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Ross Lake

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Fish were very active today we lost our bait many times. Come to the conclusion my hook may have been too large for the fish that were eating off... Continued

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Ross Lake is a Reservoir in Ross, Ohio.

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Land acquisition for the wildlife area began in 1958. The dam creating Ross Lake was completed in 1967. Prior to state acquisition, most of the land that makes up the lake basin and surrounding terrain consisted of reverting farmland, heavily cutover woodlands, and old fields. Lick Run, a tributary of the Scioto River is the principlal stream that flows into Ross Lake. The land and water area is owned and managed by the ODNR Division of Wildlife for fishing, hunting and wildlife viewing opportunities.

Fishing Description: 

oss Lake has naturally reproducing populations of largemouth bass, redear sunfish, crappie, and bluegill. Channel catfish populations are maintained by stocking yearling catfish (8-12 inches) in the fall on an alternate year schedule. Gizzard shad and bluegill are the main forage species. Triploid white amur have been stocked to control excess amounts of submerged aquatic vegetation and open shoreline areas for shore anglers.

Fishing Cover / Structure: 

The lake encompasses 127 acres at normal pool with a shoreline length of 3.2 miles. The maximum depth is 24 feet located in the lower basin of the lake near the dam.

Fishing Tips, Tactics, How-To info: 

The best largemouth bass fishing can be found in the spring and fall. As springtime water temperatures warm up (April-May), bass will move into shallow water areas to feed and to prepare for spawning. In the spring, fish the upper end of the lake near shallow structure such as tree stumps, fallen trees, or weed bed edges. The spillway and dam are also productive areas for springtime bass. Spinnerbaits, rubber worms, crankbaits, jig/pig combinations and other top-water baits work well. Warm summer water temperatures will usually push fish into deeper depths. The old Hydell Road submerged “road bed” is productive in the summer. This road crosses the lake at its midpoint and can be located by marking an imaginary line between the fishing pier on the east side of the lake and the northern most pier on the west side of the lake. Rubber worms are productive when fished slowly along the road bed at 8-12 foot depths. Fishing during the early morning hours or in the evening will provide better results. Cooler, fall temperatures will trigger bass to move back in the shallow water areas. Fishing success may pick up as bass prepare for winter.

Bluegill can be caught throughout the lake from early spring until fall. Popular methods include waxworms or redworms fished below a bobber. Look for spawning beds in shallow water during the spring and throughout the summer. Many bluegill can be found concentrated in these areas.

Channel catfish angling picks up by mid-June. Nightcrawlers, chicken livers, cut bait or prepared catfish baits work well when fished on the bottom. Night fishing for catfish is a popular method for catfish anglers.

Facilities and Parks: 

Three parking lots are convenient to both sides of the lake and the upper end. Three earth fishing piers have been developed to increase access to the lake by shoreline fisherman. The fishing pier on the east side of the lake is accessible for use by handicapped fishermen.

Boat Ramp: 

A two-lane boat ramp with courtesy dock is located on the east side of the lake via the East Hydell Road access. Boat fishing is permitted with electric motors. Gasoline motors are not allowed.


The area lies in a region which contains medium to high densities of cottontail rabbits. Gray and fox squirrels, ruffed grouse, deer, and furbearers are also common. Waterfowl and woodcock occur in lesser numbers, primarily as migrant visitors. Many species of nesting birds have been recorded on this area of mixed habitat types.


Public hunting is available on 1,112 acres surrounding the lake.


Wildlife District Four
360 East State Street
Athens, Ohio 45701
Telephone 740-589-9930

Directions to Lake: 

Ross Lake is located within the 1,112-acre Ross Lake Wildlife Area. This public area is in Springfield Township, Ross County, approximately three miles east of Chillicothe. Easy access is available from U.S. 35 via the East Main Street exit and Blacksmith Hill Road (approximately one mile east of U.S. 35). The boat ramp and main fishing area is located off of West Hydell Road (Township Road 238). The east side of the lake is reached by continuing north past West Hydell Road to Seney Road. Turn right and travel to Musselman Mill Road and take it to East Hydell Road (Township Road 238).

Ross Lake
Waterbody type: 
United States
Standard elevation: