Monroe Lake Fishing Report Guide

Monroe Lake Fishing Report Guide

Fishing at Monroe Lake in Indiana is an experience you won’t forget. As the largest lake in the state, it offers a wealth of fishing opportunities, stunning scenery, and fantastic facilities. Whether you’re a seasoned angler or just starting out, Monroe Lake has something to offer everyone. In this guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know to make the most of your fishing trip.

About Monroe Lake Fishing

Monroe Lake, also known as Lake Monroe, is located in southern Indiana and is the state’s largest lake. It was created by damming the Salt Creek in 1965 for flood control, water supply, and recreation purposes. The lake is managed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Indiana Department of Natural Resources.

Monroe Lake is surrounded by the scenic Hoosier National Forest, which provides a beautiful backdrop for your fishing adventures. The lake’s expansive waters, combined with its rich fish population, make it a top destination for fishing enthusiasts. In addition to fishing, visitors can enjoy boating, swimming, camping, hiking, and wildlife viewing.

Monroe Lake Fishing Details

Here are some important details about Monroe Lake that every angler should know:

  • Water Surface: 10,750 acres
  • Shoreline: 181 miles
  • Average Depth: 17 feet
  • Max Depth: 54 feet
  • Surface Elevation: 538 feet
  • Location: Southern Indiana, near Bloomington
  • Coordinates: 39.0693° N, 86.4239° W
  • Accessibility: Easily accessible by car with multiple boat ramps and access points
  • Type of Lake: Man-made reservoir
  • Lake Amenities: Boat ramps, fishing piers, campgrounds, picnic areas, hiking trails, swimming beaches, and restrooms

Types of Fish in Monroe Lake

Monroe Lake is home to a diverse array of fish species, making it an excellent spot for anglers. Here are some of the most common types of fish you can catch at the lake and where you might find them:

Largemouth Bass

Largemouth bass are abundant in Monroe Lake and are a favorite target for many anglers. These fish are often found near submerged structures such as fallen trees, stumps, and rocks. They are most active during the early morning and late evening hours.


Crappie fishing is very popular at Monroe Lake. These fish are usually found in shallow waters during the spring spawning season and move to deeper waters in the summer. Look for crappie near brush piles, docks, and other structures.


Bluegill are plentiful in the lake and can be found in shallow waters, especially near vegetation and submerged structures. They are a great target for beginner anglers and are most active during the warmer months.

Channel Catfish

Channel catfish are commonly found in Monroe Lake. They prefer deeper waters and are often caught near the lake’s channels and drop-offs. Night fishing can be particularly productive for catfish.

White Bass

White bass are another popular species in the lake. They are often found in open waters and tend to school up, making them easier to locate. Look for white bass near points, humps, and underwater ridges.


Walleye can also be found in Monroe Lake, although they are less common than some other species. They prefer deeper waters and are often caught near rocky structures and drop-offs.

Hybrid Striped Bass

Hybrid striped bass, also known as wipers, are stocked in Monroe Lake and provide excellent fishing opportunities. They can be found in open waters and near structures such as points and humps.

Best Fishing Baits, Lures, and Tackle to Use for Monroe Lake Fishing

Choosing the right bait, lures, and tackle can make a big difference in your fishing success. Here are some recommendations for fishing at Monroe Lake:

Largemouth Bass

  • Baits: Live minnows, worms, and crayfish
  • Lures: Spinnerbaits, crankbaits, plastic worms, and jigs
  • Tackle: Medium-heavy rod with 10-15 lb test line


  • Baits: Live minnows and small insects
  • Lures: Jigs, small spinners, and soft plastics
  • Tackle: Light rod with 4-8 lb test line


  • Baits: Worms, crickets, and small insects
  • Lures: Small jigs, spinners, and flies
  • Tackle: Ultralight rod with 2-6 lb test line

Channel Catfish

  • Baits: Cut bait, chicken liver, and stink bait
  • Lures: None (catfish are usually caught using bait)
  • Tackle: Heavy rod with 15-30 lb test line

White Bass

  • Baits: Live minnows and shad
  • Lures: Jigs, spoons, and crankbaits
  • Tackle: Medium rod with 8-12 lb test line


  • Baits: Live minnows and nightcrawlers
  • Lures: Jigs, crankbaits, and spinners
  • Tackle: Medium rod with 8-12 lb test line

Hybrid Striped Bass

  • Baits: Live shad and minnows
  • Lures: Spoons, swimbaits, and crankbaits
  • Tackle: Medium-heavy rod with 10-20 lb test line
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TOOLSSIDE 1 Dozen Rubber Maggots Fishing Bait #10 (12 Pcs) Crappie Jigs, Fishing Maggots, Bulk Fishing Grubs for Trout, Crappie, Pan Fish, Bluegill, Fresh Water Fishing Lures Set (Hooks and Worms)
  • ✅ Purpose and Size: These grubs for fishing attract a wide variety of fish including trout, crappie, panfish, bluegill, bream, roach, carp and more. Using grub fishing lures that imitate worms offers many advantages over live worms or minnows. These crappie lures are equipped with an optimal size hook and a rubber grub. The hook dimensions are 10 mm wide and 25 mm long, and the length of the larva itself is 22 mm.

Best Fishing Spot Locations at Monroe Lake Fishing

Finding the best fishing spots can greatly enhance your chances of a successful trip. Here are some top locations at Monroe Lake:

Paynetown State Recreation Area

Paynetown State Recreation Area is a popular spot for anglers, offering easy access to the lake and a variety of fish species. The area has docks and submerged structures that attract fish.

Cutright State Recreation Area

Cutright State Recreation Area offers several fishing piers and boat ramps, making it easy to access prime fishing spots. The area is known for its excellent catfish and bass fishing.

Fairfax State Recreation Area

Fairfax State Recreation Area is another great location for fishing. The waters near the recreation area are known for good fishing opportunities, particularly for crappie and bluegill.

Moores Creek State Recreation Area

The inlet where Moores Creek flows into the lake is a productive fishing spot, especially for white bass and walleye. The moving water attracts fish and provides good opportunities for anglers.

Submerged Structures

Monroe Lake has many submerged structures, such as old roadbeds, tree stumps, and rock piles. These structures provide habitat for fish and are great places to cast your line.

Fishing Tips and Recommendations for Monroe Lake Fishing

Here are some tips and recommendations to help you make the most of your fishing trip to Monroe Lake:

  1. Check the Weather: Always check the weather forecast before heading out. Fishing is often better on overcast days, and fish are more active during stable weather conditions.
  2. Use a Fish Finder: A fish finder can be a valuable tool for locating fish in deeper waters. It can help you identify underwater structures and find schools of fish.
  3. Fish Early and Late: The best times to fish are usually early in the morning and late in the evening when fish are most active. Avoid fishing during the hottest part of the day.
  4. Change Your Bait: If you’re not having any luck, try changing your bait or lures. Fish can be picky, and sometimes a different color or type of bait can make all the difference.
  5. Be Patient: Fishing requires patience. If you don’t catch anything right away, don’t get discouraged. Keep trying different spots and techniques until you find what works.

Monroe Lake Fishing Reviews

Here are five positive reviews from anglers who have fished at Monroe Lake:

  1. Tom S. from Bloomington: “Monroe Lake is my go-to fishing spot. The bass fishing is fantastic, and I’ve had great success using spinnerbaits near the submerged trees. The lake is beautiful and peaceful.”
  2. Laura M. from Indianapolis: “I took my family fishing at Monroe Lake, and we had a blast. We caught plenty of bluegill and crappie near the boat ramp. The kids loved it, and we’ll definitely be back.”
  3. Steve R. from Columbus: “I had an amazing time fishing for catfish at Monroe Lake. I caught several big ones using chicken liver as bait. The lake is well-maintained, and the scenery is stunning.”
  4. Emily J. from Terre Haute: “Monroe Lake is a hidden gem. The fishing is excellent, and the lake is so peaceful. I love fishing near the Paynetown State Recreation Area. It’s a great spot for bass and crappie.”
  5. David B. from Evansville: “I’ve been fishing at Monroe Lake for years, and it never disappoints. The white bass fishing is incredible, especially near the creek inlets. The lake is clean, and the facilities are top-notch.”

Top-Rated Nearby RV Parks and Campgrounds for Monroe Lake Fishing

If you’re planning to stay overnight, here are five top-rated RV parks and campgrounds near Monroe Lake:

1. Paynetown State Recreation Area Campground

  • Features: Electric hookups, water hookups, restrooms, showers, picnic areas, hiking trails, swimming beach
  • Distance to Lake: Located on the lake
  • Amenities: Boat ramps, fishing piers, playgrounds, camp store

2. Hardin Ridge Recreation Area Campground

  • Features: Electric hookups, water hookups, restrooms, showers, picnic areas, hiking trails, swimming beach
  • Distance to Lake: 5 miles
  • Amenities: Boat ramps, fishing piers, camp store, hiking trails

3. Cutright State Recreation Area Campground

  • Features: Primitive camping, picnic tables, hiking trails
  • Distance to Lake: Located on the lake
  • Amenities: Restrooms, fishing access, nature trails

4. Fairfax State Recreation Area Campground

  • Features: Electric hookups, water hookups, restrooms, showers, picnic areas, playgrounds
  • Distance to Lake: Located on the lake
  • Amenities: Boat ramps, fishing piers, camp store, hiking trails

5. Jellystone Park at Lake Monroe

  • Features: Full hookups, restrooms, showers, laundry facilities, swimming pool
  • Distance to Lake: 10 miles
  • Amenities: Clubhouse, fishing access, playground, nearby shopping and dining

Monroe Lake Fishing Summary

Monroe Lake is a fantastic destination for fishing enthusiasts. With its diverse fish population, beautiful scenery, and excellent facilities, it’s no wonder that so many anglers choose to fish here. Whether you’re targeting bass, crappie, bluegill, catfish, white bass, walleye, or hybrid striped bass, you’re sure to have a great time at Monroe Lake. So pack your fishing gear, grab your friends and family, and head to Monroe Lake for an unforgettable fishing adventure.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) for Monroe Lake Fishing

1. Do I need a fishing license to fish at Monroe Lake?

Yes, you need a valid Indiana fishing license to fish at Monroe Lake. Licenses can be purchased online or at various local retailers.

2. Are there boat rentals available at Monroe Lake?

Yes, boat rentals are available at various locations around the lake, including Paynetown State Recreation Area. You can rent a variety of boats, including fishing boats, pontoon boats, and kayaks.

3. What is the best time of year to fish at Monroe Lake?

The best time to fish at Monroe Lake is during the spring and fall when fish are more active. However, you can catch fish year-round if you use the right techniques and bait.

4. Are there any fishing tournaments held at Monroe Lake?

Yes, several fishing tournaments are held at Monroe Lake throughout the year. Check with local fishing clubs and the Indiana Department of Natural Resources for information on upcoming events.

5. Can I fish from the shore at Monroe Lake?

Yes, there are plenty of shoreline fishing opportunities at Monroe Lake. The lake has several fishing piers and accessible areas where you can fish from the shore.

We hope this guide has provided you with all the information you need for a successful fishing trip to Monroe Lake. Happy fishing!

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Best Fishing Bait, Lures & Tackle

Here’s some of the best fishing bait, fishing lures and fishing tackle Monroe Lake Fishing Report Guide: