West Boggs Lake Fishing Rebounds

West Boggs
West Boggs Lake is a picturesque outdoor destination in southern Indiana. Fishing is on the rebound after the lake was drained a few years ago to remove invasive gizzard shad. Photo by author

West Boggs Lake is a bass fishing honey-hole nestled in the hills of Southern Indiana. The lake is home to numerous other species of fish, including bluegill and crappie, but it’s bass most people go there to fish for. West Boggs is loaded with a healthy and growing population of largemouth.

West Boggs has undergone some changes in recent years. The once dominant fishery had to be drained a few years back to remove an overpopulation of gizzard shad. The lake has now been restocked and is on its way back to prominence.

Located just north of Loogootee on Highway 231, West Boggs Park offers more than just West Boggs Lake. The 1,500 acre property is home to a campground, boat rental, beach and numerous picnic areas. Whether you’re only interested in fishing or looking for a destination to spend a fun filled weekend outdoors, West Boggs Park fits the bill.

The lake is 625 acres of prime fishing habitat. With no motor size restrictions and a liberal 35 mph speed limit on the main body of water, water sports do coincide with fishing, but all of the coves and inlets are idle zones. This means there will always be plenty of room for fisherman, water skiers, and pleasure boaters. There are fees associated with entering the park and launching a boat, so be prepared with a little cash in your pocket.

The campground offers over 200 campsites, all of which have electric and water. Many of the campsites are on or very near the water, so you can fish from your campsite or at least enjoy a great view. Pets are welcome, but must remain under control at all times. Sites rent daily, weekly, or annually, starting at $25 a night. Sites are limited to one recreational vehicle and one tent or two tents per site. Reservations may be made in advance.

West Boggs Lake was created in 1971 and provided great fishing for a number of years until gizzard shad showed up. Eventually the shad over populated and choked out many of the lake’s game fish. Now that the lake has been drained and restocked, fisherman should recognize many of the fish in the lake are only a couple of years old. However, there were nearly 1,000 mature bass held over and restocked into the lake. Fishing is good now, but should be exceptional in a few years.

During the summer months, I like fishing West Boggs from sunset until late at night with a hollow bodied frog along the shore. These frogs float on the surface and can be worked so they zigzag back in forth. This is commonly referred to as “walking-the-dog.” This lifelike swimming action is too much for most bass to withstand.

A lot of West Boggs is fishable from shore. If you don’t have a boat, a canoe, kayak or float tube, should be easy to launch and will get you around much of the lake. A boat rental is another option.

West Boggs Lake is a popular destination for families and anglers. It may be difficult to find a campsite on some of the busier weekends of summer, so making advanced reservations is a good idea. Once you discover this little gem of an outdoor destination, I suspect you’ll return for years to come.

Brandon Butler
Long-time outdoor writer and native Hoosier Brandon Butler lives in Missouri and serves as the Executive Director of the Conservation Federation of Missouri. Previously, he worked with the Indiana Department of Natural Resources as Governor Mitch Daniels’ liaison to the department, Director of Sales and Marketing for Dominator365 and as the Marketing Manager Battenfeld Technologies, Inc.


  1. John:
    I have never been to that Lake, i live in Louisville and fish Patoka often. When in the spring do you think is the best time to fish West Boggs?

  2. Prior to the renovation, bass tournaments were allowed using a permit system and under guidelines established by the park. I would think this would continue once enough bass reach a legal size to make them attractive to tournanent anglers, but you could check with the park office to confirm.


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