Indiana isn’t well-known outside of the state for its abundance of lakes or coveted fishing.
However, locals know that Indiana is a treasure-trove of natural beauty, including some gorgeous lakes that offer ample fishing opportunities.
The state boasts hundreds of natural lakes, many of which were left over after the ice age. Nineteen of these lakes are over 500 acres.
In terms of fishing, Indiana has plenty of freshwater bodies to explore. (However, those looking for sea fishing will need to look elsewhere, as the state is land-locked.)
Some of the most popular species available to catch are largemouth and smallmouth bass, bluegill, musky, crappie, walleye, salmon, lake trout, rainbow trout, and catfish.
In this article, you will learn about some of the best places to fish in Indiana, including where they are, the fish available, size, and much more.
Top 10 Indiana Fishing Lakes
- Lake Maxinkuckee
- Lake Monroe
- Patoka Lake
- Salamonie Lake
- Brookville Lake
- Cecil M. Harden Lake
- Geist Reservoir
- Lake Freeman
- Lake Webster
- West Boggs
Located in southwestern Marshall County, Lake Maxinkuckee is one of the largest lakes in Indiana, covering an area of around 1,864 acres.
The closest town is Culver, which covers most of Lake Maxinkuckee to the north and the west. The shoreline offers about ten miles of lakefront, and its max depth is 88 feet (the average depth is 24 feet).
Lake Maxinkuckee is a natural, spring-fed lake offering beaches and a variety of other recreational terrains. Below the lake is an aquifer system that feeds the lake through 21 underground springs.
The most popular fish available to catch at Lake Maxinkuckee are:
- Largemouth bass
- Smallmouth bass
- Black crappie
- Redear sunfish
- White bass
- Yellow perch
Bass and walleye are what most anglers go for, and the lake even offers some good ice fishing during the winter months.
Lodging and boat rentals are available, and bait and tackle can be bought on-location where stores can recommend the best bait for the species you are aiming for.
Located in Monroe County and Brown County, Lake Monroe is the largest lake in Indiana, covering 10,750 acres. It was built by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in 1960 for flood control and water supply.
Lake Monroe has an average depth of 17 feet, with a max depth of 54 feet, and at normal levels, the lake offers 103 miles of shoreline.
Along with sightseeing, swimming, picnicking, and skiing, the lake offers some wonderful fishing.
Largemouth bass, white crappie, channel catfish, walleye, and bluegill are available in abundance.
While fishing in Lake Monroe is good year-round, spring is often considered one the best times to visit for its bass catches.
If you are targeting largemouth bass, some good lure choices are Alabama-rigs, jig-n-pig combos, or shaky head finesse worms.
Patoka Lake is one of the best places to fish in Indiana. Similar to Lake Monroe, Patoka Lake was built as a safe water supply and to help with flood control.
It covers 8,800 acres in the summer months and is heavily stocked with a variety of fish, such as bass, catfish, redear sunfish, bluegill, walleye, and crappie.
One of the things that makes Patoka Special is its once-a-year GarDaze event. Put on by the Lake Association, this fishing tournament attracts anglers from around the world.
Patoka Lake has a booming tourist economy. Activities include camping, water sports, hunting, hiking, swimming, disc golf, biking, and other recreational programs.
Salamonie Lake offers fishing, hiking, bird watching, hunting, and camping across a 2,665-acre property. The entire area contains around 40 ponds, marshes, and wetlands for a diverse array of wildlife.
Fishing at Salamonie Lake is generally best from July to October, as lake levels can fluctuate a lot from February to April.
Ice fishing here in the winter months can be hazardous (although many still participate).
Throughout the year, white crappie is available in abundance, typically for boat anglers thanks to the fish attractors, off points, and wooded inlets.
Channel catfish, white bass, walleye, black bass, bluegill, and redear sunfish are also popular targets at Salamonie Lake.
At 5,200 acres, it is one of the most expansive lakes in the state at over 17 miles in length and a max depth of 110 feet at the dam.
Brookville Lake is one of the best fishing lakes in Indiana thanks to its stunning natural beauty and the wide variety of fish available, including:
- Channel catfish
- Flathead catfish
- White crappie
- Black crappie
- Smallmouth bass
- Rainbow trout
- Brown trout
Brookville Lake is also a top vacation destination, with marinas, boat launch ramps, boat rentals, campgrounds, RV hookups, lodging, convenience stores, bait and tackle stores, and restaurants all available.
Cecil M. Harden Lake
Anglers at Cecil M Harden Lake can enjoy over 2,000 acres of blue waters teeming with channel catfish, largemouth bass, striped bass, white crappie, bluegill, and carp.
Located in Parke County, Indiana, this lake offers over 35 miles of shoreline to explore for fishing spots, along with boat rentals, bait and tackle shops, and convenience stores to help anglers stock up.
If you are the competing type, Cecil M Harden Lake also hosts multiple bass tournaments per year.
Camping is also available for the family, and RV hookups and lodging are available if you plan to stay awhile.
Geist Reservoir is a 1,800-acre lake located two to three hours northeast of Indianapolis. If you live in or near Indianapolis, Geist Reservoir is one of the best lakes for you to fish.
As the lake is surrounded by residential homes, you aren’t quite “out of the way” as the other lakes on this list.
However, campgrounds and RV hookups are still available nearby, and the area is filled with natural beauty.
The most popular species available at Geist Reservoir are bluegill, channel catfish, and largemouth bass. White crappie, black crappie, flathead catfish, and redear sunfish are also available.
Geist Reservoir fishing is known for its many coves where the fish like to hang out. These fish can weigh anywhere from three to seven pounds.
Walleyes like the shallow areas here, especially during the dark morning hours. Bass are usually best caught in the afternoon and evening when the water is warmer.
Lake Freeman is a 1,500-acre lake located near Monticello. This lake is a popular destination for ice fishers during the winter months.
The lake offers largemouth and smallmouth bass, walleye, bluegill, white crappie, white bass, striped bass, channel catfish, and flathead catfish year-round.
Lake Freeman offers lots of recreational activities that are great for the whole family, such as swimming, boating, hiking, and picnicking.
In addition, bait and tackle stores and convenience stores are available for anglers to stock up on supplies on-site.
Lake Webster is one of the smaller lakes in Indiana, coming in at around 640 acres. However, this freshwater lake is packed with fish species, such as yellow perch, muskie, black crappie, walleye, bluegill, bream, redear sunfish, northern pike, largemouth bass, and smallmouth bass.
Lake Webster has a max depth of 60 feet and an average depth of 20 feet.
Shore and boat fishing are both available, as well as nearby boat rentals and lodging. However, campgrounds and RV hookups are not available, so if you are planning more than a day trip you will need to stay in other lodgings.
West Boggs is one of the most popular lakes in southern Indiana. After being restocked in 2017, nearly one million fish were introduced, which revitalized the fishing scene here.
Crappie and bluegills are some of the most popular targets. Bass fishing is coming back as well.
The 1,500-acre property offers camping, beaches, and boat rentals. Water sports are popular on West Boggs due to no motor size restrictions and a 35 mph speed limit when on the main body.
Anglers need not be wary of water sports, however, as there are plenty of idle coves and inlets to choose from.
The state of Indiana is filled with some of the best opportunities for nature-lovers in the country, and its fishing scene is still underrated.
With an abundance of lakes in all parts of the state, many of which are accessible by RV or have campgrounds nearby, each lake offers its own blend of fishing opportunities and a great overall experience in the surrounding area.
If you are considering visiting any of these lakes, make sure to check with local and state fishing regulations beforehand, especially if you plan on ice fishing.
Stay safe, and enjoy all of the fishing Indiana has to offer so you can bring home a cooler full of fresh fish!