Many anglers are unaware of some of the amazing ice fishing opportunities found in the eastern United States. Of all these places, the state of Pennsylvania stands out among the rest. Very few other states offer not only the quality but the number of opportunities found on the ice.
Pennsylvania is home to plenty of frozen lakes in the winter, and many of them offer multiple different species of fish. Popular ice fishing species such as walleye, perch and northern pike. Other species commonly caught include crappie, trout, panfish, and bass.
Because of the number of places to go are so plentiful, it can usually be a little difficult to find the best places to go ice fishing. Here we have compiled an easy list of the five top locations for the best ice fishing in Pennsylvania.
Top Locations for Ice Fishing in Pennsylvania
1. Lake Arthur
If you are after trophy fish, Lake Arthur is the best place in the whole state to fish. Whether it is is big pike, big perch, big trout, or even big crappie, Lake Arthur is definitely home to more quality than quantity.
This lake is world-famous for its bluegill fishing as well. Not only do they grow to some large sizes, there are also plenty of them to be caught. Some anglers have even reported some bluegill as large as ten or eleven inches swimming around in the lake.
To find the best access at Lake Arthur, you can try Lake Arthur State Park. Because of the shape of the lake, this offers the easiest and best access points, but access can also be found in other areas around the lake as well.
2. Foster Joseph Sayers Lake
While Lake Arthur may be the best lake in the state of Pennsylvania for bluegill, Foster Joesph Sayers Lake is the best for crappie. Because of the state’s special panfish regulations, this lake is home to some of the biggest crappie in the entire country.
In addition to special regulations, this lake has a lot of manmade structures at the bottom to help aid in fish habitat. The entire lake is around 1730 acres, so there is plenty of ice to explore and find your next fishing hole.
Because this lake is surrounded by Bald Eagle State Park, access to the lake is very easy and plentiful. Try fishing around any structures for the best success, and be aware of the special regulations regarding panfish.
3. High Point Lake
High Point Lake was named for its location next to Mt. Davis, the highest point in elevation in the state of Pennsylvania. Because of this, the scenery is next to none and this lake is one of the most beautiful in the state.
High Point Lake is around 340 acres and is just far enough away from any major metropolitan areas so it does not receive the same amount of pressure as other lakes. Anglers can expect to catch pike, perch, walleye, bluegill, and crappie.
Anglers that enjoy some peace and quiet will love everything about High Point Lake. Access can be a little trickier and it is smart to check the weather before traveling, but the effort is well worth it. You may even go home with a giant pike or bluegill as well!
4. Beltzville Lake
At around 950 acres, Beltzville Lake is somewhat of a larger lake but still retains many aspects of a smaller lake. It holds a large variety of fish, including bass, trout, walleye, perch, and bluegill. It is easily one of the better walleye fisheries in the state.
Because of this lake’s location, access to the ice is very good. It is located in Beltzville State Park, and while other lakes may have access issues, this is one great lake that does not. This lake is also very well maintained for healthy fish populations.
For the best success at Beltzville Lake, try fishing around established fishing structures. Also, be ready to share the ice with other anglers. Because of the easy access, it is one of the more popular lakes in the state.
5. Canoe Creek Lake
Probably the smallest lake on our list, Canoe Creek Lake sits at only 155 acres. But because of the excellent bluegill fishing, it is quickly becoming one of the best panfish fisheries in the state of Pennsylvania, even though in the past it was only thought of as a trout lake.
Plenty of fish structures have been placed around the lake near the shoreline, including downed trees, rock piles, and stumps. These increase the amount of fish habitat and have greatly increased fish numbers in the last few years.
Canoe Creek State Park surrounds the entire lake, so access to the ice is very good. The entrance to this state park can be found only 14 miles from Altoona. Another popular choice among ice fishermen in the state, this lake can be a little crowded at times but the fishing here is well worth the trouble!
How Much is a Fishing License in Pennsylvania
Fishing licenses in Pennsylvania are pretty inexpensive, and there are many different options to choose from. A few of the more popular options include:
- Annual licenses for residents cost $22.90 and $52.90 for non-residents.
- Nonresident anglers can buy 3-day licenses for $26.90 or 7-day licenses for $34.90.
- Residents can purchase 3, 5, and 10-year licenses for reduced prices.
For more information and to view all of the different license fees and structures, visit https://www.fishandboat.com/Fish/FishingLicense/Documents/fishing-license-pricing.pdf.
Where to Buy a Fishing License in Pennsylvania
The easiest and most convenient way to purchase a fishing license is online through the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission. There are also a large number of license dealers found throughout the state that can sell you any of the established fishing licenses. To find a list of these dealers, visit https://www.fishandboat.com/Fish/FishingLicense/Pages/FishingLicenseAgents.aspx for an interactive map.
Pennsylvania is not only a great state to visit, but it offers some excellent opportunities to get out on the ice and go fishing. Many of the state’s lakes offer a great chance of catching some truly giant, trophy fish. If you have ever thought about visiting this part of the country during the winter, you will definitely not want to miss Pennsylvania!