The 15 Best Fishing Lakes in Indiana (And the Types of Fish to Expect!)

Vacation houses line the shores of Lake Maxinkuckee in Culver, Indiana, while white clouds drift against a blue sky
Steven Heim/

Written by Lev Baker

Updated: July 10, 2023

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Indiana is a hidden gem for fishers, with an impressive collection of 86 picturesque lakes throughout the state. While many of these serene bodies of water are man-made, they offer great angling opportunities that are bound to excite anybody looking to fish.

15 Best Fishing Lakes in Indiana
Indiana is an angler’s paradise with 86 beautiful lakes.

So, grab your fishing gear, prepare to reel in some excitement, and let’s dive into the diverse world of Indiana’s best fishing lakes, where an array of fascinating fish species eagerly await your arrival.

1. Lake Michigan

Beach shoreline to lake Michigan in Sheboygan, Wisconsin

As the third largest of the Great Lakes, Lake Michigan is a sight to behold.

Lake Michigan is an absolute gem for fishing enthusiasts in the state of Indiana. Indiana has the smallest share of Lake Michigan’s shoreline among the four bordering states, boasting 43 miles of picturesque coastline and a whopping 224 square miles of open water. Despite that, Lake Michigan has over 1,600 miles of total coastline, offering endless opportunities for angling adventures.

Whether you prefer casting your line from the accessible public fishing site at the Port of Indiana or launching your boat from one of the convenient private marinas along Burns Waterway, you’ll find your perfect spot. But fishing is just the beginning! Lake Michigan also beckons visitors with its pristine beaches for swimming, numerous marinas for recreational boating, and scenic state and national parks along the shoreline for exhilarating hikes and unforgettable camping experiences. 

And let’s not forget about the fish! This incredible lake is teeming with prized catches like brown trout, coho salmon, steelhead, perch, largemouth bass, rainbow trout, Chinook salmon, lake trout, smallmouth bass, and walleye. 

2. Patoka Lake

Sunset with cloudy sky viewed from the shore of Patoka Lake

Anglers can catch many different freshwater fish in Patoka Lake.

Patoka Lake, spanning an impressive 8,800 surface acres, is a haven for both boating and fishing enthusiasts. Further, with a remarkable 161 miles of scenic shoreline, there’s no shortage of exploration and angling opportunities.

Whether you need a boat ramp, campground, or marina, everything is easily accessible to ensure you have a seamless experience on the lake. This vibrant lake is not only renowned for its recreational activities and also serves as a habitat for unique wildlife, including freshwater jellyfish and nesting sites for majestic bald eagles

Anglers flock to Patoka for thrilling bass-fishing tournaments, targeting a variety of species, including channel catfish, largemouth bass, white crappie, bluegill, walleye, redear sunfish, wipers, white bass, and striped bass. 

3. Monroe Lake

Monroe Lake Bloomington Indiana

There are many outdoor activities to be enjoyed in vast Monroe Lake.

Monroe Lake is the largest land-bound body of water in Indiana. With its expansive 11,000 surface acres, this lake offers abundant recreation opportunities, thus ensuring something for everyone.

Bringing your own boat is a breeze, thanks to the nine convenient launch ramps available. Additionally, there are three public beaches for those who prefer to fish from the shore. If you want to take a break from casting your lines, you can also enjoy a hike on one of the diverse trail options, catering to all levels of difficulty and providing a memorable outdoor adventure.

But let’s not forget the real highlight—fishing! Monroe Lake boasts the most extensive and varied selection of fish in Indiana. Get ready to reel in an impressive array of catches, including largemouth, bluegill, yellow bass, white and black crappie, bullhead, walleye, flathead, channel catfish, and hybrid stripers. 

4. Geist Reservoir

Sunset on Geist Reservoir in Lawrence IN

Geist Reservoir is an excellent place for bass fishing.

Experience the breathtaking charm of Geist Reservoir, a stunning 1,800-acre lake located on the northeastern outskirts of Indianapolis, IN. This picturesque lake is surrounded by neighborhoods where numerous homes offer convenient boat docks. Geist Marina offers a public boat launch, as well as boat rentals and storage services. This makes Geist a convenient haven for boating and fishing enthusiasts looking for an opportunity to drop their lines close to home.

Enjoy thrilling activities such as boating, water skiing, canoeing, kayaking, swimming, and, of course, fishing. Whether you prefer a day of leisurely lounging or an action-packed adventure, Geist Lake has it all.

As a popular destination for bass tournaments and abundant fishing opportunities, the reservoir attracts fishing enthusiasts from near and far. Cast your line and try your luck with a variety of prized catches, including channel catfish, largemouth bass, redear sunfish, flathead catfish, walleye, black crappie, bluegill, and striped bass. 

5. Lake Maxinkuckee

Vacation houses line the shores of Lake Maxinkuckee in Culver, Indiana, while white clouds drift against a blue sky

Lake Muxinkuckee is a wonderful place to swim, fish, and enjoy nature in Indiana.

Welcome to Lake Maxinkuckee, Indiana’s second-largest natural lake, covering a vast expanse of 1,860 acres. Situated in the heart of the state, this captivating lake offers a range of activities for all to enjoy.

When winter arrives, ice fishing enthusiasts flock to Lake Maxinkuckee, as the lake often yields satisfying catches. However, it’s essential to check with local officials for authorization and the Indiana Department of Natural Resources (DNR) for regulations before venturing onto the ice.

Fishing isn’t all the lake has to offer! During the summer months, the lake truly comes alive with a plethora of recreational opportunities. Boating, sailing, water skiing, swimming, and, of course, fishing are among the popular activities enjoyed by visitors. Additionally, the lake’s depth allows for a unique scuba diving experience.

Anglers will be delighted by the diverse fish species that call Lake Maxinkuckee home. From smallmouth bass and largemouth bass to walleye, black crappie, bluegill, white bass, redear sunfish, and yellow perch, there’s a variety of catches to pursue.

6. Lake Wawasee

Wawasee Lake, near Syracuse, Indiana.

The best way to enjoy Lake Wawasee is by boat.

Lake Wawasee is another angler paradise located in Indiana. This lake boasts over 3,000 surface acres and a diverse range of fish species to pursue.

To maximize your chances of landing a great catch, taking to the water by boat is highly recommended. The southeastern shore provides a free public boat ramp for convenient access, while local marinas offer private ramps for a small fee. Additionally, the marinas are a valuable resource for supplies, fuel, boat repairs, and maintenance.

Even in the winter, when the temperatures drop, Lake Wawasee still offers the possibility of reeling in some impressive catches as it is a popular ice fishing location.

Additionally, Lake Wawasee does not disappoint when it comes to the variety of fish. From largemouth bass to black crappie, yellow perch, smallmouth bass, walleye, rock bass, bluegill, and northern pike, there’s a diverse range of targets to test your skills.

7. Lake Freeman

Lake Freeman, Monticello, Indiana sunset

Lake Freeman is a beautiful body of water in Indiana.

Welcome to the enchanting Lake Freeman! Spanning 1,500 acres, this picturesque vacation spot is nestled on the southern outskirts of Monticello. 

At Lake Freeman, you can dive into a refreshing swimming adventure, cruise along the shimmering waters on a boat, and indulge in the thrill of fishing. Take leisurely strolls and enjoy delightful picnics against the backdrop of breathtaking views. 

No boat? No problem! Conveniently located marinas offer boat rentals, ensuring that you can still embark on your water-bound escapades. Alternatively, hop aboard a large pleasure excursion boat and let the gentle waves carry you away.

For fishing enthusiasts, Lake Freeman is a dream come true. Smallmouth bass, flathead catfish, channel catfish, largemouth bass, walleye, white crappie, white bass, bluegill, and striped bass await your skilled casts. 

8. Eagle Creek Reservoir

Beautiful view of the reservoir in Eagle Creek Park, Indiana, USA

Residents of Indianapolis can easily access Eagle Creek Reservoir.

Eagle Creek Reservoir shines as an emerald gem among the Indianapolis Metro Parks. It is a stunning 1,300-acre lake with unlimited outdoor activities. This city-owned park is a paradise for fishing and offers a range of boating activities. Remember, there’s a 10-horsepower limit for boats, ensuring a peaceful atmosphere on the water.

The excitement doesn’t stop there! Head to Eagle Creek Park, right in the heart of Indianapolis, and discover a fantastic beach. Relax on the sandy shoreline, take a refreshing swim, build sandcastles, and bask in the sun.

When it comes to fishing, Eagle Creek Reservoir won’t disappoint. Get ready for the thrill of catching channel catfish, largemouth bass, white crappie, bluegill, white bass, walleye, and wipers. 

9. Dogwood Lake

Picturesque scene of Dogwood lake

Dogwood Lake is well-stocked for an exciting fishing experience.

Image: Amber Kay, Shutterstock

Dogwood Lake, spanning 1,400 surface acres, offers a serene and inviting fishing experience. With a small 10 hp motor limit, the lake is a tranquil atmosphere for anglers to enjoy. Regular stocking efforts contribute to a thriving fish population, providing exciting fishing opportunities year-round.

While the shoreline is mostly lined with lush trees and brush, there are still ample spots for shoreline fishing in certain areas. Additionally, Dogwood Lake provides a peaceful and picturesque setting for kayaking and canoeing. Boaters can take to the water without a DNR permit, while fishermen must possess a valid fishing license as per regulations.

Renowned as one of southern Indiana’s top fishing destinations, Dogwood Lake boasts a variety of sought-after fish species. Prepare for the thrill of catching channel catfish, largemouth bass, black crappie, bluegill, white crappie, and redear sunfish.

10. Bruce Lake

Fishing Detail of a Bluegill Sunfish at a Lake

Bruce Lake is a popular spot for bluegill fishing.

Image: Brookieland, Shutterstock

Bruce Lake is a relatively small fishing lake located in north-central Indiana, covering a generous 245 acres. This lake in Indiana is famous for its abundant bluegill population. Anglers will find it particularly delightful to fish here, thanks to its maximum depth of 34 feet and an average depth of 14 feet, which create favorable and easy conditions for catching fish. To make things even better, there’s a convenient public access site on the northwest side of the lake.

The boat ramp provides approximately 5 parking spots, with an additional 2 roadside spots near the spillway. Bruce Lake is known for its murky waters and expansive flats, with limited weed cover. Local anglers suggest that trolling is the most effective fishing method on this lake.

While bluegill fishing is popular, Bruce Lake holds a variety of other fish species as well. Lucky anglers may reel in black and white crappies,  sunfish, yellow perch, largemouth bass, and even the occasional channel catfish. Additionally, for the past four years, muskies have been actively stocked in the lake, further enhancing the angling opportunities for enthusiasts.

11. Webster Lake

A sunset picture taken at Webster Lake in North Webster, Indiana

With lots of fishing and boating opportunities, Webster Lake is a great place to relax in Indiana.

Webster Lake, situated in scenic North Webster, Indiana, spans 640 surface acres and has a diverse range of fish species. Whether fishing from the shore or a boat, anglers can enjoy the reservoir surrounded by picturesque homes with boat docks and natural vegetation.

Visitors to Webster Lake can indulge in a multitude of recreational activities, including sailing, boating, swimming, jet skiing, and leisurely picnics on the beach. With an abundance of vacation rentals offering stunning lake views, finding the perfect accommodation is a breeze.

Notably, Webster Lake has gained a well-deserved reputation for its muskie fishing. Thanks to a consistent stocking program, the lake has become a prime destination with a remarkable population of five to six adult muskies per acre. Anglers can also expect thrilling encounters with smallmouth bass, northern pike, bullhead, largemouth bass, walleye, black crappie, bluegill, yellow perch, redear sunfish, and carp.

12. Syracuse Lake

Warm sunset in the summertime at Dewart Lake in Syracuse Indiana with boats cruising over the water

Anglers will be pleased with the amount of fish available in Syracuse Lake.

Syracuse Lake is located in charming Syracuse, Indiana. This lake spans 400 acres and offers a diverse array of fish species to entice anglers. The lake’s scenic shoreline is adorned with trees and boat docks, providing excellent cover for all types of fish. For optimal results, fishing from a boat is recommended.

Convenient amenities are available in the vicinity, including a nearby marina, a boat launch ramp for easy access, and convenient stores offering bait and tackle. Additionally, restaurants are nearby to satisfy your hunger after a day on the water.

Anglers can expect to encounter various fish species, such as bass, bluegill, bream, sunfish, and perch. Crappies are typically found at depths of around 5 feet or deeper, while walleye tend to frequent the lake’s deeper channels.

13. Brookville Lake

Brookville Lake Brookville Indiana

Located in southern Indiana, Brookville Lake is a small, yet abundant fishing lake.

Brookville Lake is an extensive lake in Indiana spanning over 5,200 acres. It’s nestled just north of Brookville in the southeastern part of Indiana. With its impressive length of over 17 miles, Brookville Lake provides abundant water for fishing, boating, swimming, and engaging in various water sports. It’s also a perfect destination for memorable family vacations, offering plenty of camping options and various lodging choices to suit every preference.

Visitors can take advantage of the marina, boat launch ramps, and boat rentals for easy access to the lake’s waters. Campgrounds with RV hookups are available, and there are also convenient amenities, such as a marina store offering bait and tackle.

Anglers can expect a diverse range of fish species to target, including smallmouth bass, brown trout, flathead catfish, channel catfish, black crappie, walleye, bluegill, white crappie, rainbow trout, and muskellunge. 

14. Mississinewa Reservoir

fish crappie hanging with pond background

You can catch black or white crappie in the Mississinewa Reservoir.

Image: Brandon Stinnett, Shutterstock

Nestled in northeast Indiana, Mississinewa Reservoir is a 3,200-acre reservoir situated between the Frances Slocum State Recreation Area and Miami State Recreation Area. This picturesque location offers fantastic camping opportunities and excellent fishing experiences. With nearly 60 miles of shoreline, anglers can choose to fish from boats or try their luck casting from the shore.

For convenience, there is a marina available to visitors, providing easy access to the water. Although boat rentals are not offered, there are four boat launch ramps to accommodate those bringing their own vessels. Campgrounds with RV hookups are also available for those seeking a relaxing stay.

When it comes to fishing, Mississinewa Reservoir offers a diverse range of species to target. Anglers can try their hand at catching smallmouth bass, flathead catfish, channel catfish, black crappie, walleye, bluegill, white crappie, largemouth bass, and white bass. 

15. Big Turkey Lake

Close up on a freshly caught smallmouth bass ith a flure and hook in its mouth in the hand of a fisherman displaying it over the water in the river

Your chances of landing a smallmouth bass at Big Turkey Lake are good.

Image: CLP Media, Shutterstock

Situated in a serene environment, Big Turkey Lake spans 450 surface acres, providing an idyllic fishing experience suitable for anglers of all ages and skill levels. The lake boasts abundant vegetation and strategically positioned boat docks, offering both fish populations a natural hideaway and anglers a promising spot to target predator fish.

To ensure easy access, a convenient boat launch ramp is available, facilitating seamless entry into the water. Additionally, nearby campgrounds and RV hookups provide convenient accommodation options for a comprehensive outdoor adventure.

Anglers at Big Turkey Lake can look forward to a diverse range of fish species to pursue. Whether it’s the thrilling chase of smallmouth bass, the challenge of black crappie, the excitement of reeling in bluegill and redear sunfish, the satisfaction of catching yellow perch, or the pursuit of northern pike, this lake offers a variety of opportunities to satisfy any angler’s appetite.

Summary of the 15 Best Fishing Lakes in Indiana

1Lake MichiganPorter, Lake, & LaPorte Counties
2Patoka LakeCrawford, Dubois, & Orange Counties
3Monroe LakeMonroe, Bartholomew, Lawrence, Brown, & Jackson Counties
4Geist ReservoirDelaware, Henry, Marion, Madison, Hancock, & Hamilton Counties
5Lake Maxinkuckee Marshall County
6Lake WawaseeKosciusko County
7Lake FreemanWhite County
8Eagle Creek ReservoirMarion County
9Dogwood LakeHarrison County
10Bruce LakeFulton County
11Webster LakeKosciusko County
12Syracuse LakeKosciusko County
13Brookville LakeFranklin County
14Mississinewa ReservoirMiami County
15Big Turkey LakeSteuben County

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About the Author

Lev is a writer at AZ Animals who primarily covers topics on animals, geography, and plants. He has been writing for more than 4 years and loves researching topics and learning new things. His three biggest loves in the world are music, travel, and animals. He has his diving license and loves sea creatures. His favorite animal in the world is the manta ray.

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