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Paint Creek Lake

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Crappies are being caught by anglers using curly tails, small spinner baits, or live minnows. White or chartreuse are good color choices for art... Continued

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Paint Creek Lake is a Reservoir in Highland, Ohio.

Have you fished Paint Creek Lake? Help your fellow anglers out by giving a fishing report, some fishing tips or general information about Paint Creek Lake.

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Paint Creek Lake is a flood control and recreation reservoir of 1,190 surface acres and 30 miles of shoreline constructed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The lake is a mainstream impoundment of Paint Creek in the Highland and Ross County portion of the Scioto River Drainage basin, and drains an area of 753 square miles. Dam construction began in 1967. Water was impounded in March 1974 and attained normal summer pool elevation by May 1974.

Fishing Description: 

Largemouth, smallmouth, and spotted bass, white bass, white and black crappies, bluegills, saugeye, channel and flathead catfish, sunfish, suckers, and carp are found in the lake. Gizzard shad is the primary forage species for predators.

Fishing Cover / Structure: 

The shoreline of the main body in the southern part of the lake is steep, with sheer limestone bluffs, and drops off rapidly to 30 feet of water. The limestone cliffs are prominent on the east side of the lake and up into the Paint Creek arm. The west side (Rattlesnake Creek Arm) is shallow and less steep. There are areas in the lake where trees and brush were not removed prior to impoundment. Along the shoreline, stumpy areas, large limestone rocks, and fallen trees provide cover for several species of fish.

Fishing Tips, Tactics, How-To info: 

Crappies are taken throughout the lake by fishing in the brush or in the tops of fallen trees. Live minnows, small jigs, and small spinners are good baits.

Largemouth , smallmouth, and spotted bass are taken along the shoreline - around stumps, logs, and large limestone rocks - by casting spinner baits, crank baits, and artificial worms. Fishing with live worms, minnows, and crayfish around cover is also productive.

Bluegills can be taken with redworms or wax worms on small hooks.

White bass are taken by casting or trolling curly tail jigs, spinners or small crankbaits.

In the lake, saugeye can be taken by casting jigs tipped with night crawlers or minnows, and casting or trolling silver crankbaits. The tailwaters below the dam are the best location for catching saugeye. From September - May, saugeye are taken by casting lightweight jigs with plastic curly tails.

Lots of channel catfish are taken in the tailwaters using night crawlers, chicken livers, shrimp, or cut bait.

Facilities and Parks: 

The ODNR Division of Parks and Recreation operates and maintains a concession; a swimming beach, picnic areas, hiking, mountain biking, and bridle trails and a campground.


Paint Creek State Park
Location: 280 Taylor Road
Bainbridge, Ohio 45612
Contact: Rocky Fork State Park
9800 North Shore Dr
Hillsboro, OH 45133-9205
Park Office: 937-393-4284 (Rocky Fork)
Camp Office: 937- 981-7061 (seasonally)
Reservations for camping and getaway rentals: 866-644-6727

Facilities include:

183 electric sites
14 electric premium sites
The campground features hot showers, flush toilets, laundry facilities and a dump station.
Two Deluxe camper Cabins, equipped with beds, TV and VCR, microwave, refrigerator, gas grill, and gas fireplace (season use only), can be rented year round.
Pet camping is permitted on designated sites.
A primitive horseman's camp is available for riders who bring their own mounts.

Boat Ramp: 

The ODNR Division of Parks and Recreation operates and maintains three boat ramps, a marina with rental boats, seasonal rental docks.


Wildlife District Five
1076 Old Springfield Pike
Xenia, Ohio 45385
Telephone (937) 372-9261.

Directions to Lake: 

Paint Creek Lake is situated 10 miles east of Hillsboro, 1 mile north of U.S. 50 on Rapid Forge Road, and 5 miles south of Greenfield on State Route 753.

Paint Creek Lake
Waterbody type: 
United States
Standard elevation: