Lake Ontelaunee Fishing: Catching Fish in Berks County, PA

I recently discovered the joy of fishing in Lake Ontelaunee.

Having spent an embarrassing amount of hours fishing there already, I am confident in saying that I am quite familiar with Lake Ontelaunee. It is about a five-minute drive from my house or so. It is the second-largest lake in Berks County, only to Blue Marsh Lake (which isn’t that far away either).

Covering nearly 1,082 acres, the lake was formed in 1926 by the damming of Maiden Creek to allow the extension and improvement of the water supply to the city of Reading.

I have seen nearly everything pulled out of Lake Ontelaunee already: panfish, largemouth bass, carp, bullheads, channels, alewives, muskies, etc.

Of all the places I often visit to fish in Berks County, Lake Ontelaunee is by far my most visited. Because of that, I wanted to give you a rundown of what a typical visit for me looks like and give you some pointers on how to make the most of it yourself.

Lake Ontelaunee Fishing: Gaining Access

There are three general access points to fish Lake Ontelaunee.

Two of them are generally well known. One of them is a “secretive spot” where I have landed my biggest bass yet. I say secretive only because the area certainly is not fished as much as the main part of the lake. In fact, I hardly ever come across anybody else when I am there. However, I know from seeing some pictures on a Facebook fishing group that other people know of the location as well.

One of the well-known access points for fishing in Lake Ontelaunee

To get to the first access point, head NW on Lake Shore Drive off of the big intersection of Rt. 222. From there, you will want to make a very sharp turn onto Calcium Rd. Once you are on Calcium Road, the red arrow in the picture points to the pull-off spot for parking. Please be aware that the spot is nothing but dirt and has some significant wear-and-tear. So, if you are arriving after a period of rain, be prepared for mud.

Once you are parked, accessing Lake Ontelaunee from this point is as simple on walking down the well-traveled path that opens up to several fantastic fishing spots that each provide a differing type of water depth and cover depending on what the conditions are like.

The main entry point to one section of Lake Ontelaunee

As you can see in the above pictures, Lake Ontelaunee fishing is pretty easy to make happen from this access point. If you simply keep following the dirt path around, you will discover a small handful of places to throw a lure in the water. Near the end of the path, the water becomes quite shallow. I have occasionally seen angler wearing waders and going out waist-deep here but haven’t done so myself.

The second access point to Lake Ontelaunee can be found by driving across the bridge and parking in the lot on the left-hand side of the road. You then have to walk back across the bridge and you have immediate access to a pretty wide-open shoreline.

Accessing the second point at Lake Ontelaunee

I have got to be honest: I have never fished the section of Lake Ontelaunee marked with the “Fish Here” in the logo. The reason is simple: not enough shade. I hate getting sweaty and hot when I fish, so I generally seek out the cooler, shadier areas.

That said: I literally always see people setting up camp here for a long day of fishing. That is a good sign that the fishing must be good.

And, now, the third access point: the “super secret” one.

To find it, you must drive away from Lake Ontelaunee just a tad to get on Maidencreek Road. You want to seek out Peter’s Creek and then park in one of the parking lots on either side of the road.

The parking lot for the “side entrance” to Lake Ontelaunee

From there, the process is pretty straight forward. There is a pretty long walk to the first entry point (just on the other side of railroad tracks). Case in point: in one of the photos below a gentleman is riding a bike with his fishing gear.

I am assuming he was going clear to the other end, which would make the bike might sense.

At this point, it is just a matter of finding a spot that looks good to you. The first few spots are usually passable simply become the water is covered in algae. As you start to walk further back, however, plenty of good spots open up for Lake Ontelaunee fishing.

Fishing Lake Ontelaunee: The Gear I Use

Depending on my location and the weather/water, I have a couple different gear setups that I use to find success at Lake Ontelaunee.

For my rod/reel combo, I always use one of the following:

Lews Fishing LSG1HMG66MH Laser MG Baitcast Combo, 6'6', 7+1 Bearings, 6.4: 1 Gear Ratio, Medium/Heavy Power
44 Reviews
Lews Fishing LSG1HMG66MH Laser MG Baitcast Combo, 6'6", 7+1 Bearings, 6.4: 1 Gear Ratio, Medium/Heavy Power
  • One-piece, lightweight, graphite composite frame and side-plates
  • Eight premium double-shielded stainless steel bearing System
  • Zero-Reverse one-way stainless steel clutch bearing
Pflueger Trion Spinning Combo
119 Reviews
Pflueger Trion Spinning Combo
  • 7 Bearing System - Corrosion resistant stainless steel ball bearings
  • Aluminum Spool - Lightweight, durable, aluminum spool design
  • Aluminum Spool - Lightweight, durable, spool design
  • I-M6 Graphite - Mid-modulus graphite blank construction, lightweight sensitivity

The Lews baitcaster combo might be my favorite rod ever. Unlike other baitcasters I have owned, I have never had backlash on it. I’ve even tried on purpose and the sucker is basically idiot proof.

Plus: it has the smoothest cast I’ve ever had. I can seriously throw my lure easily 3-times further than with my spinning reel.

The Pflueger Trion is a rod/reel I have owned for years. It is trusty and extremely durable. I typically switch to this on days where the bite is light because I can feel every little nudge and bite from fish on this thing.

For my lures, I run through most of the following on any trip depending on circumstances:

Berkley Powerbait Power Jerk Shad Fishing Bait, 5', 10Count, Baby Bass, Power Jerk Shad
2,049 Reviews
Berkley Powerbait Power Jerk Shad Fishing Bait, 5", 10Count, Baby Bass, Power Jerk Shad
  • Likelike profile
  • Movement imitates escaping baitfish to entice bites
  • Molded to Dart and glide smoothly through water
  • Versatile bait can be fished around shallow cover or in open water
Mepps Black Fury Dressed Bass Fishing Lure Pocket Pack
69 Reviews
Mepps Black Fury Dressed Bass Fishing Lure Pocket Pack
  • Solid brass bodies
  • Spinner blades are silver or gold plated, copper, or polished brass
  • Beads are hand-turned on a lathe to resist chipping and cracking
  • Flexible vinyl decals are silk screed with UV inks to resist fading
Al Fishing Lure 6 Segment Swimbait Crankbait Hard Bait Slow 18g 10cm with 6# Fishing Hook Fishing Tackle
119 Reviews
Al Fishing Lure 6 Segment Swimbait Crankbait Hard Bait Slow 18g 10cm with 6# Fishing Hook Fishing Tackle
  • The Multi-sections allow the bait to swim like a real fish
  • Type: Fishing Lures
  • Material: ABS
  • Length: Approx. 10cm / 4in, Weight: Approx. 20g / 0.70oz
Rapala Original Floater 05 Fishing lure ( Fishing lure (Rainbow Trout, Size- 2)
124 Reviews
Rapala Original Floater 05 Fishing lure ( Fishing lure (Rainbow Trout, Size- 2)
  • Balsa Wood Construction. Size 1.5 inch
  • Natural Minnow Profile.
  • VMC Black Nickel Hooks.
  • Available In Classic & Bleeding Patterns.
Harmony Fishing Company Razor Series Swimbait Hook (10 Pack w/ 10 Bait Pegs) (3/0 (10 Pack))
6 Reviews
Harmony Fishing Company Razor Series Swimbait Hook (10 Pack w/ 10 Bait Pegs) (3/0 (10 Pack))
  • Screw-Lock bait keeper secures soft plastics and swimbaits/paddletails in place.
  • Package includes ten (10) swimbait hooks and ten (10) Bait Pegs. Bait Pegs keep your bait securely pegged on your hook, preventing you from needing to constantly adjust plastics that keep...
  • Chemically sharpened Razor Series hook point and extra-tough tempered hook shank combine for the ultimate swimbait hook.
  • Perfect for Soft Plastic Swim Baits like Zoom Super Flukes, Yamamoto, Strike King, Yum, Z-Man, etc.

Fishing at Lake Ontelaunee: Conclusion

As is the case with bass fishing anywhere, the characteristics of Lake Ontelaunee change with the seasons. I have found that the pre-spawn period is rather slow on the lake compared to other places in Berks County, but that changes throughout the summer when the bass seek some the shallower water during morning and evening hours.

That said: a little bit of research, exploring, and patience can go a long way in you landing a monster bass at the second-largest lake in the county.

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