Paint Creek Lake Wildlife Area
eBird Bar Charts by Season
The Highland/Ross county line follows Cedar Run south into the middle of Paint Creek Lake and then continues south on Paint Creek. Highland County is on the west side of Cedar Run and Paint Creek Lake. Ross County is on the east side of Cedar Run and Paint Creek Lake. (See the map below for the location of the county line.)
Please see Focus on Birding near a County Line for more information.
About Paint Creek Lake Wildlife Area
Paint Creek Lake Wildlife Area is located in southwest Ohio, at the south edge of Greenfield on the Paint Creek fork and the southeast edge of Centerfield on the Rattlesnake fork of Paint Creek Lake. OH-138 and OH-753 bisect the Rattlesnake fork approximately 15 miles east of Hillsboro. The area may be reached by turning north off US-50 onto OH-753 or onto Rapid Forge Road in Ross County.
The 5,090-acre wildlife area lies at the upper end of Paint Creek Lake, a flood control reservoir operated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. In summer, the reservoir is normally 1,170 acres with 25 miles of shoreline. During periods of heavy rainfall, the reservoir covers portions of the wildlife area that are normally dry. Paint Creek State Park, 5,934 acres, lies south of the wildlife area on both sides of the reservoir.
Meadow and grain crops make up about one-third of the wildlife area. The remainder of the wildlife area is about equally divided in woodland and reverting fields of shrubs, small trees, grasses, and forbs.
Paint Creek Reservoir was constructed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for flood control and recreation. It was completed in 1974. Of the 9,179 acres licensed to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, 5,090 acres are managed by the Division of Wildlife for public hunting and fishing. The remainder of the area is managed by the Division of Parks and Recreation. State parks have special hunting and trapping regulations.
Wildlife area habitat management work has included the development of crop rotations and field sizes to provide food and cover for upland wildlife. Wildlife habitat has been enhanced by planting trees and shrubs to establish field dividers, improving existing fence rows through selective cutting, and protecting and improving woodlands.
Bobwhite quail, ring-necked pheasant, cottontail rabbit, white-tailed deer, fox and gray squirrels, and groundhogs are the major game species. Common furbearers are raccoon, opossum, muskrat, mink, weasel, skunk, red fox, and gray fox. Waterfowl are most common during migration and good numbers of wood duck’s nest and rear their broods on this area each spring and summer. A variety of songbirds can be found on the area.
Largemouth, smallmouth, and spotted bass, white and black crappies, bluegills, catfish, sunfish, suckers, and carp are found in the lake. The fishery has developed from the resident fish population in the main streams. Saugeye were stocked in 1982. A hydrographic fishing map (Publication 337) for Paint Creek Lake is available.
Several parking areas are distributed throughout the wildlife area. Two canoe launching areas are available along Rattlesnake Creek. Two boat ramps with sanitary facilities, picnic facilities, and drinking water are located on the lake. A camping area is located off Taylor Road on the east side of the lake. A pioneer farm is located on the west side of the lake. An overlook, a playground, and picnic and fishing areas are located below and around the dam area, managed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
From Paint Creek Lake Wildlife Area webpage
Restrooms at various locations in Paint Creek State Park, some are seasonal.