Home News Central Ohio Emerges as a Prime Fishing Destination for Saugeye, Crappie, and...

Central Ohio Emerges as a Prime Fishing Destination for Saugeye, Crappie, and More


COLUMBUS, Ohio – Central Ohio’s lakes and reservoirs have become popular fishing destinations for anglers seeking saugeye, crappie, smallmouth bass, and catfish, as highlighted by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Division of Wildlife. With summer in full swing, now is the perfect time to grab a fishing pole and explore the area’s abundant fishing opportunities.

Ohio boasts a wealth of public fishing spots, including Lake Erie, the Ohio River, numerous inland lakes, reservoirs, ponds, and miles of streams. For just $25, Ohio residents can purchase a one-year fishing license, making it an affordable outdoor activity. Youth under 16 can fish for free, and all residents can enjoy Free Fishing Days on June 15-16, during which no license is required, though size and daily limits still apply.

The Division of Wildlife provides a variety of resources to assist anglers, such as lake maps, species-specific fishing tips, and fishing forecasts, many of which are accessible through the HuntFish OH mobile app. Additionally, fishing regulations and an interactive fishing map are available on any mobile device. For more details, visit wildohio.gov.

Central Ohio’s waters are prime locations for catching Fish Ohio! qualifying trophies, part of a program that celebrates notable catches of 25 fish species. Anglers who catch a qualifying fish receive a commemorative Fish Ohio pin, and those who catch four different qualifying species in a year earn a Master Angler pin. This year’s pin features a longear sunfish.

Here are some of the top fishing spots and species to target in central Ohio:


  • Buckeye Lake (Fairfield, Licking, and Perry counties): Known for its saugeye fishing, Buckeye Lake is one of the best inland waters for catching Fish Ohio-qualifying saugeye (minimum length 21 inches). A 2023 survey found that 83% of the lake’s saugeye population was of keeper size (15 inches). Summer boat anglers can find success by trolling crankbaits or worm harnesses through open water. The daily limit is six saugeye, with a minimum size requirement of 15 inches.


  • Deer Creek Lake (Fayette and Pickaway counties): A hotspot for large black and white crappie, Deer Creek Lake offers excellent fishing near submerged brush piles and trees. The daily limit is 30 crappie, with a minimum size requirement of 9 inches.
  • Hoover Reservoir (Delaware and Franklin counties): Known for high catch rates, Hoover Reservoir is ideal for crappie fishing. Anglers should target shore cover in June as crappie move to shallower water to spawn. The daily limit is 30 crappie, with a minimum size requirement of 9 inches.

Smallmouth Bass

  • Alum Creek Lake (Delaware County): While famous for largemouth bass, Alum Creek Lake is gaining a reputation for smallmouth bass fishing. Anglers can target submerged vegetation and offshore structures. Boat anglers often use plastic baits or crankbaits, while shoreline anglers have success with plastic creature baits or topwater lures. The daily limit is five bass, with a minimum length requirement of 12 inches.

Blue Catfish

  • Hoover Reservoir (Delaware and Franklin counties): Recognized as the best catfish fishery in central Ohio, Hoover Reservoir is home to large channel and blue catfish, with some surpassing 40 pounds. The northern section of the lake is particularly productive for catfishing. The daily limit is one blue catfish 35 inches or longer, with no limit on shorter fish. The reservoir has a 10-horsepower limit on outboard motors and offers five boat launches.

For more information on fishing regulations, visit the Ohio Fishing Regulations before casting a line. Here  Ohio Fishing Regulations