By Elaine Kish
On any given weekend, folks from all areas of Ohio, as well as West Virginia and Pennsylvania, escape to the peace and tranquility of Leesville Lake in Carroll County. Leesville is one of several flood control reservoirs operated by the Muskingum Watershed Conservancy District and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. But what makes this lake truly special is the combination of wooded shoreline, private coves, a remote location and a 10 horsepower limit. All of these contribute to the noticeable lack of crowds. At Leesville, wave runners are replaced with kayaks and paddle boards. Charter boats are replaced with jon boats. Performance boats are replaced with pontoon boats. With 1,000 acres of water surface, 2,700 acres of wooded shoreline, and depths up to 40 feet, Leesville Lake is a boating, fishing, paddle sports and outdoor paradise.
Leesville has the distinction of being one of the top lakes in Ohio for Muskellunge, commonly known as “Muskie.” In fact, each year the Ohio Department of Natural Resources stocks several Ohio lakes with Muskie from eggs that originate at Leesville Lake. Strictly a sport fish, the reward in landing a Muskie reaches its pinnacle when anglers land a “husky Muskie” which is one that measures over 40 inches. Several record Muskies have been caught at Leesville over the years, some even exceeding 50 inches. But Muskie is not the only fish in this lake. Anglers also enjoy catching numerous other species such as Saugeye, Crappie, Bass, Catfish, Yellow Perch and Bluegill.
There are two privately owned and operated marinas on Leesville Lake. Leesville North Fork Marina and Leesville South Fork Marina both offer docking, cabin rental, boat rental, camping, bait and tackle, concessions and a marine store. Owners Keith and Danielle Ott have made substantial improvements to both facilities since acquiring them in 2012. While constantly upgrading the facilities, the Ott family has been careful to maintain the nostalgia of both properties which have been in operation since the 1940s. A visit to these marinas is a step back in time. Both marinas are located near public access launch ramps, and the South Fork public launch ramp was recently upgraded with an ADA access kayak launch.
Numerous campsites are available near each marina. There are waterfront sites large enough for RVs with 30 amp service, as well as private primitive sites nestled in the pines. Several different waterfront cabins are available for rent in one, two or three bedroom sizes that accommodate from two to ten guests accordingly. Cabins are outfitted with air conditioning, queen beds, Amish furniture, flat screen TVs, appliances, a fire pit and even a dock for your boat. Cabin guests are offered discount rates on rental boats.
Would you prefer to own a boat rather than renting? Boat sales and service are also available on Leesville Lake via sister company Ohio Valley Boats. Also owned by the Ott family, Ohio Valley Boats is a factory authorized dealer for Manitou Pontoon boats as well as Evinrude and Suzuki outboard engines. Leesville is one of three locations for Ohio Valley Boats, which also operates on location at Tappan Lake Marina in Harrison County and Seneca Lake Marina in Guernsey County. Ohio Valley Boats is a full service, year-round operation that can handle nearly all of your storage, repair and maintenance needs. More information regarding sales, service and storage is available at www.OhioValleyBoats.com.
For an escape to a slow-paced relaxing retreat, Leesville Lake will not disappoint you. See www.LeesvilleLake.com for more information.