Greene Sullivan State Forest Fishing

Greene Sullivan State Forest Fishing

Fishing at Greene Sullivan State Forest Lakes

The Memorial Day weekend is looking good, weather-wise, but with a recent deluge of rain, one wonders where will there be clear water to fish. Locally, the creek arms at Summit will be muddy but the main lake fine. You might give Greene Sullivan State Forest fishing a try. 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 (GF) State Forest is a sure bet for fishing 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, Indiana, 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. Bing 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 No pets or smoking.

Primitive camping, for a fee, is available on a first-come, first-serve 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.



About Rick Bramwell 37 Articles
Grew up in rural Indiana fishing farm ponds and hunting woodlands. Bramwell has been writing outdoors for 48 years. He harvested the record typical whitetail for his county and hunts rabbits with his beagle Tramp. He fished bass tournaments, including Red Man, until 1989. Bramwell has put together an ultra-ultra light system for catching panfish that mostly involves tight-lining a small jig. He attended college at Indiana State and Anderson University. Bramwell has two sons in their 50s, Brian and Gregory. A daughter Jourdan age 27. His greatest memory: fishing trout, salmon and halibut in Alaska. Bramwell's passion, apart from the outdoors, has been coaching high school age fastpitch softball.

1 Comment

  1. Rick Bramwell,
    I’ve Musky Hunted in Bass Lake in Greene-Sullivan Counties a few times but have not caught any or even had any follows; I’m a Musky Hunter and have fished and caught Musky in Wisconsin, Tennessee and Kentucky–largest 37 inches–had larger ones on but lost them–Musky is a fish of 10,000 casts but it’s the “Being There” that counts–catching one is a Bonus. I’m going to Bass Lake today with a Friend who has not caught one–it will be nice to see his excitement when he catches one—I fish with Vintage Tackle: Heddon 6′ 1″ # 6279 Musky Special Tubular Glass Rod with Ambassadeur 6000 Paluming Reel and a Heddon Bamboo # 900 5 1/2 Foot with a Classic Ambassadeur 5000 with Counterbalanced Handle and Clicker–I use Pflueger Globes, Jointed Pikie Minnows and others–will let you know how I do. Bob Jennings

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