Popular Ice Fishing Lakes In Ohio
Guide to favorite fish species at top ice fishing lakes in the state.
The best ice fishing lakes in OH include Lake Erie, Piedmont Reservoir and Grand Lake St Marys. The purpose of this page is to share basic information about the best ice fishing lakes in the state, plus the species found in each lake. The most popular species are yellow perch, crappie, walleye and bluegill. See a list of lakes and species below.
Ice fishing is as basic as fishing gets. During winter, it is popular here in the state. Aside from the tools one uses to create a hole in the ice, all other gear is very basic. A simple rod, reel, line and hook or lure is all you need. Lures, live bait and prepared bait are options, depending on the fish species in the lake or pond.
Ice Fishing Tips & Techniques Video
Ohio's winter season brings forth a unique fishing experience known as ice fishing. Despite the colder temperatures, anglers eagerly venture onto frozen lakes to target a variety of fish species. Some of the common species pursued during ice fishing in Ohio include yellow perch, bluegill, crappie, walleye, and northern pike.
Ice fishing methods in Ohio typically involve drilling holes through the ice and setting up portable ice fishing shelters or tents to provide protection from the elements. Anglers often use specialized ice fishing equipment, including ice augers to drill holes, ice fishing rods and reels, and small jigs or bait to entice fish beneath the ice. Tip-ups, which are devices that suspend baited lines below the ice, are also popular for targeting species like northern pike.
Safety is of utmost importance when engaging in ice fishing. Anglers should always check the thickness of the ice before venturing onto it, ensuring that it is at least four inches thick for walking and around six to eight inches thick for ice fishing. Wearing appropriate cold-weather clothing, including insulated jackets, pants, and boots, is crucial to stay warm and protected from the frigid temperatures. It is also recommended to fish with a partner and carry essential safety equipment such as ice picks, a throw rope, and a life jacket.
Ohio's ice fishing season typically extends from December to February, depending on weather conditions and the formation of safe ice. It provides a unique and exciting opportunity for anglers to enjoy fishing in a serene winter setting. With proper preparation, equipment, and safety measures in place, ice fishing in Ohio can be a rewarding and memorable experience for anglers of all skill levels.
There are numerous places to go ice fishing in Ohio. Here are a list of some of the proven, most popular and best spots in OH.
Top Ice Fishing Lakes & Species
There are numerous places to go ice fishing in the state. Here are a list of some of the proven, best destinations.
Alum Creek Lake
Deer Creek Lake
East Fork Lake
Grand Lake St Marys
Salt Fork Lake
The Portage Lakes
West Branch Lake
Click the images for species details.
This is a great way to get the kids to go outdoors in winter, connect with nature and learn to fish. The first consideration when attempting to go ice fishing, is safety. Make sure the ice is safe, and that you are prepared should an accident occur. Dress to stay warm - it's better to remove extra jackets than be cold and miserable. Be aware that the ice can be slippery, and falls can be dangerous.
Click here for ice fishing basics, including details on finding the best place to fish, tips for cutting a hole, basic tackle, bait, lures, depths to fish, safety, shanty's, tents and huts.
Best ice fishing method for crappie, bluegill, perch and sunfish
Horizontal jigs and spoon-type baits are the go-to baits for crappie, either tipped with a minnow, wax worm or prepared baits often triggers more bites. Jigs work better close to the bottom, spoons tend to work better higher in the water column. If options allow, 15 to 30 feet is the most common depth. Adjust as necessary. See additional info on ice fishing for crappie, perch and sunfish.
Best ice fishing method for walleye
Four basic lures are all you need. Ice jigs are minnow shaped with a tail that causes them to fall in a circular patter. Drop them to the desired depth (often to the bottom), then lift the bait a few feet to let it fall on slack line. Spoons: Metal slabs in chrome or a wide array of colors are used to jig up-and-down mimicking a dying baitfish. Lipless crankbaits: Fish like a spoon. Jigs: Use slightly larger jigs than for crappie, preferably with a flashing blade attached. Tip with live bait and let it sit, up a ways from the bottom typically 1 to 3 feet. A general tip is to always keep your bait off the bottom, one to 5 feet is an ideal place to start. Additional information about ice fishing for walleye.
Best ice fishing method for pike and musky
Live bait, shiners and sunfish, are a great way to attract these big fellahs, assuming local law allows their use. Heavier line, steel leaders, bigger hooks and stronger tip-ups are in order. See more information on ice fishing for pike and musky.
Click here for a Ohio Fishing License.
States with notable ice fishing.
Ice Fishing in OH
General Fishing Info
Ice fishing for crappie, walleye, saugeye, bluegill and perch in Ohio.