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Guide To Popular Ice Fishing Lakes In Pennsylvania

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Favorite fish species at top ice fishing lakes in the state.
Ice fishing

The best ice fishing lakes in PA include Presque Isle Bay (Lake Erie), Foster J Sayers Lake and Lake Wallenpaupack. The most popular species are walleye, rainbow trout and yellow perch. See a list of lakes and species below.

Ice fishing is as basic as fishing gets. During winter, it is popular here in the state. Aside from the tools one uses to create a hole in the ice, all other gear is very basic. A simple rod, reel, line and hook or lure is all you need. Lures, live bait and prepared bait are options, depending on the fish species in the lake or pond.

Fishing Boats For Rent In Pennsylvania

Ice fishing is a popular winter activity in Pennsylvania, offering anglers a unique and thrilling fishing experience. Pennsylvania's frozen lakes and reservoirs become a haven for ice fishing enthusiasts, providing opportunities to target a variety of fish species.

One of the most sought-after species during ice fishing season is the yellow perch. Lakes like Lake Erie, Pymatuning Lake, and Lake Wallenpaupack are known for their abundant perch populations. These tasty fish can be caught using small jigs tipped with live bait, such as minnows or grubs. Anglers often set up multiple lines and use tip-ups to increase their chances of landing a successful catch.

Crappie is another popular species targeted by ice anglers in Pennsylvania. Lakes and reservoirs like Lake Arthur, Marsh Creek Lake, and Raystown Lake offer excellent crappie fishing opportunities. Vertical jigging with small ice jigs or using live bait, such as minnows or wax worms, are common techniques employed by ice anglers to entice these panfish.

Northern pike is a predator species that ice anglers in Pennsylvania seek. Lakes like Presque Isle Bay and Pymatuning Lake are known for their pike populations. Ice fishing for pike often involves setting up tip-ups rigged with large live bait, such as suckers or shiners. These toothy predators provide thrilling fights and can reach impressive sizes.

When participating in ice fishing, safety is of utmost importance. Before venturing onto the ice, it is crucial to check ice thickness and ensure it is safe for fishing. A minimum ice thickness of four inches is generally recommended for walking, while a thickness of at least six inches is recommended for ice fishing. It is also essential to wear appropriate clothing and equipment, including insulated boots, warm clothing layers, ice cleats for traction, and a life jacket for added safety.

Anglers should always fish with a buddy and let someone know about their ice fishing plans, including the location and estimated return time. Carrying safety equipment such as ice picks, a throw rope, and a flotation device is essential in case of an emergency.

Ice fishing in Pennsylvania provides a unique opportunity to enjoy the winter season and reel in some impressive catches. With a variety of fish species available, including yellow perch, crappie, northern pike, and more, anglers can test their skills and experience the thrill of ice fishing in a safe and enjoyable manner. Remember to always prioritize safety and follow local regulations for a successful and memorable ice fishing adventure.

Top Ice Fishing Lakes & Species

There are numerous places to go ice fishing in the state. Here are a list of some of the proven, best destinations.

Allegheny Reservoir
Walleye Northern Pike

Beechwood Lake
Largemouth bass Smallmouth bass Rainbow Trout Bluegill Yellow Perch

Belmont Lake
Walleye Bluegill Yellow Perch

Canoe Lake
Black crappie Walleye Rainbow Trout Brown trout Bluegill Chain pickerel Muskie

Duck Harbor Pond
Largemouth bass Smallmouth bass Walleye Bluegill

Duman Lake
Largemouth bass Brown trout Bluegill

Fairview Lake
Rainbow Trout Bluegill Yellow Perch

Foster J Sayers Lake
Largemouth bass Channel catfish Black crappie White Crappie Bluegill Pumpkinseed Sunfish Yellow Perch

Gouldsboro Lake
Bluegill Yellow Perch

Greeley Lake
Largemouth bass Bluegill Yellow Perch

High Point Lake
Largemouth bass Smallmouth bass Black crappie Walleye Bluegill Yellow Perch Northern Pike

Holman Lake
Black crappie Rainbow Trout Brook Trout Brown trout Bluegill Yellow Perch Muskie

Kahle Lake
Largemouth bass Walleye Bluegill Pumpkinseed Sunfish

Click the images for species details.

Lake Erie, Presque Isle Bay
Black crappie Bluegill Yellow Perch

Lake Marburg
Largemouth bass Walleye Rainbow Trout White Perch Yellow Perch Northern Pike

Lake Nockamixon
Largemouth bass Chain pickerel

Lake Ontelaunee
Largemouth bass Chain pickerel Northern Pike

Lake Redman
Largemouth bass Black crappie

Lake Wallenpaupack
Smallmouth bass Brown trout Yellow Perch

Lake Wilhelm
Largemouth bass Smallmouth bass Walleye Bluegill Yellow Perch

Laurel Hill Lake
Largemouth bass Saugeye Rainbow Trout Brook Trout Yellow Perch

Lily Lake
Rainbow Trout Bluegill Pumpkinseed Sunfish Chain pickerel Northern Pike

Long Pond
Largemouth bass Bluegill Yellow Perch

Lower Woods Pond
Largemouth bass Bluegill Yellow Perch

Marsh Creek Lake
Largemouth bass Black crappie Bluegill Yellow Perch

Mauch Chunk Lake
Largemouth bass Bluegill Yellow Perch

Minsi Lake
Largemouth bass Bluegill Yellow Perch

Opossum Lake
White Crappie Brown trout Bluegill Muskie

Pymatuning Reservoir
Black crappie White Crappie Walleye Yellow Perch

Shenango River Lake
Black crappie White Crappie Walleye Bluegill

Stevens Lake
Largemouth bass Smallmouth bass Bluegill Pumpkinseed Sunfish

Struble Lake
Black crappie

Virgin Run Lake
Largemouth bass Black crappie Rainbow Trout Brown trout Bluegill

Yellow Creek Lake
Largemouth bass Smallmouth bass Black crappie Walleye Bluegill Pumpkinseed Sunfish Yellow Perch Northern Pike

Click the images for species details.

This is a great way to get the kids to go outdoors in winter, connect with nature and learn to fish. The first consideration when attempting to go ice fishing, is safety. Make sure the ice is safe, and that you are prepared should an accident occur. Dress to stay warm - it's better to remove extra jackets than be cold and miserable. Be aware that the ice can be slippery, and falls can be dangerous.

Ice Fishing Tips & Techniques Video

Click here for ice fishing basics, including details on finding the best place to fish, tips for cutting a hole, basic tackle, bait, lures, depths to fish, safety, shanty's, tents and huts.

Best ice fishing method for crappie, bluegill, perch and sunfish

Horizontal jigs and spoon-type baits are the go-to baits for crappie, either tipped with a minnow, wax worm or prepared baits often triggers more bites. Jigs work better close to the bottom, spoons tend to work better higher in the water column. If options allow, 15 to 30 feet is the most common depth. Adjust as necessary. See additional info on ice fishing for crappie, perch and sunfish.

Best ice fishing method for walleye

Four basic lures are all you need. Ice jigs are minnow shaped with a tail that causes them to fall in a circular patter. Drop them to the desired depth (often to the bottom), then lift the bait a few feet to let it fall on slack line. Spoons: Metal slabs in chrome or a wide array of colors are used to jig up-and-down mimicking a dying baitfish. Lipless crankbaits: Fish like a spoon. Jigs: Use slightly larger jigs than for crappie, preferably with a flashing blade attached. Tip with live bait and let it sit, up a ways from the bottom typically 1 to 3 feet. A general tip is to always keep your bait off the bottom, one to 5 feet is an ideal place to start. Additional information about ice fishing for walleye.

Best ice fishing method for trout

Trout focus on small forage fish in winter, so baits that flash silver - jigs or spoons, do well in attracting trout. Dual rods, where legal, are very effective. One rod with a jig/live bait set up on a tip-up, the second with a spoon fished up and down pretty aggressively. See more detail about ice fishing for trout.

Best ice fishing method for bass

Bass are often found closer to the shoreline than schooling fish. Fish the same as other species, using a bit larger baits and slightly heavier line. Be prepared to battle using your drag if you hook a big one. Additional information about ice fishing for largemouth and smallmouth bass.

Best ice fishing method for pike and musky

Live bait, shiners and sunfish, are a great way to attract these big fellahs, assuming local law allows their use. Heavier line, steel leaders, bigger hooks and stronger tip-ups are in order. See more information on ice fishing for pike and musky.

Click here for a Pennsylvania fishing license.

Pennsylvania Map


States with notable ice fishing.

AZ Ice Fishing CA Ice Fishing CO Ice Fishing CT Ice Fishing IA Ice Fishing ID Ice Fishing IL Ice Fishing IN Ice Fishing
KS Ice Fishing MA Ice Fishing MD Ice Fishing ME Ice Fishing MI Ice Fishing MN Ice Fishing MT Ice Fishing ND Ice Fishing
NE Ice Fishing NH Ice Fishing NJ Ice Fishing NM Ice Fishing NV Ice Fishing NY Ice Fishing OH Ice Fishing OR Ice Fishing
PA Ice Fishing RI Ice Fishing SD Ice Fishing UT Ice Fishing VT Ice Fishing WA Ice Fishing WI Ice Fishing WY Ice Fishing