October 05, 2010
Here's a look at 36 great Buckeye State fishing trips to consider as you plan your 2008 angling getaways.
Buckeye State anglers will have no problem finding a place to wet a line in the coming year. With Lake Erie's abundant walleye and smallmouth bass populations; inland lakes full of bass, catfish, saugeyes and muskellunge; mighty rivers swimming with tackle-busting pike; inland ponds full of plentiful panfish and streams stocked with catchable trout, the only thing an angler needs to worry about is where to fish first!
This year, we've rounded up 36 of Ohio's hottest angling spots by species and month to make that decision easier. Regulations vary widely by location, so always check current fishing laws before heading out.
Anglers can expect to take good numbers of 12- to 15-inch bass here. During winter months, try jigging a plastic worm in deeper portions of the lake. The lower two-thirds of the lake are deeper. At the dam, depths reach down to 33 feet.
Access is off Dillon Hills Drive near the dam in Dillon State Park, or off Route 146.
This 185-acre Hancock County reservoir contains an excellent number of walleyes, most in the 14- to 21- inch range. There are also good populations of channel catfish and yellow perch.
For access sites, check DeLorme's Ohio Atlas and Gazetteer, Map 36.
This 681-acre lake in Clinton County hosts a fair number of muskellunge. Most range from 24 to 36 inches, but there are monsters over 40 inches long and weighing in at 20 pounds swimming here! Cowan Lake is also home to largemouth bass, saugeyes, bluegills and bullheads.
Access may be had through Cowan Lake State Park or off Route 730 in Vernon.
This Belmont County lake offers anglers 2,273 acres of excellent saugeye fishing. Anglers often take fish ranging from 12 to 17 inches. Fish jig-and-minnow or jig-and-night-crawler combinations in five to 10 feet of water for saugeye success.
See DeLorme's Ohio Atlas and Gazetteer, Map 62 for access sites.
This big lake (3,508 acres) in Noble and Guernsey counties is home to a good number of bluegills more than 6 inches in length. Seneca Lake also offers anglers opportunities for largemouth bass, channel catfish, walleyes, saugeyes, striped bass and crappies.
Access is off Route 313.
This Great Lake is a perennial in our pages for a reason -- it's one of the best walleye waters in the Buckeye State! There's a six-fish limit from May through February, four fish per person in March and April. The length limit is 15 inches.
Start drilling your walleye-sized auger holes (no wider than 12 inches) in the bays of the western basin. For access sites, check DeLorme's Ohio Atlas and Gazetteer, maps 27 and 28.
East Fork Lake
This 1,971-acre lake in Clermont County offers anglers a good number of black crappies in the 8- to 12-inch range. Fish 10 to 20 feet deep around wooded bays and dropoffs in fall and late winter.
Access is off Route 222 northeast of Union.
Van Wert Reservoir#1
This 65-acre water in Van Wert County is stocked each spring with 10- to 14-inch rainbows. Anglers may catch larger holdover trout here as well. Reservoir #1 also holds yellow perch and largemouth bass.
Access is off U.S. Route 127 south of the City of Van Wert.
Deer Creek Lake
This productive bass lake spans Pickaway and Fayette counties. For lunker largemouths in late winter, fish dropoffs where the water is deepest.
Access may be had off Route 207 near Pancoastburg.
Anglers can count on pole-bending muskie action at this tributary of Paint Creek Lake that flows through Highland and Fayette counties.
Muskies are ambush predators. Cast big lures close to submerged logs and vegetation, and then retrieve with a fast, irregular pace.
Access may be had off Route 753.
The Grand River flows through Ashtabula and Lake counties and is an excellent spring destination for steelies. The river is also home to largemouth and smallmouth bass.
Access is off Route 88 near East Farmington.
Timbre Ridge Lake
Timbre Ridge Lake in Lawrence County is stocked annually with anywhere from 1,000 to 3,000 rainbow trout. Anglers generally have the best luck in 8 to 10 feet of water.
Try fishing a black and yellow jig tipped with a mealworm. Access is off Route 775 near Wilgus.
Timbre Ridge Lake in
Lawrence County is stocked annually with anywhere from 1,000 to 3,000 rainbow trout. Anglers generally have the best luck in 8 to 10 feet of water.
White bass migrate up this Lake Erie tributary to spawn. The run generally peaks in mid-May. Anglers may catch white bass ranging from 8 to 13 inches and occasionally larger.
The best Wood County stretch of the Maumee is from the Conant Street Bridge in Maumee upstream to the end of Jerome Road. Or try below the Grand Rapids-Providence Dam in Lucas County. Best-bet baits are floating jigs tipped with a minnow.
Access is off Maple Street in Perrysburg, or at Orleans Park.
This 300-acre Huron County reservoir has plenty of bronzebacks averaging 10 to 15 inches. Fishing for
smallmouth bass is best here in spring and summer.
No boats over 25 feet long are allowed, with electric motors only.
Access is off Route 61, two miles north of New Haven.
This lake in Knox County has a healthy population of channel cats in the 10-pound range. Every few years since 1999, the lake has been stocked with thousands of yearlings.
Anglers have the best luck night-fishing on the bottom with shrimp or night crawlers.
Access is northeast of Frederickstown on Route 95.
Pike Island Pool
This stretch of the mighty Ohio River flows through Belmont and Jefferson counties and offers good opportunities for bronzebacks. Most fish will range from 10 to 15 inches.
The rocky shoreline along the main channel is plentiful. Anglers should also try below the New Cumberland Dam and around the islands.
Small jigs, night crawlers and minnows do the trick here.
Be sure to check for special regulations before heading out. For access details, check DeLorme's Ohio Atlas and Gazetteer, Map 63.
This 143-acre lake in Ross County is a consistent producer of quality-sized largemouth bass. Fish here average 12 to 15 inches, with many larger specimens available. Ross Lake is also home to channel catfish and bluegills.
Electric motors only!
Access is off the Hydell Road east of the city of Chillicothe.
Salt Fork Lake
This 2,815-acre lake in Guernsey County offers anglers reliable catches of channel cats, especially in June and July. Many cats here weigh 12 to 15 pounds.
Fish around the Salt Fork Marina and bay near the Salt Fork State Park office and along U.S. Route 22.
Salt Fork is also home to saugeyes, muskellunge and bass.
This lake is in Lake Loramie State Park and is stocked with saugeyes -- over a million fingerlings have been introduced since 1999! There are an excellent number of saugeyes weighing 1 to 3 pounds.
Fish jigs and plastic twistertails tipped with night crawlers.
Access is off the Fort Loramie Swanders Road.
Hybrid Striped Bass
This Champaign County lake has a strong population of hybrid striped bass. Stocking began in 1992, and by now, some of those fish are 26 inches long and weigh 14 pounds.
To land a big striper, try chicken livers fished on the bottom.
From Route 235, take Possum Hollow Road and then Lake Road to reach the southern end of the lake.
Many consider this 1,045-acre lake in Carroll County to be the best Buckeye State water for muskellunge, in both numbers and size of fish.
Leesville is also home to saugeyes, largemouth bass, channel catfish and walleyes.
To get there from Route 212 south of Sherrodsville, take Deer Road.
The Philo Pool in Muskingum County is known for its excellent flathead fishing. While flathead catfish may be caught anywhere along this 10-mile stretch from May to August, anglers who concentrate on the deeper holes in the Y-Bridge area have the best luck.
Best-bet baits are live chubs and sunfish. Access is off Route 60.
This 1,551-acre lake in Carroll and Tuscarawas counties has been stocked with saugeyes since 1985. The catch in 2008 will be heavy on fish in the 15- to 18-inch range, all members of the 2004 year-class.
Anglers may also expect to catch a good number of fish between 21 and 24 inches long. Tip a small jig with half a night crawler, let the bait sink and retrieve it slowly.
Access is off Route 542, near Monroe.
This 204-acre lake in Gallia County southeast of Jackson has a good number of bluegills that average between 6 and 9 inches. Electro-shocking surveys conducted in 2006 indicated good numbers of bluegills in the 5- to 6-inch range, and they should be much bigger by this summer!
This fall, anglers can expect to take plentiful perch ranging from eight to 11 inches from this Great Lake. Some larger fish, up to 13 inches, are taken each year. Fishing is good here year 'round, but the peak season for yellow perch is from August through October.
The central basin gives up larger perch than other regions of the lake. For access sites, check out DeLorme's Ohio Atlas and Gazetteer, maps 32 and 33.
East Branch Reservoir
This top-rated pike water is in the Geauga County town of East Claridon. Fishing is also good here for largemouth bass.
Access to the southern end of the reservoir is off Route 608.
The Vermilion, a tributary of Lake Erie, is one of the better salmon fisheries available to Buckeye State anglers. Smallmouth bass, rainbow trout and northern pike may also be caught here.
Access is off Route 60, or see DeLorme's Ohio Atlas and Gazetteer, Map 39.
Salt Fork Lake
This Guernsey County lake is stocked with muskies and is also a great walleye destination.
Landing a muskie measuring 36 inches or longer qualifies you for a Fish Ohio Award. Try big crankbaits, wobbling lures or jerkbaits, and be sure to use a wire leader!
Access may be had off
U.S. Route 22 in Jefferson.
This northwestern Williams County lake in Edon, at 95 acres, is the largest naturally formed lake in Ohio.
Nettle Lake offers anglers a shot at an excellent largemouth bass population. The lake also has good fishing for channel catfish and a fair number of crappies and bluegills.
This smallmouth bass water flows through Hocking and Athens counties. Electro-shocking surveys indicate a good concentration of bronzebacks from the confluence of Clear Creek in Hocking County to the Plains in Athens County.
Most smallmouth bass from this river top 12 inches. They can go as large as 19 inches. There is a 15-inch minimum-length limit in effect from the Route 328 bridge south of Logan to the Route 278 bridge in Nelsonville.
The daily creel limit along this stretch is one fish.
St. Joseph River
The St. Joseph flows through Williams County and is known for giving up battle-ready pike along the stretch near Montpelier Park. Cast baits that mimic the pike's natural diet into pools of slower-moving water with abundant vegetation cover.
Access is off Route 107.
This Lake Erie tributary flows through Huron County, offering anglers plenty of places to wet a line for steelhead trout.
The daily creel limit is two trout from Sept. 1 through May 15, and then five trout from May 16 through Aug. 31. There is a 12-inch minimum length on steelies all year.
The best fishing is from October through April.
Access may be had off River Road in Milan.
This 82-acre lake in Geauga County is stocked with catchable rainbow trout (10 to 12 inches) and occasionally, brood-stock trout (16 to 28 inches) in April and November.
Punderson is one of the few Ohio lakes where holdover trout may be found, and it's one of the most popular trout destinations in the northeast region.
Access is off Route 44 just north of South Newbury.
This stretch of the Ohio River flows through Hamilton and Clermont counties. Here, saugeye fishing is good from November through April, with most fish ranging from 10 to 16 inches.
Fish near gravel bars adjacent to stream confluences and near warmwater discharges. Tempt big saugers with minnows and small jigs.
For access, check DeLorme's Ohio Atlas and Gazetteer, maps 75 and 82.
M. J. Kirwan Reservoir
This Portage County walleye impoundment is in West Branch State Park. In addition to excellent walleye action, Kirwan is home to largemouth and smallmouth bass and muskies.
Access is off Route 5 near Charlestown.
This 133-acre lake in Hancock County offers anglers a good population of crappies. LeComte is also home to saugeyes, channel catfish, largemouth bass, yellow perch and bullheads.
Access is off Route 5 east of Ravenna.
Find more about Ohio
fishing and hunting at