good fishing for largemouth bass

Several eastern Ohio inland lakes feature good fishing for largemouth bass and are within a reasonable distance of area anglers.

When anglers from this area think of fishing in Ohio it’s usually focused on the outstanding walleye fishing on Lake Erie. But our neighboring state features excellent inland bass fishing as well. Consider these three options when you’re making your fishing plans this spring.

LaDUE RESERVOIR: Ohio Division of Wildlife Fisheries biologists considers LaDue Reservoir as one of the better inland bass fisheries in northeastern Ohio, particularly for larger bass.

LaDue is a fairly shallow impoundment, which means it will warm quickly, which is a good thing for the early-season bass angler. The primary creek channel is located in the center of the lake throughout much of its length. Several shallow bays pierce the lake’s eastern shoreline, places worth checking out early in the season. Two shallow arms in the lake’s headwaters are also present. The Route 422 bridge also adds structure and funnels current. While weed growth is sparse, some milfoil and curly pondweed is present.

LaDue covers 1,500 acres and is located in Geauga County. Boats are limited to electric motors only. Three boat launches are provided, including the Route 44 Launch Ramp, the Auburn Ramp and the LaDue Reservoir Boat House.

When last surveyed, state fisheries biologists considered the largemouth fishery fair in terms of numbers and good in terms of size. Largemouths up to 21.5 inches were collected. Smallmouth numbers were considered good, with the chances of catching a big smallie being excellent. Bronzebacks up to 19.5 inches turned up in the survey. Angler survey results showed 39 percent seeking bass, with fishing pressure directed toward the largemouths and smallmouths being high. Five fish tournaments conducted last year consistently produced winning bags in the 15-pound range.              

Other good bets for bass in the northeastern portion of the state include the Portage Lakes and Mosquito Lake.

TYCOON LAKE: Tycoon Lake is one of the better bass lakes in the state and a great choice for anglers from the southeastern part of the lake. It’s a case of good things coming in small packages.

Tycoon consistently turns up fish in the 5-pound range when surveyed by state fisheries biologists. When last surveyed, fisheries managers termed both overall bass numbers and size as excellent. A recent angler survey indicated about 27 percent were seeking largemouth bass and termed bass fishing pressure as average. The lake has a slot limit — termed a “three-fish split limit” — that allows the creeling of two fish less than 14 inches and one fish 20 inches or longer.

Tycoon’s quality bass population is limited to largemouth bass. The lake covers just over 200 acres and is limited to electric motors only.

Habitat-wise, Tycoon is a shallow lake, with a maximum depth of 18 feet. Completed in 1960, the lake features stump fields along the northern shoreline as well as numerous submerged fence rows.

The lake is found in Gallia County north of Route 35. Gizzard shad provide the primary food source for the largemouth bass. One boat ramp is located there.

PIEDMONT LAKE: Belmont County’s Piedmont Lake has a tradition of providing a high-quality warm-water fishery, one that continues. Black bass prospects for this lake are considered excellent for smallmouth and good for largemouth bass.

Covering over 2,200 acres and creating 37 miles of shoreline, Piedmont provides some diversity in habitat, which likely allows it to support strong populations of both smallmouth and largemouth.

From an angler’s perspective, one should concentrate on largemouths from mid-lake to the upper part of the impoundment. Conversely, smallmouths are more numerous from mid-lake to the lower end.

Data suggests that about 25 percent of those surveyed were targeting bass. Fishing pressure is regarded as high, with catch rates being good. Lake survey results show current largemouth numbers fair, with size being good. Smallmouth numbers are considered excellent and size structure as good. Largemouths up to 21 inches were collected; smallmouth up to 19.4.

Piedmont reaches a maximum depth of 30 feet near the dam. Gizzard shad are the primary forage in Piedmont, and submergent vegetation is present. This lake is limited to 10 h.p. outboards and is found in Guernsey, Harrison and Belmont counties. Two boat launches are provided, one in Guernsey County (Piedmont Marina) and one in Belmont (Reynolds Road Launch Ramp).

Anglers should also note that Piedmont is one of the better saugeye lakes in the state, rating excellent in numbers and size. Biologists collected saugeyes up to 26 inches. So you might want to consider targeting saugeye as well as bass, especially since April is a peak time for saugeye fishing.