Ohio anglers enjoy year-round fishing action, and some months the opportunities are so varied that you need to organize your efforts to take full advantage of them. Here is a state-wide, month-by-month guide to where to find some of the best angling possible for some of our more popular gamefish.
Ice fishermen from across Ohio head to 5,000-acre Indian Lake in northwest Logan County to take advantage of its famous ‘first-ice’ bluegill action. The Lucy’s Pond area is just one of the popular panfishing spots on the lake, which is located about 10 miles northwest of the city of Bellefontaine and is accessible from state routes 33, 708, 117, 366 and 235.
Practically any protected area along the Lake Erie waterfront is a potential spot for ice anglers to catch perch. Sandusky Bay and the main-lake waters west of Catawba Island are popular, as are harbor areas from Toledo to Conneaut. The 30 fish-per-day bag limit in that’s in effect year-round for Lake Erie perch may sound liberal — until a school moves in and hook-ups come as fast as shiners and jigs can be dropped through the ice.
The late-winter saugeye bite at 2,850-acre Buckeye Lake in Fairfield County is legendary among central Ohio ice fishermen. Ice often arrives early and usually stays late at this shallow, man-made impoundment located east of Columbus and accessed off state routes 204, 13 and 79.
Ohio River/Greenup Dam
Saugers prepare to spawn as winter water temperatures plummet, offering anglers some fast action in the open waters below several Ohio River lock-and-dam structures. Greenup Dam, along US route 52 east of Portsmouth in Scioto County, is one of the best and allows plenty of access for shore fishermen.
Alum Creek Reservoir
The broad, shallow flats north of US route 36 abound with channel cats on the prowl for winter-killed shad. Boat and bank anglers alike access the flats areas area at the launch ramp off Howard Road on the reservoir’s east side and walk or motor north or south to reach areas where cruising cats are pushovers for a dead shad tight-lined on the bottom.
After ice-out, pike are looking for spawning areas and the bay’s marshes, flooded areas, and shallows. Sandusky Bay’s north and east shorelines warm first, and offer the best action in water as shallow as one foot. Access the bay from the Shelby Street Boat Launch Ramp in Sandusky.
Elbow-to-elbow fishing action normally peaks in the first two weeks of April, but the migrating walleye may remain in the Lake Erie tributary through the end of the month after the annual spawning runs begin in mid-March. Fishermen can find access at Maumee’s Side Cut Metro Park. Be ready for plenty of company in the form of both fish and fishermen.
Steelhead remain in the Ashtabula County stream all winter, but fishing action can pick up fast when the weather takes a turn toward spring. Access at the Woodworth Road Launch Ramp south of Conneaut or (way) upstream Lakeville Park. Reference the ODNR Conneaut Creek Steelhead Fishing Map.