Visiting and Fishing Ohio’s Alum Creek Lake
Alum Creek State Park and Lake is a top angling destination for residents of and visitors to Columbus, Ohio. Less than ten miles from the city, Alum Creek Lake is a great place for catching bass, bluegill, crappie, and catfish. For the angler looking for a greater challenge, the lake also holds muskie. With a state campground and selected coves for swimming and overnight anchoring, Alum Creek Lake offers unique outdoor experiences in the heart of Ohio.
Alum Creek and Delaware County were shaped by the glaciers during the last ice age. More recently, the Army Corps of Engineers built a dam on Alum Creek in the 1970s. The 3,269 acres of water in Alum Creek Lake was created with the completion of the dam project. Alum Creek Lake has a maximum depth of 60 feet near the dam, with much of the lake’s overall water depths ranging from 20 to 40 feet.
Getting on the Water at Alum Creek Lake
To access the lake, there are four main public boat launches. The first can be found on the west side of the lake at the Alum Creek Marina, which also offers short and long term docking. On the southeast corner of the lake, off of Africa Road, is another boat launch, as well as an access point north of Cheshire Road above the causeway. For access to the high, shallower reaches of the lake, try to launch your paddle craft in the northeast area where Howard Road crosses the water.
Fishing Local Water
Fishing in Alum Creek Lake includes the chance to catch largemouth bass, crappie, saugeye, and muskie. Saugeye is a sterile hybrid walleye species that is stocked throughout midwestern lakes for sportfishing. Saugeye and crappie can often be found near structure throughout the lake as well as in open water.
Preferred bait on the lake are crappie and bass minnows, as well as nightcrawlers. Imitating the baitfish and minnows with artificial swimbaits and plastic crayfish can also be effective. When using a crayfish pattern, stick to natural dark greens or browns and consider adding a weight to the lure to get it down onto the bottom of the lake bed where crayfish typically live. These tactics will work for largemouth bass, as well as other species.
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Fishing for bass in Alum Creek Lake peaks from about March to May, though local tournaments attract many anglers nearly year-round. When targeting bass buzzbaits can be effective on Alum Creek Lake, particularly in pearl w hite or snow white shades. Topwater poppers in red/white or frog-colored patterns can work well for bass. Topwater lures are good choices in shallow bays with weeds and submerged structure such as logs.
If targeting muskie at Alum Creek Lake, the fish species can be often be found in shallow water weed beds in the early spring during spawning but can retreat to colder water in the summer months. While trolling can work in fishing for muskie, many muskie anglers prefer casting large hard baits. Muskie fishing is a unique sub-culture that includes discussions on moon phases, water temperature, and even trolling strategies a few yards behind the boat.
Thinking Like a Fish at Alum Creek Lake
For an angler new to the area, start in the northern reaches of the lake at the Howard Road Boat Ramp. Although fishing from the boat ramp dock is not allowed, there is ample space to fish from shore in most locations nearby. The shoreline is shallower near the launch, so try to fish for bass in the weeds with crayfish and topwater presentations. With a kayak or canoe, paddle north to the bridge where the water depth increases, then continue north to shallow bays and downed trees. There is also reliable bass fishing in the coves south of the marina. For saugeye and other species who prefer open water, move further south in the lake.
The Alum Creek State Park Campground is a good choice for visiting overnight anglers. The campground includes showers and a private boat ramp for campground guests, as well as various recreational offerings. The park also offers cabins through their online website, which can sleep a group of three and include air conditioning and heat. Regardless of whether anglers make an extended visit to the lake or just spend a day on the water, there is great fishing to be found at Alum Creek Lake, making it a top destination for fishing in central Ohio.