COLUMBUS, Ohio – Central Ohio’s public fishing lakes and reservoirs offer some of the Buckeye State’s best locations to fish for saugeye, catfish, and largemouth bass, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Division of Wildlife.
Ohio has 124,000 acres of inland water, 7,000 miles of streams, 2.25 million acres of Lake Erie water, and 481 miles of the Ohio River.
The Division of Wildlife has numerous resources available to assist anglers, including lake maps, fishing tips by species, and fishing forecasts. Many of these resources are available right at your fingertips with the HuntFish OH mobile app. Fishing regulations and an interactive fishing map can be located with ease from any mobile device. For more information on fishing tips and forecasts, go to wildohio.gov. Here are a few areas in central Ohio anglers may want to visit.
Indian Lake (Logan County) – Indian Lake lived up to its reputation as the saugeye capital of Ohio last year with 99 Fish Ohio saugeye catches. An exceptional year class in 2018 means anglers can expect a large majority of their catch to be in the 15- to 18-inch range. Indian Lake is shallow with minimal depth change and structure. Shore-bound anglers can target wind-swept areas with riprap or a rocky substrate such as Moundwood Canal, Oldfield Beach, and the South Shore. For boat fishing anglers, catch saugeye from April through July by trolling crankbaits or pulling worm harnesses through the open water areas of the lake or in deeper channels.
Deer Creek (Pickaway and Madison counties) – Spring is a great time to pursue hard fighting white bass as they make their way into the creek above Deer Creek Lake to spawn. Many good-sized white bass concentrate in the creek above the reservoir, resulting in phenomenal fishing. The key is to be there at the right time. The run only lasts about one week, which means anglers need to get out when conditions are right in early May, or they may miss their chance. Anglers simply need waders, a fishing rod, and a jig with a plastic curly tail to catch white bass. A popular area to fish in the creek is near Cook Yankeetown Road.
Delaware Lake (Delaware County) – Excellent populations of black crappie and white crappie abound with good numbers of fish over 10 inches at Delaware Lake. In the spring, it is best to focus on larger coves with shallow water, woody cover, and rocks. Target crappie with small jigs, various plastic baits, or crappie minnows. These baits are often presented under a slip bobber in and around brush piles and submerged trees. In the summer, fish move to deeper water often adjacent to old stream channels. When this happens, an effective way to catch crappie is by trolling small crankbaits through these areas at slower speeds around 1.5 mph. Because the lake is surrounded by wildlife area and state park land, anglers can shore fish from virtually anywhere. Boat anglers can find three boat launches as well as marinas with fuel and boat slips.
Alum Creek Lake (Delaware County) – Alum Creek Lake is one of the deepest waterbodies in Ohio, but many fingers concentrate bass that are accessible by shore. The shoreline west of Dunham Road parking lot and the small inlet near Alum Creek Marina are hotspots for largemouth bass. A variety of methods can be used to target largemouth bass, but spinner baits and rubber worms or frogs are some of the most sure-fire methods. Anglers should try to find structure such as a fallen tree when possible. Boat anglers can use the four boat launches as well as the marina located on the western side. Bordering state park property provides unlimited shoreline access. Alum Creek Lake has unlimited horsepower restrictions and gets quite busy with recreational boaters during the summer months.
Channel catfish and blue catfish
Hoover Reservoir (Franklin and Delaware counties) – Consistently ranked as the best catfish fishery in central Ohio, Hoover Reservoir has great numbers of large channel and blue catfish. Blue catfish were first stocked in 2011, and the oldest individuals have already surpassed 30 pounds. Last year alone, Hoover Reservoir produced 74 Fish Ohio channel catfish and 41 Fish Ohio blue catfish, making it a top catfish destination.
Generally, the northern section of the lake (above Sunbury Road) is where the best catfishing takes place. A traditional technique is bottom fishing with worms, chicken liver, shrimp, and live or dead fish. Many avid catfish anglers slowly troll a Santee Cooper rig baited with cut gizzard shad. Hoover Reservoir has a 10-horsepower restriction on outboard boat motors. It has five boat launches, including popular accesses at Walnut Street, Redbank, and the newly renovated Oxbow launch.
The Division of Wildlife is responsible for conserving and improving fish and wildlife resources in the Buckeye State. Follow the Division of Wildlife on Twitter and Facebook for instant news stories, outdoor recreation ideas, local wildlife information, and so much more. The Your Wild Ohio Explorer page provides wildlife success stories and ways to help wildlife throughout the seasons. Visit wildohio.gov to find locations to hunt, fish, trap, and view wildlife.
The mission of the Division of Wildlife is to conserve and improve fish and wildlife resources and their habitats for sustainable use and appreciation by all. Visit wildohio.gov to find out more.
ODNR ensures a balance between wise use and protection of our natural resources for the benefit of all. Visit the ODNR website at ohiodnr.gov.
Submitted by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.