Kenton or Pumpkin Town Lake

fishing lure

This 7-acre lake is located in Gallia County, on the northern end of the Ironton Ranger District. It is among the most popular lakes in the area due to its remote peaceful character. It is also known as Kenton Lake.

Kenton Lake photo

Vicinity Map of LakeRenovation of Pumpkintown Lake -

During the Summer of 2000 the lake was drained so the Forest Service could repair the dam's outlet works. Dropping the lake level was a positive event for the Pumpkintown Lake fishery. There was no underwater structure in this relatively deep lake.

cracked lake bed

When the lakebed was dry, the lake bottom was allowed to dry and cracks opened up. When this happened, an abundance of oxygen became available and decomposition of organic matter was stepped up. Under these conditions, there was a release of nutrients, or "fertilizers". Grasses and other weeds began growing in the lakebed in dense and luxuriant stands.

When the valve was closed and water flooded the vegetation, the plants began to slowly decompose and release nutrients. It's here the food chain began….algae began to grow and tiny animals called zooplankton fed on the algae. Zooplankton are a primary food source for small fish.

dry lake bed with vegetation

The newly stocked fish had a good food source and used the vegetation for hiding as it decomposed.

The Forest Service then completed some fish habitat improvements. We increasedthe amount of woody structure in the lake for the fish by placing Christmas tree brushpiles in the lake and by felling shoreline trees. The valve was closed on March 13, 2001. The lake refilled as the spring rains occurred.

While dropping the lake level eliminated any fishing opportunities in the short run, patient anglers have seen quality fishing return.  The Department of Natural Resources, Division of Wildlife, restocked largemouth bass and bluegill in the lake in September and October 2001.  

christmas tree bundles

The Division of Wildlife stocks yearling channel catfish in the lake on alternate years.

While the lake was dry, Christmas trees were used to make brushpiles. The piles were placed in selected locations on the dry lake bed, generally where the 10'-12' depth contours are located.


chainsawing shoreline trees

Shoreline trees were also felled in a few places to provide shallow-water cover for bass and bluegill. A couple tree drops can be seen in the background of the lower photo.







Fisheries habitat was improved at Pumpkintown Lake as a result of a partnership. The trees were donated by the Dickess Tree Farm, in Aid, Ohio, and by local residents. The Federal Correctional Institute in Ashland, Kentucky transported the trees to the project site. Employees in the Senior Community Services Employment Program helped the Forest Service construct the brushpiles.




placing christmas trees in Kenton Lake




In addition to the fish habitat work, the Forest Service is currently looking at the possibility of constructing a small, gravel boat ramp and a barrier free fishing pier and trail. The contours have been mapped of the lake bottom as well, for fisherman to find the deeper portions of the lake. For a contour map of Pumpkintown Lake click here.


A Forest Service employee uses a chainsaw to fell a shoreline tree. These structures will be used by bass and bluegill, especially during spawning season.


All Ohio fishing regulations apply to the Wayne National Forest waters.  Consult the Ohio Fishing Regulations for details on fishing licenses, harvest limits and consumption advisories.