Lake Paho


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: Four miles west of Princeton on Highway 136. North of Highway 136 on Fathom Street. Lake Paho (273 acres) is located in Mercer County.

Annual Prospects Report

Lake Paho (273 acres) offers fishing, camping (no hookups), and a peaceful natural setting for those wanting to relax in the outdoors. Anglers have long recognized the lake for quality-sized largemouth bass but recent surveys show a trend towards more but smaller bass. Electrofishing surveys from 2017-2022 showed a significant increase in catch rates for bass, much of that due to bass from 6-12 inches and an increase in the amount of aquatic vegetation. Average size for bass in our surveys was in the 15-16” range but a few fish over 20 inches were observed as well. White crappie numbers and sizes in our 2021 trap net surveys show five percent of crappie reach 10” or larger. Characteristically, crappie are located close to shore following a period of stable weather in the spring, then concentrated near submerged brush and in culverts as the seasons progress. Crappie also tend to suspend over deeper channels and feed on juvenile shad during the summer, so drifting or trolling those areas often yield success. Channel catfish are not effectively collected in our electrofishing surveys, but they are stocked every two years and anglers report good catch rates for fish from 14-22 inches, plus the occasional "big fish". Natural baits (worms, liver, dead shad) and stinkbaits are the most popular choices for catfishing. In recent years, aquatic vegetation has re-established in the shallows, providing enhanced spawning and rearing habitat for bass as well as panfish species. Curly-leaf pondweed was especially abundant in the spring of 2019 and it made angling challenging for many anglers. Curly-leaf is a non-native species which forms dense mats in the shallows during spring, but thankfully it retreats to dormancy by mid-summer, leaving typical structure (brush piles and shoreline vegetation) to concentrate sportfish. Springtime anglers should focus on shoreline structure as well as well as the edges of the curly-leaf mats (both deep and near-shore edges).

Driving Directions

Four miles west of Princeton on Highway 136. North of Highway 136 on Fathom Street.

Map Image
Lake Paho in north Missouri

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