Monroe Lake, Indiana, USA

Also known as:  Monroe Reservoir, Lake Monroe

The largest lake in Indiana, Monroe Lake is also one of the state’s most scenic. Set among the rolling wooded hills, limestone bluffs overlook the 10,000+-acre reservoir built to control flooding. The reservoir is the primary water source for the City of Bloomington. Monroe Lake Dam was built across Salt Creek by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in 1965 and has developed into a premier recreational lake. Less than – READ THE FULL ARTICLE

Welcome to the ultimate guide to Monroe Lake! Article topics include:

Looking for Monroe Lake cabins or other accommodations? Save time and use this interactive map to find, compare and book at the best rates. Or explore more of our favorite travel partners.

Welcome to the ultimate guide to Monroe Lake! Article topics include:

Looking for Monroe Lake cabins or other accommodations? Save time and use this interactive map to find, compare and book at the best rates. Or explore more of our favorite travel partners.

All About Monroe Lake

Lake Locations: USA - Midwest - Indiana - South Central -

The largest lake in Indiana, Monroe Lake is also one of the state’s most scenic. Set among the rolling wooded hills, limestone bluffs overlook the 10,000+-acre reservoir built to control flooding. The reservoir is the primary water source for the City of Bloomington. Monroe Lake Dam was built across Salt Creek by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in 1965 and has developed into a premier recreational lake. Less than ten miles from Bloomington, home of Indiana University, Monroe Lake one of the most popular summertime destinations in South Central Indiana. Sprawled across portions of Brown, Jackson and Monroe counties, Monroe Lake provides boating, fishing, swimming and all types of outdoor recreation along its 190-mile shoreline. The State of Indiana took full advantage of the new reservoir’s recreational possibilities by creating three areas of public lands that can be accessed for camping, swimming, boat access and exploration. The entire shoreline is owned by the US Army Corps. The reservoir and adjacent recreational areas receive over a million-and-a-half visitors a year.

The vast reservoir is a fishing hot spot with good populations of crappie, bluegill, hybrid striper, walleye, catfish, yellow perch, panfish and largemouth bass. Several public boat launch sites plus fishing docks provide plenty of access for anglers. The fishing docks are attractive to those with children and the disabled, giving everyone a chance to get in on the fun. The Indiana Dept. of Natural Resources maintains a scientifically-balanced stocking program and stocks walleye and hybrid stripers regularly. Other access for boats is available at marinas, some of which rent fishing boats. Bass fishing tournaments are held at the lake several times each season. Two swimming beaches are available on state-owned land and are often very busy on hot summer weekends. Both provide picnic areas, shelters and rest rooms. A small fee is charged for each car entering these areas, although several of the boat launch facilities are free. The US Army Corps maintains a picnic area near the dam and hiking trails in the tailwater area.

Monroe Lake is available for all types of water sports. A marina located at the Paynetown State Recreation Area rents every type of watercraft from ski boats, fishing boats, pontoons, jet skis, double-decker pontoons, canoes, kayaks and water sport accessories. Several camping areas are provided on public lands surrounding the lake, with others located nearby. On the southwest shore of the lake, the nearly 13,00-acre Charles C. Dean Wilderness Area offers hiking, horseback riding and primitive camping in a completely wheel-free area: trails are groomed via mule. The Wilderness Area is located within a section of the Hoosier National Forest which surrounds much of the eastern portion of the reservoir and abuts the Brown County State Park. Much of the area is available for hunting during season with appropriate permits. A resort concession has been developed along with southwest shoreline with excellent swimming beach, full-service marina, hotel and fine dining. A PGA-rated golf course is nearby.

Monroe Lake adds a crowning touch to an already popular recreational area. Nearby Bloomington offers all of the usual delights of a college town with plenty of nightlife, galleries, performance arts, museums and sporting events. The ice arena is a major draw during the winter months. Just northeast of Brown County State Park, the small town of Nashville was ranked number 6 on the Midwest Living Magazine list of the best small-town getaways. Home of a growing and thriving arts colony since 1907, Nashville is filled with craft shops, art galleries, theater performances, a dance barn and a Bluegrass Park. Nashville is worthy of a vacation weekend in itself as the area is reputed to contain over 350 shops.

This area of Indiana was originally home to the Miami and Delaware tribes of Native Americans, Purchased by the United States government as a part of Harrison’s Purchase under the Treaty of Fort Wayne, the wooded hills provided large amounts of timber for building purposes. The area was officially opened to settlers in 1815, but it is likely a number of European trappers and hunters were already utilizing the area as the wooded hills and many creeks offered plentiful game and fur-bearing animals. Salt deposits in the area were mined commercially and shipped down the local Salt Creek, known for its high salt content.

This area is also famous for the beautiful Indiana Limestone which was quarried and shipped to Chicago, Louisville and even farther afield to build many of the historic buildings and courthouses in the Midwest. Soils in the area are relatively shallow, and farming became unproductive after a few years of intense tillage. Much land reverted to the government for unpaid taxes. The area is covered in second-growth forest and is part of the largest contiguous forest area in Indiana. The wooded covering provides excellent refuge for whitetail deer and small game. The deer were actually re-introduced as they had been depleted in the area due to earlier hunting. Eagles, turkeys, raptors and a variety of song birds are making amazing progress in repopulating the natural landscape.

The Monroe Reservoir area is a highly desirable area for both vacationing visitors and year-round residents. Proximity to Bloomington and Indiana University assures lodgings are always available in the form of hotels, motels and private rentals. Although these do not overlook the lake itself, they are a few short miles away. Bed-and-breakfast facilities in the Nashville area are highly attractive to antique hunters, trekkers and hikers. The quiet country roads are ideal for cycling. The entire area is very popular for geocaching and orienteering with several organized groups in the Bloomington area. Vacation rentals and lodgings are therefore plentiful, but should be reserved well in advance around holidays and summer week-ends. Real estate is often available near the lake, although not on the lake itself. Monroe Lake will exceed all expectations as a fun-filled destination whether for a week or a lifetime. So, come and explore Monroe Lake-you’ll be hooked, and so will those fish!

Things to Do at Monroe Lake

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Fishing Tournaments
  • Boating
  • Swimming
  • Beach
  • Canoeing
  • Kayaking
  • Jet Skiing
  • Golf
  • Camping
  • Picnicking
  • Hiking
  • Biking
  • Horseback Riding
  • Hunting
  • Wildlife Viewing
  • Birding
  • State Park
  • National Forest
  • Museum
  • Antiquing

Fish Species Found at Monroe Lake

  • Bass
  • Black Bass
  • Bluegill
  • Catfish
  • Crappie
  • Largemouth Bass
  • Perch
  • Sunfish
  • Walleye
  • Yellow Perch

All About Monroe Lake

Best hotels and vacation rentals at Monroe Lake

The Monroe Lake map shown above is a simple and stress-free way to search for trip accommodations. But if you want to take a deeper dive to find the ideal waterfront home, cabin, condo, hotel or resort, visit our favorite lodging partners by clicking the buttons below.

Note: These are affiliate links so we may earn a small commission if you book through them. While there is no extra cost to you, it helps provide resources to keep our site running (thank you)! You can read our full disclosure policy here.


More Ways to Book a Monroe Lake Vacation

While our interactive map above is perfect for comparing LAKENAME rental homes (with VRBO) and nearby hotels (with Booking.com), there might be times when you need to expand your search with a different type of accommodation. Here are some other LAKNAME lodging partners you might want to explore:

Check TripAdvisor
Explore RV Rentals
Find a Campspot
View All Resources

Note: These are affiliate links and we may earn a small commission. Read our full disclosure policy here.


More Sites to Book a Monroe Lake Vacation

Our interactive lodging map shown above is perfect for comparing LAKENAME VRBO rental homes and nearby Booking.com hotels, there are times when you need to expand your search for different types of accommodation. Here are some other LAKNAME lodging partners you can explore:

Check TripAdvisor
Explore RV Rentals
Find a Campspot
View All Resources

Note: These are affiliate links and we may earn a small commission. Read our disclosure policy here.


More Sites to Book a Monroe Lake Vacation

Our interactive lodging map shown above is perfect for comparing LAKENAME VRBO rental homes and nearby Booking.com hotels, there are times when you need to expand your search for different types of accommodation. Here are some other LAKNAME lodging partners you can explore:

Check TripAdvisor
Explore RV Rentals
Find a Campspot
View All Resources

Note: These are affiliate links and we may earn a small commission. Read our disclosure policy here.


Recommended Sites to Book a Monroe Lake Vacation

If you want to take a deeper dive to find waterfront lake cabins, cottages, condos, hotels or resorts, check out our favorite Monroe Lake lodging partners.

  • VRBO – Use VRBO to find the perfect lake rental home, condo, cabin, cottage or other vacation property.
  • Booking.com – One of the world’s leading digital travel companies, Booking.com connects travelers to everything from cozy B&Bs to luxury resorts.
  • Expedia – Expedia is a popular online travel agency with more than 140,000 lodging properties worldwide.
  • Hotels.com – With more than 325,000 hotels in 19,000-plus locations, Hotels.com is an industry leader in online accommodations.
  • TripAdvisor – Read traveler reviews and compare prices on hotels, vacation rentals and more at TripAdvisor.
  • Trivago – Trivago helps travelers compare deals for hotels and other accommodations from a variety of booking sites.
  • KAYAK – KAYAK scours hundreds of other travel websites at once to find the best deals on hotels and other travel-related services.
  • RVshare –RVshare connects travelers interested in renting a motorhome with owners who have RVs to rent.
  • CampSpot – Campspot offers premier RV resorts, family campgrounds, cabins and glamping options across North America.
ALL TRAVEL RESOURCES

Note: These are affiliate links so we may earn a small commission if you book through them. While there is no extra cost to you, it helps provide resources to keep our site running (thank you)! You can read our full disclosure policy here.

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Lake Type: Artificial Reservoir, Dammed

Water Level Control: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

Surface Area: 10,750 acres

Shoreline Length: 190 miles

Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 538 feet

Minimum Elevation (Min Pond): 0 feet

Maximum Elevation (Max Pond): 556 feet

Average Depth: 25 feet

Maximum Depth: 55 feet

Water Volume: 182,250 acre-feet

Completion Year: 1965

Water Residence Time: 231 days

Drainage Area: 441 sq. miles

Trophic State: Mesoeutrophic

We strive to keep the information on LakeLubbers as accurate as possible. However, if you’ve found something in this article that needs updating, we’d certainly love to hear from you! Please fill out our Content Correction form.

More Monroe Lake news from LakeLubbers.com

  • Advertise your vacation rental property or local business: DETAILS HERE
  • The Monroe Lake forum has been discontinued: HERE’S WHY
  • New Monroe Lake photos coming soon!
  • You’re invited to join our lake-lovin’ community on Facebook and Instagram!
  • Share this Monroe Lake article with your fellow LakeLubbers:

Do you have a vacation rental property at Monroe Lake? Coming in 2022, LakeLubbers will have an opportunity for you to showcase your listing and put it in front of thousands of lake lovers searching our site for homes, condos or townhomes to rent for their upcoming lake trip this season.

Please get in touch with our advertising team HERE and we’ll provide you more details on this upcoming advertising opportunity.

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Looking for the Monroe Lake forum?

LakeLubbers previously offered visitors the ability to create accounts and participate in lake forums. When we overhauled the site’s content management system in 2021 we had to disable those features. We’re evaluating options and welcome your comments and feedback here.

We also encourage you to join our lake-lovin’ community on Facebook and Instagram!

Click here to advertise your Monroe Lake vacation rental or local business.

The former Monroe Lake forum is closed. Find out why here.

New Monroe Lake photo gallery is coming soon.

Please share this article with your fellow lake lovers!

Spread the word! Share our Monroe Lake article with your fellow Lake Lubbers!

Explore local Monroe Lake vacation rentals and hotel accommodations using our interactive map. Clicking on listings below will allow you to compare nearby properties, best rates and availability for your dates.

Looking for the old Monroe Lake forum group? Click Here

New Monroe Lake photos coming soon!

Vacation Home Name

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  • 2 bedrooms
  • 2 bathrooms
  • hot tub
  • wifi