers will be heading to local bodies of water.

A majority of anglers seek panfish and they have a great opportunity for sunfish, crappies and yellow perch locally.

Grand Lake St. Marys offers excellent fishing for sunfish and crappies. Black crappie are more common than white crappie and the Ohio Division of Wildlife (DOW) says there are good numbers up to 11 inches. Recent DOW surveys found that the 2018-19 year classes to be strong. The best fishing is through May around docks and brushy shoreline using minnows, small twister tail jigs, or tube jigs.

Stake bed fish attractors have been placed around the lake and most are accessible from shore. Visit the DOW’s interactive fishing map for attractor locations.

There are good numbers of sunfish with some up to 8 inches long in the lake. Concentrate fishing in areas with boat docks, seawalls, riprap, places with sand and gravel bottoms and brushy structure using jigs, redworms, red wigglers or wax worms are the best places to look.

Williams Reservoir near Lima has been groomed as a top notch place for fishing for yellow perch. There are good numbers of large perch, some longer than 13 inches, according to the DOW.

If fishing from a boat, start along the north or south shore where the old haul roads are still in place. Shoreline fishing in the spring and fall can be productive.

There is an electric motor only restriction for boats. The reservoir offers an improved concrete launch and dock. The DOW says wind is usually more intense on this reservoir because of its height and reminds anglers to be careful of the wind direction and speed before venturing out.

A number of resources to assist anglers are available from the DOW, including lake maps, fishing tips by species, fishing forecasts and introductory information for new anglers. Anglers can find these resources on the HuntFish OH mobile app. Fishing regulations and an interactive fishing map can be located from any mobile device. For more information on fishing tips and forecasts, go to

The DOW helps new and experienced anglers make the most of their outdoor adventures. Visit the Wild Ohio Harvest Community page at for information on getting started, fishing opportunities and delicious recipes.

Anglers can stay up to date on all fishing opportunities and updates through social media. One can follow the DOW on Facebook and Twitter for instant news stories, outdoor recreation ideas, local wildlife information, etc. The Your Wild Ohio Angler page provides fishing tips and useful information.

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After having better numbers during the opening weekend of the spring wild turkey season than the three-year average, hunters fell behind the three-year average for the first nine days of the season. Locally, 268 turkeys were checked in while the three-year average for the first nine days of the season is 302.

The nine-day take was up in two counties (Logan and Van Wert) and down in the seven other area counties.

Turkeys checked in locally through nine days of the season and the three-year average (2019-21) in parentheses were: Allen 38 (47), Auglaize 14 (23), Hancock 14 (23), Hardin 53 (55), Logan 81 (67), Mercer 12 (13), Putnam 17 (35), Shelby 22 (29) Van Wert 17 (10).

The Ohio Division of Wildlife (DOW) says a three-year average provides a better overall comparison to this year’s numbers, eliminating year-to-year variation because of weather, misaligned season dates, and other unavoidable factors. The wildlife agency also noted this raw data could change.

Statewide, hunters checked 7,551 during the first nine days of the season. The average harvest during the first nine days of the previous three seasons was 10,759 birds.

Wild turkey hunting in Ohio’s south zone is open until May 22. Hunting in the northeast zone, comprised of Ashtabula, Cuyahoga, Geauga, Lake and Trumbull counties in Ohio’s snow belt, is open from Saturday (April 30) to May 29.

The spring hunting season limit is one bearded wild turkey. A turkey is required to be checked no later than 11:30 p.m. the day of harvest using the HuntFish OH mobile app, the automated game-check system, by phone at 877-TAG-IT-OH (877-824-4864), or at a participating license agent.

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Rockford’s Dick Shaffer kicked off the beginning of the Major League Fishing Phoenix Bass Fishing League (BFL) presented by T-H Marine Hoosier Division with a 16th place finish last Saturday at Falls of the Rough, Kentucky. He caught a five-bass limit that weighed 7 pounds, 8 ounces.

A number of bass anglers from the Lima area participate on the BFL tour in the Buckeye, Hoosier and Michigan divisions. The Buckeye Division opens at Indian Lake on May 21 out of the Moundwood Ramp at Indian Lake State Park in Lakeview. The Michigan Division opens on Lake St. Clair on June 25 out of the Harley Ensign boat launch in Harrison Township, Michigan.

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Al Smith is a freelance outdoor writer. You may contact him [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @alsmithFL