Patoka Lake Fishing Report Guide

Patoka Lake Fishing Report Guide

Hey there, fellow anglers! If you’re looking for a fantastic fishing adventure, Patoka Lake in Indiana is the place to be. With its serene waters, beautiful surroundings, and diverse fish population, it’s no wonder that Patoka Lake is a favorite spot for fishing enthusiasts. In this guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know to make the most of your fishing trip to Patoka Lake.

About Patoka Lake Fishing

Patoka Lake is one of Indiana’s most popular fishing destinations. Created in 1978 by damming the Patoka River, this reservoir serves as a flood control and water supply resource for the region. Managed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Indiana Department of Natural Resources, the lake is well-maintained and offers a variety of recreational activities, including fishing, boating, swimming, and camping.

Surrounded by the scenic Hoosier National Forest, Patoka Lake’s tranquil waters and lush landscapes make it an ideal location for a relaxing fishing trip. Whether you’re an experienced angler or just starting out, Patoka Lake has something for everyone.

Patoka Lake Fishing Details

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

  • Water Surface: 8,800 acres
  • Shoreline: 161 miles
  • Average Depth: 22 feet
  • Max Depth: 52 feet
  • Surface Elevation: 536 feet
  • Location: Southern Indiana, near the towns of French Lick and Birdseye
  • Coordinates: 38.3963° N, 86.6348° 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 Patoka Lake

Patoka Lake is home to a wide variety of fish species, making it a prime location 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 Patoka Lake and are a popular target for many anglers. These fish are often found near submerged structures such as fallen trees, stumps, and rocks. Early morning and late evening are the best times to fish for largemouth bass.


Crappie fishing is very popular at Patoka 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 Patoka 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.

Striped Bass

Striped bass, also known as stripers, are stocked in Patoka Lake and provide excellent fishing opportunities. They can be found in open waters and near structures such as points and humps.


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

Flathead Catfish

Flathead catfish are another popular species in the lake. They tend to be found in deeper waters and near submerged structures. Flatheads are known for their size and strength, making them a challenging catch.

Best Fishing Baits, Lures, and Tackle to Use for Patoka 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 Patoka 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

Striped Bass

  • Baits: Live shad and minnows
  • Lures: Spoons, swimbaits, and crankbaits
  • Tackle: Medium-heavy rod with 10-20 lb test line


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

Flathead Catfish

  • Baits: Live bluegill and other small fish
  • Lures: None (flatheads are usually caught using bait)
  • Tackle: Heavy rod with 20-40 lb test line
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TRUSCEND Fishing Lures for Bass Trout Multi Jointed Swimbaits Slow Sinking Bionic Swimming Lures Bass Freshwater Saltwater Bass Lifelike Fishing Lures Kit
  • 8 SEGMENTS LIFELIKE LURES: Designed with 8 segment multi-jointed body, TRUSCEND fishing lure can sink slowly and move flexible in water. In addition, life-like swimming actions make it attracting more catches and provoking predator fish to strike.
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Berkley PowerBait Power Minnow Fishing Bait, Black Shad, 2in | 5cm, Irresistible Scent & Flavor, Realistic Action, Split Tail Design, Ideal for Bass, Walleye, Trout, Panfish Species and More
  • BERKLEY POWERBAIT POWER MINNOW FRESHWATER SOFT PLASTIC BAITS: Featuring lifelike details, these pre-rigged Power Minnow baits have 3D eyes and holographic inserts to attract attention, making them an essential tool for any angler.
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TRUSCEND Fishing Jigs Lures with Handmade Lead Heads Paddle Tail Spinner Baits for Bass Trout Walleye Musky Soft Plastic Fishing Lures
  • ULTRA-SHARP OWNER HOOKS – Equipped with sharp high quality OWNER high carbon steel hooks and built-in magnet, the innovative design of these soft lures can help ensure increased fish hook ups in all situations while Reduce the odds getting hung up when fishing, thus saving your bait for future use.
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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 Patoka Lake Fishing

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

Painter Creek

Painter Creek is a popular spot for anglers, offering easy access to the lake and a variety of fish species. The creek area has docks and submerged structures that attract fish.

Lick Fork

Lick Fork offers excellent shoreline fishing opportunities, especially for bluegill and crappie. The area is family-friendly, making it a great spot for a day out with the kids.

Little Patoka River Inlet

The inlet where the Little Patoka River flows into the lake is a productive fishing spot, especially for striped bass and walleye. The moving water attracts fish and provides good opportunities for anglers.

Walls Ramp

Walls Ramp provides convenient access to the water and has plenty of boat docks and submerged structures where fish like to congregate. It’s a great spot for bass and crappie fishing.

Submerged Structures

Patoka 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 Patoka Lake Fishing

Here are some tips and recommendations to help you make the most of your fishing trip to Patoka 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.

Patoka Lake Fishing Reviews

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

  1. Tom S. from French Lick: “Patoka 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 Patoka 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 Evansville: “I had an amazing time fishing for catfish at Patoka 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: “Patoka Lake is a hidden gem. The fishing is excellent, and the lake is so peaceful. I love fishing near Painter Creek. It’s a great spot for bass and crappie.”
  5. David B. from Bloomington: “I’ve been fishing at Patoka Lake for years, and it never disappoints. The striped bass fishing is incredible, especially near the river inlets. The lake is clean, and the facilities are top-notch.”

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

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

1. Patoka Lake Marina & Lodging

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

2. Hoosier Hills Marina

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

3. Painter Creek Campground

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

4. South Sauty Creek Campground

  • Features: Electric hookups, water hookups, restrooms, showers, picnic areas
  • Distance to Lake: 10 miles
  • Amenities: Boat ramps, fishing piers, hiking trails

5. Birdseye Park Campground

  • Features: Electric hookups, water hookups, restrooms, showers, picnic areas
  • Distance to Lake: 15 miles
  • Amenities: Nearby restaurants, shopping, fishing access

Patoka Lake Fishing Summary

Patoka 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, striped bass, walleye, or flathead catfish, you’re sure to have a great time at Patoka Lake. So pack your fishing gear, grab your friends and family, and head to Patoka Lake for an unforgettable fishing adventure.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) for Patoka Lake Fishing

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

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

2. Are there boat rentals available at Patoka Lake?

Yes, boat rentals are available at various locations around the lake, including Patoka Lake Marina. 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 Patoka Lake?

The best time to fish at Patoka 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 Patoka Lake?

Yes, several fishing tournaments are held at Patoka 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 Patoka Lake?

Yes, there are plenty of shoreline fishing opportunities at Patoka 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 Patoka 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 Patoka Lake Fishing Report Guide: