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Friday, April 30, 2021

Bloomington's Best Fishing Holes

Categories: Outdoors

When it comes to fishing, Monroe County has a great selection of lakes, creeks, and ponds to cast your line. With 10 stocked bodies of water to choose from and miles upon miles of shore to fish on, you'll have a new location to try each time you embark on a fishing adventure.

Please note: All people ages 18+ are required to have a fishing license to fish at any of the following locations. You can purchase a valid Indiana license here.


Griffy Lake

Griffy Lake is a hidden gem located just up the road from Assembly Hall. Spanning 109 acres with an average depth of about 10 feet, the lake is stocked with largemouth bass, bluegill, redear sunfish, and channel catfish. Fishers are welcome to cast a line from any shore or from a non-motorized boat. Canoes, kayaks, and stand-up paddleboards are available for rent at the Griffy Lake Boathouse from April through October — privately-owned boats may be launched from the ramp located near the boathouse. Fishing is allowed year-round, including ice fishing, although Griffy Lake advises you to do so with caution.

Lake Lemon

Lake Lemon is one of Indiana's most popular & productive fishing lakes, located just 10 miles north of Bloomington in one of our neighboring Monroe County towns, Unionville. The lake takes up 1,650 acres with nearly 25 miles of shoreline and an average depth of 10 feet. Anglers can expect to find largemouth & yellow bass, channel & flathead catfish, bluegill, and crappie. Cast your line from any area of the abundant shoreline, or launch a privately-owned motorized or non-motorized boat at Riddle Point Park.

Monroe Lake

Monroe Lake is the largest body of water in Indiana, offering 10,750 acres of fishing paradise. The Salt Creek Causeway divides the lakes into two basins — the upper basin is restricted to idling speed, as are the shoreline areas and lake branches in both basins, while the main area of the lower basin is a cruising speed zone. There are nine launch ramps, seven of which are free to launch your motorized or non-motorized watercraft in. The two paid launch ramps are at the Fairfax State Recreation Area and the Paynetown State Recreation Area. Annual boating fees are $5.00 for non-motorized lake permits and $25.00 for motorized lake permits. 

Bluegill, largemouth & yellow bass, walleye, black & white crappie, channel & flathead catfish, and bullhead & hybrid stripers are what you can expect to catch at this well-stocked lake. Fishing is allowed year-round — popular areas for casting a line are the Crooked Creek Ramp, the Cutright State Recreation Area, and the Pinegrove Ramp. If you're looking for an area with less fishing competition, venture around the 190 miles of shoreline or coast through the many quiet coves on the water to find your secret spot.

Morgan-Monroe State Forest

Morgan-Monroe State Forest is primarily known for its nearly 30 miles of hiking trails, but the state forest is also home to three lakes: Bryant Creek Lake, Cherry Lake, and Prather Lake, all populated with channel catfish. Bryant Creek Lake spans nine acres, while Cherry & Prather Lakes span four acres each. All three lakes are open to fishing year-round, and non-motorized & electric trolling motorboats can be launched at the boat ramps at Bryant Creek Lake and Cherry Lake. Prather Lake is not accessible by car, but it can be hiked to from Rosebaum Road at the north side of the state forest.

Will Detmer Park

Will Detmer Park offers a half-acre pond with a wheelchair-accessible fishing pier. This fishing location is especially great for kids for a few reasons: there's a large playground just across the parking lot from the pond, the park is located in town, and the smaller-sized pond is more approachable for beginners & small children. Fishers can cast a line year-round and catch channel catfish at this pond.

Yellowwood State Forest

Yellowwood State Forest in neighboring Brown County is home to three lakes, the biggest being Yellowwood Lake, which spans 133 acres with an average depth of 30 feet. Yellowwood Lake offers a boat launch ramp for non-motorized & electric trolling motorboats — rowboats are also available for rent on a seasonal basis. Jackson Creek runs through the north & south ends of Yellowwood Lake and is a local favorite spot to cast a line due to its calm & quiet environment.

The state forest offers two smaller lakes: Bear Lake (seven acres with an average depth of 9.5 feet) and Crooked Creek Lake (four acres with an average depth of 11.5 feet). While neither of the smaller two lakes offer a boat launch, they're both popular destinations for fishing at Yellowwood State Forest. Fishers can expect to catch channel catfish, bluegill, and redear sunfish at all three lakes.

Looking for more outdoor activities in Bloomington? Check out the following:
Alyssa Davis

Alyssa Davis

Alyssa is the Digital Content Coordinator at Visit Bloomington. She's also a proud Indiana University alumna, mom to seven cats, and Formula 1 enthusiast.