Best Inland Lakes Central Ohio 2022

Best Inland Lakes Central Ohio 2022

As we near spring many of us are thinking about fishing. Ohio has a plethora of options for public fishing. According to the ODNR Ohio has 7,000 miles of streams, 2.25 million acres of Lake Erie, 481 miles along the Ohio River and a whopping 124,000 acres of Inland Lakes.

With so many choices how does someone decide where to fish? A good start is the Ohio Division of Wildlife. ( Their website contains information that anglers will find extremely useful. Information such as lake maps, fishing forecasts, and fishing tips by species etc. Maybe the best single resource is the interactive fishing map which can be found by clicking Interactive Map. This online tool will allow you to see lake features, facilities, motor/HP restrictions, measure distance and more. Most importantly this app is mobile friendly which means you can access data anywhere including your boat. With so many options we decided to share a few areas in Central Ohio you may want to consider.



Our #1 pick for sunfish is located about 20 miles east of Columbus, Buckeye Lake. Buckeye Lake is one of the only lakes in Central Ohio that consistently produces 8” or better sunfish. We suggest focusing your attention on the southeast side of the lake where the docks are a year-round home of sunfish. On the north side of the lake Maple Bay is also a good choice. This is a large backwater section that holds sunfish as well.

Local anglers commonly use small hooks baited with red worms or wax worms under a float. In addition to sunfish Buckeye Lake also has a thriving population of crappie that inhabit the same places as the sunfish.

Boaters can access the lake using the north shore boat ramp or the Liebs Island boat launch. If you are a bank fisherman there are many options. These options include 4.3 miles of dam, Fairfield Beach and Sellers Point.


Our # 1 central Ohio lake for Crappie is Delaware Lake located just minutes north of Columbus. Delaware Lake has a thriving population of both black and white crappies. This time of year (Spring) drill down on large coves that have wood and brush in the water. Later in the summer the crappie will move to old stream channels meaning that you will want to fish deeper.

Local anglers use crappie minnows or small jigs tipped with various plastic baits under a slip bobber. Once again you will want to focus on submerged trees and brush piles this time of year.

Delaware Lake has marina that sells fuel and has boat slips. The lake has many access points including 3 boat ramps. Visit foe access points.

Before driving to Delaware Lake check the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers website as the lake water level will affect access if there has been recent rains.

Channel Catfish and Blue Catfish 

Hoover Reservoir is our #1 pick in central Ohio if your goal is to catch Channel and Blue Catfish. Built in 1955 Hoover Reservoir supplies water to the city of Columbus. The reservoir has been stocked with blue catfish since 2011 and anglers have caught 20lb plus blue cats. This reservoir is 4700 acres and although catfish can be caught just about anywhere the north end of the lake tends to produce on a more consistent basis.

Local anglers’ fish for catfish using traditional methods such as worms, shrimp, chicken liver and dead or alive fish while fishing the bottom. Another common method is trolling with cut gizzard shad on a Santee Cooper rig.

Hoover Reservoir is a popular kayaking lake due to the 10-horsepower restriction on boat motors. Access is never an issue with 5 boat ramps however anglers should be aware water levels decrease quite a bit in the summertime due to Columbus drawing their drinking water from the lake.


Our #1 pick for Saugeye in central Ohio was pretty much a slam dunk, Indian Lake. Indian Lake located approximately 20 miles southeast of Lima is known as one of the elite saugeye fisheries in Ohio.

If you venture there focus on the south shore, Dream Bridge and Moundwood canal or any other area with riprap. Indian Lake is a shallow lake with very little structure or depth change. The lake is 5104 acres with an average depth of 10 feet and one of the largest inland reservoirs in Ohio.

Local anglers commonly use a jig and twister tail or troll at 2-3 mph with crankbaits. As the water cools in the fall switch to jerk baits and blade baits. Pay special attention to wind-blown channels for feeding saugeye.

With numerous boat ramps and many access points for bank fishermen access is never an issue at Indian Lake. To view a map, go to

Largemouth Bass 

Alum Creek Lake was our clear #1 choice for bass in central Ohio. This 3387-acre lake is once again just minutes north of Columbus and parallels interstate 71. Alum Creek was created in 1974 as part of the Flood Control Act of 1962.

Areas to focus on for Largemouth Bass include the Big Run Bay area and anywhere in the lake you can locate old tree stumps or sharp drop-offs.

Local anglers use plastic worms in black and pumpkinseed colors Texas rigged for the best success. In addition, you can combination of Black/Blue Craw style baits, slow dragged and hopped on the bottom.

There are 4 boat launches so access will not be an issue. Bank fisherman will also be delighted that there are numerous areas to pull off and fish as the shoreline is 68 miles.


Get out and enjoy the outdoors and everything Ohio has to offer this spring and remember to take time to teach a child how to fish.



Read Now Read Now

Read Now Read Now