Although it is now called Crouch’s Treasure Lake, this wasn’t always so. Originally the lake was constructed in the late 1940’s by the Army Core of Engineers and served initially as a fishing and recreation area. The corresponding above advertisement dates from sometime in the 50’s when it was called Lake Jeanelia. It is a very interesting map they provide as north is not up like in traditional mapping, hence Kentucky being on top of Ohio. Note the price, the acreage, and guys outfit who is fishing in this clever flyer.
After the property stood idle for some years in the late 70’s and early 80’s, Mary Carol and Everett Crouch purchased the lake in 1984 and transformed it into Crouch’s Treasure Lake. The lake had been around for nearly 40 years at that time and was showing signs of succession. At the back of the lake, the depth had decreased over time from erosion and organic material buildup and had made habitat for lily pads. Much of the back half of the lake was covered by this species which occasionly needed a drastic cutback to maintain some open space. The lake supported great bass, bluegill, and crappie fishing which was the preferred game fishing of the day. It also held a legendary figure called “Cadillac Charlie”. The legend was an old growth snapping turtle inhabited the lake that had reached the epic size of the hood of a Cadillac and was witnessed by several people including the author of this website. During these days the lake was constantly busy with fishermen and patron of the bar. A successful band played on the weekends bringing the place alive and full of people. Then in 1992 during a hard El Nino freeze and thaw winter, the dam wall burst. It sent a torrent of water cascading outward, destroying the road and reducing the overall volume of the lake drastically.
Over the next nine years the lake lay idle, only really the beavers enjoying the space as they built dams that kept the hole from worsening dramatically. The back of the lake were the water once was became overrun with Box Elder and Black Willow. Subsequently, the business switched from pay fishing to trap shooting. In 2001, the dam was rebuilt during a very hot, dry, and dusty summer. All summer long, earth moving machine reshaped the dam wall to hold the small stream and reflood the valley.
Once the hole was plugged, the bulldozer moved to the back of the lake to clear the young trees that had invaded the back part of the lake. He pushed all the trees to the shoreline where they are still breaking down today.
During this summer of earth moving several people stopped by and said it would take years to for this lake to fill with that size of a dam wall. With the abnormally dry summer, it seemed true in some ways as the water continued to stay very low into early fall. Then one day a Hurricane moved up from the gulf following the Mississippi, hung a right at the Ohio and dropped 4 inches of rain in 12 hours. It filled 95% full in just a rain fall and the lake was reborn. It was quite a stirring site after the rains stopped, muddy but full for the first time in nine years.
Since then the pay fishing business has been back up and running and the lake developing and fish populations rebounding. More and more migratory wildlife can be seen and evidence of the freshwater mussels continue to increase which is a great sign for water quality. The bands are starting a bit again, weddings happen from time to time, we have a summer music festival called Pollination Fest and it remains a family owned and operated business.