Location & Description
The 2,430-acre area lies in Bridgewater and Northwest townships in the northwest corner of Williams County. Williams County Road R provides access to the area from State Route 576. The area can also be reached by Williams County Road 7 from U.S. Route 20. Lake La Su An Wildlife Area is situated on the Wabash end moraine deposited during the Wisconsin glaciation. Originally, the area was a beech-maple hardwood forest containing beech, white ash, white oak, red oak and sugar maple. This combination of hardwood species still dominates the area. There are also several lowland areas that are poorly drained, forming wooded wetlands. The wildlife area is moderately to gently sloping with natural drainage to the West Branch of the St. Joseph River, which cuts through the middle of the area. Approximately two-thirds of the wildlife area is in woods and brushland. The other one-third is divided between cropland and meadow. The water areas include 14 lakes and ponds ranging from 1/4 acre to 82 acres, and over 30 wooded wetlands and restored wetlands from two to 18 acres.
History & Purpose
Purchase of land for this wildlife area began in 1981. Additional land is being acquired as funds become available. Land posted with yellow wildlife area signs is part of Lake La Su An Wildlife Area. Wildlife management activities include the development and management of grain crops and grassland. Trees and shrubs have been planted along field borders and in odd areas to provide permanent cover for upland wildlife. Woods have been protected and improved and most former crop fields have been returned to meadow to prevent soil erosion on the steeper slopes. Prior to the Division of Wildlife acquisition, an unexploited fishery had resulted in high-quality largemouth bass and bluegill populations in many of the lakes and ponds. To maintain the quality under public fishing pressure, special management techniques and regulations are being used.
Good populations of largemouth bass and bluegills are found in most of the lakes and ponds. Largemouth bass densities in many of the lakes are the highest in Ohio and the Midwest. Anglers may not be able to keep many largemouth basses, but catch rates should be very high. While most lakes contain good bluegill populations, the better ones provide an angler harvest of eight-inch or longer bluegills (some to 11 inches) that makeup 40 percent of the total bluegill harvest. The West Branch of the St. Joseph River provides good fishing for largemouth bass, rock bass, crappies and channel catfish. The cottontail rabbit is the most abundant upland species. Ring-necked pheasants also occur here. Good populations of fox squirrel and white-tail deer utilize the area. Furbearers, particularly raccoon and muskrat, are abundant. During the spring and fall migrations, waterfowl are attracted to the lakes, ponds and wetlands. A growing population of wild turkey is also presented on La Su An and the surrounding area.
The area offers good rabbit, squirrel and deer hunting. Pheasant and waterfowl hunting is also productive. Muskrats and other furbearers can be found in good numbers along the edges of the restored wetlands and the ponds and lakes on the area. Turkey hunting in the area is by special youth hunt only. Hunting opportunities for people with disabilities exist at La Su An. Physically handicapped persons may operate a motor vehicle and park in certain areas of Lake La Su An. All handicapped persons shall carry a licensed physician's statement listing the illness which prohibits the individual from walking. Contact the area manager for the location of areas open to people with disabilities. Lake La Su An Wildlife Area also features designated access roads for Electric Powered All-Purpose Vehicle (EPAPV)/Motor Vehicle Use Permit holders. The permit allows the use of an EPAPV with a 30 horsepower and/or use of a motor vehicle on designated access roads on specific state wildlife areas for mobility-impaired persons. There are special fishing regulations on the lakes and ponds. Boats may be used on the lakes and ponds; however, only the four larger lakes have boat ramps. The operation of watercraft with any motor is permitted but at idle speed only without creating a wake. Many of the restored wetlands on the area provide good locations to observe migrating shorebirds. Migrating warblers can also be seen in the many woodlands along the gravel access road surrounding Lake La Su An. Walking along this area road can be very enjoyable, as deer, beaver and woodpeckers may be seen at any time. Sandhill cranes and osprey nest on the area. Bald eagles are often observed during spring and fall migration. Grassland birds such as the Northern harrier, short-eared owl, bobolink, Eastern meadowlark and dickcissel are commonly observed during the breeding season. Special Regulations Be sure to check the Site-Specific Regulations in the Ohio Fishing Regulations for details on fishing in this area.