Good panfish spots found in the area

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Warmer weather and warmer temperatures are expected to arrive in the coming days, which likely means more anglers heading to local water bodies.

A majority of anglers are after sunfish and they have a great opportunity for pumpkinseed, crappie and yellow perch locally.

Grand Lake St. Marys offers excellent sunfish and crappie fishing. Black crappie is more common than white crappie and the Ohio Division of Wildlife (DOW) says there are good numbers up to 11 inches. Recent DOW surveys have found the 2018-2019 year classes to be strong. The best fishing is through May around the docks and scrubby shore using minnows, small twist-tail jigs, or tube jigs.

Pile bed fish attractors have been placed around the lake and most are accessible from the shore. Visit the DOW’s interactive fishing map for attractor locations.

There are a fair number of sunfish some of which are up to 8 inches long in the lake. Concentrate fishing in areas with boat docks, seawalls, riprap, places with sand and gravel bottoms, and brushy structure using jigs, red worms, red wigglers, or rock worms. wax are the best places to look.

The Williams Reservoir near Lima has been set up as a prime location for yellow perch fishing. There are a fair number of large perches, some over 13 inches, according to the DOW.

If you are fishing from a boat, start along the north or south shore where the old haul roads are still in place. Inshore spring and fall fishing can be productive.

There is a restriction on electric motors only for boats. The reservoir offers an improved concrete boat launch and dock. The DOW indicates that the wind is generally more intense on this reservoir due to its height and reminds anglers to pay attention to wind direction and speed before venturing out.

A number of resources to help anglers are available from the DOW, including lake maps, fishing tips by species, fishing forecasts, and introductory information for new anglers. Anglers can find these resources on the HuntFish OH mobile app. Fishing regulations and an interactive fishing map can be located from any mobile device. For more information on fishing tips and forecasts, go to wildohio.gov.

The DOW helps both beginners and experienced anglers get the most out of their outdoor adventures. Visit the Wild Ohio Harvest Community page on wildohio.gov for information on getting started, fishing opportunities, and delicious recipes.

Anglers can keep up to date with all fishing opportunities and updates via social media. One can follow the DOW on Facebook and Twitter for instant news, outdoor recreation ideas, local wildlife information, and more. The Your Wild Ohio Angler page provides fishing tips and useful information.

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After recording better numbers during the opening weekend of the spring wild turkey season than the three-year average, hunters fell behind the three-year average for the first nine days of the season. Locally, 268 turkeys have been registered while the three-year average for the first nine days of the season is 302.

The nine-day catch was up in two counties (Logan and Van Wert) and down in the other seven counties in the region.

The turkeys recorded locally for nine days of the season and the three-year average (2019-21) in brackets were: Allen 38 (47), Auglaize 14 (23), Hancock 14 (23), Hardin 53 (55), Logan 81 (67), Mercer 12 (13), Putnam 17 (35), Shelby 22 (29) Van Wert 17 (10).

The Ohio Division of Wildlife (DOW) says a three-year average provides the best overall comparison to this year’s numbers, eliminating year-to-year variations due to weather, misaligned season dates and other unavoidable factors. The wildlife agency also noted that this raw data could change.

Statewide, hunters checked 7,551 people in the first nine days of the season. The average harvest in the first nine days of the previous three seasons was 10,759 birds.

Wild turkey hunting in the Southern Zone of Ohio is open until May 22. Hunting in the Northeast Zone, including Ashtabula, Cuyahoga, Geauga, Lake and Trumbull counties in Ohio’s Snowbelt, is open Saturday, April 30 through May 29.

The spring hunting season limit is one bearded wild turkey. A turkey must be verified no later than 11:30 p.m. on harvest day using the HuntFish OH Mobile App, the Automated Game Verification System, by phone at 877-TAG-IT-OH (877- 824-4864), or at a participating licensing agent.

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Rockford’s Dick Shaffer kicked off the start of the Major League Phoenix Bass Fishing League (BFL) presented by TH Marine Hoosier Division with a 16th place finish last Saturday in Falls of the Rough, Kentucky. He caught a limit five bass that weighed in at 7 pounds, 8 ounces.

A number of bass anglers from the Lima area participate in the BFL tour in the Buckeye, Hoosier and Michigan divisions. The Buckeye Division opens in Indian Lake on May 21 from the Moundwood Ramp at Indian Lake State Park in Lakeview. The Michigan Division opens on Lake St. Clair on June 25 from the Harley Ensign boat launch in Harrison Township, Michigan.

Al Smith is a freelance outdoor writer. You can contact him [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @alsmithFL

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