Gently rolling terrain, lush woods and a beautiful lake make the Sam Dale Lake State Fish & Wildlife Area the perfect spot for a family outing. Located northwest of Johnsonville in Wayne County, this area has something for everyone: fishing, hunting, picnicking, camping and swimming. Visitors may see quail, rabbit, dove, squirrel, deer, muskrat, fox, raccoon, owls, turkey, hawk, woodstock, or beaver as they roam the timber or brushy fields of the park. The highlight of a visit here will be Sam Dale Lake, a beautiful 194 acre lake with eight and a half miles of shoreline to hike around, swim in, or just sit beside and enjoy. In addition, several smaller ponds are home to fish and wildlife.
Hunters will be delighted with the rolling open fields. They are interspersed by evergreen plantings and fence rows for perfect game hunting habitat. Hunting is restricted to the 930 acres posted for hunting and hunters are required to stop at the check station for permits. Shotgun or bow and arrow hunting is allowed; deer hunting with bow and arrow only, by permit.
The long, narrow lake has many curves and fingers, making it an ideal setting for the avid fisherman. Species available include largemouth bass, bluegill, redear, crappie and channel catfish. There are two launching ramps, boat docks, several floating fishing docks and rental boats available. The motor limit is 10 hp. A concession stand sells fishing bait near the boat dock area. Ice fishing is also a popular event in the winter.
Hikers will delight at the sights and sounds along the 3.2 mile nature trail. It winds through the wooded area in a circular pattern with three major loops to follow. The trail skirts the lake for an easy side trip to the shore. A 1.6 mile trail from the group campground area to the dam winds along the lake.
A buoy-marked swimming area is available on the west side of the lake with a large beach area for sun-bathers. This is a "swim at your own risk" beach; no lifeguards are present. Swimmers under 17 must be accompanied by a responsible adult. The swimming area is open daily from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day weekend.
The tall, shady trees and plentiful flowers and greenery beckon many nature-lovers to the picnic areas at Sam Dale Lake. One of the picnic areas has shelter. Several picnic areas are available with tables, drinking fountains, and outdoor stoves. Playground equipment is nearby. A concession stand offers sandwiches and cold drinks.
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