Senecaville Lake, Senecaville, OH
Senecaville Lake is a popular fishing and recreational boating destination. The reservoir is one of Ohio’s largest inland lakes at 3,550 acres. Senecaville, also known as Seneca Lake, lies in Guernsey and Noble counties near the intersections of interstate highways 70 and 77.
The dam was constructed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in 1938 to impound the Seneca Fork of Wills Creek. The lake is managed by the Muskingum Watershed Conservancy District with an emphasis on outdoor recreation.
Fishing is at the forefront of Senecaville Lake activities. Anglers go home with plenty of fare for the frying pan and stories about the one that got away. The popular species targeted by anglers include channel cats, flatheads, bullheads, stripers, white bass, largemouth bass, saugeyes, and walleyes. Panfish are perennial favorites and include bluegills, crappies, and yellow perch.
Channel cats are very popular here and the chances for hooking nice eating-sized fish are good. The Ohio Division of Wildlife has sampled fish up to 29 inches but most of the cats are smaller. Old-fashioned earthworms, chicken livers, and stink baits put cats on the stringer.
White bass are typically caught in the early spring as they converge in the upper end of the lake to make spawning runs up the tributaries. The latest ODOW fisheries survey found that 79 percent of the whites were at least 9 inches. Try small inline spinners, jigs tipped with plastic minnows, or live minnows.
The largemouth bass fishing is good. The same fisheries survey showed that 33 percent of the bass sampled were 12 inches or longer and that 14 percent were at least 15 inches. Anglers usually don’t clean up on bass but those who do can plan on tangling with some big bucketmouths. Smallmouth bass are rare but do show up in the tournaments. There is a 15-inch minimum length limit.
Saugeyes are the hybrid cross between white bass and stripers. These hybrids have taken beautifully to Senecaville Lake and have made it one of Ohio’s top saugeye destinations. There are both good numbers and sizes available. The ODOW survey indicated that 75 percent of the fish were at least 14 inches with larger fish available.
Panfishing is excellent. Bluegills dominate the lake and over half the population is at least 6 inches in length. The crappies are coming on strong and the recent ODOW survey found that 59 percent of the sampled slabs measured at least 8 inches. The new crappie regulation is a 9-inch minimum length limit and a 30-fish daily possession limit.
The MWCD prohibits fishing below the dam between February 15 and April 15. There is a 399 horsepower restriction on the lake. The boat ramp is near the dam.
There is hunting on MWCD property but not on land owned by the U.S. Corps of Engineers. Contact the park office for a hunting map.
The lake is the crown jewel of the Seneca Lake Park and the scenery is beautiful. There is no residential development on the shoreline which makes fishing and boating a real pleasure. The land surrounding the lake totals 4,060 acres and is open to hiking, nature watching, bicycle riding, and other outdoor activities.
The MWCD campground is the welcome mat to the area. The park hosts over 500 campsites, a nature center, amphitheater, playground facilities, picnic shelters, and a swimming beach with a small concession stand in season.
Boaters should note that the Seneca Marina offers fuel, marina supplies, and a year round restaurant. The marina rents boats for use on the lake and sells boats on site.
Visitors interested in the Senecaville Fish Hatchery will get a real treat. The ODOW maintains an active fish hatchery that includes 2 outdoor raceways, 18 rearing troughs, and 37 ponds. The hatchery is home for much of the division’s efforts to supply Ohio with hybrid striped bass, saugeyes, and channel catfish.
Other area attractions include the glass museums and factories in Cambridge, the Hopalong Cassidy Museum, and the John and Annie Glenn Historic Site.
The Senecaville dam is worth seeing as well and tours are available. The crest length of the Senecaville Dam spans 2,350 feet with a maximum height of 49 feet. Restrooms are provided at the north end of the dam.
Senecaville Lake is six miles east of Interstate 77. From Interstate 77 take exit 37 at State Route 313. Follow State Route 313 east to State Route 574. Turn right onto State Route 574 and follow the highway until reaching the dam.
Call the Project Supervisor for information about tours at (740)685-5585). For information on the dam and a recorded message on current lake conditions call (330)343-4550. Contact Seneca Lake Park at (740)685-6013. The marina is reached at (740)685-5831. Call the ODOW with fishing questions at (740)589-9944. The MWCD can provide additional information at (330)343-6647.
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