The top six northeast Ohio inland lakes for fishing

fisherman holding crappie
Crappies are often the first bite of the season and the preferred catch for members of the Ohio Crappie Club. (Submitted photo)

AKRON — Ohio offers many locations 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) Division of Wildlife.

The Division of Wildlife has numerous resources available to assist anglers, including lake maps, fishing tips by species and fishing forecasts.


Anglers are encouraged to use an online interactive fishing map which allows users to select features in order to customize their own fishing maps for Ohio’s inland lakes. This map and the selective features are mobile-friendly, so anglers can access information right on the water.

For more information on fishing tips and forecasts, go to

Here are a few areas northeast Ohio anglers may want to check out. Be sure to share the experience and take someone fishing with you.

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Black bass

Portage Lakes (Summit County)

This system of waterways is known as the place to be for largemouth bass. Each of the main lakes (Turkeyfoot, East, West, Long and North) offers its own experience.

Try pitching a spinnerbait, swim bait, or jig around the numerous docks early in the season. As the season progresses, move off-shore toward places with a depth change.

Portage Lakes still has some characteristics of natural pothole lakes, so drop-offs 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.


Atwood Lake (Carroll and Tuscarawas counties)

Over the past five years, this lake has been rated as one of Ohio’s top 10 lakes for crappie fishing. 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 ramps offer access to Atwood Lake. Some shore fishing is available, but 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 offers 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.

Fishing around any of the boat launches can produce catches, but the causeway that separates the north and south side is large, provides great access, and offers anglers a chance to catch a slab.

There are more than 12 boat launches, three marinas that rent boats, and facilities on both sides of the lake that anglers enjoy. The lake has a 20-horsepower restriction on outboard motors.

The Ohio 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.

Channel catfish

Springfield Lake (Summit County)

Located near the Akron, this lake is stocked every other year with channel catfish and provides anglers with an opportunity to land a trophy. Shoreline access is scattered across different areas of the lake.

Traditional baits such as shrimp, cut bait and night crawlers work well. Boat launches are available on the north and south ends of the lake.


Mosquito Creek Lake (Trumbull County)

This lake has produced the best numbers of walleyes among all of Ohio’s inland lakes during the past five years. Each year, the Division of Wildlife collects broodstock walleye from Mosquito Lake for hatchery production.

It is known for producing great catch rates of walleye up to 18 inches. Walleye up to 28 inches are regularly caught here as well. Mid-lake areas produce the best catches.

Drifting, trolling or casting from the 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 ramps 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 no access 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. West Branch Lake has historically had an assortment of predatory fish species stocked over the years.

Muskellunge, walleye, saugeye and hybrid-striped bass have been stocked, so don’t be surprised with what you catch at West Branch.


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