Antsy anglers push their luck in chilly temps

Once the calendar reaches spring, it seems antsy anglers try to push their luck with early season outings.

Mother Nature often gives them a lesson in patience. Water temperature is a key to fish biting and warmer days elevate that level. Still, those participating in the annual spring walleye runs in the Maumee and Sandusky Rivers try catching before the fish are ready to bite.

The Ohio Division of Wildlife (DOW) released the latest report on these annual runs on the first day of spring and the walleye are not ready to bite. The water temperature was 38 degrees on the Maumee and 41 degrees on the Sandusky. No fish were being caught in the Maumee and only a few were being taken on the Sandusky. Water temperatures must rise before the fish will make their spawning run in both rivers.

Anglers headed to these rivers should be aware of access points.

There are problems on the Maumee where ice and flooding water created some severe damage this winter, limiting public access. The Buttonwood access and Orleans Park are closed. The main parking lots at Side Cut Park and Buttonwood Island are open, but access from the Fort Street (East end) end of the park only. River Road is closed from Riverside Cemetery to Jerome Road. Look at the Perrysburg website and the City of Maumee website for updates on closures. Fort Meigs currently is the best access point on the Maumee.

Since the old Ballville Dam has been removed, anglers may now fish the section between the old dam and Rodger Young Park on the Sandusky.

Some walleye are being caught on Lake Erie, according to the DOW. According to the wildlife agency, anglers are doing well trolling around 1.0 mph. Stick baits in darker colors have been producing best with short leads. Action has been the best near the islands and Catawba peninsula in 25 to 35 feet of water. Anglers are advised to be cautious in the early spring.

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Randy Kohli, head ranger for the Lima Parks and Forestry Division, will be the guest speaker at the Allen County Sportsmen & Farmers Association’s monthly meeting Thursday. The meeting begins at 7 p.m. at the club’s 1001 S. Kemp Road location.

The public is invited to attend. For additional details, contact Bill Stratton for at 419-236-9082.

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Two Limaland counties received new wildlife officers while one officer from the area was assigned to Adams County.

Brock Williamson, 23, of Bucyrus, and Antoinette Jolliff, 26, of Cardington, will be assigned to Van Wert County and Hancock County, respectively, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Division of Wildlife. Houston Wireman, 28, of Wapakoneta will be assigned in Adams County.

The trio is among 10 new wildlife officer cadets who have been undergoing extensive training and were sworn in as commissioned state wildlife officers during ceremonies on March 15 in Columbus.

Williamson is completing a bachelor’s degree in Natural Resource Management at Ohio State University. Prior to the academy, Williamson worked as a Creel Clerk for Fish Management on Alum Creek in central Ohio. Officer Jolliff graduated from Ohio Wesleyan University in 2014 with a bachelor’s degree in Zoology. Wireman graduated from Hocking College in 2013 with an associate degree in Natural Resources Law Enforcement. Prior to the academy, Wireman served as a Natural Resources Specialist at Wolf Creek Wildlife Area and as a Natural Resources Officer with the Ohio Division of Parks and Watercraft.

Besides the 17-week Ohio Peace Officer Basic Training course, the cadets had eight weeks of specialized wildlife officer training by the Division of Wildlife. In addition to wildlife law enforcement procedures and agency policies, the cadets received training in areas of wildlife and fisheries management, communications, outdoor education, all-terrain vehicle operation, hunter safety, and advanced firearms and self-defense topics.

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With renewed confidence following his best day on the FLW Tour, Kyle Weisenburger heads into the fourth tourney of the season on Grand Lake in Oklahoma, Thursday through next Sunday.

The Ottawa bass pro left Friday and will get in a few days of practice this week before the tourney begins.

His opening day total of 18 pounds, 9 ounces, which included bass that weighed 6.8 and 6.5 pounds, helped him to a 34th place finish at Lake Seminole. That finish helped him climb from 141st place in the standings to 106th.

“My confidence level definitely was boosted after last event even though I feel things could have ended up really well. The second day just didn’t play out,” Weisenburger said.

Although he has never fished Grand Lake, he said has done research on the lake and thinks “think it definitely fits in my wheel house.”

Weisenburger has begun putting together footage from his tourney fish. He has some on the Lake Seminole tourney and to try and start posting videos from each event. Check out Weisenburger’s channel and this video at

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The 2019 T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) season is underway and the first tournament that might involve Limaland bass anglers will be held Saturday at Patoka Lake in Birdseye, Indiana.

A number of Lima area bassers fish the circuit in three divisions and some fish more than one division. Those divisions include Hoosier, Buckeye and Michigan. The Hoosier kicks off the earliest since he has waters farther south that warm quicker while the Michigan division opens last since that state’s bass season opens late since it is the most norther, water temps warm later.

The Hoosier Division’s second tourney also is on Patoka on May 4 while the third one is on Monroe Lake in Bloomington on June 29. The final tourneys are on the Ohio River, on July 20 out of Rocky Point in Carrelton and Tanners Creek in Lawrenceburg on Sept. 28-29.

The Buckeye Division opens on May 11 at Grand Lake St. Marys out of Celina. Two tourneys will be held on the Ohio River out of Tanners Creek in Lawrenceburg, Indiana, on June 8 and Aug. 17. The other tourneys are July 29 on Indiana Lake out of Lakeview and Sept. 21-22 on Mosquito Lake in Cortland.

The Michigan Division kicks off on June 22 on Lake St. Clair out of Harrison Township. The next two tourneys are at the same site, on July 13 and Aug. 3. The last two tourneys are on the Detroit River (which means many participants will be fishing Lake Erie) on Aug. 24 and Sept. 21-22.

The top 45 boaters and co-anglers, plus qualifying-tournament winners in each division advance to regional championships. Anglers from the Hoosier and Michigan divisions will fish the regional at Kentucky-Barkley Lakes on Oct. 17-19 while anglers from the Buckeye division regional will fish the Potomac River regional on Oct. 17-19.


Al Smith is a freelance outdoor writer. You may contact him at and follow him on Twitter @alsmithFL

Al Smith is a freelance outdoor writer. You may contact him at and follow him on Twitter @alsmithFL

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