The Memorial Day weekend is looking good, weather-wise, but with a recent deluge of rain, one wonders where there will be clear water to fish. Locally, the creek arms at Summit will be muddy but the main lake fine. Westwood Park’s 100-acre lake should be good. If you’re willing to drive 120 miles or so, the 123 lakes at Green-Sullivan State Forest (GF) are a sure bet for pristine waters.
GF is property donated by Indiana coal companies beginning with 3,000 acres in 1936. The now 9,000-acre property keeps getting better with age and is far removed from largely populated areas.
Near Dugger, GF is also in proximity to Shakamak State Park where very nice cabins can be rented. The Park has three lakes with good fishing in Lenape, Kickapoo and Shakamak Lakes. The park has a fish-cleaning station as well as modern campsites.
GF has 15 “Rent-A-Camp” cabins that are very basic. Each has a porch with a swing, two small rooms with a single bunk, a double bed and table. Bring your own linens and portable mattresses. Those beds are as hard as the times in “‘29.” No indoor plumbing, but they do come with electricity (no cooking inside), a ceiling fan with light and a heating/cooling unit. Reserve one of these abodes at Camp.IN.gov. No pets or smoking.
Primitive camping, for a fee, is available on a first-come, first-served basis. Check-in stations are located at each campground or at the office. Pit toilets and running water can be found at each campground. Every site has a picnic table and grill.
There is a 20-site Horseman’s Campground near Ladder Lake and a dump station.
I know anglers who fish these lakes with good success. One of the best and largest is Bass Lake. It has nice crappie, bluegill, bass and musky stocked annually since 1997.
One of these old strip pits, Airline, even offers rainbow and lake trout fishing. A trout stamp is required. These fish are stocked every spring and do not seem to reproduce on their own.
Reservoir 26 is much different than the other lakes. This 42-acre impoundment has an earthen dam with a wheelchair-accessible fishing pier. I’m not sure how good this pond is. It experienced a fish kill in 2005 caused by an algae bloom. Also, someone had illegally introduced gizzard shad. If you have an update on this lake, let me know.
Even on a holiday weekend, one can find a quiet spot by exercising your shanks’ pony. Many of the lakes are walk-in only. Years ago, I was at a bait shop, near Spencer. A guy came in and bought five dozen minnows. He claimed to be catching big crappie from the shore from one of the remote lakes on this property. I was tempted to follow him.
The 60-some accessible pits have easy places off of county roads to launch your boat, canoe or kayak. A few of the dirt ramps might require four-wheel drive vehicles if the ground is saturated.
Wampler is the largest lake at 80 acres followed by Benefiel at 60 acres. Several of the GF lakes are between three and five acres.
Memories on Memorial Day are waiting to be made at Green-Sullivan.