Ohio Panfish Fishing
Guide to fishing for panfish-sunfish in OH lakes and ponds.
Throughout the state of Ohio you can find waters with populations of sunfish, including bluegill, green sunfish, hybrid sunfish, longear sunfish, pumpkinseed sunfish, redear sunfish, rock bass, spotted sunfish, warmouth, white bass, white perch and yellow perch.
Ohio offers excellent opportunities for panfish fishing, particularly targeting sunfish species. Sunfish are a popular choice for anglers of all ages, including youth, due to their abundance, willingness to bite, and colorful appearance. There are several sunfish species found in Ohio waters, including bluegill, pumpkinseed, redear sunfish, and longear sunfish.
Bluegill is the most common and widely targeted sunfish species in Ohio. Known for their aggressive strikes and fighting abilities, bluegill provide endless fun for young anglers. These fish can be found in various freshwater bodies, including lakes, ponds, and slow-moving rivers. They readily take bait such as worms, crickets, or small jigs, making them an ideal species for beginners.
Pumpkinseed sunfish are another popular panfish species in Ohio. They are characterized by their vibrant colors, with orange and blue markings on their bodies. Pumpkinseeds can be found in weedy areas of lakes and ponds and are attracted to small baits and lures. Their striking appearance and feisty nature make them a favorite among young anglers.
Redear sunfish, also known as shellcrackers, are sought after for their large size and challenging fights. They have a preference for bottom-dwelling invertebrates and are often found near submerged structures. While redear sunfish may be less abundant compared to other sunfish species, catching one can be a rewarding experience for young anglers.
Longear sunfish are smaller in size but are equally fun to catch. They are known for their vibrant colors, long and pointed opercular flap, and distinct patterns. Longear sunfish can be found in rocky or weedy areas of lakes and rivers. They have a voracious appetite and readily take small baits, making them a suitable target for youth anglers.
Ohio's panfish fishing offers a fantastic opportunity for youth to learn basic fishing skills, including casting, hook-setting, and landing fish. The abundance of sunfish species in the state's lakes, ponds, and rivers ensures that young anglers have ample opportunities for success and enjoyment. Panfish fishing not only provides a fun and rewarding experience for youth but also helps instill a lifelong love for fishing and the outdoors.
One or more species of sunfish populate virtually all warm water streams, ponds and lakes throughout Ohio, and around the world for that matter. They can survive in waters that provide their natural food source of minnows, insects, crustaceans and worms. Their competitive nature amongst themselves, for food, makes them relatively easy to catch.
Panfish & Perch Lakes
Ohio waters are loaded with sunfish and an array of panfish. Ponds, creeks, rivers, parks and most fishing water in the state. They are plentiful in some of the larger impoundments including Alum Creek Lake, Atwood Lake, Berlin Lake, Buck Creek Lake, Buckeye Lake, Caesar Creek Lake, Charles Mill Lake, Clendening Reservoir, Cowan Lake, East Fork Lake, Grand Lake St Marys, Hoover Reservoir, Indian Lake, Lake Erie, Lake Milton, Meander Creek Reservoir, Mosquito Lake, Piedmont Reservoir, Pymatuning Lake, Rocky Fork Lake, Salt Fork Lake, Seneca Lake, Tappan Reservoir and West Branch Lake.
Top Producing Panfish Lures & Bait
Check out the top producing lures and bait for bluegill, redear sunfish, rock bass and warmouth, as well as other smaller sunfish. Click here for the best lures for white bass, yellow bass, white perch and yellow perch.
In-state panfish, sunfish and perch
World record: 4 lbs 12 oz
State Record: 3.28 lbs
World record: 2.2 lbs
State Record: 1.2 lbs
World record: N/A
State Record: 2.03 lbs
World record: 1.75 lbs
State Record: 0.41 lbs
World record: 2 lbs 4 oz
State Record: 1.10 lbs
World record: 5.4 lbs
State Record: 3.58 lbs
World record: 3.0 lbs
State Record: 1.97 lbs
World record: 2.4 lbs
State Record: 1.32 lbs
World record: 6.8 lbs
State Record: 4.0 lbs
World record: 4.6 lbs
State Record: 1.72 lbs
World record: 4 lbs 3 oz
State Record: 2.86 lbs
Click the images and links above for species details.
OH State Sunfish Records
Salt Fork Reservoir produced the state record bluegill.
The state record green sunfish, redear sunfish, hybrid sunfish, pumpkinseed sunfish and warmouth all came out of private ponds.
Deer Creek served up the state record rock bass.
The state white perch record fish was pulled from Green Creek.
Lake Erie posted the state record yellow perch.
The state record white bass was caught from a gravel pit.
The term "panfish" comprises many species, each called by a variety of names. The bluegill tops the list and is the most common.
Bluegill Fishing Basics Video
The core principles shown in this video will work for most sunfish, perch and other panfish.
Panfish are prolific spawners and repopulate the waters as fast as they are harvested. A common problem with panfish fishing is that the waters are under-fished causing panfish to overpopulate. As a result they tend to stay small in size due to lack of food source.
Sunfish information in other states.
Learn the lifecycle of a panfish
There is a host of panfish anglers can pursue. Visit the panfish fishing page for details on many of these sunfish you might encounter in Ohio fishing waters.