Visiting and Fishing Ohio’s Mosquito Creek Lake
With a maximum depth of 24 feet, over 7,000 acres of surface area and an additional 2,400 acres of surrounding recreation and parkland, there is something for anglers of all levels at Mosquito Creek Lake. The reservoir is a dammed portion of Mosquito Creek and serves as one of Ohio’s largest fishing destinations. The reservoir hosts multiple professional bass tournaments and is also known as an excellent crappie fishery. With plenty of water and wildlife, and multiple access points, Mosquito Lake is a great option for new and experienced anglers in Ohio and visitors to the state.
Located in northeast Ohio, Mosquito Lake is split by Bazetta and Mecca Townships, with the town of Cortland and the larger City of Warren nearby. Completed in 1944, Mosquito Lake originally provided water for industry and flood control. Part of the Mahoning River Watershed, which also feeds the Ohio River, the reservoir is the second largest lake in Ohio, not including Lake Erie.
Getting on the Water at Mosquito Creek Lake
Mosquito Lake is separated into three main areas. The northernmost portion is part of the Mosquito Creek Wildlife Area where no boats or fishing are allowed. Some access roads are available in the refuge but are mainly used for birders. The second portion of the lake, south of the wildlife refuge and north of the causeway has shallow waters and a speed limit of 15 mph. The region of the lake is a great place for kayaking and shallow water fishing species such as largemouth bass and panfish.
The largest area of Mosquito Lake is located south of the causeway and is open water with no speed restrictions. The southern portion of the lake is favored by anglers and a great starting point for a new angler or visitor. The primary game species in the lake are crappie, largemouth bass, and walleye, though northern pike, white bass, bluegill and other sunfish, and channel catfish are also present.
There are multiple water access points surrounding Mosquito Lake. The most prominent and widely used boat ramp is located at the Mosquito Lake State Park entrance and marina. The main launch ramp has multiple docks and ramps for loading, as well as parking areas. The marina concession ramp is also located at the main entrance off State Route 305. For paying campers in the state park campground, a boat launch across from the marina is available.
The wildlife refuge launch area off the northwest portion of the lake is suitable for only small boats and kayaks, with limited parking. The SR 305 Launch Area is best for kayaks, canoes, and small boats.
The Causeway Launch Ramp has a ramp and dock, parking, and is lit at night for the nighttime angler and early riser. This ramp is found on the east side of the lake close to the causeway, with another single launch point on the opposite side of the road. One large gravel parking lot on the corner of West Main Street and McCleary Jacoby Road on the east side of the lake offers an additional location to launch a paddle craft.
Fishing Local Water
Mosquito Lake’s shoreline includes various small coves and bays with weedy habitat for fish. From the main boat ramp, the lily pads between the nearby island and main channel offer cover for lurking fish and is a good place to start a day on the water. This area is particularly great for kayak anglers as they can get close into the shallow water during the spring.
From the ramp on the east side of the reservoir near Mecca, bass can often be found by fishing along the rocks near the causeway. A small section on the causeway is accessible to anglers fishing from shore. Throwing bait from this area can attract a variety of species.
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Weedless plastics are a favorite of largemouth bass on Mosquito Lake, particularly Texas style rigs. A 1/4 oz bullet weight plus a 3/0 EWG hook with a soft plastic bait is a good weedless lure for the local water. Topwater lures can sometimes be challenging for novice anglers due to the nature of the lake and frequent breezes over the large surface area. But when the water is calm and the lure is presented over a weed bed, bass will typically respond well.
Waxworms and nightcrawlers are good for bait fishing for Mosquito Lake. If you hook into a crappie or walleye, stay near the same location for more casts as these fish species are often found in schools, with many individuals together. When casting bait, also keep track of how long the bait sinks and to what approximate depth. Locally made 3/8 oz worm harnesses are a good choice for catching walleye and can be used to cast, drift, or troll for fish. Jig heads can add flare with a small spinner and are popular in pink and gold colors on the lake.
Thinking Like a Fish at Mosquito Lake
When fishing from a boat, kayak, or canoe, finding depth and structure in the open water is key to locating fish on Mosquito Lake. The east side of the lake between the causeway and dam has good underwater structure with trolling at depths of 12-16 feet as a good starting point to find fish. Drifting, trolling, or anchoring above underwater drop-offs on the lake bottom is a common way to locate fish.
If fishing without electronic devices, a reliable way to find deeper pockets of fish is to locate and follow the old creek and stream outlets that drain into the lake. These often appear as small coves along the lake shore. The old channels from these creeks are still present underwater. Following these former streambeds can be helpful in uncovering hidden areas where fish congregate. Alternatively, the lake generally deepens closer to the middle, so using landmarks to gauge drifts and trolling lines is another way to keep track of the water covered.
Whether fishing Mosquito Creek Lake from shore or by boat, anglers can find some of the best fishing in northeastern Ohio and possibly the state overall. First created as a dammed portion of Mosquito Creek nearly a century ago, the reservoir holds a wide variety of fish, including largemouth bass, walleye, northern pike, and several other fish species. Regardless of experience or skill level, there are many different ways to fish and catch fish in the reservoir, making Mosquito Creek Lake well worth the trip for an early morning fish or several days spent on the water.