Lake Paho (273 acres) is the Department's oldest lake (built in the 1940s) yet offers good fishing (bass and catfish), camping, 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. Electrofishing surveys from 2012-2017 show bass and bluegill numbers increased while the proportion of larger fish has decreased in response to the increased vegetation. In 2017, our surveys showed most adult bass were 10-18 inches with larger fish up to 23 inches. The percentage of harvestable bass (>18") was lower than in past years. These results suggest a general trend from low catch rates of larger bass to higher catch rates of sub-legal fish. Anglers should 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 shown some improvement 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 over10 inches. In 2017, we found a slight drop in the proportion of crappie over 10 inches with only a few fish over 12 inches. Bluegill and black crappie remain very small and slow-growing due to competition for food with abundant gizzard shad. 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.