LOCATION AND DESCRIPTION
This 1,333-acre wildlife area lies on both sides of State Route 800, five miles north of Woodsfield. The area headquarters and dam are readily accessible from State Route 800. County and township roads provide access to other portions of the area from State Routes 800 and 145.
The rolling to steep topography is typical of this unglaciated region of Ohio. Thirty-six percent of the land is covered by woodland; of this total, 55 percent is sawlog-size stands and 45 percent in pole-size stands. Brushland comprises 35 percent of the area, openland 25 percent. Broad open ridges are under cultivation. Steep wooded slopes descend to the narrow valley floor, on which the 39-acre Monroe Lake is impounded.
HISTORY AND PURPOSE
Purchasing of land for a public hunting and fishing area began in 1955. Monroe Lake was completed in 1957.
Management work has included improvement of existing woodlands, selective release cutting of brushlands, planting of conifers, addition of squirrel and wood duck nest boxes, and maintenance of existing open fields based on land capacity. Crop rotations and contour strip cropping patterns have been developed to improve food and cover conditions for wildlife.
FISH AND WILDLIFE
Monroe Lake has been stocked with largemouth bass, channel and brown bullhead catfish, and bluegills. Fox and gray squirrels, cottontail rabbit, and raccoon are the principal upland game and furbearing species, with lesser numbers of ruffed grouse, woodcock, deer, skunk, opossum, and muskrat. All furbearers common to the region occur on the area. Various species of waterfowl and shorebirds use the water and adjacent habitat as resting areas during migration. Wood ducks are year-round residents. A variety of songbirds, small mammals, reptiles, amphibians, and insects also occur on the area in association with the mixture of diverse habitat types.
HUNTING, TRAPPING, AND FISHING
The best squirrel hunting is limited to the more mature woodlands where hickory nuts, acorns, and other mast are abundant. The most productive areas for rabbits are the field borders and edges between cover types. Woodchuck hunting is productive after mid-June, when mowing is under way. Brushy areas, cutover timber stands, and wooded areas produce some good grouse and deer hunting. Raccoon hunting and trapping are productive throughout the area. There is also a small potential for muskrat and fox trapping. Waterfowl hunting is limited to the lake vicinity.
Monroe Lake provides angling opportunities for several warmwater species including largemouth bass, bluegill and redear sunfish, and channel and brown bullhead catfish. The physical character of the lake basin (steep-sided and deep) also provides a condition suitable for rainbow trout, a coldwater species. A hydrographic fishing map (Publication 296) for Monroe Lake is available.
Early spring (March-April) is the most productive period for rainbow trout fishing. The remaining sport species may be caught throughout the spring (April-May) and during another peak in September and October.
Fish concentration devices (shelters) placed within the productive zone (area of light penetration) provide good angler success when they are fished from the shoreline.
PUBLIC USE FACILITIES
Several miles of interior access roads and several parking lots provide good access to the lake and the entire area. Two boat mooring sites and one boat launching ramp provide easy access to the lake for anglers. Latrines and wells are located near the dam. A shotgun range is available for practice.
Further information may be obtained from the Area Manager, Salt Fork Wildlife Area, 67656 Salt Fork WL Hq. Rd., Lore City, Ohio 43755; telephone (740) 489-5021 or the Wildlife District Four Office, 360 East State Street, Athens, Ohio 45701; telephone (740)589-9930.
TURN IN A POACHER
Ohio’s TIP, “Turn In a Poacher,” program is helping to curtail poaching throughout the state. TIP is designed to involve the public in reporting wildlife violations. Citizens who observe wildlife violations should call the TIP toll-free hotline, 1-800-POACHER.
Return to list of southeast Ohio wildlife areas.