Clendening Lake, Tippecanoe, OH
Clendening Lake is best known as Ohio’s largest undeveloped lake. Most Ohio lakes are well developed with cottages and tourism facilities but that’s not the case with Clendening. The shoreline trees and natural beauty extends for over 40 miles and there is little sign of civilization along any of the lake’s nearly 1,800 acres.
Clendening was originally formed when the 750-foot dam was constructed on the Brushy Fork of the Stillwater Creek about half a mile east of Tippecanoe. The resulting lake is a fisherman’s paradise.
Of particular interest to anglers are the largemouth bass that run larger than in comparable lakes. A recent Ohio Division of Wildlife electrofishing survey showed that nearly half the bass were at least 12 inches in length and a whopping 17% of these bass hit the 15 inch mark. These bass hit anything that moves when they’re in the mood. On the other hand they can be extremely fussy and thwart any tactics bass anglers might throw at them. Most anglers use black and purple plastic worms and a variety of spinnerbaits and crankbaits.
Channel catfish angling is just as good as the bass fishing. Nearly 60% of the fish sampled by the ODOW were at least 16 inches and 6% of them measured 28 inches or better. Stink baits, dead shad and earthworms are temptations the cats seldom pass up.
The crappie fishing at Clendening is outstanding. The new 30-fish daily bag limit and 9-inch minimum length limit is in effect. Tiny jigheads and minnows under a float account for most of the slabs taken.
There is also excellent white bass fishing. These fish are tough to find at times since the whites run in open water. When a school is actively feeding they hit smaller crankbaits and jigheads and the action is fast and furious.
Saugeyes have been stocked into the lake by the millions and are reaching nice sizes and weights. These toothy hybrids are a cross between walleyes and saugers and are valued for their fighting ability on light tackle and mouthwatering taste in the frying pan. They tend to hang low to the lake bottom and along submerged rocks. A lot of anglers use small jigheads with white or chartreuse twister tails, small crankbaits like Rapala Original Minnows and Shad Raps or blade baits like the Cicada to connect with saugeyes. Handle caught fish with care since their sharp teeth can open up a finger like a razor blade.
The flathead catfish are in the lake’s lower end hiding on the rocky bottom. Flatheads aren’t mammoth in Clendening but can easily reach the 20-pound range if they’re not caught early on. Forget the stink baits for flatheads. It’s live bait or nothing.
The marina stocks what most visitors need for a day on the water. Anglers buy live bait, boat supplies and fishing gear and campers pick up snacks and propane. Fishing boats can be rented in season and there is overnight docking available.
Though fishermen dominate the lake there is something for everyone. The campground is within walking distance of the marina and there’s 80 electric campsites, 20 non-electric sites and 4 full hook-up lots. The camping is all on a first-come, first-served basis and no camping reservations are accepted. Pet camping is allowed as long as the pets are registered at the marina upon arrival and properly cared for and under control. Showers are available. Most of the campsites are spacious with a lakeside location or view.
The park in which the lake is located offers a designated boat swimming area that is accessible by boat only. Picnic facilities are provided in the day use area and near the dam. A playground is open for use. Handicapped accessible facilities are available in season at the day use area. Hikers enjoy the trails around the lake.
Peace and quiet are the rule here. The lake is one of the state’s prettiest waterways and a great place to camp for a few days or just wile away an afternoon.
Depths in the lake reach about 20 feet. The boat launch ramps are located off County Road 6 on Hefling Bay and Bose Road north of state Route 799. The lake has a 10-horsepower motor restriction.
Hunting is open during the public hunting seasons and away from the park facilities. Contact the MWCD or marina for further information on restricted zones.
Clendening Lake is located 12 miles south of Uhrichsville off State Route 800 in Harrison County. State Route 799 bisects the lake five miles south of Tippecanoe.
For additional information on the recreational activities and enjoyment of Clendening Lake contact the Muskingum Watershed Conservancy District at (330)343-6647 or the Clendening Marina at (740)658-3691.