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5 Species to Fish in Ohio

Let this guide help you find out what to fish in Ohio.

Smallmouth Bass

Fishing in Ohio's lakes and rivers starts to ramp as the ice melts. During March, many of the best places are still too cold for the best catches. Now that April's nearly here, and if you are fishing in deeper water or near tributaries, you will have better luck.

Providing a wealth of information about state fishing, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources offers a free downloadable guide.

There are several cool water favorites. View the slideshow to see them all.


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Sauger are more plentiful in the Spring, while the fish are spawning over gravel beds. They prefer slow moving streams or ponds and lakes, and will strike at jigs or minnows. Sauger average 9 to 16 inches long, and weigh a pound or less. The state record was 24.5 inches long and weighed 7 pounds, 4.96 ounces. Ohio has a daily limit of 10 Sauger per fishing party.

RELATED: Ohio Wildlife Agency Aims to Revitalize Lake Erie Sturgeon

Smallmouth Bass

Smallmouth bass are common in the reedy areas of Lake Erie, and in gravel-bottom streams throughout the state. They begin are more active in mid-April and leading up to the May spawning season. Adult smallmouth range from 12 to 15 inches, weighing up to 2 pounds. The state record was 9 pounds, 8 ounces, and measured 23.5 inches.

RELATED: 7 Species to Fish In Oregon


Fishing for walleye is best in April, and corresponds to their spawning season. They are found in Lake Erie and the Ohio River, and stocked in several reservoirs. Adults range from 13 to 22 inches long and weigh around 4 pounds. Large specimens can grow to 36 inches and weigh a hefty 15 pounds or more.

Channel Catfish

These bottom feeders are common throughout the state. They prefer to feed at night or in deep water. Worms and shrimp are popular baits, but many people insist that chicken livers are the best catfish bait. The adults average 14 inches long, but the state record was 41.5 inches and weighed 37 pounds, 10.4 ounces. There is no daily limit in Ohio.

RELATED: This Record Catfish Probably Weighed More Than the Angler Who Caught It


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Muskies are popular as sport fish because of their large size and strong fight. Muskies are primarily found in stocked lakes and reservoirs. Bait casting and spinners are the tools of choice. Muskies average 20 to 29 inches long and may weigh as much as 40 pounds. The state record was 50.25 inches long and weighed 55 pounds, 2 ounces. There is a daily limit of one Muskie per party.

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5 Species to Fish in Ohio