Fishing Mosquito Lake
Mosquito Creek Reservoir is one of the finest all-around fisheries in northeastern Ohio. The big lake is a challenge to navigate due to its size and general openness to prevailing winds and weather conditions but the fishing is worth it.
The lake offers a smorgasbord of species that include big largemouth and smallmouth bass, nice-sized walleyes, slab-sized crappies and bluegills, whopper channel cats and lunker-class northern pike. There’s something for every angler in this huge lake. Serious fishermen have a great opportunity to target trophy-class fish and weekend anglers can enjoy good catches of eating-sized fish headed for the frying pan.
Bass are an overlooked commodity here and unwittingly passed up by a lot of visiting anglers. The structure in the lake is sparse and targeting bass takes a plan. The milfoil weed beds hold the majority numbers of largemouth bass while the smallmouth bass prefer deeper cover along hard bottom drop-offs and submerged points. Lots of 12- to 15-inch fish are available with 3- to 5-pounders available. Bass fishing can be tough on Mosquito Creek and it takes patience and targeting the structure and weeds to find them. Largemouth bass outnumber the smallies but the bronzebacks seem to be making a comeback.
Walleyes are one of the main draws to Mosquito and big ‘eyes sometimes surpass the 20-inch mark. Several million walleye fingerlings have been stocked into the lake and provide excellent chances for both medium-sized and lunker-class fish. Trolling across flats and searching for open-water schools might result in one of the most productive days on the water an angler has ever experienced. Mosquito Creek isn’t Lake Erie but a lot of nice walleyes are taken here on a regular basis.
Mosquito Creek Reservoir also hosts a thriving population of panfish. The crappies run up to 12 and 13 inches and the bluegills usually are in the 6- to 8-inche class. The crappies and bluegills are taken in shallow weedy bays and along shoreline structure in the early spring, move deeper in the summer months and then reappear in shallow cover as the water cools off in the spring. Small minnows take crappies and the bigger ‘gills while worms, tiny jigs and live bait clean up on panfish throughout the rest of the year.
Northern pike aren’t numerous but the population is healthy and under-fished. Most Ohio anglers aren’t pike fishermen and this lets the few anglers that do target northerns have an outstanding fishery all to themselves. Mosquito Creek probably harbors the best pike population in the state in both sizes and numbers. The Ohio Division of Wildlife used to stock northern pike in several state waters but the survival rates and subsequently poor size attainment prompted fisheries biologists to eventually abandon the project. Mosquito Creek may never have had pike intentionally stocked but they ended up here and then flourished.
Part of the lake is a waterfowl area where fishing and boating is prohibited and this section of the lake just happens to be comprised of ideal northern pike habitat. The pike reproduce well and survival rates are high. The end result is that pike grow free of fishing pressure, get huge and then head out into the rest of the lake. When they do they sometimes top the 30-inch mark. Trophy fish in the 40-inch class have been landed though most of the northern pike will be in the 18- to 24-inch range. Bass anglers sometimes hook into a freight train, lose the fish and retrieve a lure full of tooth marks and broken parts. Try the west side of the lake north of the causeway for northern pike and as the water warms up in the summer go deeper for the lunkers. ODOW fish management studies consistently indicate good catches of northern pike in the lake.
Boating and waterfowl hunting are popular sports on Mosquito Creek but fishermen haven’t been left out in the cold. The ODOW actively manages to improve an already good overall fishery through fisheries studies and surveys, talking to anglers and establishing regulations. The ODOW has sunk old wooden pallets and Christmas trees south of the causeway to serve as fish attractors and structure.
A good-sized fishing boat is recommended. The lake is wide open to winds and weather and gets choppy without being predictable. State of Ohio watercraft officers patrol the lake but there’s no guarantee that watercraft or park officers will be available to help if boaters get into trouble.
The northern section of Mosquito Creek Reservoir is the waterfowl protection zone and no trespassing is allowed. Check a map of the lake available either from the ODOW, the state park or online for the protected zone. The lake covers 7,241 acres in Trumbull County. For more information contact the Ohio Division of Wildlife at (330)644-2293 or the Mosquito Lake State Park at (330)637-2856.