Pennsylvania is a great place to ice fish. There is an abundance of fish here and they are not going anywhere. The fish get restocked often. These are the choice places that I think you should check out.
- Lake Arthur
- High Point Lake
- Lake Wallen Paupack
- Pymatuning Lake
- Presque Isle Bay
- Bradys Run Lake
- Beltzville Lake
- Laurel Lake
The fish in most of these areas are generally bigger than the average size. I guess there is something in the water in Pennsylvania! I have decided on some areas that I believe would be worth your time.
Types of Fish: northern pike, muskellunge, largemouth bass, walleye, channel catfish, crappie, bluegill, yellow perch
Lake Arthur is known for its big fish. That is the big draw to this place. Walleye, yellow perch, northern pike, etc. are all staples here and they come in big sizes.
They have a bluegill fishery that is a really great place to try your hand at catching some bluegill. You can get some big ones around 9 inches which is a great feeling when you catch one.
Since everything is bigger here, let’s talk about how to be successful. With most bigger fish you want to really focus on your jigging technique. You might even want to set up a few tip-ups around you. That way you have more chances. Put some live bait on the tip-ups.
If you looking for bluegill, use some wax worms. If you want bigger fish, use minnows.
Lake Arthur is a great place and if you have not ice fished there, then you would be wise to go next season. You will not regret it!
High Point Lake
Types of Fish: yellow perch, walleye, bluegill, black crappie
High Point Lake is aptly named. The highest point in Pennsylvania is Mt. Davis. Do you know what is really close to Mt. Davis? That’s right, High Point Lake. The reservoir here is HUGE! The area looks great and there is plenty of ice fishing to do here.
There is a variety of fish to choose from here and I love variety. Set your tip-ups at different depths to have better chances at catching different fish. Get ahold of what bites and enjoy your time out on the ice.
This place is popular. I have seen people catch some beautiful northern pike here. Take some friends or go with family. A lot of people go here. It is a great social activity.
Types of Fish: walleye, black crappie, brown trout, bluegill, pumpkinseed, redbreast sunfish, chain pickerel northern pike
I am not kidding when I say that Lake Wallenpaupack is big. It is 5,700 acres in surface area! It is not the deepest lake out there but it sure is long.
If you are going for record winning fish, you should come to give this place a look. Different records have been made here and that could be you! Walleye is present here along with other commonly found fish.
January is typically the pinnacle time period for ice fishing. Lake Wallenpaupack is no exception. After the holidays, use your winter weight to give yourself a little extra warmth during the ice fishing season.
Something a little fun that you can experience while you are up here is the Wally Ice Fest! It is a three-day event where people come and enjoy winter sports and fun up in the Pocono Mountains. Bringing your family here is a great idea because it is fun for the kids and you can take your family ice fishing.
Types of Fish: bluegill, crappie, carp, perch, largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, muskellunge, walleye
Right on the border of Ohio and Pennsylvania is this almost crescent moon shaped lake. Okay, the crescent part really is not that defined but it does wrap around.
This place is really well set up. It is very modern and has everything it needs. The only thing that I noticed is that the ice thickness is not recorded or watched over. It is up to the individual to figure that out. Use your auger to find the thickness and see if it is safe. Generally, the rule of thumb is to wait until January.
I already said that the place borders Ohio and you might be wondering how that works with fishing licensing. I found out that both states decided to be smart and make it so that on the lake, either Ohio or Pennsylvania license is approved on the lake. What an intelligent move on the states’ part.
Presque Isle Bay
Types of Fish: steelhead, bluegill, brown trout, pumpkinseed, yellow perch, white crappie, black crappie
Who doesn’t love a good bay? Not only is this a huge change of scene from the mountain or forest areas but it also comes with some new fish. Steelhead is mainly what I am talking about. They are big but so are the other fish.
Word of Advice: Ask questions. There are plenty of people who spend their days on the ice catching and finding what works best. Ask people what the best methods are or where the popular areas are this year. You can’t go wrong with being friendly and asking for advice.
The steelhead has slowly been creeping up the ladder in numbers. Generally, you will not target them but you may end up catching some once in a while.
Presque Isle Bay is a good place to catch crappies. There are plenty here and it is a fairly common grab. Other types like bluegill are common to catch as well.
Bradys Run Lake
Types of Fish: panfish, trout, crappie
Bradys Run Lake is breathtaking! I wish I lived there at the lake. It is great in the winter but you also need to check it out during the summer.
I would suggest only going out there about midway through January. You can go out right after Christmas but the ice probably will not be as thick as it needs to be.
Ask around and maybe even go on a forum. Ice Shanty generally has a forum for people to talk about how thick the ice is in a given area.
I have found that these are really useful so I do not have to go out and find out for myself. I can just sit in my house drinking something warm and find out on my computer.
Trout and crappie are really good and can be found often here. Panfish exist here but I would not come here for them. They are not as plentiful and it just is not a good area for that.
Types of Fish: chain pickerel, muskellunge, pumpkinseed, bluegill, perch, trout, walleye
The Beltzville State Park is a place you need to see. The lake is also amazing. This place is used as a beach in the summer but during the winter, ice fishing is underway.
This place is open to the public so that can be a blessing and a curse. It means easy access for you but also for lots of other people. Depending on the kind of person you are, that could make or break your trip.
Walleye is the main haul here. There are plenty of other regulars like perch, trout, bluegill, etc. Chain pickerel are here too. They have sharp teeth so bring along some 10-pound test. I like to use monofilament or fluorocarbon.
There are a lot of structures in the water and that can be helpful when ice fishing. Fish tend to stay around the structures.
Types of Fish: trout, chain pickerel, bass, perch
Laurel Lake is a hotspot for ice fishing. This is another area where the ice thickness is not monitored.
There is a designated ice skating area that does have the ice thickness monitored. You can’t go over there to ice fish either. Maybe they like their ice skating better than ice fishing? I don’t know.
Near Laurel Lake is another lake named, “Fuller Lake.” No ice sports of any kind are allowed there so you’re stuck with Laurel Lake. I think that it is fun to catch the trout here. They are more difficult but I enjoy the challenge. Make sure you have the right gear and this should be a good time.