Lake Paho


Driving directions: Four miles west of Princeton on Highway 136. North of Highway 136 on Fathom Street. Lake Paho (273 acres) is located in Mercer County.

Annual Prospects Report

Driving Directions:

Four miles west of Princeton on Highway 136. North of Highway 136 on Fathom Street.

Lake Paho (273 acres) offers fishing, camping (no hookups), and a peaceful natural setting for those wanting to relax in the outdoors.  Anglers have long recognized the lake for larger largemouth bass but at lower catch rates.  Restricted harvest regulations for bass (minimum length 18"; 2 fish/day) are designed to improve your chances for catching a larger bass.  In recent years, aquatic vegetation has re-established in the shallows, providing enhanced spawning and rearing habitat for bass as well as panfish species.  In 2018, our surveys showed most adult largemouth bass were 10-19 inches with larger fish up to 21 inches.  The percentage of harvestable bass (>18") increased from 3% to nearly 20% in our surveys from 2017-2018.  Anglers will find bass concentrated in flooded shoreline vegetation during spring spawning (March to early May) and then dispersed during the summer among submerged vegetation edges and brush piles, or suspended over old creek channels.

Crappie fishing has been variable in recent years after several years when most crappie were small and undesirable to anglers.  During 2015-2016 our surveys showed continued improvement in the sizes of white crappie over 5 inches, with nearly 80 percent over 8 inches and 30 percent over 10 inches.  In 2017 and 2018, we found both the catch rates and sizes of white crappie decreased, with very few fish larger than 8 inches.  This trend is likely due to poor spawning conditions for gizzard shad (less forage) with warmer and drier summer weather prevailing. Channel catfish are regularly stocked and anglers enjoy good catch rates for fish from 14-22 inches. Hybrid bass (striped x white bass) were stocked experimentally from 2007-2009 and a few larger (greater than 20 inches) are occasionally caught with natural baits while fishing for bass or catfish. Hybrids may be targeted by locating schools of surfacing gizzard shad and then casting into them with jigs, spinnerbaits, or small crankbaits. 


Lake Paho




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Best Bets

From annual prospecting surveys