Ice Fishing in Ohio


Ice fishing opportunities can be found in a variety of inland lakes and ponds, and Lake Erie as well, but the “Big Lake” warrants special considerations. For a variety of reasons, including safety, many anglers hire a licensed ice fishing guide who can set them up in the protective shelter of a shanty and help them locate fish. For those targeting walleyes, use minnows on jigging lures or blade baits. Yellow perch can be caught with a spreader or crappie rig tipped with shiners.

Other things to remember before going ice fishing:

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  • No ice is safe ice.
  • Have a valid Ohio fishing license.
  • Know the size and daily limits for the fish that you hope to catch.
  • Learn the ice fishing regulations for where you are fishing.
  • Make a checklist of things you will need to have fun and be safe.
  • Consider leaving a “float plan” with someone who knows that you will be out on the ice, indicating where you plan to fish, where you plan to park your vehicle, and when you plan to return home. For boaters, this is common practice, and for ice anglers, it’s not a bad idea either.

Once the freeze is on, check the most recent ice fishing reports, or make a quick stop at the local bait shop to find out what’s biting and where. As always, be safe when you head out on the ice and for more information, please call 1-800-WILDLIFE or contact your local Wildlife District Office.