As the spring days grow warmer, more and more Ohioans will be venturing out to go fishing. Ohio offers many fantastic opportunities for the public to fish, including 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, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR). Here are a few areas in northwest Ohio anglers may want to check out.
The ODNR Division of Wildlife has numerous resources available to assist anglers, including lake maps, fishing tips by species, and fishing forecasts based on survey data. New this year, is an interactive fishing map which allows anglers to select features to customize their own fishing maps for Ohio’s inland lakes. The interactive map is even mobile friendly so anglers can access information right on the water. For more information, click the fishing tab at wildohio.gov.
Clearfork Reservoir (Richland and Ashland counties)- Ranks in the top 10 statewide for both the number and size of largemouth bass. Explore the western, shallow end for bass hiding among fallen trees and stumps. The reservoir features a multilane concrete ramp and docks, as well as a full-service marina. This is an unlimited horsepower lake with an 8 mph speed limit. Clearfork Reservoir is also one of the states premiere muskellunge lakes. For more information about this lake, visit wildohio.gov
Pleasant Hill Reservoir (Richland and Ashland counties)- Contains a large number of crappie, with good numbers of fish over 9 inches. Popular spots for fishing are along the rocky ledge on the southern shore, and small coves along the southern neck of the reservoir. Focus on trees or logs lying in the water. The northern end becomes more popular in the summer as fish seek more cover. Pleasant Hill has an improved boat ramp with courtesy docks, an accessible fishing dock near the boat ramp. Check out the new interactive fishing map for depth contours and habitat information.
This lake is an unlimited horsepower lake that attracts a lot of water skiers and personal watercraft. Try fishing in the upper end of the reservoir when the recreational boating makes fishing difficult in the lower part of the reservoir.
Lake La Su An (Williams County) – The lakes and ponds on Lake La Su An Wildlife Area are managed for large populations of big bluegill (longer than 8 inches).
For the largest lake on the area, Lake La Su An, the east shoreline and the south shoreline directly across from the fishing dock are the best locations to start. Live bait such as waxworms or redworms will entice panfish to bite. This lake features a concrete boat ramp with a boat dock, plus an accessible fishing dock near the launch ramp. The lake is unlimited horsepower with a no wake restriction. Other ponds on the area have primitive boat ramps suitable for small boats. Fishing is available from early May through late summer on Monday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Please see the wildohio.gov for a full listing of the rules.
Bresler Reservoir (Allen County)- This upground reservoir offers good bank access for anglers of all ages. Look for channel catfish in deeper water using cut baits or night crawlers. For anglers fishing from boats, try fishing the submerged island area southwest of the boat ramp. The reservoir has an improved concrete ramp with dock, and is limited to electric motors only. Boats with larger motors can keep them tipped up and out of the water. Be aware of strong winds which can affect launching and landing boats.
Pleasant Hill Reservoir (Richland and Ashland counties)- When possible fish the flat just outside the marina area which holds fish, as well as the area where the reservoir bends south to the dam. Saugeye fishing can also be good just off the beach area in 10 to 15 feet of water. Try fishing that area at night with a jig tipped with a live minnow near the bottom. There is an improved boat ramp with courtesy docks, plus an accessible fishing dock near the boat ramp. This lake is an unlimited horsepower lake that attracts a lot of water skiers and personal watercraft. Try fishing in the upper end of the reservoir when the recreational boating makes fishing difficult in the lower part of the reservoir. Check out other fishing tips by species page at wildohio.gov.
Findlay Reservoir No. 2 (Hancock County)- This reservoir offers some of the best Buckeye State inland yellow perch fishing. Good numbers of large perch over 10 inches are caught every year. Shoreline fishing in the spring and fall can be productive over the fish attraction structures. If fishing from a boat, start along the dike opposite of the boat ramp and move east. In summer, the deep water in the eastern part of the reservoir usually holds perch. When the reservoir is being filled, the area near the inflow on the northwest dike is usually good for a variety of species. Findlay No. 2 has an improved concrete ramp and launching dock. There is a 10 horsepower limit for gas motors. Wind is usually more intense on this reservoir due to its height. Be careful of the wind direction and speed before venturing out. For more fishing forecasts and a list of other top inland lakes by species, visit wildohio.gov
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.