Lima area anglers enjoy quality fishing spots


Limaland falls under three of the Ohio Division of Wildlife’s (DOW) wildlife districts. Four of the top inland bodies of waters in those districts for catching certain species gives local anglers an opportunity to land quality fish within a decent driving distance.

Panfish have long been anglers’ favorites not only for catching, but for eating as well.

Williams Reservoir in Lima has been managed for quality yellow perch fishing and this relatively new reservoir produces numerous fish larger than 13 inches, according to the DOW.

The 426-acre reservoir on Sunderland Road offers excellent perch fishing in the spring and fall from the shoreline.

Electric motor use is in effect on this reservoir, which has an improved concrete ramp and launching dock. According to the DOW, if you are fishing from a boat, start along the north or south shore where the old haul roads are still in place.

The wind is usually more intense on this reservoir because of its height. Thus, the wildlife agency warns anglers to be careful of the wind direction and speed before venturing out.

As for crappies and sunfish, Grand Lake St. Marys, located in Celina and St. Marys in Auglaize and Mercer counties, produces good numbers and some size. They can be fun catching, and the state says they are safe to eat although a number of anglers remain leery of that.

The DOW says black crappies are more common than white crappies and there is a good populations of fish up to 11 inches. Minimum size limit is 9 inches while the daily bag limit is 30. DOW surveys found the 2017 year-class is strong. The wildlife agency also said sunfish 5-8 inches long are present in these waters.

Fishing for crappies is best from March through May. The technique for catching has remained using small twister tails and tubes on small jig heads and fishing around docks and brushy shoreline. Anglers also like to fish minnows under a bobber for them.

As for sunfish, using jigs with small plastics or fishing red worms or larval baits under a bobber in areas with boat docks, sea walls, rip-rap, places with sand and gravel bottoms and brushy structure are best.

Saugeye are another excellent tasting fish and Indian Lake in Logan County is rated an elite fishing for the species in Ohio.

The size limit is 15 inches and there are many that size and larger. Anglers will likely catch numerous fish in the 10-13-inch range, according to the DOW. That’s because the 2018 fry stocking resulted in one of the best saugeye year-classes.

As in any body of water, saugeye relate to areas with riprap or a rocky substrate. Target such areas that are wind-swept with current, especially wind-blown channels. Moundwood Canal, Dream Bridge and the south shore are good areas, according to the DOW.

Use the common techniques when fishing for saugeye at Indian Lake. Casting jigs tipped with a plastic twister tail is an effective method almost anywhere. Casting suspending jerks baits and blade baits work well as the water cools in the fall. Some anglers tight-line minnows while others troll shad-type crankbaits. Use a trolling speed of 2-3 mph.

While most anglers equate fishing for channel catfish with rivers, Van Wert Reservoir No. 2 draws a top rating for this fish.

Using cut baits or night crawlers in deeper water during the day is effective. Anglers fishing at night, like the southern end of the reservoir. For anglers fishing from boats, try fishing the middle of the reservoir where the lake shallows from 20 to 9 feet. This is an old dike that was partially removed when the reservoir was expanded in 2012, according to the DOW.

This is an electric motor only lake.The reservoir has an improved concrete ramp with dock and is limited to electric motors only. The DOW warns anglers to be aware of strong winds which can affect launching and landing boats.

The Division of Wildlife has numerous resources available to assist anglers, including lake maps, fishing tips by species, and fishing forecasts. Anglers are encouraged to use an online interactive fishing map, which allows users to select features in order to customize their own fishing maps for Ohio’s inland lakes. This map and the selective features are mobile-friendly so anglers can access information right on the water. For more information, go to wildohio.gov.

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Limaland hunters fared better than their counterparts statewide during the opening day in the south zone of the wild turkey hunting season.

Local hunters checked in 91 turkeys on opening day compared to 63 checked in on the opener in 2018. The harvest was up in 6 local counties and down in 3 of them. Figures for opening day check-ins with last year’s results in parenthesis were: Allen 8 (6), Auglaize 5 (3), Hancock 8 (4), Hardin 23 (11), Logan 21 (25), Mercer 3 (5), Putnam 10 (5), Shelby 11 (5) and Van Wert 2 (4). Statewide hunters checked 2,965 wild turkeys on the first day compared to 3,316 a year ago.

Ohio’s spring wild turkey season is divided into two zones: a south zone, which is opened runs through May 19 and a northeast zone, which is opens Monday and runs through May 26.

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The common loon has been my favorite bird ever since seeing and hearing them while fishing in Canada a few decades ago. They have a unique cry one never forgets. And the way this big bird literally runs across the water as it takes flight is a sight to behold.

I mention this because the oldest common loon of known age, know as ABJ, and his mate, Fe, have returned to Seney National Wildlife Refuge in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. This refuge, located west of Newberry, has hosted the nesting pair for 23 years.

ABJ was first banded on the refuge as a chick in 1987. He turns 32 in June. Fe was first color-marked in 1990 as a breeding adult when she was at least 4 years old. She will turn 33 this season. According to Common Coast Research & Conservation, the two oldest Common Loons ever documented. They also jointly share the records for longest pairing (23 years) and most fledged offspring by a pair (28).

According to Damon McCormick of Common Coast Research & Conservation, “Unlike the ABJ, Fe nested with another mate prior to their 1997 union, and thus she alone holds the record for lifetime productivity with 33 successfully-reared chicks. Because we are unaware of Fe’s life history prior to her banding in 1990, it could well be that her unsurpassed marks - at least 33 years old, with at least 33 offspring - actually underreport her age and fecundity (the ability to produce an abundance of offspring).”

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Al Smith is a freelance outdoor writer. You may contact him at flyfishman7@hotmail.com and follow him on Twitter @alsmithFL

Al Smith is a freelance outdoor writer. You may contact him at flyfishman7@hotmail.com and follow him on Twitter @alsmithFL

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