Walleye anglers looking to broaden their horizons would do well to check out some of this area's overlooked waters.
Dave Kidd of Damascus said walleye anglers will be pleasantly surprised by some of the excellent fishing available at three places not typically high on the list of local hotspots.
"One of the most overlooked lakes in this area is LaDue Reservoir," Kidd said. LaDue is an Akron water supply lake on U.S. 422 near Ohio 44.
"It's an electric motor lake, so those of us with bigger boats don't often fish there. But it consistently produces nice walleyes, especially in the spring."
Anglers will find LaDue is similar to - but considerably smaller than -Mosquito Creek Reservoir.
"The fish tend to be shallow this time of the year. There is a near-shore break line all around LaDue.".
The Ohio River is another of Kidd's picks.
"March was pretty good until the Ohio muddied up with the rain and snow runoff."
About the current
Current is key in finding and catching Ohio River walleyes and saugers, according to Kidd.
"The best fishing is when they are moving a lot of water," he said in reference to the Corps of Engineers' control of gates on the series of locks and dams that tame the big river. "The warm discharges around the steel mills, like at Weirton Steel on the Pike Island pool, also are good places."
Kidd said productive tactics include jigging heavy metal blade baits. "I like the Vib-E for an aggressive approach and snap it pretty hard. For aless aggressive approach, I'll finesse a Cicada."
He recommends West Branch for those who want to learn about targeting big walleyes.
"West Branch is good for size, but not necessarily for numbers," Kidd said.
"You may catch four or five fish and three of them are likely to be in the three- to four-pound class or better."
To locate West Branch lunkers, Kidd's counsel is to find a good point and anchor on the upside. "Cast a jig and minnow or twister out toward the deepwater and hop it back up the break."
After a foray into the world of professional angling, Kidd today is focusing his efforts as national promotional director for the World Walleye Association and is director of that group's Ohio Team Challenge. Over the years he's had many opportunities to see other anglers' approaches.
"The biggest mistake they make is they get lazy," he said. "They'll be satisfied to use the age-old methods. They try to make the fish bite and don't work hard enough to find out what the fish will want to bite.
"My advice is don't be afraid to try different tactics. They often produce good fish when the tried-and-true stuff fails."
Way out west
At Clear Lake in northern California Thursday, 27 pros in the 106-angler CITE BASSMASTER Western Open each weighed in catches of bass topping 20 pounds. By comparison, at a tournament last Sunday at Lake Milton, winner John Yohman had 7.74 pounds.
Despite the huge catches, the California competitors were complaining.
"The wind really hurt," said Mark Rizk, whose limit catch of five largemouth pulled the scales to 26 pounds 14 ounces. "Weights of 35 pounds a day would've been possible, but the wind muddied up the water and basically eliminated half of the lake to sight fishing."
I know I speak for many when I say we here in Ohio wish we had it so bad.