*Attached video: Cleveland Metroparks hosts Children’s Fishing Derby*
(WJW) – Summer is just around the corner and you know what that means — the days are getting longer, the temperatures are staying warmer, and fishing is in full swing across Ohio.
According to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources Division of Wildlife, the state has 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 for anglers to choose from.
Many great fishing spots are located right here in Northeast Ohio.
Before you head out… get a license!
Before heading out to make the big catch, you’ll first need an Ohio fishing license, which can be purchased here.
Anglers 16 and older must have an Ohio fishing license to fish from public Ohio waters.
Ohio residents have the following options:
- Resident 1-Day License: $14.00
- Resident 1-Year Upgraded from a 1-Day License: $12.00
- Resident 1-Year License: $25.00
- Resident 3-Year License: $72.11
- Resident 5-Year License: $120.18
- Resident 10-Year License: $240.36
- Resident Lifetime License: $599.04
- Resident 1-Year Senior License….$10.00
- Resident 3-Year Senior License….$27.04
- Resident 5-Year Senior License….$45.07
- Resident Lifetime Senior License….$84.24
Nonresidents have the following options:
- Nonresident 1-Day License: $14.00
- Nonresident 1-Year License Upgraded from a 1-Day: $37.44
- Nonresident 3-Day License: $25.00
- Nonresident 1-Year License: $50.96
An annual license is valid for 365 days from the date of purchase, while multiyear and lifetime licenses are valid from the day of purchase until the expiration date written on the license.
Multiyear and lifetime licenses are only available for Ohio residents.
The state also offers free fishing days on June 17 and 18, allowing Ohio residents to fish without a license. All size and bag limits still apply.
Find a full list of license requirements and exemptions here.
What fishing spots should you try this season?
ODNR offers an interactive map of fishing spots across the state. You can find it right here.
But if you aren’t sure where to start, ODNR recommends these fishing spots in Northeast Ohio this spring and summer:
Berlin Lake (Mahoning, Portage, and Stark counties)
According to ODNR, Berlin Lake has seen a constant rise in largemouth and smallmouth bass over the past five years. On top of that, a recent survey shows that bass longer than 15 inches are being found in the lake.
Lake Milton (Mahoning County)
Lake Milton has become a great spot for plenty of nice crappies. After studying the black and white crappie population in 2022, the Division of Wildlife found high growth rates, with many of the fish reaching 8 inches and some even exceeding 10 inches.
Atwood Lake (Carroll and Tuscarawas counties)
If you’re looking to catch saugeye, ODNR says Atwood Lake is your best bet. Known for consistently producing quality fish, the lake has a more abundant saugeye population than most areas of the region and the state as a whole. They aren’t small either, with many between 15 to 18 inches.
Leesville Lake (Carroll County)
Looking for large redear sunfish? ODNR suggests trying out Leesville Lake. The redear sunfish population is abundant here with many of them 9 inches or longer.
East Reservoir (Summit County)
East Reservoir has produced some quality channel catfish recently. In a study from ODNR in 2022, many of the catfish sampled were at least 20 inches. Even better yet, some reached 32 inches in length. East Reservoir is also seeing exceptional population growth.
Pymatuning Lake (Ashtabula County)
In recent years, Pymatuning Lake has seen a record-breaking number of large muskellunge. Ohio’s Division of Wildlife and the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission have been partnering to survey muskellunge at the lake every year for the past 40 years. Twice in the past five years, surveys found a new record number of muskellunge over 30 inches. This makes for the perfect place to land some trophy muskies.
You can learn more about fishing in Ohio on the ODNR website.
There are a few places under fish and wade advisories. ONDR has pinpointed those here.