Taking your rod and tackle box to the lake on a lazy Sunday may be a national pastime, but fishing in Ohio is a way of life. The profile of an average midwesterner might include words like “thoughtful,” “persistent,” “competitive,” and “patient.” And a day on the lake can draw out the best of all those things. With so many great central Ohio fishing spots, it can be hard to make your choice. There are also variables like permits, crowdedness, and types of fish to consider. For the sake of this list, we’re just going to give you 11 all-around amazing spots for fishing in Ohio.
Want to know some of the best places for fishing in Ohio? Here are a few of our favorites: Charles Alley Memorial Park, Greenfield Lake, Clear Creek Nature Preserve, Longhaven Retreat, Cenci Park, Rock Mill Lake, Rising Park, Rush Creek Lake, and let’s not forget Buckeye Lake fishing too!
Visitors enjoy 350 acres of beautiful nature inside Charles Alley Memorial Park. Two separate lakes — Lake Loretta and Twin Lake — remain “stocked by the Division of Wildlife for fishing” according to Explore Ohio Outdoors, so you have options. The park’s soaring ridges provide a pretty backdrop for a day of bank fishing in Ohio.
Greenfield Lake is home to a handsome 14+ acres of fishable water. Not overly crowded, this lake will provide experienced anglers and newbies a fair shot at hooking some catfish, bluegill, bullhead, largemouth bass, and more.
Clear Creek is one of those places that transcends a single activity. As Ohio’s largest nature preserve, there’s a ton to do. While the trout fishing here is phenomenal, you shouldn’t skip out on the wonderful trails or the 2,200 species of animals and plants — including one of the few remaining rhododendron colonies in Ohio.
You know how there are campers and then there are “glampers?” Well, you might say that Longhaven Retreat is the Central Ohio fishing equivalent of a “glamping” trip. Don’t get us wrong, it’s a nice, out-of-the-way spot for fishing in Ohio, but it can double as a great romantic getaway or a spot for some summer family fun.
Interested in renting the cabin? We highly recommend it! Longhaven Retreat made our list of 10 Cool Lodging and Luxury Cabin Rentals in Ohio.
Considering that it’s hands down one of the best lakes in Ohio, Buckeye Lake fishing is an experience. This is a fisherman’s fishing spot, but as long as you have a valid Ohio fisher’s license, you’re all set to get out there. Historically stocked with crappie and bass from Lake Erie via the state-run “Buckeye Fish Car,” this lake is what we call a Certified must-fish experience. 😉
Buckeye Lake fishing feel like too much of an event? For more of an out-of-the-way day of angling, you should definitely consider Cenci Park. It may not make it onto any lists of the vastest bodies of water for fishing in Ohio, but Cenci Park isn’t trying to deal with all that hubbub anyway! No shenanigans. No crowds. Just a good, peaceful place to fish in Lancaster, Ohio.
As an added bonus, Cenci Park puts you right by some of the best Ohio breweries of the year. That also means you’re right by Lancaster’s designated outdoor refreshment area (DORA) where you can grab an alcoholic beverage and unwind from an already pretty dang refreshing day!
Several species of bass and catfish are among what you’ll find below the surface of Rush Creek Lake. A vast, serene body of water, Rush Creek makes for a gem of a spot to get some quiet contemplation in on a summer afternoon.
For another scenic central Ohio fishing spot that’s a bit off the beaten path, bluegill enthusiasts will love Rock Mill Lake. The somewhat secluded Rock Mill Lake is 18 acres around and as deep as 25 feet, meaning… who knows what all is down there? So, I mean… don’t expect the Lake Erie monster, but you shouldn’t have any trouble finding a few channel catfish. Rock Mill is one of the best fishing lakes in Ohio for anglers interested in catching serious bluegill and catfish without the crowds you’ll find at a Buckeye Lake.
Bonus Tip: After you pack it up for the day, check out the Rock Mill mural — one of 40 Must-See Mural Paintings in Fairfield County.
Jackson Lake is an awesome place for a family getaway. But if you’re looking to get away from the family for the afternoon, you’d better give them something to do! They’ll have plenty here between disc golf, a water park, and a splash cafe. That should leave you free to slip off to the shores for some you time. Alternatively, bring everybody along for a day of catch-and-release fishing. No fishing license needed!
Oakthorpe Lake is a well-loved local fishing spot in Fairfield County. Premier Angler notes that its 43 acres are home to plenty of largemouth bass and sunfish, but that you can find a wide variety of other fish here too. Perfect for a lazy day of fishing in Ohio! Please note: you will need an electric motor to go out on this lake.
Come for the fishing, stay for the sunset! Rising Park is a lesser-known Ohio fishing spot, but it’s quite a lovely little one, especially for those looking to teach their kids or grandchildren how to fish. This catch-and-release pond is perfect for a family outing, located conveniently near the ever-popular Mt. Pleasant, beautiful picnic areas, and a locally loved playground. Note: Fishing available for children 13 and under, only.
When it comes to the best fishing spots in the Buckeye State, there are some really phenomenal options across every level of commitment and skill. Finding an awesome place to fish in Ohio isn’t hard, but we hope we’ve made it a little easier on you. Let us know if you have any further questions about fishing in Ohio, and be sure to check out the full list of other fun things to do this summer!