Missouri Outdoors

Forest Lake Information

Fishing Information

forest lake fishingLargemouth Bass Fishing

Bass are plentiful in the smaller ranges but MDC mentions more bass larger than 15 inches should be better this year.

Crappie Fishing

White crappie have good populations in the 8 to 10 inch range.

Walleye Fishing

Walleye were last stocked in 2010 and they have had good results surviving.  Fishermen should concentrate on rocky points and the dam during the spawn. 


Channel catfish get stocked every year and provide some of the best catfishing in Northern Missouri.

NOTE - 90HP Limit on motors in this lake

History of Forest Lake

In 1950 the nearby city of Kirksville was in need of a larger and more reliable water supply than the Chariton River could continue to provide. So following passing of a special bond issue vote that spring, land was acquired to construct a dam across Big Creek, a tributary of the Chariton.

Forest Lake At Thousand Hills State ParkUpon completion in summer 1952, the new body of water was named Forrest Lake in honor of Missouri Governor Forrest Smith. Meanwhile, the family of local physician George Laughlin donated 1,100 acres surrounding the lake for the establishment of a recreation area.

The city of Kirksville matched this by purchasing an additional 1,150 acres. All of this was presented free-of-charge to the state of Missouri in return for the promise of establishing a state park. Upon its official dedication in July 1953, it was named Thousand Hills State Park, in honor of Doctor Laughlin's Thousand Hills Farm that had formerly occupied the land.

Don't forget to pick up your Missouri Fishing License  before heading out