Fishing in Ohio

Ohio Fishing at a Glance

According to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Ohio has approximately 50,000 lakes and ponds covering an area of around 200,000 acres, and about 3,300 named rivers.

These hold a variety of fish including largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, catfish, trout, and panfish.

There are a few things you need to know before you fish in Ohio. Fishing licenses are required for anyone over the age of 16, and can be obtained at any wildlife office or bait shop. A one-day license costs $14.00 while an annual license is $25. You’ll also need to purchase a trout stamp if you plan on fishing for trout.

There are different regulations in place depending on what kind of fish you’re hoping to catch. For example, the daily bag limit for largemouth bass is five.

There are many great fishing spots in Ohio. Some of the best rivers to fish in Ohio include the Maumee River, the Muskingum River, and the Scioto River. Top lakes and ponds include Lake Erie, Shady Pond, and Lake Michigan. These are great places for bass, walleye, muskie, and trout.

Ohio ranks #37 in the U.S. for fishing licenses per capita and has a good number of local fishing enthusiasts with over 6.82% of the population having fishing licenses.

Key Insights

  • Ohio has approximately 50,000 lakes and ponds and 3,300 named rivers.
  • Fish species found in Ohio include largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, catfish, trout, and panfish.
  • Good fishing spots in Ohio include the Maumee River, Muskingum River, Scioto River, Lake Erie, Shady Pond, and Lake Michigan.
  • Most of Ohio’s land is private, with just 2.59% considered public land.
  • Popular fish to catch in Ohio include bluegill, crappie, channel catfish, largemouth bass, rainbow trout, brown trout, cutthroat trout, and brook trout.

Table of Contents

Estimated Fishing Enthusiasts
Population: 11,799,448
Fishing Enthusiasts 804,780
Fishing License % 6.82%
Hunters Rank 37

The state of Ohio is mostly private land with just 2.59% of acres considered public land -ranking #43 amongst all states.

Land Types (Acres)
Acres % Rank
Total 26,209,900
Public 678,660 2.59% 43
Private 25,531,240 97.41% 7
Tribal 0 0.00% no tribal land

Ohio Fishing Licenses & Requirements

For the most accurate and updated information on fishing licenses and requirements, it’s always a good idea to check the Ohio DNR. We’ve provided their contact information and other helpful information for your convenience here.

Ohio DNR

2045 Morse Road
Columbus, OH 43229-6693

Unlock the Great Outdoors

Why limit yourself to public land when there are millions of acres of private land to explore.

What are the most popular fish to catch in Kentucky?

The most commonly sought-after species include bluegill, crappie, channel catfish, largemouth bass, rainbow trout, brown trout, cutthroat trout, and brook trout. Each of these fish has its own unique characteristics and can provide a challenging and rewarding fishing experience. For example, bluegill are known for their aggressive biting habits, while crappie are notoriously difficult to hook. Channel catfish are prized for their large size, while largemouth bass are considered one of the most challenging fish to catch. Rainbow trout are prized for their bright colors and delicious flavor, while brown trout are considered a trophy fish due to their size and elusive nature. Cutthroat trout are prized for their fighting ability, while brook trout are known for their striking appearance.

Unlock the profits in your land

The hassle free way to monetize your acreage.

Unlock the Great Outdoors

We’re working with landowners all across Ohio to provide private land access for more activities. Add your information below to stay up to date.

What are the best public areas to fish in Ohio?

Ohio has plenty of rivers, lakes, and streams to choose from. The Ohio River is one of the best spots in the state, with plenty of catfish, bass, and other species to be caught. Lake Erie is another excellent choice, with good populations of perch, walleye, and trout. The Tuscarawas River is a great option for those who want to fish for smallmouth bass, while the Cuyahoga River is a good place to target largemouth bass. There are also many smaller streams and lakes that offer good fishing for a variety of species. So no matter what type of fish you’re looking to catch, Ohio has something to offer.

1. Lake Erie
2. The Ohio River
3. The Muskingum River
4. The Hocking River
5. The Maumee River

Fishing private lakes, ponds, rivers, and streams in Ohio

Fishing on private land in Ohio has some real advantages over public lakes, rivers, streams, and ponds *if you can get access. For instance, there’s nothing like having a quiet lake all to yourself and oftentimes there are simply more fish available to catch, because they haven’t been fished out. There are generally more processes for access private land for hunting than fishing, though some similar methods exist. For instance, you can sometimes join a fishing club in Ohio or if you have the money, it may be possible to rent some private land for fishing. Another option is to knock on doors or work your contacts in an area to see if a landowner would let you fish for the day or possibly be open to a longer term arrangement.

Fortunately Wing It is simplifying land access for fishing, hunting, camping, and more. We’re adding new land every day and if we have some in your area, you’ll see some great options below.

More Private Land Fishing

Wing It - Access. Granted White

Coming in 2023!

We’re currently building the ultimate app for outdoor access.  Add your name and details below to save your spot and ensure you get access before the general public. 

Coming in 2023!
Guests - Get early access to private land.
Landowners - Increase your profit per acre.