Jim Morris
Jim Morris

Jim Morris has worked for newspapers, radio, television and various Websites for more than 47 years. He has been a writer, an editor, an editorial writer and a columnist. For 23 years, Morris worked for the Troy Daily News as sports editor, managing editor and executive editor. In 1994 he began working at the Dayton Daily News as an outdoor sports columnist and night sports desk editor. He retired from the DDN in January of 2010 and is now a freelance writer with his own Website for outdoors stories.


It’s time to go fishing. April is here and there will be some good fishing days ahead. So if you have your tackle ready, you will find some excellent opportunities at southwest Ohio lakes.

With the assistance of the Ohio Division of Wildlife fish management supervisors Debra Walters and Marty Lundquist, here is my 2017 outlook for nearby Ohio lakes and streams:

— Acton Lake (Hueston Woods): This is one of the best largemouth bass lakes in the region with many ranging from 12 to 21 inches. There are also plenty of bluegills, saugeyes, crappies and catfish.

— Adams Lake: This small Adams County lake is one of those stocked with rainbow trout. You’ll also find bluegills and catfish is good numbers.

— Caesar Creek Lake: A great variety of species, including muskies. In fact, with annual stocking, it has become one of the best musky lakes in the state. It’s also a good lake to fish for crappies, bass and saugeyes. It has one of the top white bass populations in Ohio.

— C.J. Brown Reservoir: With about 1.9 million walleye fingerlings stocked since 2010, there are many big walleyes to be caught. (CJ is the only lake in SW Ohio stocked with walleyes.) It’s also good for catfish, bass, crappies and white bass.

— Clark Lake: Another rainbow trout spot. Also bluegills and catfish.

— Cowan Lake: One of the few lakes with no crappie limits. The bad news: many are small. You can also catch bass, bluegills, catfish and saugeyes.

— East Fork Lake: This lake east of Cincinnati is a strong crappie lake with a nice population of hybrid striped bass. Muskies are in there, but not drawing much attention from anglers.

— Grand Lake St. Marys: Plenty of crappies, bluegills, catfish and bass. Saugeyes mostly in spillway. There’s an emerging yellow perch fishery due to significant stocking.

— Grant Lake: Bluegills and bullheads. Everything else is good to fair.

— Indian Lake: Still the “Saugeye Capital of Ohio.” Stocking continues to keep it strong. Also there are plenty of bass, crappies, bluegills and catfish.

— Kiser Lake: Interesting small lake: plenty of bluegills and bass, a good number of hybrid striped bass, but no motors allowed.

— Lake Loramie: The state has been stocking channel cats, so there are more than enough. Bluegills are good size. Crappie and bass numbers are good.

— Paint Creek Lake: Excellent crappie fishing marches on. It’s also an outstanding bass lake. Saugeyes and catfish are best caught in the spillway.

— Rocky Fork Lake: There’s a reason so many bass tournaments are held on this lake. Excellent numbers of bass and crappies. It’s also good for saugeyes and catfish. And don’t be surprised it a yellow perch hits your minnow.

— Rush Run Lake: Rainbows stocked in spring. Bass fishing is good in spring. Bluegills very good.

— Stonelick Lake: Crappies and bluegills are good, but the main attraction is spring fishing for stocked rainbows.

— Tawawa Lake (Sidney): Rainbows in spring. Bluegills and bullheads.

Southwest Ohio Rivers

— Great Miami: Excellent smallmouth fishing from Piqua to Taylorsville Dam, Plenty of rock bass, carp and catfish.

— Stillwater: Smallmouth and largemouth bass are present. You can also catch rock bass, crappies and bluegills.

— Little Miami: A wide variety of fish includes smallmouth and largemouth, rock bass and bluegills.

Picking the hottest spots

Here are Walters’ top picks for southwest Ohio (which doesn’t include Indian Lake): bluegills – Grand Lake St. Marys; crappies – Grand Lake St. Marys; catfish – Rocky Fork; bass – Rocky Fork; saugeye/walleye – C.J. Brown; white bass/hybrids – East Fork.

My top picks: bluegills – Lake Loramie; crappies – Grand Lake St. Marys or Paint Creek; catfish – Grand Lake St. Marys; bass – Rocky Fork; saugeyes/walleye  – Indian Lake (district only: C.J. Brown); white bass/hybrids – East Fork.

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