Public lakes and reservoirs in southwest Ohio are a destination for fantastic walleye, saugeye and muskellunge fishing, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Division of Wildlife.

Ohio offers many fantastic locations for the public to fish, including 124,000 acres of inland Ohio has 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. At $25 for a resident one-year fishing license, fishing is a cost-effective and accessible outdoor recreational activity.

The Division of Wildlife has numerous resources available to assist anglers, including lake maps, fishing tips by species, and fishing forecasts. Many of these resources are available right at your fingertips with the HuntFish OH mobile app. Fishing regulations and an interactive fishing map can be located with ease from any mobile device. For more information on fishing tips and forecasts, go to wildohio.gov.

Here are a few areas in southwest Ohio anglers may want to visit.

• Walleye: C.J. Brown Reservoir (Clark County) – Stocked annually since 1975 with fingerling walleye, C.J. Brown is a destination walleye fishery. Recent surveys resulted in good catches up to 23 inches, with the largest at 28 inches. April, May and June are great times to seek walleye, try casting jigs along the dam in the spring and transition to casting or trolling crankbaits and worm harnesses during the summer.

• Saugeye: Caesar Creek Lake (Warren and Clinton counties) – This lake is a consistent saugeye producer, showing good recruitment from annual stocking during the last six years. Fish up to 26 inches were observed during recent surveys. Caesar Creek Lake is one of the deepest lakes in Ohio, and saugeye are sometimes difficult locate in its clear water. Try along sloping banks with gravel, cobble bottom and old roadbeds. Target these fish early in the morning, late in the evening and after dark with swimbaits, jerkbaits and trolling.

• Muskellunge: Caesar Creek Lake (Warren and Clinton counties) – Caesar Creek is currently ranked second in the state for muskie fishing based on reported catches on the Muskie Angler Log. It has been stocked with advanced fingerling muskies since 1998. Many of the catches reported by anglers are 42 inches and larger. The largest muskie reported in 2019 was 47 inches. Muskies may be found throughout the lake depending on the season. Cast large spinners and crankbaits near standing or fallen shoreline timber. Angler also have success trolling points and drop-off edges.

• Largemouth bass: Rocky Fork Lake (Highland County) – Strong numbers of largemouth bass measure 12-17 inches, with some up to 21 inches. Rocky Fork Lake was ranked third in the state from the spring 2018 survey for numbers of bass longer than 20 inches. Try spinner baits, jigs, or plastic worms around weed beds, in coves, fallen shoreline trees or rocky shorelines.

• Crappie and sunfish: Grand Lake St. Marys (Auglaize and Mercer counties) – Black crappie are more common than white crappie, with good numbers up to 11 inches. Recent surveys found that the 2017- and 2018-year classes to be strong. The best fishing is through May around docks and brushy shoreline using minnows, small twister tail jigs, or tube jigs. The lake also holds good numbers of sunfish, some up to 8 inches long. Concentrate fishing in areas with boat docks, sea walls, riprap, places with sand and gravel bottoms and brushy structure using jigs, redworms or wax worms. Fish attractors have been placed around the lake, and most are accessible from shore.

• Hybrid-striped bass: East Fork Lake (Clermont County) – Millions of hybrid-striped fry have been stocked East Fork Lake. Drift fish with live shad (3-5 inches) in open water or fish softcraws at depths up to 20 feet. Cast jigs or surface plugs when these fish chase shad at the surface in the early morning and late evening.

• White bass: Rocky Fork Lake (Highland County) – Statewide survey results indicate the lake ranks second in the number of white bass longer than 12 inches. The 2019 fall netting survey results showed good numbers of 12- to 14-inch fish, with some up to 16 inches. Try casting small spinners or small jigs with twister tails. In the main lake, troll small silver crankbaits or casting jigs, spinners, and blade baits from July through September. In May, try Rocky Fork Creek near the State Route 124 bridge for spawning fish.

The Division of Wildlife is responsible for conserving and improving fish and wildlife resources in the Buckeye State. Follow the Division of Wildlife on Twitter and Facebook for instant news stories, outdoor recreation ideas, local wildlife information and so much more. The Your Wild Ohio Explorer page provides wildlife success stories and ways to help wildlife throughout the seasons. Visit wildohio.gov to find locations to hunt, fish, trap and view wildlife. Follow ODNR on Instagram to view the best of Ohio’s wildlife photography. And don’t forget about the HuntFish OH mobile app, available for Android and iOS users through the app store.

The mission of the Division of Wildlife is to conserve and improve fish and wildlife resources and their habitats for sustainable use and appreciation by all. Visit wildohio.gov to find out more.

ODNR ensures a balance between wise use and protection of natural resources for the benefit of all. Visit the ODNR website at ohiodnr.gov.