AKRON — Northeast Ohio’s public fishing lakes and reservoirs hold some of the Buckeye State’s best populations of muskellunge, walleye and largemouth bass, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources 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. At $25 for a resident one-year fishing license, fishing is a cost-effective and accessible outdoor recreational activity.
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 northeast Ohio anglers may want to visit.
Mosquito Creek Lake (Trumbull County) — This lake has produced the best numbers of walleye among all of Ohio’s inland lakes during the past five years. It is known for producing great catch rates of walleye up to 18 inches, with some fish up to 28 inches. Midlake areas produce the best catches.
Drifting, trolling, or casting from 6 to 15 feet work best, but make sure to align bait choices with is the season. Anglers who wade generally find success near the Mosquito Creek State Park access on the south end. Three public boat launches span the lake, with two boat rental facilities available. There is unlimited horsepower access, but a large area north of the causeway has wave restrictions.
The extreme north end of the lake above the buoy line is not accessible because of the wildlife refuge. Mosquito Creek Lake produces trophy catches year-round. Whether it is ice fishing, early season wading, mid-summer trolling or casting in the fall, Mosquito Lake is the choice for many walleye anglers.
West Branch Lake (Portage County) — The Division of Wildlife’s Muskie Angler Log indicates that this lake produces the most muskellunge in Ohio. The number of large fish reported by anglers has been high, making West Branch Lake a true trophy fishery. Long points, sunken islands, and weed lines are ideal areas to target. A good lake map is helpful to ensure that you are hitting the right areas. Three improved launches and two unimproved launches are available. Boaters have no horsepower restrictions, but the area west of Rock Springs Road is a no-wake area.
Portage Lakes (Summit County) — This system of waterways is the place to be for largemouth bass and ranks the top for producing Fish Ohio-qualifying catches in Ohio. Each of the main lakes (Turkeyfoot, East, West, Long and North) offers its own unique experience. Try pitching a spinnerbait, swim bait, or jig around the numerous docks early in the season.
As the season progresses, move offshore toward areas where the depth changes. Portage Lakes still has some characteristics of natural pothole lakes, so drop-offs that may extend to 60 feet deep (Turkeyfoot Lake is a good example). The upper lakes (Turkeyfoot, West, East) have two main launches, and North and Long each have a main launch. Each lake has its own regulations and outboard boat motor horsepower restrictions, so be aware of what lake you are on and what is allowed.
From Memorial Day to Labor Day, the Portage Lakes are often busy with boater traffic. Be courteous to other boaters and be aware of your surroundings.
Atwood Lake (Carroll and Tuscarawas counties) — This lake has been rated as one of Ohio’s top 10 lakes for great crappie fishing during the past five years. Locate areas with downed trees, beaver lodges, and brush. Try using lightweight (1/32 ounce or 1/64 ounce) jigs with a plastic curly tail or tipped with a minnow. Three boat launches offer access and although some shore fishing is available, fish are more accessible by boat. The lake has a 25-horsepower restriction on outboard motors.
Pymatuning Lake (Ashtabula County) — Ohio’s largest inland lake lies along the Ohio-Pennsylvania border and has good sunfish and perch fishing. Shoreline access is limited, but wading in the shallows or using a small boat can lead to success. Bluegill, pumpkinseed, rock bass, and yellow perch populations are good, with numerous Fish Ohio-qualifying catches. Fishing around any of the boat launches produces catches, but the causeway that separates the north and south side is large, provides great access, and offers anglers a chance to catch a keeper.
Boaters can choose from 12 launches, three marinas that rent boats, and facilities in both states that anglers enjoy. The lake has a 20-horsepower restriction on outboard motors. The Division of Wildlife and the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission have a reciprocal license agreement. Although you can fish from a boat on either side of the lake, you are required to have the appropriate state’s license to fish from their shore.
Springfield Lake (Summit County) — Located near Akron, this lake is stocked every other year with channel catfish. Shoreline access is scattered across the lake. Traditional baits such as shrimp, cut bait, and nightcrawlers work well. Boat launches are available on the north and south ends of the lake.
Visit wildohio.gov to find locations to hunt, fish, trap and view wildlife.
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