Location & Description
This 618-acre wildlife area is situated in northeastern Ohio in Medina County, approximately two miles east of the village of Spencer, north of State Route 162. State Route 162 and Medina County Roads 27 and 58 provide good access. Spencer Lake Wildlife Area is in the glaciated portion of the state. It is characterized by gently rolling topography; the soil is rather heavy and the lower, level land tends to be wet in the spring.
History & Purpose
The original land acquisitions were made in 1956, but it was not until 1961 that the dike and dam structures were completed and 60 acres were flooded. This lake is unusual in that it is constructed on a “saddle,” or watershed divide, and has a dam structure on both ends of the lake. A severe storm in July 1969 washed out the north dam. The dam was rebuilt in 1970 and the lake was enlarged to 78 acres. A complete drawdown of Spencer Lake was implemented in 1985 to facilitate a fishery rehabilitation project. Three locations along the causeway were recontoured and deepened to 12 feet, thereby providing improved depths and better shore fishing opportunities. The lake was refilled and stocked with largemouth bass, bluegills, and channel catfish and reopened to fishing in 1986. Present management of the wildlife area includes establishment of grass-legume meadows and annual food patches, maintenance of open areas, and native brushy fencerows to improve conditions for upland game.
Fish species in Spencer Lake include largemouth bass, bluegill, and channel catfish. Cottontail rabbits, ring-necked pheasants, and fox squirrels are the most common game species, with rabbits the most abundant. Muskrats, raccoons, minks, opossums, and skunks occur commonly and waterfowl are hunted at the lake and stream on the area. Deer and wild turkeys visit the area occasionally. A great variety of both nesting and migrant birds utilize the area. Of particular interest to birding enthusiasts is the spring migration of waterfowl and songbirds.
Waterfowl hunting is popular. The most common species are the wood duck and Canada goose, followed by the blue-winged teal and mallard. Upland game species are well distributed throughout the wildlife area because of the uniform distribution of crop fields, shrubby coverts, grasslands, and woods. Raccoon hunting is productive throughout the area. Furbearers, especially muskrats, provide many hours of recreation for trappers. The best largemouth bass fishing is in spring and early summer. Artificial lures are successful (spoons, spinners, plugs, and poppers) when used near structures such as fallen trees, tree stumps, and edges of weed beds and on drop-offs. Natural baits (minnows, crayfish, frogs, and night crawlers) should be used with hook sizes 1/0 to 6/0. Bluegills are most easily caught on the spawning beds, but they can also be found along weed beds and around submerged brush. The most common fishing gear is light tackle with a size 8 to 12 hook baited with earthworms, maggots, crickets, or leeches. Flyrod casting with small floating poppers or a rubber spider can also be highly productive. Channel catfish are more easily caught during the summer at night by fishing live or cut bait on the bottom. Parking lots with boat launching ramps have been provided on both sides of the lake at the ends of the access roads. The operation of watercraft with any motor is permitted but at idle speed only without creating a wake. An archery range was established in 1994, east of the lake. It consists of various known distance targets and a walk-through course of unknown distance targets.