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17 Best Fishing Lakes in Ohio

17 Best Fishing Lakes in Ohio

Welcome to the picturesque world of angling in Ohio, where tranquil waters and abundant catches await avid anglers and casual fishing enthusiasts alike. In this blog, we’ll delve into the top-tier fishing lakes scattered across the Buckeye State, unveiling the hidden gems that have earned their reputations as the best fishing lakes in Ohio. Whether you’re seeking the thrill of reeling in a trophy bass or simply yearning for a serene escape amidst nature’s splendor, Ohio’s waters have something special to offer every fishing aficionado. So, gear up and prepare to explore these uniquely enticing fishing spots that promise unforgettable experiences and bountiful catches.

1. Lake Erie

With its vast surface area and diverse fish species, Lake Erie continues to reign as one of Ohio’s most sought-after fishing destinations. Stretching along the state’s northern border, this Great Lake offers anglers an electrifying and unpredictable experience. From walleye to bass, perch to steelhead trout, the variety of fish species available ensures that every angler can find a thrilling catch. Its convenient accessibility from different parts of the state makes it a favored spot for both locals and visitors.

Whether you’re an experienced angler seeking a trophy fish or a beginner looking for a memorable day on the water, Lake Erie delivers a truly unforgettable angling adventure. Professional guide services are readily available for those unfamiliar with the area to provide valuable insights into local fishing conditions and increase the chances of a successful trip.

Lake Erie

2. Pymatuning Lake

Pymatuning Lake, nestled in the picturesque region of Northeast Ohio, stands out as one of the best fishing lakes in the state. Its appeal lies in the abundance of water and the diverse array of fish species that call it home. Anglers can cast their lines for a thrilling catch of muskie, walleye, bass, yellow perch, and crappie. Among the highlights of this lake is the annual walleye tournament, which adds an extra layer of excitement and competition for fishing enthusiasts.

Beyond its remarkable fishing opportunities, Pymatuning Lake’s strategic location allows anglers to experience the charm of three states at once, as it borders Pennsylvania and West Virginia. Nearby resorts and restaurants offer added convenience, providing anglers with a perfect balance of adventure and comfort.

Pymatuning Lake

3. Alum Creek Lake

Alum Creek Lake has etched its name among the best fishing lakes in Ohio due to its vast expanse, accessibility, and abundance of fish. Situated in the central part of the state, this lake welcomes anglers of all levels, from novices to seasoned pros. As they cast their lines into the waters, anglers can set their sights on prized catches such as muskie, saugeye, largemouth bass, and channel catfish.

Additionally, the lake boasts healthy panfish populations, including bluegill and crappie, making it an excellent destination for families and groups seeking a fun-filled day of fishing. Whether you prefer shore fishing or navigating the lake by boat, Alum Creek Lake offers a wealth of opportunities to create lasting fishing memories.

Alum Creek Lake

4. Grand Lake St. Marys

Grand Lake St. Marys, known for its bountiful fishing opportunities, is a prime choice for anglers looking for a diverse and plentiful catch. Situated in west-central Ohio, this lake lures fishermen with its numerous boat ramps and shoreline access points, ensuring easy exploration of its rich fishing grounds. Anglers can set their sights on prized species like walleye, largemouth bass, channel catfish, and flathead catfish, all of which thrive in the lake’s waters.

Additionally, perch and bluegill add to the excitement, offering variety to the angling experience. After a successful day on the water, visitors can retreat to nearby towns such as St. Marys and Celina, where they can relax and recharge, ready for their next fishing adventure.

Grand Lake St. Marys

5. Piedmont Lake

Piedmont Lake, nestled amidst the picturesque landscapes of eastern Ohio, is widely regarded as one of the state’s best fishing lakes. Its allure lies in the diverse habitats it offers, from rocky shorelines to submerged trees, creating a thriving ecosystem for a variety of fish species. This lake is an ideal choice for anglers seeking a peaceful and rewarding fishing experience.

Fishing novices and experts alike will find the waters of Piedmont Lake to be both welcoming and challenging, with opportunities to catch crappie, smallmouth bass, bluegill, and more. The lake’s 10hp motor limit ensures a balanced fishing environment and helps preserve its natural beauty. With over 40 miles of shoreline, Piedmont Lake presents ample opportunities for anglers to explore its hidden corners and discover their favorite fishing spots.

Piedmont Lake

6. Mosquito Lake

For those in search of an angler’s paradise in northeastern Ohio, Mosquito Lake stands out as a gem among the best fishing lakes in the state. The lake’s reputation is bolstered by the diverse and plentiful fish it houses. The Ohio Division of Wildlife consistently stocks the waters, ensuring that anglers have ample opportunities to reel in a variety of catches.

Whether you prefer to fish from the shore or explore the lake’s depths by boat, Mosquito Lake caters to all fishing preferences. Beyond its fishing allure, the state park surrounding the lake offers an array of recreational activities, making it a great destination for a fun-filled day with family and friends.

Mosquito Lake

7. East Harbor State Park

Anglers seeking a treasure trove of walleye and smallmouth bass need to look no further than East Harbor State Park. Nestled on the shores of Lake Erie in northwestern Ohio, this park beckons fishing enthusiasts throughout the spring and summer months. With an abundance of boat docks and ample areas for casting lines, anglers can expect thrilling moments and rewarding catches. East Harbor State Park offers not only excellent fishing opportunities but also picturesque landscapes that add to the overall appeal of this popular angling destination.

East Harbor State Park

8. Hoover Reservoir

Located in central Ohio, Hoover Reservoir ranks among the state’s best fishing lakes for several compelling reasons. This reservoir boasts a variety of fish species, making it an enticing spot for anglers seeking diverse catches. From bass to perch, channel catfish to crappie, Hoover Reservoir provides a wealth of fishing opportunities year-round. Its proximity to Columbus and Westerville makes it a convenient destination for city-dwelling anglers seeking a quick escape into nature. With its vast expanse, Hoover Reservoir ensures that anglers have plenty of space to explore and discover their ideal fishing spots.

Hoover Reservoir

9. Rocky River

The Rocky River is a captivating destination for fishing enthusiasts in northeastern Ohio. This scenic river attracts anglers with its ample trout, bass, perch, and catfish supply. The year-round availability of steelhead trout and smallmouth bass further adds to its allure. Whether you prefer to fish from the shore or wade into the river’s clear waters, the Rocky River promises a memorable angling experience amid nature’s tranquil beauty.

Rocky River

10. Findlay Reservoir

Situated in the heart of Findlay, Ohio, the Findlay Reservoir offers a fantastic fishing experience. This reservoir is regularly stocked with trout, bass, perch, and other fish species, ensuring an exciting and rewarding day on the water. With a boat ramp and a fishing pier, anglers have convenient access to prime fishing spots. The reservoir’s peaceful ambiance, coupled with an array of recreational activities like swimming and boating, makes it an ideal destination for families and fishing enthusiasts alike.

Findlay Reservoir

11. Clear Fork River

With its warm waters and year-round fishing opportunities, Clear Fork River beckons anglers to explore its serene waters. Located in north-central Ohio, this river provides an ideal habitat for various fish species, such as brown trout, carp, bass, bluegill, and even the occasional muskie. Whether you’re an experienced fly fisherman or a novice eager to try your hand at the art of fly casting, Clear Fork River offers an exciting opportunity to connect with nature and reel in some remarkable catches.

Clear Fork River

12. Ohio River

The majestic Ohio River, flowing along Ohio’s southern border, offers a fishing experience like no other. Home to an abundant array of fish species, including trout, bass, perch, and catfish, this iconic river attracts anglers from all around. Its clean and clear waters provide a picturesque backdrop for a day of fishing, surrounded by lush trees and diverse vegetation. Whether you’re a local angler or visiting from afar, the Ohio River promises an unforgettable angling adventure.

Ohio River

13. Leesville Lake

Leesville Lake, nestled in the rolling landscapes of eastern Ohio’s Guernsey County, has earned its reputation as one of the state’s premier fishing lakes. Anglers are drawn to this lake for its variety of fish species, including muskie, bass, catfish, perch, and crappie. The lake’s campground and cabin rentals ensure a comfortable and convenient stay, making it an excellent destination for an extended fishing trip. Boaters can take advantage of the various amenities available on-site, including boat rentals and fishing gear rentals, to make the most of their angling adventure at Leesville Lake.

Leesville Lake

14. Caesar Creek Lake

Caesar Creek Lake, nestled amidst the serene landscapes of southwestern Ohio, entices anglers with its diverse range of habitats, including wetlands and forests. These diverse environments create an ideal home for a variety of fish species, making it an excellent spot for anglers seeking a rich and varied catch. From largemouth and smallmouth bass to catfish, crappie, and walleye, the lake promises an exciting angling experience for both seasoned fishermen and those new to the sport. As anglers cast their lines into the lake’s shimmering waters, the beauty of the surrounding nature further enhances the sense of tranquility and adventure.

Caesar Creek Lake

15. Beaty Landing

Beaty Landing, a hidden gem among the best fishing lakes in Ohio, has earned its reputation as a steelhead trout haven. The Ohio Division of Wildlife consistently stocks the lake with an impressive 100,000 steelheads annually, creating a thrilling fishing experience for anglers. The migration of steelhead trout upstream during the fall and spring ensures that fishermen can enjoy exceptional fishing throughout the year. Beyond steelhead trout, the lake offers opportunities to catch other prized species, such as bass and perch, making it a popular destination for anglers seeking a diverse and memorable fishing adventure.

Tropical shore of lake in mist

16. Chagrin River

Flowing through the scenic Cuyahoga Valley National Park, the Chagrin River, a tributary of Lake Erie, is a delightful destination for fishing enthusiasts. The river stretches approximately 40 miles, meandering through picturesque landscapes that add to the charm of the fishing experience. Anglers are drawn to the Chagrin River for its diverse fish population, which includes trout, bass, perch, and catfish. Whether you prefer to fish from the river’s banks or explore its waters by canoe or kayak, the Chagrin River promises a serene and rewarding angling adventure.

Chagrin River

Salt Fork Lake

Salt Fork Lake, situated in the beautiful Guernsey County, covers an impressive 3,592 acres, making it one of the best fishing lakes in Ohio for trout, bass, and perch. This picturesque lake offers a peaceful and natural setting, making it an ideal fishing spot for anglers seeking a tranquil retreat from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. With public boat launches and a fishing pier, anglers have easy access to the lake’s abundant fishing grounds. Whether you’re a seasoned angler or a novice eager to try your hand at fishing, Salt Fork Lake welcomes all with its serene ambiance and abundant fish populations.

Salt Fork Lake


What are the most popular fishing spots in Ohio?

Fishermen in Ohio should look into popular fishing spots such as Blue Creek, the Coshocton River, and the Clear Fork River. Additionally, Byrd Dam and Lock and Dam 21 are two hot spots to hit on the Ohio River for Smallmouth Bass, Largemouth Bass, Spotted Bass, Northern Pike, and Bluegill. For more information about these fishing locations or others in the area, anglers should contact local sources.

What are the best times to fish in Ohio?

The best times to fish in Ohio vary depending on the type of fish you’re hoping to catch. For trout, the best time is early morning or late evening when the water is cooler. Bass are most active in the early morning or late evening as well, but can also be caught during the day. Perch are generally easiest to catch during the daytime hours.

What is the catch limit for fish in Ohio?

The catch limit depends on the fish species and the lake. The daily bag limit for largemouth bass is five fish per person in Ohio. For smallmouth bass, the catch limit is four fish per person.

What type of license do I need to fish in Ohio?

If you’re planning on fishing in Ohio, you’ll need to ensure you have the proper license. Depending on what type of fish you’re hoping to catch, there are different licenses available. For trout, for example, you’ll need a trout license in addition to your regular fishing license. You can get a one-day or annual fishing license, which will allow you to fish in any public waters in Ohio.

What are the best conditions for fishing in Ohio?

The best conditions for fishing in Ohio depend on the fish you hope to catch. For trout, bass, and perch, cool weather is generally best. The lakeside temperature should be between 50 and 60 degrees Fahrenheit for optimal results. Sunny days are also ideal, as the fish will be more active in warm weather. For catfish, however, hot weather is best.

What is the best time of year to fish in Ohio?

Ohio anglers have identified winter as the best time of year to fish in the state. During this period, many take to popular fishing spots such as Lake Erie, Indian Lake, and the Portage Lake chain in search of Yellow Perch. Ice fishing is also a common technique used during this season as it provides an extra layer of safety for fishers and increases chances for successful catches.