■ Maumee, Sandusky & Portage rivers: The blast of rain we received early in the week was a legitimate gully-washer, so the rivers are stained and higher than normal for mid-August. The regular Maumee anglers are hoping the spike in the flow will turn the action up a few notches on their waterway. Fly fisherman Hunter Hayes said things had been fairly slow on the Maumee prior to the heavy rains, but he found the smallmouth bass around Bluegrass Island were eager to hit yellow and brown wooly buggers, and any pattern that mimics a crayfish. The experts at Netcraft remind anglers that fishing the rivers this time of year can be a minimalist venture, with shorts and old tennis shoes working just fine, and a light to medium weight spinning rod and a fist full of spinners ample tackle for most of the fish in the rivers. They recommend the Luhr Jensen Bang Tail in-line spinner in the smaller sizes for smallmouth, largemouth, crappie, pike and even an occasional catfish.
■ Lake Erie: The Michigan DNR reports walleyes being caught in 16 to 20 feet in Brest Bay on spoons or crankbaits, such as wiggle warts, tail-dancers or rattling Hot-n-Tots in orange, pink or purple. Crawler harnesses were producing a few walleyes in 24 to 26 feet off Stony Point. In Ohio waters, the Netcraft team reports steady catches of walleyes from the Niagara Reef area for anglers trolling worm harnesses and spoons at 70-80 feet back, and on Reef Runners trolled 120 feet back at speeds of 2-2.4 mph. To the east, angler John Hageman fished off the P.C. Queen out of Conneaut recently and found good catches of yellow perch in 63-68 feet of water, although too many white bass with their erratic side-to-side movements complicated matters with a number of lines in the water. One angler on the perch head boat picked up a five-pound walleye. Hageman said that the walleye trollers were fishing about 10 miles out and were enjoying limit catches of fish from 4-11 pounds, with a few steelhead mixed in.
■ Lake Erie fish safe to eat: Anglers are reminded that fish from the lake are safe to eat, despite the recent algae scare. Extensive testing of fish tissues has indicated no toxins present in the meat. After the fish are cleaned, the fillets should be rinsed well.
■ Ohio strip mine lakes: There are several hundred lakes and ponds in the huge AEP ReCreation Land in the southeastern part of the state, and most of them are stocked with largemouth bass, bluegills and crappies. Cornelius Harris, a guide with Hocking Hills Adventure Trek, said that when he is not working against the impact of a cold front, the bass fishing has been very good recently, with a couple of hogs that cleared five pounds part of the catch. Harris focuses his efforts on big fish and he uses an assortment of soft baits – tubes, plastic worms, lizards and creature baits in black and pumpkinseed colors. He encourages his clients to work the banks, especially around moss and weed beds, along with the frequent submerged wood in the canyon-like lakes. After a quick photo, all of the bass are released.
■ Detroit River: Anglers are taking walleyes by jigging night crawlers in the lower Trenton Channel, according to the MDNR. Yellow perch have been caught along the weed edges in the area around Celeron Island.
■ Lake St. Clair: The bass anglers have been working 12-15 feet of water in the cuts and canals in Anchor Bay with spinners, tube baits and crankbaits, and also still-fishing with night crawlers. Muskie fishermen have done best when trolling near the Dumping Grounds, according to MDNR.
■ Michigan Inland Lakes: The anglers who are successful locating the thermocline have been doing well catching bluegills, using small plastic grubs and live crickets. Bass fishermen are working the edges of the weed beds, especially in areas where deep water is nearby. A variety of crankbaits, tubes and spinners are in the arsenal for bass fishermen.
■ Youth fishing: Anglers 15-and-under are invited to fish on Saturdays in August at the Youth Fishing Pond at Magee Marsh Wildlife Area, located at 13229 West State Route 2, north of Oak Harbor. Loaner fishing equipment and bait will be provided, with Division of Wildlife staff on hand. Only youths aged 15-and-under are allowed to fish in the pond located adjacent to the Sportsmen’s Migratory Bird Center. Youths must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.