Cold, wet weather delays walleye fishing
Written by The Lima News   
Sunday, 19 March 2006 15:09

Walleye fishermen who were all set for the annual spring run to begin in the Maumee and Sandusky rivers have had to put their plans on hold. Before last weekend’s deluge and the drastic drop in temperatures this week, conditions were about right for the spawning run to begin. Anglers were beginning to take walleyes and some males in the three- to four-pound range.

Toledo Metroparks rangers even reported a pair of steelhead being caught in the Maumee. 

But with the Maumee high and roily, fishing has been rated as poor this week. Crossing to Bluegrass Island was deemed unsafe due to heavy rains. 

Colder weather will definitely drop the 45-degree water reading on the Maumee on Monday. 

Temperature and stream flow are keys for the spawn. Walleyes normally bite better when the water level is rising and the temperature is 42 to 52 degrees. 

The 50 mark seems to be the magic number. The increase in daylight hours also plays a role in the spawn. If the river temperature is warmer than Lake Erie temperatures, it could help trigger the spawn. 

The Ohio Division of Wildlife is predicting a good year for the spawn because males from the abundant 2003 year class will be in the river. Most of them should be the legal size of 15 inches. The DOW says not many females from the 2003 class will be in the rivers this spring. In addition, larger fish from the 1996, 1998, 1999 and 2001 year classes will range from 20 to 27 inches, according to the DOW. The wildlife agency says some 30-inch walleye may date back to year classes from the late 1980s. 

What may surprise most fishermen is the fact that the majority of fish caught during the run are males. According to a 2005 DOW creel survey, 90 percent of the catch from the Maumee and 85 percent from the Sandusky were male walleyes averaging 20 inches. 

The peak of the run usually occurs in the last week of March through the first week of April. 

Walleye actually are present in the Maumee all year long. Their numbers dramatically increase when they spawn in Lake Erie tributaries like the Maumee and Sandusky. 

Anglers wade or fish from shore on both rivers. In the Maumee, the best fishing areas are from the Conant Street bridge in Maumee upstream to the end of Jerome Road in Lucas County. Walleyes can be caught up to the Grand Rapids Dam, but most fishermen fish from the Jerome Road intersection upstream to I-475, Bluegrass Island and down to Fort Meigs and Orleans Park in Perrysburg. Side Cut Metropark is one of the most popular spots on the Maumee and is located on River Road between Ford Street and Jerome Road in Maumee. In the Sandusky River, the best areas are from Bradys Island to Rodger Young Park. 

Many more walleyes are caught in the Maumee than the Sandusky, but much more angler effort is put into fishing the Maumee. In the 2005 creel survey, 27,041 walleyes were harvested in the Maumee while 3,774 were taken in the Sandusky. 

Fishermen do use boats in both rivers and anglers should be cautious on the water. Boat ramps are available on the Sandusky just north of the State Street bridge in Fremont and on the Maumee at the foot of Maple Street in Perrysburg and at Orleans Park, also in Perrysburg. 

The method for catching walleyes hasn’t changed much over the years.
   Fishermen cast upstream using either lead-head jigs tipped with fluorescent-colored twister tails or a floating jig head tipped with twister tails on a Carolina rig. 

The daily bag limit is four walleye, saugeye and sauger (singly or in combination) from March 1 to April 30. From May 1 through Feb. 28, 2007, the daily bag limit is six (singly or in combination) walleye, saugeye and sauger within the Lake Erie District.

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