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Cold weather doesn’t mean end of fishing

Social media posts in recent weeks have chronicled a variety of interesting catches locally, serving as a reminder that even with snow blowing across the region we still have plenty of good fishing to enjoy.

Conditions may not be as comfortable for anglers as they were two or three months ago, so warm clothes are required. But the fish are experiencing a more gradual change in their environment and are feeding aggressively to bulk up for winter.

Fortunately for November anglers, much of the action is close to shore. Boats are less essential this time of year, which means those of us who have winterized for the season can still find fishable water.

Those who are taking advantage of autumn opportunities are finding crappies, bluegills, yellow perch and even a few walleyes in the near-shore waters.

Mosquito Lake is particularly productive this season, but anglers also are finding fish around the docks and Mahoning Avenue causeway at Lake Milton. Berlin and Shenango also offer good fall fishing for those who work the rocks.

This is the time of year that takes many of us back to our fishing roots.

Many years ago, I learned about working current seams for chubs and suckers in Yellow Creek in Poland. I carried a small spinning outfit and a tiny hook baited with a garden worm hanging a few inches below a little split shot.

I passed many an afternoon walking the banks and lining up perfect flips and drifts to get the bait to pass temptingly over the noses of the creek fish.

The same basic approach is all one needs to find willing crappies, bluegills and perch at Mosquito. An ultralight rod and reel is perfect when spooled with 6-pound-test fluorocarbon line and a pin-min or tiny jig tipped with a bit of worm, larva or an inch-long minnow.

Lessons learned as I worked the current and eddies of Yellow Creek apply nicely in the fast water of the Mosquito dam tailrace. Anglers who set floats to bob their baits in the churning water connect with panfish, occasional walleye and even catfish.

The docks in the Mosquito State Park marina also are popular November fishing spots. Anglers find good numbers of crappies exceeding nine inches around the dock pilings.

The breakwalls and causeways at all of our local lakes yield panfish and largemouth and smallmouth bass as the fish move in to feed on baitfish, crawfish and freshwater shrimp.

Stalking the rocks on foot calls for traveling light. A few casts are all that is required to determine whether any fish are biting in the vicinity. Then it’s time to move to a new casting point and it’s much easier with just a pocketful of stuff.

It’s great to have good shoreline fishing close to home. Lake Erie may offer bigger walleyes and acrobatic steelhead, but sometimes it’s just as rewarding to pack light and fish smart close to home.

And when we find the crappies and perch, we can go home with enough fish to fillet for one of the tastiest dinners anywhere.

Jack Wollitz is a writer and angler who loves fishing for game fish like bass, walleyes and trout, but happy to dabble for panfish when the opportunity presents itself. He likes emails from readers. Send a note to Jack at jackbbaass@gmail.com.

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