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Visitors to north central Indiana will find a plethora of recreational activities, surrounded by unspoiled, scenic beauty at Mississinewa Lake. This 3,180-acre lake is a well-known destination for fishermen and hikers alike. Located along the Mississinewa River, this reservoir provides flood control in conjunction with J. Edward Roush Lake and Salamonie Lake in the Upper Wabash region. Also known as Mississinewa Reservoir, the lake is surrounded by several state recreation areas (SRA). In addition to fishing and hiking, visitors can enjoy camping at any of the hundreds of campsites in the area, along with swimming, sunbathing on the beach, hunting, canoeing, water skiing and picnicking.
The name Mississinewa, pronounced "Miss-SIN-uh-wah", is a Miami Indian word, "Mis-chis-in-wah," meaning "water on a slope". Native American folklore and history runs deep in this region. Visitors will soon notice that the name Frances Slocum is everywhere. As the story goes, Frances Slocum was a young Quaker child when she was abducted by the Delaware Indians. She grew up with the tribe and took the name "Maconaquah", meaning "Young Bear". She later married a chief and was fully integrated in the culture, language and ways of her Native American life. She was found nearly 60 years later by her brothers, but chose to stay with her family, including her four children, until her death at age 74. The Frances Slocum State Recreation Area lies on the northwestern edge of the lake and provides interpretive trails along with boat ramps and a picnic area.
Other state recreation areas around Mississinewa Lake include Red Bridge SRA which has picnic facilities, boat ramp and a boat marina; Miami SRA, with shelters, picnic tables, hiking trails, beach, campground, boat ramp, fishing pond, volleyball and basketball courts, horseshoes and an 18-hole disc golf course; and Pearson Mill SRA which provides boat ramps and a picnic area. Wildlife viewing and bird watching is very popular around Lake Mississinewa and is not threatened by commercial or residential development as the lake lies completely within a 15,000-acre Indiana Department of Natural Resources (DNR) site.
Anglers can enjoy excellent fishing around Mississinewa Lake at various locations including the Outlet and Peoria fishing sites in the reservoir's tail waters. Species include walleye, channel catfish, flathead catfish, white bass, bluegill, largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, white crappie and black crappie. Fishing piers, boat ramps located around the lake, a marina and fish cleaning station provide fishermen with everything needed for a great day of fishing. Boats are not regulated in the lake, with the size, speed, and horsepower being unlimited.
A trip to Mississinewa lake wouldn't be complete without checking out a unique natural wonder along the banks of the Mississinewa River known as the Cliffs of the Seven Pillars. Located off the Frances Slocum Trail, the formation occurred over centuries as sandstone walls were eroded by flooding waters and wind to create the cliffs and inner chambers. The chambers were used by the Miami Indians for council meetings, social events and as a trading post.
Because Mississinewa Lake is located inside a DNR site, there are no vacation properties, resorts or real estate available along the shores. However, for those interested in relocating to the area or looking for accommodations, the city of Peru, Indiana is located just seven miles northwest of the lake. Peru is known as the circus capital of the world and has a huge annual parade and festival celebrating their circus heritage.
With only an 85-mile drive from Indianapolis, Mississinewa Lake is easy to get to and well worth the drive. Together with its beauty and rich history, Lake Mississinewa is a treasured natural resource for visitors and residents of the area alike.
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