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Best Fishing Lakes Near Columbus, Ohio

We hear from thousands of anglers each year when they file their fishing reports. According to the locals, these are some of the best spots to go fishing within driving distance of Columbus, Ohio.

Buckeye Lake

  • Distance from Columbus: 30.3 miles
  • Nearest city: Hebron, OH
  • County: Licking County
  • Size: 2,757 acres
  • Species: Largemouth Bass, Smallmouth Bass, Crappie, Walleye, Panfish / Bluegill, Northern Pike

Getting to Buckeye Lake from Columbus is easy. It's a straight shot east on I-70 and only takes 30 minutes or so to get there. When you visit the village of Buckeye Lake, you'll have quick access to restaurants, gift shops and bars. But most come for the excellent fishing. Enter the lake at the state park boat access, or use the fishing pier on Mud Island.

Bobby Smith

Gold Ambassador

4/15/23

  • Species

    Largemouth Bass

  • Season

    Spring (Pre-Spawn)

  • Technique

    Bladed Jigs

  • Structure

    Rock Pile

  • Forage

    Shad

  • Water Temperature

    65°

Fished a benefit open for The Ohio State Bass Fishing team on Buckeye lake this past Saturday. Water was stained and warm. 63 at take off 68 at weigh in. Sunny and 57 at take off, pushing 80 at weigh-in. Managed 3 keepers for 4.19lbs. They hit jackhammers and spinner baits for us early on rock around docks in canals. 1st place was 15 and some change, 2nd-5th we’re all between 10-11 lbs. Apparently we missed the bite somewhere, lol. Still had fun day on water for a good cause.

Delaware Lake

  • Distance from Columbus: 35 miles
  • Nearest city: Delaware, OH
  • County: Delaware County
  • Size: 1,122 acres
  • Species: Largemouth Bass, Crappie

Delaware Lake is located about an hour north of Columbus by car, and provides a reservoir lake experience for anglers. Crappie are the main draw, with Largemouth Bass and the occasional Catfish available to target as well.

Bobby Smith

Gold Ambassador

5/31/22

  • Species

    Largemouth Bass

  • Season

    Spring (Spawn)

  • Technique

    Finesse Jigs

  • Structure

    Laydowns

Fished a tourney saturday the 28th, lake was about 8-10" above summer pool from recent rains, muddy water in upper 2/3 of lake. Lower 1/3 i'd called stained, they were pulling water so whole lake was about to go brown. All our fish came off bitsy bug mini, 1/4 oz, black/blue with zoom chunk trailer in flippin blue. Very few bites, we managed 5 keepers and culled once, our weight was 7.11, 5th place. 1st was 9lbs, 2nd -5th was 7.4 to our 7,1.

Caesar Creek Lake

  • Distance from Columbus: 70 miles
  • Nearest city: Wilmington, OH
  • County: Warren, Clinton, and Greene counties
  • Size: 2,656 acres
  • Species: Largemouth Bass, Smallmouth Bass, Spotted Bass, Crappie, Walleye, Panfish / Bluegill, Muskie, White Bass, Catfish

Located about an hour southwest of Columbus, Caesar Creek Lake is a recreational area that carries a big diversity of fish making it a great destination for multi-species anglers. Interestingly, this lake was created by the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers in 1973, replacing the small farming village of New Burlington, Ohio in in process. The Corp of Engineers still manages the site today including managing the lake levels and the lake is home to Bass, Crappie, Walleye, Muskie, Catfish and more.

Zach Corbin

Gold Ambassador

6/22/23

  • Species

    Walleye

  • Season

    Summer

  • Technique

    Crankbaits 7'-12'

  • Structure

    Brush Piles

  • Forage

    Insects

  • Water Temperature

    69°

Actually a saugeye. Caught em drifting over brush piles. Fish were sitting in deep water just off the bottom. Biggest fish was around 22in.

Alum Creek Reservoir

  • Distance from Columbus: 22 miles
  • Nearest city: Lewis Center, OH
  • County: Delaware County
  • Size: 3,202 acres
  • Species: Muskie, Largemouth Bass, Smallmouth Bass, Walleye and Panfish

Alum Creek Lake is located directly north of Columbus about 20 minutes and is considered one of the best lakes to catch a fish in Central Ohio. The lake was originally created by the US Army Corps of Engineers in 1975 to control flood damage on area creeks and rivers.

There's a wide diversity of fish to pursue, with Smallmouth Bass often seen near the drop-off close to the dam, and Crappies in the area above Howard Road.

Brandon Oakes

Gold Ambassador

4/30/23

  • Species

    Largemouth Bass

  • Season

    Spring (Pre-Spawn)

  • Technique

    Crankbaits 7'-12'

  • Structure

    Points

  • Water Temperature

    53°

Spent a couple of hours on the local pond hitting some of my normal spots. Due to me not charging my cranking battery, I was limited to just the trolling motor, but that didn't stop me. All but one fish was caught cranking rocky points. The fish really seemed to be short-striking, so relying on a St. Croix glass cranking rod was crucial to keeping fish pinned. Stopping and starting the plug was imperative to drawing strikes. The weight could have been better, but with some more time and mobility, the size would have definitely been better.

Indian Lake

  • Distance from Columbus: 75 miles
  • Nearest city: Bellafontaine, OH
  • County: Logan County
  • Size: 5,069 acres
  • Species: Largemouth Bass, Smallmouth Bass, Crappie, Walleye, Panfish / Bluegill

Indian Lake is a reservoir with many islands, about 90 minutes northwest of Columbus. It's generally a wide and flat body of water, broken up into many different discrete areas, making for great variety. The lake is primarily known for its large Bluegills and excellent Crappie fishing. The Shawnee island area is a popular spot for anglers, especially near the Dream Bridge.

Clint Stuck

Bronze Ambassador

4/12/23

  • Species

    Largemouth Bass

  • Season

    Spring (Pre-Spawn)

  • Technique

    Swim Jigs

  • Structure

    Lily Pads

  • Forage

    Shad

  • Water Temperature

    60°

Fish dead/new pads with a swim jig. Caught 3 with 2 keepers. Biggest was 2 lbs. pads are just starting to grow and green slime is emerging. Good luck be safe!

Burr Oak Reservoir

  • Distance from Columbus: 80 miles
  • Nearest city: Glouster, OH
  • County: Morgan, Athens counties
  • Size: 632 acres
  • Species: Crappie, Panfish, Bass

About an hour and a half away from Columbus, you'll find a crappie haven in Burr Oak Lake. This small reservoir lake southeast of Columbus is chock full of crappie, although they aren't the giant sized version that trophy hunters might be seeking.

The Burr Oak State Park provides a great jumping off point for accessing the water. There are wake restrictions to keep boat traffic down so you'll enjoy a peaceful fishing trip.

If you simply want to wet a line, there are a ton of options right in Columbus to try. If you want to get more serious about your outing, head out to this short list of fishing hotspots within driving distance to make for an epic day of fishing.