Catch ’em if you can

BRADNON NOVOTNY, Park Ranger Prairie Oaks

Spring has arrived in Central Ohio and fishing is starting to heat up. Your Metro Parks offer fishing at many of our parks, and while you’ll find great fishing at each location, here are my top five spots you should definitely check out this year.

Prairie Oaks Metro Park: Darby Bend Lakes

This popular fishing spot is stocked with large and smallmouth bass, bluegill, channel catfish, crappie and yellow perch. There’s plenty of shoreline, kayak and non-motorized boat access. The ADA accessible pond is also a great place for kids 15 and younger to cast their lines.

People fishing on Darby Bend Lakes at Prairie Oaks Metro Park
Fishing at Darby Bend Lakes, Prairie Oaks Metro Park. (Dan Bissonette)

Battelle Darby Creek: Big Darby Creek

If you are looking for a peaceful, scenic day of fishing, head out to Big Darby Creek. You can get to the creek the canoe access point on Alkire Road. From there, you can float or wade the creek or fish from the shore. You might catch smallmouth, largemouth and rock bass as well as sunfish and channel catfish. Look for slow moving deep pools for the best catch.

Man catches a fish from banks of Big Darby Creek in Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park
Fishing on Big Darby Creek, Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park. (Andrew Boose)

Sharon Woods: Schrock Lake

With playgrounds and picnic areas close by, Schrock Lake is the perfect place to take the kids for a few hours to do some fishing and have some fun. The catch and release lake offers the opportunity to land a largemouth bass, bluegill or channel catfish. There are multiple fishing docks along the Lake Trail.

Adult helps young boy cast a fishing line into Schrock Lake at Sharon Woods Metro Park
Fishing at Schrock Lake, Sharon Woods Metro Park. (Kim Strosnider)

Three Creeks: Heron Pond and the creeks

Three Creeks offers two great spots to cast off. If you’re a shore angler, try out Heron Pond. There’s easy shore access and it’s great for young anglers. You’ll find plenty of bluegill, catfish and largemouth bass. Try waxworms or night crawlers under a bobber for the best results. For those that wade, head to the confluence of Big Walnut, Alum and Blacklick creeks. Alum or Big Walnut are the best spots for fishing. Look for deep pools and you’ll find smallmouth, rock bass, sunfish and saugeye. There are several canoe access points along Alum Creek.

Two boys fish at Heron Pond in Three Creeks Metro Park
Fishing at Heron Pond, Three Creeks Metro Park. (Barbara Nye)

Scioto Audubon and Scioto Grove: Scioto River

If you are looking for the chance to catch anything and everything, then the Scioto River is the place to go. You’ll find the usual suspects: largemouth bass, channel cats and bluegill. You’ll also have the chance to hook into hybrid striped bass, longnose gar, flathead cats, saugeye, musky and more. You can access the Scioto River from Scioto Audubon and Scioto Grove. Try bottom fishing with minnows or cut bait and you’re sure to catch a variety of species large and small.

Citizen Science Project

We need your help! Metro Parks is collecting data on fish caught in our bodies of water. Take a picture of your catch and tag it using #hookedonmetroparks and the location. Check out the bulletin boards for some guidelines and don’t forget a valid Ohio fishing license.

Grab your fishing rod and check out some of my favorite fishing spots in your Metro Parks. Best of luck this summer and tight lines!

Tell us about your favorite fishing spot!

4 thoughts on “Catch ’em if you can

  1. Walnut Creek (Little Walnut) at Walnut Woods is a nice stream to fish for Smallmouth, Spotted Bass, and even an occasional Sauger that have moved up directly from the Scioto.

    1. Thomas, thanks for the advice about fishing at Walnut Woods. We hope you’ve managed some good fishing there and would love to see any photos you might have of your catches, or photos of you angling at the park. You can send photos to any time. Happy fishing!

  2. Launched a kayak from Scioto Audubon metro park last Sunday. Headed towards the Scioto mile. Found an island surrounded by water plants. Had some luck with small mouth and channel cat.

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