Top Regional Bass Waters For 2019

Some of us are already out there ripping our jerkbaits and guiding our swimbaits through the still-frigid area waters. Still, the vast majority of even hardcore bass anglers are still prepping their gear and boats in anticipation for the initial spring-like temperatures of the new open-water season.

Here are my top eleven picks for District #3 bass angling potential, based on local contacts info, state fish stocking numbers, personal experience and observation, and the “Buckeye Angler” Facebook site feedback. From last to first, here are my top eleven area bass fisheries’ projections for the new open-water season.

Berlin Reservoir

This vast and somewhat intimidating body of water that spans three counties has never been a particularly popular bass fishery. Many feel this stems from its sheer size and the challenge that so many have such difficulty narrowing down successfully. Largemouths of considerable size are a true rarity here, but something for the uninitiated to consider is the spring and fall potential for big smallmouths off the many points extending out into deeper water. Try tubes and blade baits.

Wingfoot Lake

The state’s plans to target and develop this only recently deemed public lake into an esteemed panfishery should not dissuade anyone from venturing to this pretty fishery to try for the big largemouths that call it home. Copeland is a premier area topwater destination.

West Branch Reservoir

Large impoundment just west of Ravenna is best known for its sheer variety of sportfishing species and as the state’s premier muskie fishery. Outstanding walleye and crappie populations also help contribute to the relative dearth of bass anglers in evidence. Decent populations of both largemouths and smallies call it home, though true trophies are a rarity.

Lake Hodgson

Productive private lake south of Ravenna has received comparatively little pressure in response to the elevation in access fees and boat rentals a few years back. Reports from recently active bass anglers there are encouraging, to say the least.

Cuyahoga River

 Productive for smallmouths of varying sizes throughout its length. Stretch from Munroe Falls to the Gorge—once legendary for both smallies and largemouths—now rendered essentially barren for both species by dam removals. Hiram Rapids down to Kent a great ultra-light float-trip destination with great ambiance along the way.

Lake Milton

Nice populations of both smallies and bigmouths throughout, with ample numbers of true lunkers. Bridge areas riprap and the river shorelines particular favorites. Small crankbaits and chatterbaits in crawdad colors will take both species.

Mosquito Lake

Arguably the state’s most overrated walleye fishery. The crappies are regularly bigger. It is actually a better largemouth impoundment, with a smattering of bonus smallies. Weedlines are a particularly popular choice for spring bassers, while the considerable riprap is a summer bassin’ favorite.

La Due Reservoir

Electric-only destination in southern Geagua County is broken up into three essential segments, with the middle area by acclamation the most popular for largemouth anglers. Spinnerbaits run along weedlines are a common technique here. Some smallmouths available off the dam area, including an occasional trophy. Take along an extra battery or two, if available. This is a large reservoir to be designated electric-only. It’s also famous for considerable and frequent winds.

Lake Erie

Factoring in distance and cost, the big lake is still the premier choice for trophy smallies and increasing numbers of shoreline largemouth. The Central Basin to Ashtabula and Conneaut has long ago surpassed the once-storied Western Basin for savvy smallmouth fishermen. True trophy largemouth are still elusive, though 3-4 pounders are increasingly common. Tubes, jerkbaits, and spinnerbaits top choices for either.

Portage Lakes

Historically Ohio’s most legendary largemouth fishery, has leveled-off to merely outstanding in recent years. Remains viable and productive despite relentless onslaught of tournaments throughout the open-water season. Weedline edges and deeper drop-offs favored by many locals.

Mogadore Reservoir

Not a unanimous choice. Plethora of weeds discourage many. Still, for those regulars and others hardly discouraged by the vegetation they see as an actual plus, this electric-only jewel is indeed the area’s best for both numbers and average size. New ramp off Ticknor Road will serve to introduce many to the productive and previously underfished west end.