Forest Lake - Thousand Hills State Park


Bluegill, channel catfish, largemouth bass are proven stocking combination that provides both food and sport-fishing. When stocked in this order and properly managed, these species provide great fishing and good eating.

Area Information

Driving directions: Three and three-tenths miles west of Kirksville on Highway 6, then 2.3 miles south on Highway 157. Nestled in the forested hills of Thousand Hills State Park near Kirksville, this 573 acre lake provides a variety of recreational opportunities including fishing. 

Annual Prospects Report

Largemouth bass are numerous; particularly those shorter than 12 inches, but anglers will continue to catch fair numbers of bass 15 inches or longer in 2024. In the last survey, 10 percent of the largemouth bass captured were 15 inches or longer, and two percent of those were 18 inches or longer. White crappie are plentiful, especially in the eight-ten-inch length range. Annually stocked channel catfish provide some of the best fishing in the Northeast Region for catfish in the one-three-pound range. Walleye fingerlings were stocked in fall of 2023 and 2021 as well as summer of 2020, and the survival of previous stockings has been good. A recent survey resulted in the capture of walleye in the 15-27-inch size range. In spring, anglers should concentrate on rocky points and the dam for spawning walleye. Later in the summer, walleye can be found on main-lake points. To facilitate bank angling, there is a barrier-free fishing dock located on the north shoreline off Big Loop Trail Road. There is a 90-horsepower limit on boat motors, and the City of Kirksville charges for a permit to operate private boats based on horsepower rating.

Anglers should be aware that curly-leaf pondweed, a non-native invasive aquatic plant, was discovered in 2016.  By 2019, the plant had spread lake wide, encompassing most of the lake's shoreline.  In spring 2022 the City of Kirksville started a multi-step removal effort with the use of biological control as well as chemical control. Boaters are encouraged to remove plants from their trailer, outboard motor, anchor, live well, and other components of the boat and trailer before leaving the lake.  Clean the boat and gear with hot water or dry everything for at least five days to help prevent the spread of this aquatic invasive species.

Driving Directions

Three and three-tenths miles west of Kirksville on Highway 6, then 2.7 miles south on Highway 157.

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Forest Lake in Thousand Hills State Park

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