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Northeast Ohio’s Top 10 Bass Destinations

June 17, 2014
By Jack Kiser , Ohio Valley Outdoors

It was certainly a brutal winter and early spring this year, and many of us are realizing that the dynamics of the fishing season are running a bit delayed in comparison to most years, from both the severity and lingering tenacity of the off-season weather. The good news is that fish have to eat and the summer promises to offer a much anticipated rebound in action for all of us ardent bass anglers. Here are my picks for the locales that will offer us the very best potential in the upcoming long-awaited warmer months.

The Top 10:

10. Wingfoot Lake - Former private getaway for the fabled Goodyear Tire company and it's legendary hunting and fishing club, this family-friendly park and adjacent lake has been targeted by the state to be a future panfish hotspot, and has been stocked accordingly. Locals are savvy to the accompanying numbers of lunker largemouth. Contact: Copeland's Landing 330-628-4720.

Article Photos

Renowned Portage Lakes guide Ron Slater with a largemouth that took a 4' finesse worm.

9. Berlin Reservoir - Monstrous and relatively deep reservoir that spans three counties is an intimidating entity to many anglers. Decent largemouth population often found deeper than at many state lakes, as heavy boat traffic is always a consideration. Points and dropoffs offer smallmouth pursuit with bladebaits and tubes, largely a fall phenomenon. Contact: Les's Bait 330-584-6741.

8. West Branch Reservoir - Sister lake to Berlin is quite nearly as big but not nearly so wide open and deep. Smallies also present here, but bigmouths clearly predominant. Lots of backbays and feeder creeks for the traffic shy. Contact: Mark's Bait & Tackle 330-296-3474.

7. Mosquito Reservoir - Far eastern Ohio lowland fishery is remarkably shallow to harbor such impressive numbers of big crappie and catfish. A few scattered smallmouth around deeper rocky shorelines and dam area. Causeway riprap and weedlines are favorite largemouth locales.Try smallish crankbaits. Contact: Causeway Bait & Tackle 330-637-7076.

6. LaDue Reservoir - Southern Geauga County entry outside Mantua is electric only, and awfully big for such a limitation. Bass anglers tend to concentrate in it's middle section. Spinnerbaits along emergent weedlines a favorite technique. Contact: One Stop Fishing Shop 440-834-2248.

5. Cuyahoga River - 40+ miles from it's source outside Burton until it's mouth at Cleveland. Smallmouth of varying sizes abound throughout it's length, with Hiram Rapids down to Mantua stretch a particular favorite, both for production and ambiance. Once premier northern pike, largemouth and smallmouth stretch from Kent to Cuyahoga Falls has been essentially decimated by regrettable dam removals. Legendary Edison Reservoir at the Gorge remains - for now. Contact: Destination Outdoors Facebook page.

4. Lake Milton - Muskingum Watershed entry features increasingly viable populations of both largemouth and smallies. Contact: Northcoast Bait 330-654-2516.

3. Portage Lakes - Southern Summit County chain arguably the state's most storied bass fishery. Maintains it's integrity as a largemouth factory despite plethora of tournaments and residual pressures. 15lb.+ tournament stringers hardly uncommon. Contact: Ron Slater's Bait & Tackle 330-644-0316.

2. Mogadore Reservoir - Electric-only Portage County entry long known nationally as a panfish destination. In recent decades has morphed into a premier largemouth bass destination, for both numbers and trophy size. Contact: Mogadore Bait & Tackle 330-628-9872.

1. Lake Erie - Decline in smallmouth fishing - though still outstanding at times - due to irresponsible past tournament and charters behavior - has been nicely offset in the past decade with the onset of a growing and increasingly viable shoreline largemouth explosion. Tubes and dropshot-rigs productive for both. Contact: Cranberry Creek Marina 419-433-3932.

Overall, what a varied and outstanding bass fishing area so many of us are blessed to live near. Get out and enjoy it as much as you possibly can.

Jack Kiser is host of TV's 'Buckeye Angler' and co-host of Fox Sports' 'Destination: Outdoors', heard locally every Monday evening from 6-7 on 1350AM radio. Kiser can be reach on either show's Facebook site.



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