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Top Fishing Charters in Ohio

Fishing in Ohio

When in Ohio, you can safely say you’re “In the Heart of it All.” This applies to many things, the most important for us being angling. With more than 50,000 lakes statewide, Ohio fishing charters have their work cut out for them. While certainly impressive, it’s far from being all that The Buckeye State has to offer. Ohio’s numerous rivers and creeks are darlings of the fly fishing community, and we’re sure you’ll love them as much as the locals do.

Known For

It’s hard to pin down Ohio as being based around one single thing. Even its famous flats give way to the Appalachian foothills to the southeast. In a way, it’s the mix of influences that makes it so authentically American. The fact that it’s blessed with one of the Great Lakes is just a juicy cherry on top.

Fishing Spots in Ohio

Lake Fishing

Anyone asking about the best fishing lakes in Ohio will inevitably get one answer and one answer only - Lake Erie. No going around it - this is the world’s largest freshwater fishery, worthy of our respect and admiration. And what’s not to love? The Walleye and Smallmouth Bass mesmerise armies of anglers every year, and they’re always back for more.

While Lake Erie is definitely the cool kid on the block, it would be unfair to just leave it at that. Take a trip off the beaten path and you’re in for quite a treat. Ohio’s assorted small reservoirs are home to Catfish, Bass, and Walleye, as well as notably good Muskies.

The other smaller lakes can be just as much fun, if not more, depending on your ideal type of fishing trip. For example, Kiser Lake completely prohibits the use of motors, making for a much more outdoorsy experience. It’s also a great place to catch a bunch of Bluegills. The same goes for Highlandtown Lake in northeastern Ohio, but they actually do allow electric motors there.

To say Ohioans are fans of Bass would be quite an understatement. There are dozens of Bass clubs all over Ohio, with tournaments on a regular basis. In order to keep it that way, most of the popular Bass lakes have strict motor restrictions. These include Piedmont, Pymatuning, and Leesville Lake, all with 10 HP motor limits and the best Bass fishing in Ohio.

River Fishing

Flowing through six states, the Ohio River is the other main contender for the honor of having the best fishing in Ohio. With the likes of Channel and Flathead Catfish, alongside Walleye, White Bass, Striped Bass and Hybrid Stripers, it’s definitely got variety going for it. Anglers who’ve been fishing here for a long time like sticking to the dam tailraces. A lot of baitfish swim through regularly, attracting some world-class game.

Buckeye fly anglers tend to stick with rivers for the most part, and who can blame them? There’s a lot of them, and they’re packed with fish. Some, like the Clear Fork River sustain Trout-friendly water temperatures during the entire year. Others, like the Little Miami River, are more suited for Largemouth and Smallmouth Bass fishing, so it comes down to your personal preferences.

Fishing Techniques

The fun thing about the Ohio River is that it’s hard to be 100% sure whether you have a Walleye or a tough Striper on the other end of your line. Anglers tend to use jigs with Minnow tips and just drop them into the current. Some will also make do with blade baits and jigging spoons.

When it comes to Lake Erie, there are a few things you should know if you plan on making it your next angling destination. To begin with, the best Walleye bite is either at dawn or dusk, as these fish are somewhat sensitive to light. The western basin of Lake Erie is best explored in the spring, but it’s still great even when frozen. Summer is not as good for fly anglers because the waters will be too warm and low for comfort.

If you do plan on ice fishing on Lake Erie, be aware that safe ice is not ever a thing. Stay cautious and stay safe. The fish will be close to shore only at the start of the season, so you’ll need some transportation. Professionals use either snowmobiles or airboats.

Need to Know

Ohio fishing regulations can be a pain sometimes, but we believe it’s a very small price to pay considering. Any anglers over the age of 16 will need to buy a fishing license from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources’ Division of Wildlife. Non-residents have the option of choosing between a single-day, three-day, or annual license.

The above applies whether you’re fishing with a licensed charter captain or on your own. Ohio may be filled with grassland and farms, as you’d expect from a state in the Midwest, but there’s also some spectacular fishing to be had. When you finally try it, you’ll be dying to come back again and again.

Ohio
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Ohio Fishing Seasons

The new year is upon us, so feel free to celebrate with some world-class ice fishing. If you know what you’re doing, you’ll be catching Walleye in droves.

The fact that it’s cold doesn’t mean the fish aren’t hungry. It’s perfect for either stalking Steelhead in Lake Erie or Largemouth Bass in the rivers.

The spring spawning run is upon us! Starting from Maumee River, this brings a whole bunch of fish right into the hands of prepared anglers.

White bass will usually begin their migration up Lake Erie tributaries in mid April. An absolute treat for shore anglers casting into the flow.

Mad River is a very popular spot for going after Brown Trout this time of year. Whether it’s conventional or fly angling, you’ll be drowning in fish soon enough.

Tournament season hits Ohio’s northern shores. If you think you’ve got what it takes, sign up and compete with other anglers for some fabulous prizes.

It can get really hot in summer, which is why some anglers opt for night fishing. In the case of Muskingum River, look forward to some big Catfish.

As the water temperatures go up, so does the Smallmouth Bass action in various rivers and streams. Have fun!

September is when Yellow Perch fishing really kicks into high gear on Lake Erie. Things keep getting better and better, to the joy of all Buckeye anglers.

Steelhead fishing in October is especially bountiful in the tributaries of Lake Erie. Fly anglers will try and win them over with nymphs and streamers.

Walleye are migrating west after having spent the summer in the Lake Erie central basin. Those after them will line up at the Huron Pier and hook ‘em up.

The cold weather does nothing to stop Brown Trout fishing from being great. Clear Fork River is especially potent for loading up on Browns in December.

Ohio Fishing Calendar

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What People Are Saying About Ohio

"Great day fishing!"

Kate Heidorn fished with Strikemaster Charters—Port Clinton on September 16, 2018

Captain Mike asked if he could move the location to farther east before I arrived so that he could put us on more walleye. I said yes and was glad I did.

"Evening walleye fishing"

Kevin Payne fished with Erie Eyes Angler on September 15, 2018

I am too inexperienced to offer helpful info.

"Great outing with the family. "

Tim Mcguire fished with Captain Scott's Catfish Charter on September 1, 2018

Sites, attraction, and accommodations were readily accessible and easy to use.

"Fishing with Carla"

Kelly Mckenna fished with Endless Summer Charter, LLC on September 1, 2018

Book with Carla because she moved around frequently so we had the best chance to catch fish.

Top Targeted Species in Ohio

Walleye

Perch (Yellow)

Bass (Smallmouth)

Rainbow Trout (Steelhead)

Top Ohio Destinations