The lake named after an annoying insect is the top choice for two of the region’s finest fishermen, and it’s almost guaranteed that thousands of others would agree with them.
We asked four veteran anglers to name their top picks for walleye, bass, crappies and muskies. Two of them unhesitatingly pronounced their choice of Mosquito Creek Reservoir.
While it may have at one time been a mosquito-infested swamp, the sprawling reservoir north of Warren today is the favorite lake of bass pro Mark Franko of Cortland and walleye pro John Csizmadia of Boardman. They listed Mosquito without question when asked to pick their favorites.
“Mosquito is hands down the most productive inland walleye lake in Ohio,” said Csizmadia. “Lakes like Mosquito, lowland-flatland reservoirs, tend to have two distinct groups of walleye in them — open-water walleye that relate to structure, points and breaks, and fish that are weed-oriented.”
Franko is equally enthusiastic about Mosquito as a bass factory.
“It is without question my favorite because I really like fishing weeds and flipping cover, and you have both of those at Mosquito,” said Franko, the reigning Mr. Bass points champion of Youngstown’s Mohawk Valley Bass Club.
Csizmadia noted the classic walleye techniques that work at Mosquito include drifting, flat-line trolling and jigging. Advanced techniques such as contour-trolling crankbaits with lead-core line and precision-trolling cranks and spinner harnesses with inline planer boards also work.
He said weed-fishing is not just a bass tactic at Mosquito.
“Once the weeds that rim Mosquito have achieved enough growth, the fish move in and spend the majority of the season there. Dipping the open pockets with jigs tipped with crawlers or leeches is a standard technique for weed walleyes.”
Csizmadia employs active tactics in the vegetation. “I really enjoy cranking the weeds with jerkbaits, rattle baits and shad-style crankbaits. They product vicious strikes that will change your mind about walleyes not being an aggressive fish.”
For largemouth bass, Franko noted Mosquito is productive in the weeds and other shallow cover even when the water is high. “No matter the weather, there is always a way to catch them there,” he said.
Franko’s second pick for local bass action is the Ohio River. “I like to run and gun and power fish, and the river is a great place for that. You can cover a bunch of water in one day and fish for the bass that want to eat.”
Csizmadia’s runner-up for inland walleyes is Berlin Reservoir. “It has deep water, large bays and coves. Walleyes there relate to the many humps, primary and secondary points, flats and flooded shallow willows that are found all around the lake.”
He fishes for suspended walleyes with trolled cranks and spinner harnesses with inline planer boards. He said there are overlooked fish suspended 4 to 5 feet deep over much deeper water.
“And at Berlin, casting shad-style crankbaits and retrieving them aggressively in, around and through flooded willows has produced 40-fish days for me,” he said.
Next week: We continue our “Best Lakes” report with the favorite crappie and muskie waters of Mike Krake, host of Mahoning Valley Sportsman on WKBN Radio 570, and muskie pro Chris DePaola of Austintown.