ATHENS – As the spring days grow warmer, more and more Ohioans will be venturing out to go fishing. Ohio offers many fantastic opportunities for the public to fish, including 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, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR). Here are a few areas in southeast Ohio anglers may want to check out.
The ODNR Division of Wildlife has numerous resources available to assist anglers, including lake maps, fishing tips by species, fishing forecasts, and an interactive fishing map which allows anglers to select features to customize their own fishing maps for Ohio’s inland lakes. The interactive map is even mobile friendly so anglers can access information right on the water. For more information, click the fishing tab at wildohio.gov.
Hocking River (Athens and Hocking counties) – This more than 102-mile long river drains nearly 1,200 square miles from central Ohio to the Ohio River. The stretch from Rockbridge to Athens is best for smallmouth, providing a good mix of pools, runs, and riffles with good habitat in the form of rocky banks and woody debris. The river has numerous public and private access points for canoes and kayaks, but be aware that high flows at certain times of the year can make the river dangerous to float. Check the ODNR Division of Watercraft’s website for more information on access points and available facilities.
Lake Logan (Hocking County) – Located in Falls Township approximately three miles west of Logan, this 333-acre lake has a good population of crappie of varying sizes. Fish the south shoreline close to the dam where there are a lot of sunken trees, or cast a line towards the newly added brush piles which can be found on our interactive fishing map. The main boat ramp is located close to the dam off Lake Logan Road. Another ramp is located near the upper part of the lake next to the beach off Lake Logan Road, and an unimproved ramp is located near the upper end of the lake off Murphy Road. Shore access can be found along the dam, around the boat ramps, and a fishing pier on the north side of the lake off Lake Logan Road. There is a 10-horsepower limit on the lake.
Lake Alma (Vinton County) – This quiet 60-acre lake has robust populations of large sunfish, such as bluegill and redear sunfish. Find pockets in the lily pads, drift the open water for suspended fish, or cast towards the woody debris around the island. A road which encircles the lake makes the entire shoreline accessible to fishing. A ramp is located on the north side of the lake. Picnicking, camping, and hiking trails provide additional options for families visiting the area.
Dillon Reservoir (Muskingum County) – Located six miles northwest of Zanesville, Dillon Reservoir supports a strong channel catfish fishery; a recent research project estimated the lake’s channel catfish population at 25,000 fish! The lake holds channel catfish of all sizes, including some trophy-sized fish. Drift the flats in the upper end of the lake and use live or natural baits where the water is less swift. The main boat ramp is located at the marina off Dillon Hills Drive, and another ramp is located off State Highway 146. Anglers can find shore access by the dam, around the ramps, and around the beach.
Piedmont Lake (Belmont and Harrison counties) – Consistently ranked as one of the top muskie lakes in the state, Piedmont Lake is known to hold fish in the 50-inch and larger range, including the current state record muskie which weighed 55.13 pounds. In the spring, fish the area around the marina and the shallow inlets in Essex Bay. During the summer, troll along the dam and in the mouth of Essex Bay. Anglers also report having success fishing the upper end of the lake by the Reynolds Road boat ramp in late fall. Boat access is available at Piedmont Marina off Marina Road and Reynolds Road. An additional launch ramp is located off Reynolds Road. Shoreline access is available along the dam, around the marina, and off Reynolds Road by boat ramp. There is a 10-horsepower limit on the lake.