ODNR, Division of Wildlife
TOLEDO, Ohio — Come one, come all. Get your new fishing license, a handful of lead jigs, suit up in a pair of chest waders, and catch them if you can.
This is the time of year when the annual spawning run of walleyes moving upstream in the Maumee and Sandusky rivers hits its peak. This spawning run brings in thousands of anglers who often are positioned elbow-to-elbow in pursuit of taking Lake Erie’s most prized sportfish.
Anglers began arriving at the Maumee River during the first week of March and were somewhat successful in taking walleye jacks (male walleyes), but not in large numbers. By last week, the first of the larger female walleyes began showing up as spawning season slowly took shape. Generally, the last few days of March and first two weeks of April represent the peak of the annual spring walleye spawning run and peak fishing pressure. By mid-April, white bass show up in greater numbers as they enter their spawning season.
From March 1 through May 1, anglers may only fish from sunrise to sunset on portions of the Maumee, Sandusky, Portage, and Mahoning rivers. The change to daylight savings time on April 2 will give anglers more evening time to fish and it will be right at the peak of the walleye run.
Only fishing lines with a single hook may be used to fish in selected areas of these four rivers through May 1 and treble hooks are prohibited. Snagging is also prohibited.
The Maumee and Sandusky rivers were quick to warm up in early March due to some sustained above normal temperatures. Fishing action began to pick up, then subsided. Water levels were reported to be low during most of March, but then rose to seasonally high levels. These final days of the month going into early April consistently bring in the walleyes and walleye anglers.
Out on the big lake, only a few boaters so far have tried their luck in fishing for walleyes. Boating conditions and lake conditions always dictate the level of opportunity anglers will have to get on Lake Erie, especially during early spring. Poor conditions last spring limited fishing opportunities, but angler effort rebounded during the summer. One million walleyes were caught in Lake Erie by sportfishermen last year.
Across the Lake Erie basin, anglers in northeast Ohio have been enjoying some good success in taking steelhead trout, mostly from Conneaut Creek, and the Grand, Rocky, and Chagrin rivers. These are the four tributaries where steelhead are annually released each spring. The Division of Wildlife has doubled its stocking effort this year and is releasing 400,000 steelhead trout in these four tributaries.
Source: ODNR : JOHN WISSE