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Updated: Mar 22

Over the years, certain fishing locales emerge as especially reliable . This is especially critical when some of us must consider not only the basics like time,cost, and sheer productivity, but also for some of us, additional concerns for scheduling staff, TV production, photo opportunities, and overall travel conditions.

I'd like to here specify a half-dozen of the most dependable destinations we've discovered and enjoyed and come to depend on over the last forty years or so. I'll try to convey the particular positives of each of these, along with insights and particular variables unique to each.

If you're planning a rudimentary schedule on some new and/or interesting new fishing holes for 2024, you could do a whole lot worse than considering this list.


With the sad decline of the Cuyahoga River in the aftermath of the dam removals of a decade or so ago, too many anglers have given up on the entire river in disgust over the residual effects of these actions that admittedly largely reduced perhaps the storied stream's most productive and enjoyable recreational stretch to essentially a comparatively useless ditch. 

While such depression is understandable, don't forget the two following stretches that still provide fine fishing in an atmosphere of comforting ambiance. The length from Hiram Rapids downstream toward Kent remains an enjoyable kayaking and canoeing option for many of us. Consider entering the water in the Hiram area and have another vehicle waiting downstream in Mantua , or further on. Beautiful stretch, particularly in the fall. Leisurely pace.

Key Species : smallmouth bass, northern pike.

Suggested lures : in-line spinners, Rebel Crawdads, tubes.


This stretch is in actuality that part of the Cuyahoga that runs generally east-west prior to heading northwards toward Lake Erie. From below the Gorge Dam to Liberty Commons has been the scene of many of our Buckeye Angler TV shows, often walking the stream or wading. Bring that camera, while its not as productive as prior to the upstream dam removals, it is still preferable to most other area fisheries.

Species : smallmouth, steelhead, walleye.

Lures : Rebel Crawdads, tubes, in-line spinners.


(Snug Harbor 440-593-3755)

While understandably heralded as the premier Lake Erie steelhead trout tributary , Conneaut Creek also harbors a resident population of smallies and the occasional walleye. With a small watercraft, anglers can put in at the rural ramp about two miles in from Erie, and on most weather-positive days, run out to the shipping lane and perhaps troll your way out to the storied east breakwall, where spring and fall walleyes and smallmouth abound.

This small town has an abundance of worthwhile b& bs for making it the weekend. Conneaut is the last exit before Pennsylvania in the extreme northeast corner of the state. Smallie bite should commence in about 2-3 weeks.

Species : smallmouth,steelhead, walleye.

Lures : spoons, smaller crankbaits, tubes.


( Marina : 419-433-3932)

If I'm heading in a more westerly direction to Lake Erie , Cranberry Creek , between Vermilion and Huron , is an automatic consideration, particularly for near-shore big walleye. Bob Hanko and family run a great marina, which includes honest and accurate information about conditions, never to be assumed with many Erie outfits. While nearby Ruggles Reef was once arguably the big pond's primary destination for smallmouth bass, the area is nowadays more renowned as a walleye destination, particularly in fall near shore in evenings.

Species : walleye, smallmouth, perch, steelies.

Lures : varied crankbaits, tubes, spoons.


( Park : 440-564-2279 )

Regularly cited by ODNR staff as the state's most underrated and underfished location. Small, deep fishery is unusually cool year 'round, which well serves the state -stocked population of various trout species, a true bonus for locals who regularly plumb the lake's substantial bluegill and crappie populations. There panfish are found considerable deeper than at many other area locales. Amazing how many that should know better regularly drive right by this underfished gem on the Geauga/Portage County border to go to regularly less productive LaDue Reservoir.

Species : bluegill, catfish, trout, crappie, catfish, largemouth bass.

Lures:  black ants, in-line spinners, twistertails.


One of my favorite outings is taking Route 11 down to alongside Pennsylvania to the Lou Holtz Freeway to East Liverpool's quaint and duck-filled downtown ramp. With West Virginia directly across from the ramp, you will be very close to the absolute convergence of the three states. Go across and fish downstream to find several fishable tributaries, the ones on the West Virginia side utilizing warm-water discharges. Go upstream towards the Allegheny and Monongahela , just outside Pittsburgh. A favorite haunt of mine is Beaver Creek on your left on the way-beautiful water and Pennsylvania-stocked brown trout, among others.

Species : smallmouth bass, sauger, catfish, muskie, saugeye, largemouth.

Lures : in-line spinners, small crankbaits, tubes.

If your current favorite fishing holes have been increasingly letting you down , consider some of the proven reliables on this list, and feel free to contact us at Buckeye Angler for any additional insights and tips.


Jack Kiser is the host of " Buckeye Angler " and veteran Outdoors Columnist for the Record-Courier and " Midwest Outdoors " magazine, as well as long-time TV and radio host for Fox Sports and PBS. You may reach him at the Buckeye Angler Facebook site or the new

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