Griggs Reservoir, Columbus, OH

The City of Columbus first impounded the Scioto River in 1904 to supply water to the growing metropolis. The lake has been a recreational hotspot for central Ohioans for many years and will continue as a recreational boating and fishing destination in the future.

To say that Griggs is long and narrow is an understatement. The lake extends for six miles and is only 500 feet wide. With all of the small bays and points included, the shoreline stretches for about 15 miles. Lake conditions are frequently more riverine than lake-like due to the moving water. As a result, water quality can be sketchy. The O’Shaugnessy Dam upriver of Griggs releases water that causes turbidity downstream in Griggs.

The Griggs Reservoir dam is a gravity-style concrete structure that is 35 feet high. The 500-foot curved spillway is accessible from State Route 33 that runs along the east side of the impoundment.

Boaters can bring any horsepower boat motor they want to play with. There are no horsepower restrictions but there is a 40 MPH speed limit in effect. Skiiing and tubing are popular sports in the open stretches of water. Watercraft can be longer than 22’ in length.

There are numerous fishing hotspots on Griggs Reservoir, depending on the species being sought. Largemouth bass and panfish are caught along the extensive shorelines, under docks, on submerged rocks, and along retaining walls and bluffs. The area near the island north of the Hayden Bridge is a good spot for visitors to start. Deeper water is found in the old river channel that runs roughly through the middle of the lake. This is also a good spot to troll for saugeyes.

Any serious Buckeye state bass tournament angler is familiar with Griggs Lake’s reputation. It’s rated as one of the top ten bass tournament lakes in the state and gets more than its share of fishing pressure, both from the pros and anglers tossing a bait or two on the weekends.
Largemouth bass are undisputed king here. The latest Ohio Division of Wildlife fisheries survey indicated that higher than average catch rates bless those willing to cast a crankbait or spinnerbait. Largemouth bass up to 5 pounds are taken and biologists found one fish during the survey measuring 19.3 inches. Smallmouth bass fishing is nearly as good. The largest smallmouth bass biologists electroshocked during the survey was a fish on the 15.5 mark.
Saugeyes are stocked and underfished, according to biologists. Fish up to 24 inches are present and the 15-inch-and-up sizes are fairly common.

Carp can be mammoth here. This species isn’t surveyed or studied but any Griggs angler that has ever tangled with one of the big carp has a fish story worth telling. Carp are common, huge, and capable of making mincemeat of lightweight rods and reels.

Crappies range up to 9 inches on a regular basis and occasionally hit 11 or 12 inches. They tend to disappear from sight and are hard to located during warm weather but provide good fishing in the spring on shallow cover. Channel catfish are found shallow in the evenings and throughout the night. Big cats are taken occasionally but eating-sized fish are the most common.

Anglers and boaters on Interstate 270 on the city’s west side can access the boat ramps east on Mills Run. Cross the Fishinger Road Bridge over the lake and turn right on State Route 33 (Riverside Drive). Turn right at the first (Nottingham Road) traffic light, drive down the hill, and the ramps are on the right. Shorebound anglers can reach the water from State Route 33 which runs along the east side of the lake.

The City of Columbus was once designated as one of the nation’s fastest growing cities. There’s a lot to see and do on rainy days. Visit historic government buildings such as the state house downtown, meander through museums, or get a bite to eat at an ethnic restaurant. Columbus is a busy place so prepare to battle the traffic.

Griggs Reservoir covers 360 acres. The lake extends from below Fishinger Road northward. For more information call the Columbus Recreation and Parks Department at (614)645-6122.