MOUNT VERNON — Spring starts today, and with the warm temperatures that are upon us, many fishermen will be heading outdoors for the early catch. While large lakes are likely too cool for a lot of fish to be biting, if you know where to go you may find success.
Smaller lakes, such as Foundation Park, and smaller rivers and streams are becoming active as the water warms.
“Right now, locally, is you want to catch fish, Foundation Park is good for rainbow trout,” said Knox County Wildlife Officer Mike Miller. “People were actually catching trout through the ice this winter; they were left over from the fall stocking. Also as Foundation Park right now, you can catch some crappies and small blue gills. If you like to sucker fish, it is starting to pick up in the Kokosing and Mohican rivers. Some of the better areas to fish for those are where the smaller streams are entering the larger sections of the rivers and just below the ripple areas. Shallow water is also good because it is a little warmer. Trout fishing is also good at Mohican State Park in the Clear Fork and Mohican rivers.
“Also, if you’re interested, they are starting to catch northern pike in the Mohican and Walhonding rivers. Northern pike fishing is good in the slack water areas and in small areas where they may try and spawn, anywhere there are obstructions. You are going to want to use large spinner baits or larger bass-size minnows below a bobber.”
If none of those options floats your boat, there are many others within a short drive of Knox County.
“If you are interested in traveling a little further, in Alum Creek and Pleasant Hill reservoirs, they are catching some crappies in the main lakes and saugeyes below the dams,” said Miller. “That’s pretty good fishing this time of year. You can catch steelhead up in the tributaries of Lake Erie — the Chagrin, Vermillion, Rocky or Grand rivers. The walleye haven’t really started yet up in northwest Ohio in the Maumee or Sandusky rivers, but they should be soon. Then we will have the white bass runs.”
Another option, which is often overlooked this time of year, are area farm ponds. While summer smallmouth bass fishing can reap great results, so can early spring.
“Farm ponds, right now, can be really fabulous because they are small bodies of water that warm up relatively quickly,” said Miller. “The thing to think about when you are fishing is fish on the north-northwest side of ponds or lakes because those areas generally warm up quicker. they get less wind movement because most of our wind comes out of the northwest, so the water is more sheltered on those corners. The same goes for Knox Lake.”
As good as the early fishing is, it will surely only get better. As the weather continues to warm and water temperatures rise, fish will become more active and more challenging to catch.
“Here in the next six weeks, fishing is really going to pick up,” Miller said. “A lot of people talk about fishing for white bass and crappies when the redbud trees start to bloom and dogwoods start because that is pretty much the peak time for those. With the weather transitions we are having, we’re going to have a lot of good fishing. Everything from white bass and crappies to blue gills and bass will be kicking in.
“Also keep in mind that in the Kokosing River, smallmouth bass fishing usually gets started about the first of April. You could probably catch some now, especially if you are using a minnow below a bobber or fishing with tube jigs as long as you are reeling it in pretty slow.”
Some things to mark on the calendar: “May 1 and 2 is the free fishing weekend,” said Miller of the Division of Wildlife’s Free Fishing Days. “The Knox County Fish and Game Association is going to have their annual fishing derby on May 1 at Foundation Park. Trout will be stocked with actually more this year than last. Pheasants Forever is having their annual Youth Field Day on April 17 at Campbell’s Farm in Howard. They are going to have trout fishing there too for the kids. Then on June 12, the Mount Vernon Rotary Club will sponsor their annual regatta at Foundation Park.”
Fly Fishing Clinic to be held: Youth interested in learning the art of fly fishing and practicing their skills on a half-mile section of Cold Creek at the Castalia State Fish Hatchery in Erie County are encouraged to enter a lottery for a youth only clinic. There will be 30 spots available for this popular program, which will be held on June 18 from 8 a.m. to noon and 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. In addition to fly-fishing instruction by ODNR Division of Wildlife staff and members of the Clear Fork Chapter of Trout Unlimited, attendees will be able to test their newly acquired skills by fishing for the abundant rainbow trout found in Cold Creek. To apply, applicants must submit a postcard listing their name, date of birth, address, and phone number. Each applicant must be 15 years of age or younger by the date of the clinic and be accompanied by a non-fishing adult. Postcards must be postmarked no later than May 14. No duplicate postcards may be submitted. Postcards should be sent to: ODNR Division of Wildlife District Two, 952 Lima Avenue, Findlay, Ohio 45840 Attention: Youth Fly Fishing Clinic.
Spring turkey opportunity available: The Division of Wildlife will offer special opportunities for young hunters seeking wild turkeys this spring. In addition to the statewide youth turkey hunting days, April 17 and 18, there will be holding a drawing on April 10 for a special, controlled turkey hunting opportunity within the refuge portion of the Killbuck Marsh Wildlife Area. Hunters 17 years and under must be present at the East Holmes Sportsmen’s Club, located 2.5 miles southeast of Millersburg on Township Road 310 in order to participate in the drawings and must bring a valid 2010 hunting license. Registration begins at 9 a.m. and the drawing will begin at 2 p.m. The drawing will coincide with a National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF) Jakes field day event sponsored by local chapters of the NWTF. For questions regarding the drawing call Killbuck Marsh Wildlife Area at (330) 567-3390 or call Wildlife District Three in Akron at (330) 644-2293.