Rocky Fork Lake in Ohio
Rocky Fork Lake is *not* the kind of place I would normally choose for a quiet paddle. Most of the lake is a power boat haven. But the high water this spring has rivers and creeks way over their banks, and even nearby Paint Creek Lake was so full all the put-ins were closed.
On the recommendation of a couple of Ohio Wildlife officers, we decided to give the west end of Rocky Fork a try, and I'm glad we did.
Starting from the docks near the park office and campground on the western end of the lake, we went north under the bridge into a creek-like inlet with very clear water, a sandy bottom, and tons of herons and other birds. The wildlife officers told us there are also banded water snakes and salamanders, but we didn't see any that afternoon. A few hundred yards past the bridge on the right there's a small inlet that leads to a wide beaver dam. All in all, a pleasant paddle for an hour or two of poking around.
South of the docks there's an entry into a man-made wetland. It's a 'no boats' area, so we didn't really poke our heads in too far (entrance is on the eastern edge of a band of low trees where it almost touches a hill with older taller trees), but we saw about a dozen herons fishing in the shallow water, which was pretty cool.
Not the wildest or most scenic paddle in Ohio, but it made for a pleasant, relaxed afternoon.
Restrooms at the launch.
Camp store is a short stroll away, with good ice cream for when you've earned it.
From US 50 (east of Hillsboro 5 miles or west of Chillicothe 25 miles), go south on Beechwood Rd., then west on North Shore Rd. Turn left at the entrance for the state park office and campground. Launch from the docks visible there.
We used the Rocky Fork Lake fishing map from the division of wildlife:
- Trip Duration: Day Trip
- Sport/Activity: Kayaking, Canoeing
- Skill Level: Beginner
- Water Type: Flat/Sheltered Water