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Fishing at Clear Fork Reservoir, OH

Clear Fork Reservoir - also known as Clear Fork Lake - has gained a well-deserved reputation as one of the best muskellunge lakes in Ohio. Big muskies share the water with a wide range of other game fish at Clear Fork Reservoir, giving anglers plenty of options.

Size: 971 acres.

Depth: 24 feet.

Location: Morrow and Richland counties, about 8 miles southwest of Mansfield.

Access: The city of Mansfield operates a free public boat ramp and access site on the south shore of the reservoir just east of Bowers Road. Bank fishing is available at three picnic areas along the south shore.

Predominant Fish Species: Muskellunge, largemouth bass, black crappie, white crappie, bluegill, channel catfish and white bass.

Special Regulations: Boats with unlimited horsepower are permitted on Clear Fork Reservoir, but a speed limit of 8 miles per hour is enforced throughout the lake. Shore fishing is permitted only along the southern and western shores of the reservoir; the land on the north shore is allocated for hunting only. Statewide fishing regulations and seasons are in effect, and a current Ohio fishing license is required.

Fishing Tips and Tactics: Clear Fork Reservoir has a lot of islands and submerged humps and shoals that provide some of the best fishing for a variety of species. You can target muskellunge by trolling large crankbaits, spinners, spoons and jerkbaits (be sure to use a wire leader). Muskies over 50 inches have been caught in Clear Fork Reservoir. 

For largemouth bass, focus on weed beds, fallen trees and stumps with soft plastic baits, jigs and topwater lures. Crappies are easiest to catch around shallow woody cover in springtime, and bluegill inhabit a variety of cover throughout the lake. For catfish, the best method is to fish along the bottom in near-shore areas with nightcrawlers, chicken livers and other natural baits.

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