Keep in mind that Ohio requires that everyone age 16 and older obtain an Ohio fishing license in order to fish the state's lakes, rivers and streams. Disabled residents and those over age 72 must obtain a license, but there is no cost. Discounts are offered to those aged 66 to 72 years. The exception to this is the free fishing weekend, usually the first weekend in May, where no license is required.
1. The Rocky River
The Rocky River, which extends from Lake Erie south through Lakewood, Rocky River, Berea and North Olmsted, is surrounded by the 2,572-acre Rocky River Reservation of the Cleveland Metroparks. This placid river is known for steelhead fishing in the late fall, walleye in the spring and large-mouth bass in the summer.
The park offers a number of quiet fishing spots, as well as the popular fishing wall just outside of the marina on the north end of the park. The park is open from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m.
Rocky River Reservation
24000 Valley Parkway
2. The Ohio & Erie Canal
The Ohio & Erie Canal was once the commercial lifeline between the Ohio River and Lake Erie. In fact, many Northeast Ohio towns, including Akron and Canal Fulton, were created just to service the traffic on the canal that extended from Cleveland south to Portsmouth on the Ohio River.
In Greater Cleveland, remnants of the canal can be found within the 33,000-acre Cuyahoga Valley National Park and the Ohio & Erie Canal Reservation at East 49th Street and Canal Road. Fishing found there includes trout, channel catfish and large-mouth bass. It's a great place to combine history with sport. The Ohio & Erie Canal Reservation is open from 6 a.m. until 11 p.m., although some parts of the Cuyahoga Valley National Park close at dusk.
Ohio & Erie Canal Reservation
East 49th Street and Canal Road
3. Punderson Lake
Punderson Lake, located in Geauga County southeast of Cleveland, is the centerpiece of Punderson State Park. The 101-acre lake offers 2.6 miles of shoreline from which to fish and features catfish, large-mouth bass, bluegill, rainbow trout and golden trout. Facilities at the park include hiking and biking trails, a lodge and cottages, campsites, a 600-foot beach, and picnic areas.
Punderson State Park
11755 Kinsman Road
4. The Grand River
The Grand River in Ohio snakes its way back and forth from Fairport Harbor at Lake Erie through the Lake and Ashtabula County wine country before turning due south. The river valley is lined with wineries, parks and excellent fishing spots. Among these are the dam at the Harpersfield covered bridge just south of Geneva and the mouth of the river at Fairport Harbor (also home to a "haunted" lighthouse and maritime museum). The river is particularly well-known for steelhead trout fishing.
5. The Chagrin RiverThe Chagrin River, which extends from the town of Bass Lake near Chardon to Lake Erie at Eastlake, is also known for its excellent steelhead trout fishing. The North Chagrin Reservation of the Cleveland Metroparks near Chagrin Falls is a popular fishing spot, as is the Eastlake Seawall at the mouth of the river.
6. Learn more about Ohio fishing
- How to get an Ohio fishing license
- Lake Erie fish
- Lake Erie fishing charters