Summer Fishing at Deep Lake,
Millersylvania State Park

I'm always in search of great small water fishing. I think it's because smaller bodies of water are less intimidating. I don't have to worry about my batteries running out of juice and not get to fish all corners of a large lake or impoundment. And, I don't have to worry about pushing the limits of my small boat. I like the intimacy that I can develop with a small lake. I'm much more able to focus on the lake's composition than I would ever be able to with a large lake. For those reasons, Deep Lake inside Millersylvania State Park is a gem.

At only 66 acres, this small lake offers up a variety of fishing opportunities. The lake has a small launch for carry-in/hand launch types of crafts only. Perfect for float tubes, canoes, and small aluminum boats. The name of the lake is kind of misleading. The deepest parts only go to about 17 feet. Understandably, trout fishing can be great during the opener but once the weather warms up, the trout fishing tapers off to a crawl.

From my observations, trolling is quite effective as well as fishing from the banks of the lake. There's a great fishing pier on the eastside of the lake that seems to produce consistently throughout the season. This lake warms up fast and you can definitely expect to tangle with submerged vegetation as you haul in your bait rig.

Summer time in Deep Lake is primetime for Bluegills and of course, my favorite - the largemouth bass. Late May through June is a good time to sight fish for bedding bass. Start immediately to the right of the launch area and work your way around the lake. This is one of the shallowest parts of the lake and you'll encounter grass and some timber along the edges. The water clarity is usually great. Because of this, a pair of polarized sunglasses is imperative. While in this area, it's important to keep an eye for cruising fish. If you do see one that isn't too spooked, go after it with a small Slug-go or a Senko.

As you round the corner towards the roped swimming area. Pay attention for the field of Lilly pads that surround the swimming hole. I've seen some good-sized bass hiding and cruising in and around this area. The key to this section is the deep-end of the swimming area. Fish relate to this change of depth for protection. They patrol the shallows for an easy meal, but as soon as they are threatened they head for this deeper area. I've caught a few fish here using a Fat Free Shad crankbait.

Another thing you might notice is the abundance of small bass. The lake may be over-populated and some of the fish have stunted growth. Nevertheless, it's quite a sight to see a gang of small bass ambush your lure. As you work your way towards the south side of the lake, the possibilities of hooking larger fish becomes greater. The south side has the distinct feature of large submerged timber combined with depth change. I've been able to pull bass out of their hiding places by dead-sticking a Senko or small Slug-Go. Also, pay attention to the tree line. Some of the branches and sometimes half of a tree are reaching out towards the water thus producing shade. In the heat of the summer sun, bass tend to hide in these shady spots. Skip a Senko in one of those of spots and you just might be surprised that something will grab your offering. You might loose a few hooks and lures, so practice on your skip casting techniques.

Towards the resort, there's another roped swimming area. My friend Michael and I have invested some considerable hours fishing beyond the ropes without rousing the resort owners. We've seen probably some of the biggest bass of this small lake in this area. I've even witnessed Michael catch three 2-lbers consecutively using a Rat-L-Trap one summer afternoon. It was simply incredible and I was never able to better that feat.

Head north from the resort area and you'll come across another vast shallow and weedy area. Don't pass this up. Grab your ultra-light gear and rig up to catch some bruiser Bluegills. This is a great area to take your kids. There are Bluegills everywhere. We found that the best and most consistent method of catching them is to use a simple worm and a bobber set-up. Don't hesitate to toss out a Senko among the weeds, you might yet again get a surprise.

From the northeast corner, work your way back north. You'll encounter two more swimming areas as you work your back to the launch area. Don't pass up the in-between areas. Use Rat-L-Traps to cover water and varying depths. If you pay attention, you might see the clumps of weeds at mid-depth. These isolated clumps of vegetation attract bass. Try a spinnerbiat and rip it through the vegetation to trigger strikes.

Look no further for a fun small lake to explore. If you're a bass enthusiast, Deep lake should be on your list as one of the lakes to try this coming summer.

From Olympia, S on I-5 to exit 95; go E on Hwy. 121 through Maytown; follow Hwy. 121 N 3 mi to Millersylvania State Park.