Ohio Water Monsters: The 6 Biggest Fish in the State’s Waters

Ohio Biggest Fish

Ohio is not famous for its oceanic waters or coasts. However, the landlocked state boasts an impressive variety of fish species in its lakes, rivers, and reservoirs.

Among these fish, there are some true giants that are frequent targets of anglers and fishing enthusiasts. From catfish to bass to sturgeon, Ohio is home to some of the biggest fish species in the region.

Let’s dive into the world of fishing in Ohio and explore the largest fish that live in its waters.

1. Blue Catfish


One of the biggest fish species in Ohio is the Blue Catfish (Ictalurus furcatus). This massive fish can grow up to 5 feet in length and weigh over 100 pounds, making it a prized catch for many anglers. Blue Catfish are typically found in large rivers and reservoirs, such as the Ohio River, the Scioto River, and the Muskingum River.

These fish are known for their voracious appetite and can be caught using a variety of bait, including cut bait, live bait, and even artificial lures. Blue Catfish are known for their fighting ability, making them a thrilling challenge to reel in for anglers seeking an adrenaline-pumping fishing experience.

2. Flathead Catfish

Flathead Catfish

Another big catfish species that can be found in Ohio is the Flathead Catfish (Pylodictis olivaris). Flathead Catfish are known for their unique appearance, with a flat, broad head and a long, slender body. They can grow up to 5 feet in length and weigh over 100 pounds, making them one of the largest freshwater fish in Ohio.

Flathead Catfish are typically found in large rivers and reservoirs, where they feed on a variety of prey, including fish, crayfish, and small mammals. Anglers often target Flathead Catfish using live bait, such as shad or bluegill, and heavy tackle due to their size and strength.

3. Muskellunge

The Muskellunge (Esox masquinongy), also known as muskie, is a large predatory fish species that can be found in Ohio. Muskellunge are known for their aggressive behavior and can grow up to 6 feet in length and weigh over 50 pounds, although some specimens have been known to reach even larger sizes.

These fish are typically found in large lakes and reservoirs, such as Lake Erie and the Ohio River, and are known for their elusive nature, making them a challenging catch for anglers.

Muskellunge are often targeted using large lures, such as jerk baits, crankbaits, and bucktail spinners, as they are known for their predatory nature and willingness to strike at prey.

4. Largemouth Bass

Largemouth Bass

While not as large as some of the other species on this list, the Largemouth Bass (Micropterus salmoides) is still a popular game fish in Ohio and can grow to impressive sizes.

Largemouth Bass are typically found in a variety of habitats, including lakes, rivers, and reservoirs, and can reach sizes over 10 pounds in weight. These fish are known for their aggressive strikes and acrobatic fights, making them a favorite target for many anglers.

Largemouth Bass can be caught using a variety of baits, including plastic worms, crankbaits, and topwater lures, and are often sought after in bass fishing tournaments across the state. It can also be found in other US countries like West Virginia.

5. Lake Sturgeon

lake sturgeon

The Lake Sturgeon (Acipenser fulvescens) is a prehistoric-looking fish species that can be found in Ohio’s waters. Lake Sturgeon are known for their distinctive appearance, with a long, cylindrical body, a pointed snout, and bony plates called scutes covering their body.

These ancient fish can grow up to 8 feet in length and weigh over 100 pounds, making them one of the largest fish species in Ohio.

Lake Sturgeon typically live in large rivers and lakes like the Maumee River and Lake Erie. They have a slow growth rate and live long lives. These fish are a threatened species in Ohio and are protected by regulations. Catch and release is the only method of fishing for them.

Lake sturgeons are typically caught using specialized gear like heavy tackle, large baits, and circle hooks. They have bony mouths that can be difficult to hook.

6. Channel Catfish

Channel Catfish

The Channel Catfish (Ictalurus punctatus) is another species of catfish that lives in Ohio. It can grow to impressive sizes and is famous for its distinctive appearance. It has a forked tail, whisker-like barbels around its mouth, and a mottled body.

These fish can grow up to 40 pounds or more, although most specimens in Ohio are smaller. Channel Catfish live in rivers, lakes, and reservoirs throughout the state. They are scavengers that feed on other fish, insects, and other aquatic creatures.

Channel Catfish are popular among anglers. Different baits are used such as cut bait, chicken liver, and stink baits. You can catch them using a variety of fishing techniques. Bottom fishing, drift fishing, and jug fishing, you name it. The fish is famous for their strong fights and impressive size.

Conclusion: Ohio is an Underrated Angling Location

Ohio may not have the vast oceans of the coasts, it is home to some truly impressive fish species. From massive catfish to elusive muskellunge to prehistoric-looking sturgeon, Ohio’s waters hold some of the biggest fish in the region.

Anglers and fishing enthusiasts alike can enjoy the thrill of pursuing these giants. Catch-and-release practices exist to help the conservation and preservation of these remarkable fish species.

If you are a fishing enthusiast looking for challenges and a chance to land a trophy fish, look no further. Ohio waters offer exciting opportunities to reel in some of the biggest fish in the state. Happy fishing and good luck!

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