I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: the good old days of Ohio fishing are here and now.
As our world spins faster and faster, it’s tempting to decry the current era. Many look back with rose-colored glasses and see better times, better cars, better everything, and that includes better fishing.
But I was fishing 50 years ago (and counting), so I think I have the perspective to compare then and now. “Now” wins, hands down, here in northeast Ohio and elsewhere in Buckeye State.
I think the fishing is better today than when I started buying annual fishing licenses, but you don’t have to take my word for it. The Ohio Division of Wildlife recently issued a press release highlighting the quality of the state’s crappie, bass, walleye and sageye fisheries.
The release includes information on the largest fish caught among these four species. In total, of Ohio’s 25 most popular species, more than 8,000 catches of trophy-sized fish have been recognized.
Certainly the emergence over the last half century of Lake Erie as the largest walleye lake in the world helps fuel my belief that we are living in the good old days. While Dad sings the praises of Erie blue pike fishing in the 1950s, today’s anglers lug around coolers loaded with copious amounts of walleye.
Erie’s excellent walleye fishing seems to be on a sustainability trend. Year after year, the fishing forecasts are excellent.
Erie’s largest walleye in 2021 measured 34 inches. Erie also produced 1,392 Fish Ohio caliber walleyes (28 inches or larger) in 2021.
Of the inland walleye lakes, Mosquito Creek Lake is the perennial leader in walleye catches. The population has been strong enough to be the leader in brood production for Ohio’s walleye stocking program for many years.
The Division of Wildlife press release reported that Mosquito was Ohio’s top crappie lake in 2021, producing more fish catches in Ohio than any other lake in our state.
Pymatuning Lake ranked eighth among crappie lakes in Ohio, while West Branch Reservoir was ninth.
Largemouth bass are also a signature attraction at Mosquito Lake. The lake was ranked fourth among Ohio’s bass lakes.
Mosquito’s emergence over the past 10 years as a leader in walleye, crappie and bass fishing is due to the lush vegetation that has established itself. Greenery provides habitat to support the forage base of crayfish, minnows, yellow perch, amphibians, and young shad, bluegill, and other fish.
Ohio’s best sageye lakes include two within an hour’s drive of Youngstown and Warren. Tappan, Clendening and Atwood lakes were ranked fifth, sixth and seventh respectively.
The Fish Ohio program rewards anglers for incredible catches of 25 popular sport fish. Those who qualify receive a Fish Ohio pin for their first entry and a Master Angler pin for four separate species in the same year.
Pin requests are accepted at fishohio.gov.
Jack Wollitz’s book “The Ordinary Fisherman” explore the “Why” behind the delight of anglers fishing. He loves emails from readers. Send a note to [email protected]