Lake La Su An
Nestled into the northwest corner of Ohio is La Su An. Can you say bluegill? (or sunfish, red ear, etc.) This well managed spot is unique. The catch here is monitored to keep accurate population data on size and type of all kept fish. The habitat here is absolutely wonderful, I haven't found a site quite like it anywhere in Ohio. Get here early, parking is purposefully limited to decrease angler pressure. Early bird gets the worm.
For fly fishers: Get your walking boots ready to go, there are countless small ponds and decent size lakes to fish no where near parking (which is good if you like to fish a 20 plus acre lake by yourself and can walk)
The Portage River
Wow. The portage is a smaller tributary to Lake Erie and I have to say it may be my favorite spot on the list. If you like fly fishing and wading a beautiful rocky river this is that river you were day dreaming about. It's remains wadable all the up to just south of Oak harbor where you'll start to run into more and more bass boats. The river empties into a larger bay that is at it's northern most tip adjacent to Port Clinton. You can find numerous smallmouth positioned in the upstream sections, the deeper holes hold some solid channel catfish populations, and bucketmouth, and even grab some walleye and perch further into the larger bay regions. Pike can also be found in the beautiful healthy stream.
I love the weighted clouser minnows, crawfish patterns, wooly buggers, divers, poppers, all of these work as they should and really make this stream enjoyable to fish. On the DNR site has plenty of public boat launches for floating the river as well as public access via parks to climb into the river. I have heard that permission is needed to wade through much of the river due to private property and some have been cited so do your best to talk to landowners if you get carried away wading this beautiful spot.
PS> don't make any plans for that evening, you won't stop wading to the next fishing hole and like me may miss anything you have planned for later!
St. Joseph River Wildlife Area
This is a lake that I frequent ALOT. I even labelled out my best spots for bass and catfish. This property is an old gravel pit converted into a protected wildlife area some years ago. There are some big fish in this lake, big smart fish. They've seen it all. Talking to a guy fishing across the finger he heard that the last time biologist came and shocked the lake a muskie floated up they guessed to be in the 50 inch range. Not sure how true it is but that kind of fish makes news in a small town and I haven't heard his number called yet...
In truth you really need live bait here to land a lot. On certain days the bass turn on and others they politely wave to your gear and stroll the other way. Trout stocked lake!
Van Wert Reservoir
I fish this reservoir every once in awhile between trips home to the southwest portion of the state. Can't say too much in the way of advice but a fun little deep water hole with lots of rock formation. If your driving through just tell your wife your lost and need to ask for directions at this reservoir; haven't came up with a good excuse for my fishing gear in my hand yet.
Southwest Ohio easy access, stump and vegetation galore (not in a terrible way)
Rush run offers a pretty diverse catch. I can't say I've ever mastered the area, different days produce different results, but on that right day you can't go wrong.
Lures of interest: (my top 4)
Bonus: This lake gets stocked with trout in the spring!
This lake is part of the Hueston Woods State Park. I borderline grew up in this campground. This is where I caught my first fish so it gets an extra notch on my public hotspot list. I'll also give you a good recommendation on where to smash some fish below!
Lots of structure and bank to hike and cast. Sharp banks, submerged structures, an island. Great fishing, great crappie population. Last June I caught a 15 incher from the sugar camp.
Below are two of my best catfish spots. If your lucky enough to have a boat you should check the area in the bottom picture.
I had fished this lake for as long as I remember. I have caught a lot of fish, but it wasn't until I was 19 years old that I landed my first walleye. A little bit like folklore I heard that they existed only on and near the dam spillway (which is a hike to get to). My first trip I was able to land one from a deer hair jig. It was my first walleye right here in southern Ohio. A little tricky and with some patience you can tighten your line miles away from Erie with some fresh walleye.
Twin Creek (Near Gratis Ohio)
I'm already regretting the decision to post this spot. This area holds a special spot in my heart filled with summer fun, rope swings, fireworks, stream side grill-outs, mud slides, canoe trips, and of course great fishing. Think "A River Runs Through It".
I have waded this stretch of the Twin creek for over ten years now and have gotten to know the spots holding prime smallmouth, rock bass, and blue gill. This feeder to the Little Miami has tremendous structure and clarity. The deepest points barely go over head with 98% of it perfectly wadable. Just slip on your best crap tennis shoes or water shoes and enjoy a day wading from bridge to bridge stocking up on fish and whatever else you bring. Great wildlife all along the creek. Grab a rooster tail or your best flamboyant dry flies and have a ball.
The Rocky River
As seen in my Youtube Video the Rocky River has been my destination for steelhead. I'm a rookie to the steelhead game but none the less this river looks good. You pull off and park and then all of sudden your in the woods. From down in the river gorge you wouldn't believe your in Cleveland. Hit this river up in the wintertime with some waders and cured eggs to grab a steelhead or two.
Welp, these are all the spots I'm posting for now. I did my part, don't forget to share. If you have some water your keeping a secret share the love and leave a comment and maybe I'll post it up on the favorite list. Tight lines.
Robbie is the creator of WF and loves to spend time in the outdoors chasing steelhead, upland birds, and the beauty of nature.
Sites to Check Out