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Warmwater fishing transition: what will it take?

Joined:
2013/7/30 17:16
From Fairborn, OH
Posts: 296
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Let me put this out on table right up front: I've had a pretty miserable time fishing in Ohio so far, and not just for coldwater fish.

In Ohio, I've been out on 3 different bodies of water over 6 or 7 different trips - at various times of day - and caught exactly two fish that weren't creek chubs. To put that in perspective, on just one terribly truncated day fishing the Pere Marquette in central Michigan, I landed around 10 fish during the same timeframe. That's considering that the middle of that one day was totally blown by watercraft traffic through the heart of the river and only the later evening (3 hours or so) was fishable. Moreover, one of those 10 fish was a nice rainbow caught on a mouse pattern at dark.

When the Mad River in Ohio wasn't producing after 4 tries, I decided I would give warmwater fishing a try, but even that has been painful. I caught nothing out of Caeser Creek Lake in the southwest part of the state and just one dink smallmouth in the Little Miami River (supposedly one of the top smallie producers in the state). I've had rough stretches back when I was still spin fishing for largemouth while stationed out in Nebraska, but I don't think I ever had a stretch this ugly.

Regardless, I still want to tough it out. I could just continue fishing my annual license in Michigan, but then it's right back to 6+ hour drives to catch fish like I had out West (when I regularly trekked from Las Vegas to Utah for great trout fishing). Given the time of year, if there's any hope left in Ohio, I have to think that warmwater species will be it.

But what is it going to take? The locals say that many lakes down here are simply not producing and with the rain hitting almost daily, the rivers are nearly blown out at all times. When do the rains in western PA and OH tend to chill out? How much murk can you expect to have and still catch bass/bluegill/crappie/etc on clousers and such? Is there anything else I need to factor in to see productive warmwater fly fishing?

I thought I had this fly game somewhat figured out, but this latest funk has me totally miffed and feeling like I belong right back in the beginner forum. Thanks for your help.


Posted on: 7/8 19:14


Re: Warmwater fishing transition: what will it take?
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2006/9/9 17:32
From Gettysburg
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Don't get discouraged - by all means tough it out.

Ohio isn't a world class fishing state... but you knew that going in.

With respect to where to fish, many of us can't help since we don't know the state. This has indeed been a wetter summer with a lot of storms and perhaps it has been worse in OH. I would suggest that by late June, warm water creeks and rivers in OH ought to have settled into a summer routine, I would think. However, things are a bit behind here in PA too with local streams significantly colder than normal. This is good for trout fishing, but can put a crimp in bass fishing, esp in smaller streams. Usually by the end of June I am focused full bore on warm water fish, but as of this week I am still mainly trout fishing here in SC PA - so it has been an odd year.
You should be able to find willing bass and panfish in creeks and ponds by now. If it were me, I'd familiarize myself with the state game and fish website and watch them for fishing reports and info about waterways. Finding a local fishing buddy or maybe hiring a guide to show you around to some different waters might help too. if you are fishing in larger ponds or lakes, summer can be a very tough time to catch fish, esp with fly gear as game fish are simply in deep water or suspended over baitfish in main lake sections. I'd forget about big lakes for now - come back in the springtime to fly fish big lakes. I'd focus on small, warm water creeks and keep looking for bass and panfish.
Hopefully someone more familiar with OH (we have some regular forum members who live there) will chime in with better info than I can provide.

Posted on: 7/8 22:35


Re: Warmwater fishing transition: what will it take?

Joined:
2/19 19:02
From Philadelphia, PA
Posts: 33
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Have you tried top water? Pick up some poppers and sliders and work the shallows in the early morning and evening on the ponds and lake. Or during the day for that matter. Look for overhanging trees, downed trees, rocks any kind of structure. If you can wade the lakes or pond cast parallel to the shore. If you're in a boat cast toward the shore/structure and work the popper/slider out.

Posted on: 7/8 22:58


Re: Warmwater fishing transition: what will it take?

Joined:
2013/7/30 17:16
From Fairborn, OH
Posts: 296
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Thanks for the ideas, guys.

Fishidiot - It's certain that fishing in this state is going to be a lot tougher on all fronts than what I'm used to. I was taken back a bit when the administrator at the Wright-Patterson AFB rod and gun club told me straight up that he "quit fishing in this state a long time ago," just as I'm buying a base fishing license from him, no less. It simply didn't compute in my head, but he told me that he didn't think it was worth the effort. I hope it doesn't turn out like that and I have to think things will improve a lot at some point.

Right now it seems like a conspiracy of daily rains keeping the rivers way browned up and personal lack of familiarity with various waters. I was on the water at Caesar Creek Lake in a kayak next to a guy who had his bass boat out. He told me that this very lake required very good knowledge of where to go or it would be a bust, so much so that some guys refer to it as "the Dead Sea of off Highway 73" because they don't know the exact places to fish it. I just so happened to have lucked into one of the few spots shallow enough for full sinking fly line at just 12', but much of the lake, as you point it, is simply too deep to fish effectively with fly tackle. At the end of the day, even being in one of the supposedly productive spots yielded nothing. That's a clear sign that you need to put in your time in a lot of these local lakes before you can expect to see results. There's simply no way around it.

Jerry C - Poppers are something I definitely need to pick up and have yet to try. I am really wanting to score some crappie and I'm not above keeping a few of those for the pot. In fact, other than trying that mouse pattern I used in Michigan down here one night, top water, hadn't really crossed my mind. That need to happen. I've yet to take a water temp reading in any of these lakes/streams either. That needs to happen, too.

Posted on: 7/8 23:48


Re: Warmwater fishing transition: what will it take?

Joined:
12/7 0:10
From SE Pa
Posts: 272
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High water is the easiest times to locate fish. Toss anything to the very edge of the river or stream that's where they are. Start in one inch of water and start fishing it to deeper water. Typically fish are hitting it within a few feet of the bank.

Posted on: 7/9 6:23


Re: Warmwater fishing transition: what will it take?

Joined:
2006/9/13 10:18
From LV
Posts: 7531
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Where are you in Ohio? I ask because in most cases a 6 hour drive can get you to some of the best water in PA, a summing that you're staying over somewhere.
This time of the year, those bright sunny days that we all like, don't fit the preference of the fish we pursue, so the best option is to get up before the sun, fish the early morning, go back to a place to relax and tie flies, then go out again about an hour before dark and fish until the bite ends.
If you happen to want to fish the deep woods brookie streams, you find the best fishing in the morning, not necessarily at dawn, but ending in the early afternoon. It will kick in again before dusk and sometimes after dark.

Posted on: 7/9 12:11
_________________
It's time to stop stocking all wild trout streams no matter what Classification they are, and time to eradicate brown trout in some of our limestone streams and re-establish brookies in them.


Re: Warmwater fishing transition: what will it take?

Joined:
2013/7/30 17:16
From Fairborn, OH
Posts: 296
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With the heavy color to the streams out here right now, it's extremely tough to fish close to the banks, purely because the color disuguises dead fall logs. A lot of casts to the bank result in immediate and thorough snag hooking into wood that you simply couldn't see. I still do it, but it's been a nightmare as far as having to constantly walk over to free up, or flatout lose, numerous flies.

I'm actually way out west near Dayton, but that does, indeed, put me about 6 hours from north central PA/Clinton Co. Deep-woods brookie fishing is one of my ultimate goals. I caught a few brookies in Utah, but nothing like the numbers you guys see in PA. I need to figure that piece out and have no issue hiking in to a spot, I just have to do some homework and make sure I know what the hell I'm doing. My last trip out to central PA was bust because I went up numerous streams that simply had little or no flow at all (basically a series of still puddles.) Needless to say, I didn't catch a thing.

Posted on: 7/9 15:33


Re: Warmwater fishing transition: what will it take?

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2011/6/29 9:38
From Philadelphia
Posts: 2122
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Valley will always welcome you back! Maybe this fall we'll hook-up when I head to camp and I'll show you some streams in central PA.

Posted on: 7/9 18:15


Re: Warmwater fishing transition: what will it take?

Joined:
2013/7/30 17:16
From Fairborn, OH
Posts: 296
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That would be great! We'll be visiting my family regularly now that we're within driving distance from eastern PA. That said, I would love to join you for some central PA fishing.

Posted on: 7/9 18:26


Re: Warmwater fishing transition: what will it take?

Joined:
2013/7/30 17:16
From Fairborn, OH
Posts: 296
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Well, there was finally a small break in the rut today. I went on a tour with one of the base game wardens to learn all of the areas on base legal for deer hunting. During that time, he also showed me a small lake on base that is seasonally stock with rainbow trout, but that has bluegill in it all year. I took out the kayak and chucked some wooley bugger and leech patterns out there, catching about 5 bluegill in just a couple hours out there. This is a perfect little spot to take my daughter to chuck some wormed-up hooks and it's shielded from the pressure of the general public since it's a base lake. Gonna have to try this again. I hooked and saw some very respectable bluegill swimming in the shallows out there.

Posted on: 7/9 23:44


Re: Warmwater fishing transition: what will it take?

Joined:
2013/10/1 8:28
From Ohio
Posts: 58
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Hey man, I'm in Ohio too.

I definitely warmwater fish more than coldwater, but there are two decent coldwater fisheries around here.

You went to the Mad. That is an extremely tough river. If you can catch fish there, you can catch them anywhere. Hardly any hatches. Nowadays I sling big streamers with an 8 wt and sinking line, and stuff a 4 or 5 wt in my pack in case something comes off. If you prefer bugs, swinging soft hackles produces, as do cranefly larvae. fish to structure there, and on the bends. I've never had any luck in the flat straight sections, other than a few 10 inchers. No BS though, there are some BIG trout in the mad. Finding them is the hard part. The rain this season is actually extending the good fishing a bit, and that river drains crazy fast, so if we get a bump in the rain, keep an eye on the flows. That one drains faster than any river in the area. The mad is definitely a quality game, not quantity

The Clearfork in Mohican is a good "hybrid" river. There are trout there, not as big but good 5 wt fish. There are also smallies. Lots of them. They are a BLAST on a 5 wt with a popper. There are largemouth and saugeye there too, with the occasional muskie.

For warmwater, which is definitely the cream of the crop around here, the Olentangy and Scioto both have great bass populations. streamers and sinking lines are your best bet. if its colored up, throw big black streamers with either red or gold flash into the soft seams you find in the current. I also like to "swing n jig" basically cast to the edge of a seam let the fly swing and jig the rod tip. In the fall, the smallies go into full on attack mode and start crushing schools of shad. They will hit pretty much any white topwater you throw if you can find them feeding.

Finally, Alum creek has some wicked muskie and bass in it. If you got a 10 wt laying around I recommend it.

Also, pretty much any pond in this state probably has Largemouth swimming in it. There are also guys who do nothing but hunt carp on flies around here.

EP stlyle flies have been great to me in warmwater around here. Basically need White, Black, Chartreuse, Bluegill, ad Shad. I typically tie them approx 3-6 inches long. The smaller ones for early season, the big ones for later in the season. You could literally fish nothing but a 4 inch shad pattern around here and do really well.

Topwaters are a blast. poppers, sliders, divers, mice (go big) and a couple crease flies will cover you. In the fall, smallies will smack a crease fly like they are mad at it.

For coldwater, we dont get prolific hatches like in PA. nymphing with attractors is usually the best bet. Right now some big black foam beetles and ants will do well too. In the evenings try running a small black trico on a dropper behind a elk wing caddis.

For streamers, go big. Like bigger than you think you should and be willing to lose a lot of flies. Any pattern I tie, I tie 6 of the same fly at a minimum, and I carry a boat box for streamers because I lose them a lot. In the summer you have to get IN the structure pretty much.

Posted on: 7/10 10:10

Edited by crs2006 on 2014/7/10 10:30:19
Edited by crs2006 on 2014/7/10 10:47:15


Re: Warmwater fishing transition: what will it take?

Joined:
2013/7/30 17:16
From Fairborn, OH
Posts: 296
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crs2006 - great post! That's a lot of fodder for a new guy like me. Yeah, you aren't kidding about the Mad. That river slayed me good. It became clear very quickly that there are only a handful of really good areas you want to focus on, especially this time of year.

My next big "gotta try it" was going to be the Clear Fork of the Mohican. I only recently had heard about the Olentangy and, now that you mentioned it, too, want to give it a try. Smallmouth are a warmwater species I have very little experience fishing, so it will have the added bonus of being a fairly fresh experience.

Posted on: 7/10 16:43


Re: Warmwater fishing transition: what will it take?

Joined:
2013/10/1 8:28
From Ohio
Posts: 58
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They don't call it The Maddening River for nothing. Gotta really grind it out. There have been stretches where I havnt even gotten a follow there four or five outings in a row.

Smallmouth are probably my favorite freshwater fish. Muskie are up there too. I fish smallies with an 8 wt most of the time in the Olentangy and Scioto, and a 5 in the Clearfork. Occasionally I'll use the 2 hander and swing n jig to them just for fun. A sinking line is a must. its also kind of fun to fish a big noisy popper on a sinking line to them, swimming the fly. If theres anything in the neighborhood they are going to notice.

Ohio is a strange place. I'd say my saltwater rigs get more action around here than my trout rigs. Some of my firends still look at me funny when I string up a bonefish rod to fish The Mad.

Posted on: 7/11 10:10


Re: Warmwater fishing transition: what will it take?

Joined:
2013/7/30 17:16
From Fairborn, OH
Posts: 296
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It finally worked out pretty decent today. I got in the kayak and paddled on the Stillwater River to a tailwater section about 3/4 of a mile upstream. I got to the base of the dam, moored the boat and got to casting along with a few other folks. They said the bite was slow and they only had a few nibbles on the bait they were using, so I wasn't terribly optimistic.

I cinched on a Clouser minnow pattern that I tied up just before I moved. Tied together with red Unithread, it had green & yellow bucktail along with silver krystal flash, red/nickel silver dumbbell eyes and a 2/0 hook. Lo and behold, I was hooked up with a smallie in about 10 minutes and then proceeded to catch a few more on the same pattern until the bucktail was all but gone from the fly. It even managed to hook and lose one on the last, tattered remnants of it that probably would've been the biggest smallie of the day. Once that fly was toast, I switched to a purple wooly bugger that was also tied up before the move, and a little sunny smacked it good.

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A little while later, a store-bought red/brown/gold krystal flash Clouser caught a little rock bass.

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Hey, not an amazing pull of giant fish by any stretch, but at least it was a fun day.

Posted on: 7/12 23:52


Re: Warmwater fishing transition: what will it take?
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Joined:
2006/9/9 17:32
From Gettysburg
Posts: 9008
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Excellent - you toughed it out.

Looks like you found a typical, small WW creek: lots of SMbs (on the small side) and panfish. Small fish but big fun.

Posted on: 7/13 8:59



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