Central Ohio fishing forecasts — Top five inland lakes for 2016

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 central 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.

Black Bass

Knox Lake (Knox county)-(located outside Fredericktown). Knox Lake has a high abundance of largemouth bass that consists of many large fish (61% of fish are 15 inches or longer).

It’s recommended to fish structures along the shoreline below the Old Mansfield Road access. The section of lake above the Old Mansfield Rd. boat ramp is a stump field and can be difficult to navigate; caution is advised in this area.

Shore anglers can access the lake at the marina, dam, the Old Mansfield Rd. boat ramp on the north side of the lake, and a pull off on Old Mansfield Rd located on the south side of the lake.

Boats with motors larger than 9.9 hp are restricted to idle only speeds.


Delaware Reservoir (Delaware County) – Delaware is one of the most recognized crappie fisheries in Central Ohio, with a good population of both white and black crappies.

In the spring, the best areas to focus on will be larger coves with brush and wood in the water. Delaware Lake is surrounded by a wildlife area and state park so anglers are able to access the lake in many areas.

Fishing maps provided by ODNR-DOW will show the most popular fishing access. There are 3 boat ramps on the lake and a marina that has fuel and boat slips.

Delaware is subject to substantial water level fluctuations following rainfall that can affect access and fishing. Be sure to check the Army Corps. Of Engineers website after recent rains.


Indian lake (Logan County) – Year in and year out Indian Lake has been one of the best bluegill fisheries in Central Ohio with large fish and high catch rates in comparison to other lakes.

Focusing on the northeast section of the lake known as the game preserve can be beneficial. There are miles of backwater channels and bays that offer great habitat for sunfish.

Shore anglers should start fishing around the Moundwood area.

During late spring and summer try fishing the lily pads for large bluegill.

A map of Indian lake is located on the ODNR- DOW website showing anglers where boat ramps and shore access exist.

Channel Catfish

Hoover Reservoir (Franklin County) – Hoover has a large abundance and large number of channel catfish. Flathead catfish are not extremely common here, but there are some present.

Recently the Division of Wildlife had started stocking blue catfish in this lake to create a trophy fishery. While these fish are not trophy size yet they are doing very well and are being caught by anglers.

The reservoir has many access points, but generally the northern portion of the lake is where the best catfishing takes place. The oxbow boat ramp is a popular access for shore fishing in the northern pool of the lake.

Hoover has a 9.9 hp boat restriction. There are 5 boat ramps on Hoover, but only 2 of them (Walnut Street and Maxtown) are usable when water level decreases during late summer.

Note: Hoover Reservoir provides water for the City of Columbus; causing water levels to decrease tremendously during the summer months.


Indian lake (Logan County) – Indian Lake has a large population of saugeye. Anglers seeking saugeye at Indian Lake need to look for areas that are wind swept with current. Saugeye will typically be in areas that have rip-rap or rocky substrate. When the wind and waves are hitting these areas the fishing can be even better. When the wind is blowing, fishing water between islands where a current is forming can be a good place and time to use blade baits.

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.