The Indiana Insider Blog

Delightful Days of Fall at Patoka

Indiana Tourism welcomes today’s guest blogger, Dana Gehlhausen:

Dana Gehlhausen - DNRDana Gehlhausen is an Interpretive Naturalist at Patoka Lake for Indiana State Parks and Reservoirs. Dana studied Wildlife Biology at Ball State University and has worked at Patoka Lake since 2006, where she started as an intern. She always enjoys time spent outdoors, and a few of her favorite activities include archery, hiking and kayaking.

This time of year around Patoka Lake is one of my favorites. Why? Once the young eagles have left their nests the adults become more active, flying high above the entire property. There are more chances to view and even photograph eagles in the fall months than in the summer. The boat traffic on the 8,880 acre lake has slowed down and the wildlife activity is steadily increasing. Patoka’s seasonal naturalist, Lyndsey Day and I love to get out and pre-paddle our tour for the coming month. In October, we will be taking kayakers to see a new location and it was essential that we go there and check out the site ourselves. It has been 5 years since I’ve been back to this remote area of our property at King’s Bridge boat ramp.  Along our paddle up river, we saw many Great Blue Herons, Plovers, various ducks, Killdeer,a White-tailed deer drinking from the waters edge and other varieties of wildlife including two Bald Eagles. The nesting site of these eagles is just along this branch of the lake/river. It is amazing how active the wildlife become when their are less people around.

Bald Eagle near King's Bridge

Bald Eagle seen near King's Bridge

Head out to Patoka this season to view the wildlife! After all we were voted as one of the 51 Great Places to See Wildlife in USA Today.

As you look around the sky and land for critters, be sure not to miss the colors of the coming harvest. Farm fields in this area of the state are filled with combines, tractors and trucks as corn and beans are being removed from the land.

Cornfield on a delightful day

Cornfield on a delightful day

This field has yet to be harvested, but can be seen just outside of the Patoka Reservoir property on Highway 164. Corn maze season is here and with corn mazes comes all other Halloween themed events!

Start your fall planning early: Campsites are already booked for Autumn Getaway but there is plenty to come and participate in and programs to see on Friday October 14th and Saturday October 15th.

Come kayaking with Lyndsey and I at King’s Bridge on Saturday, October 22nd. Not sure how to get there? Just meet us at the Visitor Center before 8:15 am and we will car caravan to the ramp for this 9:30 am tour upstream of the Patoka River to Grimes Lake Marsh! Check out our website for more details!

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Written by : The Indiana Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) manages a wide variety of state-owned lands that are available for all sorts outdoor recreation activities. Staff are charged with managing and interpreting the natural and cultural resources of these sites, and with regulating lake and stream usage, fish, wildlife, oil, gas and coal and Indiana's archeological and historic resources. For more information about the DNR or careers in natural resources, visit