ANGLING TIPS Jack Wollitz
Berlin Reservoir will be a great place this year to catch largemouth bass and crappie, predicts an Ohio fisheries boss.
Prospects for both species in the busy Mahoning River impoundment are "excellent," said Phil Hillman, Ohio Division of Wildlife fish management supervisor in Akron.
He said black crappies outnumbered white crappies by a 2-to-1 margin in studies conducted last year at Berlin, with a large number of the fish in the 7- to 9-inch class. Fish ranging up to 11 inches were found.
Berlin will be one of this area's better largemouth lakes in 2005, Hillman said, as good numbers of 12- to 15-inch bass were surveyed last year. The size limit there for bass is 12 inches.
He rated Berlin's smallmouth prospects as good, with most fish running in the 11- to 14-inch class. He estimated about 3 percent of the smallies will top 17 inches.
A consistent crappie producer over the years, Mosquito Creek Reservoir's 2005 fishing also is rated as excellent. Black crappies comprise 54 percent of the lake's population and harvested fish last year averaged 10.6 inches, based on creel studies.
Hillman had no updated information on Mosquito's bass population, as the Division of Wildlife doesn't survey every lake every year.
At Pymatuning, meanwhile, the crappie fishing should be good in 2005, based on studies in 2004.
The big reservoir on the Ohio-Pennsylvania border should yield excellent largemouth fishing this year, Hillman said.
Pymatuning has good numbers of fish in the 15-inch class and very few bass are harvested there each year, thanks to the lake's popularity as a walleye fishery and the 10-hp limit that discourages many bass anglers who prefer their high-powered boats
Smallmouth bass fishing at Pymatuning got a "good" rating.
Lake Milton's largemouths are forecast as fair for 2005 with most of the lake's bass short of the 15-inch size limit. Smallmouth at Milton are rated comparatively better as "good," but again many of them are less than 15 inches.
Ohio fisheries managers do not stock bass or crappies, relying on natural reproduction to keep populations balanced with the lake's forage bases.