Pleasant Hill Lake, Perrysville, OH
Pleasant Hill Lake is a popular boating and fishing destination covering 783 acres of water in Ashland County. The dam impounds Pleasant Lake on the Clear Fork branch of the Mohican River with a rolled earth fill-style dam filled with waterproof clay. The dam alone is an impressive sight. The dam’s height extends upward to 113 feet and the length reaches 775 feet. The top width of the dam is 30 feet across with a base width of 550 feet. The project was completed in 1936.
As is true of many U.S. Army Corps of Engineers reservoirs, fishing reigns supreme. Pleasant Hill Lake is one of northwest Ohio’s best bass lakes and anglers target both largemouth and smallmouth bass, a treat that most lakes in Ohio can’t offer. The largemouth bass frequent submerged wood and weedy cover while the smallmouth bass prefer hard-bottom surfaces and drop-offs. There’s a 12-inch minimum length limit on the bass.
The prospects for catching lots of sunfish are excellent. There’s lots of eating-sized fish and a day on the water with a bobber and worm can be productive. Fly fishermen can have a great time when the fish are spawning in shallow water in the spring.
New crappie regulations are in effect. There is a 9-inch minimum length, 30-fish daily creel limit in place. Pleasant Hill is a promising crappie fishery with numbers and average sizes increasing. Woody cover of any kind can be a magnet for big slabs.
White bass are on the average fairly large in Pleasant hill. The latest Ohio Division of Wildlife sampling found no white bass that were shorter than 9 inches. The average sized white was 13 inches. The best white bass fishing is in the spring near the mouths of larger inlet streams, especially the Clear Fork River.
Pleasant Hill is rated as one of the state’s finest saugeye destinations. The ODOW sampling showed that the average saugeye was 14 inches. The beach area seems to be the most productive spot on the reservoir.
The shoreline offers lots of submerged fish-attracting structure and this is where the bass and panfishermen score big. Knowledgeable anglers take into account seasonal movements of the fish and keep the fact that the upper portion of the reservoir is shallow with gradually sloping shorelines while the lower half is deeper with steep sides. There’s fishing both above and below the dam.
There’s a lot of recreational boat traffic on the lake beginning on Memorial Day and slowing down on Labor Day. A public ramp, courtesy dock for temporary docking, and a handicapped fishing pier are available. The marina supplies fishermen and recreational boaters with gasoline and other necessities. Recreational boaters appreciate that there are no horsepower restrictions on Pleasant Hill. The public boat launch ramp is located near the marina in the park.
The area attractions around Pleasant Hill Lake are many and varied. Canoeists who prefer stream paddling over a large lake find solace on the Mohican River in the Loudonville area. This is a beautiful river suitable for young canoeists as well as those with more advanced skills.
The majority of area camping takes place in the Pleasant Hill Lake Park and the nearby Mohican State Park. The state park has a row of cabins along a stream setting which embody tranquility. The Mohican State Park Resort is another option for those who prefer top-dollar lodging that is really quite affordable. The lodge offers a fine restaurant, quality accommodations, an indoor swimming pool, and beautiful scenery.
Nearby Malabar State Park was once the home of the Pulitzer Prize winning author Louis Bromfield. The farm is also the place where Bromfield introduced the French concepts of sustainable agriculture to the United States.
The Pleasant Hill Dam itself is a point of interest. The “Morning Glory Spillway” type used here is one of only two built by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
Bicycling is limited. Better cycling is found at nearby Mohican State Forest and Mohican State Park. Contact the state park at (419)994-5125 and the forest at (419)938-6222.
Contact the Pleasant Hill Lake Park at (419)938-7884 for information and hunting maps. The lake’s recreational facilities are managed by the Muskingum Watershed Conservancy District. Visit the MWCD’s website at www.mwcdlakes.com. Call the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Project Supervisor at (419)938-6529 for information on the dam and updated lake conditions. Call the dam office at (419)938-5785 to arrange for a tour of the dam and its facilities.
Get directions to Pleasant Hill for a GPS or online mapping system using the address of 1041 County Road 3006, Perrysville, OH 44864. Getting to Pleasant Hill can take some twisting and turning on the local roadways. The dam is six miles west of Loudonville and 20 miles southeast of Mansfield.