Ohio ice fishing Forum
Ice fishing with fish finder
Lake Erie has some of the most intense ice fishing in Ohio. While it can be easy to haul in the daily limit of walleye, yellow perch, and crappie, often some of the best fishing locations are six to 10 miles from shore. Lake Erie requires additional considerations compared to other lakes because of its size, weather conditions, and safety factors. If you plan to ice fish on Lake Erie, it is best to hire a guide who is an expert in these conditions and can help get you to the best locations to target active fish. A guide will have transportation to get you out onto the lake safely and have shelter available for a comfortable outing.
2 Indian Lake
One of the first lakes to freeze in the state is Indian Lake in western-central Ohio. The lake is shallow so it offers one of the first opportunities for anglers to hit the ice in the winter. You can find abundant populations of saugeye and crappie and some of the largest sunfish in Ohio for a public lake. With 5, 800 acres of lake surface there are plenty of areas to target. The shallow lake is one of the reasons it is so productive for catches and has become a favorite among fishing clubs in Ohio.
3 Portage Lakes
Perch at the fishing hole
One of the top ice fishing destinations in Ohio is Portage Lakes, near Akron. A network of lakes and reservoirs makes up five major areas for fishing that regularly produce good numbers of bluegill, crappie, and yellow perch. The East Reservoir, Long Lake, North Reservoir, Turkeyfoot Lake, and West Reservoir make up 1, 600 acres of fishing water. The East and North Reservoirs and Turkeyfoot Lake are some of the best producers of panfish. The advantage of ice fishing on Portage Lakes is that the system stretches along a wide area, so there are many access points. Relocating to new areas is easy since the lakes are connected and in close proximity.
AEP ReCreation Land
One of the most unique areas to try ice fishing is the AEP ReCreation Land, which is a 60, 000-acre outdoor recreation area built on old strip mines that covers Morgan, Guernsey, Noble, and Muskingum Counties. Hundreds of ponds and small lakes are in this area and they offer excellent opportunities for ice fishing on impoundments. These waters have bluegill and better-than-average-sized redear sunfish that range from seven to nine inches. Some of the ponds are easy to access, while others are remote and require a hike to reach them. Anglers need to obtain a free permit to fish these waters through the AEP McConnelsville office or the Division of Wildlife District Four Office in Athens.
5 Piedmont Lake
Crappie at the fishing hole
Saugeye and crappie are both sought after by ice anglers at Piedmont Lake in eastern Ohio. The long, narrow, 2, 270-acre lake winds through heavily wooded terrain, making it one of the most scenic lakes in the state, even in winter. The lake is a stocked saugeye fishery, which is why populations are healthy and active.
The best ice fishing on the lake is near the submerged roadbeds and drop-offs at the lower basin near the dam. The lake is drawn down for flood control purposes during the winter, so you should check on ice conditions by contacting the U.S. Army Corps office before making a trip to the lake.
6 Grand Lake St. Marys
Ice anglers flock to Grand Lake St. Marys when winters are hearty enough to produce consistently safe ice. Located in the western part of the state, the lake is far enough south that ice depths can be unpredictable in mild winters. When it does freeze, this lake is popular for ice anglers who want to target bluegill and crappie. These species tend to produce consistent action from year to year. Yellow perch fishing is better in some years than others, but still a target during the winter. Ice holds up well on this lake because it is shallow with a wide surface area.