Paint Creek Lake, Bainbridge, OH
Paint Creek Lake is a popular summer vacation destination with lots to do. The lake is part of the Paint Creek State Park near Bainbridge and is loaded with amenities and facilities. Park visitors find great recreational opportunities and a chance to get away from the daily routine.
A trip to Paint Creek Lake is a family adventure. Take the kids miniature golfing on site or to the thousand foot sand beach on the 1,190-acre lake. Picnic areas abound and a picnic shelter can keep the trip from being ruined by rain. Contact the park office for the naturalist’s summer nature program calendar and prepare to learn more about the wildlife and plant life in this part of Ohio.
Three boat ramps offer access to some of the state’s best fishing and boating. Fishermen and high-speed boaters co-exist on the main lake but fishing is best along the inlets and shallower areas anyway. Boating safety is a big concern and park officers and watercraft officers enforce state boating regulations.
The largemouth bass run from 12 to 17 inches with some bigger ones available. A few spotted and smallmouth bass are in the lake and give an acrobatic airborne performance when hooked.
The crappie fishing is excellent with good numbers of fish. Anglers occasionally tangle with a slab measuring 12 inches or more.
Channel catfish make a strong showing in Paint Creek Lake with fish from 12 to 24 inches and larger. Flatheads weigh in at 20 pounds or better. Cats are taken around the lake and in the tailwaters below the dam.
The panfish crowd finds excellent bluegill fishing. The last Ohio Division of Wildlife fisheries survey showed lots of 5- to 7-inchers just waiting to be caught.
Saugeyes are stocked on a regular basis by the ODOW. This cross between walleyes and saugers does well in both the lake and in the tailwaters. There aren’t a lot of fish that taste better on the table.
White bass are up to 13 inches in length and a lot of them are just shy of that mark.
Boat rentals, fuel, and seasonal docking are available through the state park. There are no boat motor horsepower limitations on the lake.
The beach is a thousand feet long and offers sand castle-building and sun-bathing opportunities. Parking, restrooms, and changing rooms are on site.
Waterfowl seasons find hunters on the lake. The adjacent wildlife area provides an opportunity to bag a deer.
The state park modern campground offers 183 electric sites and 14 premium sites. The campground is a great jump-off spot to enjoy the land and water sports offered at Paint Creek. Two top-of-the-line camper cabins are equipped with cooking utensils, refrigerators, beds, TV and VCR entertainment. Ten primitive horseman camp sites are available for equestrian use. Campers have access to flush toilets, laundry facilities, showers, and a dump station.
The trail system meanders through breath-taking scenery in the hills and wooded slopes of the area. Equestrian trails for horse riding enthusiasts stretch through the state land for 18 miles. Mountain bike trails provide topnotch biking on 12 miles of designated trails. Hikers on foot who want to enjoy the scenery have eight miles of trails to explore.
Finish up a day’s trail use with a visit to the park’s nature or with a game of miniature golf. More active visitors compete on horseshoe, basketball, and volleyball courts on a first come, first served basis. Sports equipments and games can be borrowed from the campground office by campers.
Unique to only a few state parks is the rock climbing on the Spillway Wall and Harmony Trail.
Winter doesn’t bring an end to the fun at Paint Creek. Cross-country skiing and sledding are fun when there’s snow. The park is usually blanketed in quiet and you may never see another person on your trek.
Visitors to Paint Creek have several area attractions to choose from. The Seip Mound State Memorial is located just east of Bainbridge and was built by the Hopewell Indians. A short ways south of Paint Creek Lake is the Fort hill State Memorial hilltop earthworks attributed to prehistoric Indians of the area. The Ohio Historical Society presents the Adena State Memorial that includes the restored residence of Thomas Worthington and a museum.
Paint Creek Lake is an impoundment on Paint Creek southeast of Columbus on State Route 50. The dam is 118 feet in height and 800 feet in length and constructed of an impervious core of clay material.
For additional information about Paint Creek Lake call the Rocky Fork State Park regional office at (937)393-4284. State parks across the state have become regionalized and Paint Creek is managed out of Rocky Fork. The campground can be reached in season at (937)981-7061. The U.S. Corps of Engineers can be reached at (937)365-1470.