West Branch

Fishing Tips West Branch Ohio

Written by Roger Hoover

Fishing Tips for West Branch, Ohio

Fishing Tips: In early spring fish between Rock Springs and Knapp Roads in the shallows where the water temperature is warmer. Fish the west and north shores in spring for crappie, northern pike and muskie. If the water temp is particularly cold and fish don’t seem to bite, head over to the courtesy docks. There is a metal wall there that heats up the water and fish migrate to it. Use small to medium sized spinnerbaits, Mepps, jerkbaits and gliders along the shoreline. Mid-summer use live bait, minnows or nightcrawlers in bays or weed beds. Look for shiner spawn and fish the shallow rock points.

West Branch Maps

Park Map: http://www.dnr.state.oh.us/Portals/2/parkmaps/westbranchparkmap.pdf
Fishing Map: http://www.dnr.state.oh.us/LinkClick.aspx?fileticket=q9y1q8nG4VE%3d&tabid=19478

West Branch History

West Branch State Park is located on the west branch of the Mahoning River in Portage County • The river was named for the Delaware Indian word mahonink meaning “at the salt lick” • In early days, a salt works was located southeast of present-day Warren along the river • The salt, which attracted a variety of wildlife, was harvested by Indians and early settlers

At the west end of the park is a crossroads known as Campbellsport, named for Captain John Campbell who mustered militia for the War of 1812 at the site and then marched them on Cleveland • Captain Campbell originally came to the area in 1805 as a surveyor and land agent for proprietor Samuel Hinckley • Captain Campbell also served as Portage County sheriff from 1810 to 1813 • He constructed what is said to be the oldest brick land-office building in Ohio (circa 1810) • Prior to the flooding of the reservoir, this building was moved to a site at the Portage County Historical Society where it has been preserved and restored

In 1965, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers completed construction of the Michael J. Kirwan Reservoir • The reservoir was developed for flood control, water supply, recreation and fish and wildlife management • West Branch State Park was formally opened in 1966

Water Conditions

46-55 degrees


Minnows under a slipbobber.


Shad raps. 3-4′ of water.


Spinnerbaits. Top water lures from the damn when the sun goes down.

Camping West Branch

Reserve sites 121, 122, 123 or 124, all on the water. They book up really fast.