Early turkey results similar to those in 2020


By Al Smith - Guest Columnist



May is the prime month for panfishing for species like bluegills and crappie. A mess of gills like these make great table fare.

May is the prime month for panfishing for species like bluegills and crappie. A mess of gills like these make great table fare.


Al Smith photo

Lima area turkey hunters had a similar beginning to this year’s wild turkey season as a year ago.

For the first time, the season began on a weekend instead of a Monday and two-day results were nearly identical. Local hunters checked in 108 turkeys during the weekend while in 2020, they checked 111 on the first two days of the season.

Hunters were more successful in four area counties, less successful in four area counties and the same in one. Allen, Hancock, Shelby and Van Wert all had an increased harvest while Hardin, Logan, Mercer and Putnam had a decrease. Auglaize’s harvest was the same with 9 each year. The other county numbers with last year’s harvest in parenthesis were: Allen 15 (10), Hancock 10 (8), Hardin 17 (25), Logan 25 (27), Mercer 3 (6), Putnam 10 (11), Shelby 18 (11) and Van Wert 5 (4).

Statewide, 3,875 were taken during the opening weekend compared to 3,566 during 2020’s first two days.

As of April 25, the Division of Wildlife issued 47,560 wild turkey permits, valid throughout the spring hunting season. In addition to the opening weekend results, youth hunters harvested 1,473 wild turkeys during Ohio’s youth season April 17-18. Youth hunters in the Lima area harvested 39 turkeys during the youth weekend.

The spring hunting season limit is 2 bearded wild turkeys. Hunters may harvest one bearded turkey per day, and a second permit may be purchased at any time throughout the spring season. A turkey is required to be checked no later than 11:30 p.m. the day of harvest.

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May usually is the best month for sunfish and crappie fishing in the Lima area. If you have not grabbed an ultralight rod and purchased some wax worms, spike, nightcrawlers, red wigglers, etc. and headed out to a favorite fishing spot, it’s time to do so. You can also catch these tasty fish on small artificial lures or with a fly rod and various flies.

One of the best spots for these fish is Grand Lake St. Marys.

According to the Ohio Division of Wildlife (DOW), black crappie are more common than white crappie at St. Marys, with good numbers up to 11 inches. Recent surveys found that the 2017- and 2018-year classes to be strong.

Using minnows, small twister tail jigs, or tube jigs around docks and brushy shorelines are the ticket for crappies during this month. One can find sunfish up to 8 inches long in the lake. Concentrate fishing in areas with boat docks, sea walls, riprap, places with sand and gravel bottoms, and brushy structures using jigs, redworms or wax worms.

Fish attractors have been placed around the lake and most are accessible from shore. For attractor locations, visit the DOW’s interactive fishing map.

Another good body of water for sunfish is Indian Lake. The channels can be quite productive.

Early season sunfish anglers often are successful with small artificial baits. By small, I mean as little as a half inch. Small plastics 2 inches long are too big. I have only fly fished in April and the largest fly I caught fish on was a 3/4-inch long trout fly. My most successful has been a wiggler fly that measures a 1/2 inch. A Tellico, about a 1/2-inch long has been productive as well. These flies catch big fish. I have caught several over 9 inches long and some at least 10 inches at my favorite lake.

A couple of panfishing friends have used mini tube jigs and screw tails with part of it pinched off. They fish it under a small bobber and twitch the bait. They may tip it at times with a spike or wax worm.

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Lima area bass angler Kyle Weisenburger has had what could be termed a tale of two different tourney levels this year.

The Columbus Grove pro has struggled on the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit, but done well on the Toyota Series of the Major League Fishing (MLF).

After placing ninth on Grand Lake in Grove, Oklahoma, in the Plains Division of the Toyota Series, Weisenburger followed that with a 132nd place finish on Lake Murray in Columbia, South Carolina, on the Pro Circuit. He is 133rd in the Pro Circuit points standings.

“This is about how my season has felt so far this year. It is definitely a sport of ups and downs. I enjoy the ups and grind through the downs,” he said.

“It can be very frustrating. I had a decent practice and an OK day one, but day 2, I just could not put the pieces of the puzzle together. Toyota events have gone well. I’m looking to cap off the last event next week. I have a week off and then back-to-back events in Arkansas and Alabama. I’m looking forward to some great opportunities ahead,” he added.

Weisenburger, who is sixth in the Toyota Series, fishes the final Plains Division tourney this week (May 6-8) on Lake Dardanelle in Russellville, Arkansas.

The top 25 qualify for the season-ending championship, which will be held on Pickwick Lake, Oct. 28-30. The lake is part of the Tennessee Valley Authority and is located in Alabama, Mississippi and Tennessee.

The next event for Pro Circuit anglers will be at 4 Lake Eufaula in Eufaula, Alabama, May 13-16.

May is the prime month for panfishing for species like bluegills and crappie. A mess of gills like these make great table fare.
https://www.limaohio.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/54/2021/04/web1_04.29.21.fish_.jpgMay is the prime month for panfishing for species like bluegills and crappie. A mess of gills like these make great table fare. Al Smith photo
https://www.limaohio.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/54/2021/04/web1_alsmithmug-6.jpgAl Smith photo

By Al Smith

Guest Columnist

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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