Fishing at Indian Lake

Current Lake Conditions

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Ohio Fishing License

Anglers 16 years of age and older are required to have a valid fishing license to take fish, frogs or turtles from Ohio waters. An Ohio fishing license cost $19 a year for residents. Ohio residents born on or before December 31, 1937 can obtain a free fishing license at any license vendor. Residents age 66 and older who were born on or after January 1, 1938 are eligilable for $11, an amount that later can be applied toward the cost of an annual fishing license. Fishing licenses are available at bait and tackle stores, outdoor outfitters, major department stores, as well as online at

Licenses can be purchased at:
State Park Office – State Route 235 N
Indian Lake Outfitters – State Route 366 S
Lakeview Hardware – State Route 33
Bud’s Marine – County Road 38

License Fees

Resident Fishing License ……………………………………………. $19.00

For persons age 16 through 65 who have resided in Ohio for the past 6 months.

One-Day Fishing License …………………………………………… $11.00

The One-Day Fishing License may be exchanged for credit towards the purchase of an annual fishing license (minus writing fee).

Senior Fishing License ……………………………………………… $10.00
For persons age 66 and older born on or after January 1, 1938 who have resided in Ohio for the past 6 months.

Annual Nonresident License ………………………………………… $40.00

3-Day Nonresident Tourist’s License ……………………………….. $19.00

A reissued license may be obtained from any license vendor for a fishing license that has been lost, stolen, or destroyed. The cost is $3.00.


License Requirements

A fishing license is required to take fish, frogs, or turtles from Ohio waters. Persons fishing in privately owned ponds, lakes, or reservoirs to and from which fish do not migrate, are not required to have a license to take fish, but must have one to take frogs or turtles. Persons fishing in privately owned ponds, lakes, or reservoirs that are open to public fishing through an agreement or lease with the Division ofWildlife are required to have a fishing license. Anglers must have their license in their possession while fishing and must show the license to anyone on request.

The following Ohio residents are eligible for a free license:

Ohio residents born on or before December 31, 1937 can obtain a free license at any license outlet or online.

The following Ohio residents are also eligible for a free license, available by calling 1-800-WILDLIFE:

  • Persons who are mobility imparied and require the assistance of another person to cast and retrieve
  • Residents of state and county institutions
  • Holders of “Veteran” license plates displaying the international wheelchair symbol
  • Certain veterans who are permanently disabled
  • Former prisoners of war

License Exemptions

A fishing license is not required of persons who are:

  • Less than 16 years of age
  • Giving assistance to an angler who is physically disabled, provided the two persons together are using only one line
  • Fishing in a private pond
  • Fishing on land and water which they or their parents own
  • Fishing on land and water where they or their parents are tenants on which they reside and from which they derive the majority of their income from agricultural production on that land (except state owned lakes)
  • Members of the U.S.Armed Forces on annual leave or furlough.

Tips for Saugeye Fishing at Indian Lake

Indian Lake is well known for its huge bluegills, yellow perch and fair largemouth bass fishing. But the lake’s main draw is its incredible saugeye fishery. Indian Lake, at 5,800 acres, has what many anglers would call the best saugeye fishing in all of Ohio. This opinion is hard to debate, since literally thousands of ‘eyes are harvested from the lake every winter.

Many of these fish reach weights approaching 10 pounds. Up to 500,000 saugeyes are stocked in the lake every year. Their fast growth and hardy nature, coupled with optimal lake features, make this place a virtual smorgasbord for saugeye fishermen.

Many of Ohio’s fishing clubs frequent the lake every season. The Western Ohio Walleye Club (WOWC) and the Western Reserve Walleye Association make forays to this lake every year. According to John Clark, president of the WOWC, the members of his organization love fishing Indian Lake. “This is probably the club’s favorite lake, and often yields the best catches,” he said. Indian Lake is 15 miles northwest of Bellefontaine and may be accessed off state routes 117, 235 and 366.

Good areas to target are shallow embankments with woody structure, the mouth of the North Fork Great Miami River and the many channels or dredged areas. Areas where deep water meets shallow water are always good. Biologists recommend targeting the shallow edge of these drop offs, since that’s where active fish will typically hold. Less active fish will be in the deeper water.

Indian Lake Biggest Fish Caught

15-1/4 inch White Crappie – Longball

25″ SAUGEYE – Dryrock

8lb 10oz saugeye (caught by my xwife) – Crappieking
16″ crappie caught by a customer in the fall. did not check the length i’d say 30″-Crappieking

33 inch blue cat
27 inch saugeye
14-1/2 crappie
9 inch bluegil
I didn’t weigh any of them – Jim Burkholder

25 ” Saugeye last summer (2010). – Lee

24 1/2 inch Saugeye – Larry Winkleman
May 29, 2002 – Ray Wise – 7lb 5oz Gal I just brought in for a photo & to stock my channel.

Fishing Tips

Catfish Tips

Anglers use a variety of scented baits since a catfish’s sense of smell and taste is excellent. The most effective baits include cut shad, prepared blood bait, chicken livers, shrimp, and nightcrawlers. Keep tackle simple. When fishing on the bottom use a fixed or slip sinker and when fishing the surface or suspended, try either a slip or fixed float. Hook sizes range from size 4 to 6/0 depending upon the size of fish you are seeking and the size of bait that you are using. Having a strike indicator is a good idea for catching catfish. Catfish do not “hit and run” like other fish, instead moving very slowly away with baits.


Crappies are usually situated around structure including points, drop offs, creek beds, and cover such as brush piles, fallen trees and stumps. If crappies are in the area and the bite is slow, a change in jig color may increase the bite rate.


Although saugeye are a cross between walleye and sauger, they often behave differently than walleye, so methods can vary. Saugeye are not likely to suspend off the bottom, unlike walleye, so present lures close to the bottom.

Consider water color when determining how deep to fish. In clear water fish deeper, and in darker or muddy water, fish shallower. It is not uncommon to catch saugeye in less than six to eight feet of water. It’s never too muddy for a saugeye, but in dark-water conditions, try black jigs and twister tails.

Checking good overhead cover in shallow lakes may be important, too. Saugeye have even been known to hide under brush or lily pads like bass.

From “ice-out” until water temperature reaches about 55-degrees, try a stop-go method when casting and retrieving crankbaits and don’t be surprised if saugeye inhale the lure on the pause.


Keep moving fishing different areas and fishing different depths until you find a school of sunfish. Use a slip bobber to easily fish different depths and to consistently fish the same depth once the fish are located.

Fish near structure (cover). Sunfish like to hold near any type of structure including vegetation, submerged trees or brush, rock piles, and drop offs or old road beds.

Look for spawning beds in spring.

Fly fishing especially in evenings during mid summer is very effective.


Smallmouth bass use pools to rest and feed and will move to runs and riffles below pools when most actively feeding. When a bass strikes raise the tip of the pole to prevent the fish getting to cover. Cast past your target and retrieve bait to intended area.

Ice Fishing Tips

Fish with a buddy! Wear a Coast Guard-approved life jacket or float coat if you are on the ice.

3″ of good quality ice is recommended for safe walking.

Life vests provide excellent flotation.

Carry a rope and a whistle or other noisemaker to alert people that you are in distress. Remember ice thicknesses vary.

Beware of aerators near shore lines.

Watch for geese gatherings because there is usually open water near.

Old Fishing Tips

“Remember, the best day to fish was yesterday. “Not doing much today but you should have been here yesterday….” –Scooter

“If the winds out of the WEST fishing is the best! If the winds out of the EAST fishing the least! If the winds out of the SOUTH they open their mouth! If the winds out of the NORTH don’t leave port!” –Water Dude

“wind from the northeast, fish will no -more feast.” –Special Indian Lake addition to the conventional wisdom….Homebrew

“Fish shallow, fish swallow, Fish deep, in for defeat”

Fishing Tips by Bill Dance (video)
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