|The busiest "little" township in Indiana
|Clear Creek Township
Monroe County, Indiana
|What can we not say about being blessed with Lake Monroe.
Bald Eagles at Lake Monroe
The Monroe Dam letting water out into Salt Creek
Hidden Valley Falls
Lake Monroe is the state of Indiana's largest lake offering Mother Nature's best with scenic
shorelines dotted with stone bluffs and a 360-degree canvas of rolling wooded hills.
Monroe Lake was authorized by the Flood Control Act of 1938. This reservoir was created by the U.S.
Army Corps of Engineers in 1965 by impounding Salt Creek with the Monroe Lake Dam. In years past
this area of Indiana had several salt deposits that were mined and shipped down the creek, which is
how Salt Creek got its name. Since its creation in the mid 1960's, Monroe Reservoir has prevented
flooding by storing heavy rain water runoff until swollen streams and rivers downstream can handle
water releases from the dam.
Today, Lake Monroe is a recreational haven, offering boating, water sports, fishing, and
accommodations from primitive to luxurious. Lake Monroe features over 10,000 acres of water with
three state recreational hot spots: Fairfax (complete with a full-service marina), Paynetown, and
Hardin Ridge. Popular in the summer are the several parks and beaches conveniently located on
each side of the lake. The largest, Fairfax Beach, is located on the western side via SR37. Slightly
smaller is Paynetown Beach accessible from SR 446. Both locations provide covered and open
picnic tables as well as restroom facilities. There is a nominal charge per vehicle to gain admission
to the recreational areas, although some boat ramps do not carry fees.
For hiking enthusiasts, Monroe Lake sits within the Hoosier National Forest, and there are a number
of trails that open to the lake. Anglers flock to Monroe Lake for catches of bass, bluegill, catfish,
crappie, hybrid striper, and walleye. The Indiana Department of Natural Resources periodically
restocks the lake to maintain a balanced fish population, including walleye and striped bass. Ten
boat ramps around the lake provide easy boat access, and fishing piers are located at the
Paynetown and Cutright State Recreation Areas.
Historically, this area of Indiana was Miami Indian land.
Occupied by both the Miami and Delaware tribes during the 1700's, the land was later acquired
legally from the Indians as part of Harrison's Purchase, by the Treaty of Fort Wayne, on September
30, 1809. The first settlers arrived around 1815, but were probably preceded by hunters and
refugees from the law. The rolling and lavish green hills of southern Indiana produced tremendous
amounts of lumber from native stands of poplar, maple, cherry, walnut, and ash. While this area of
southern Indiana is also known as the "The Limestone Capital of the World," it should also be known
as Lake Monroe country for its variety of recreational offerings.