Lake Paho Conservation Area

Driving Directions

From Princeton, take Highway 136 west 4 miles, then right on Fathom Street to the area.


This area contains old fields, forest, cropland, prairie, and grassland. Facilities/features: boat ramps, boat dock, improved camping, picnic areas, fishing jetty and numerous fishable ponds.

About This Area

Lake Paho Conservation Area is in central Mercer County.

The Conservation Department, assisted by a financial commitment from residents of Mercer and surrounding counties, built Lake Paho in the late 1940s. The lake was opened to public fishing in 1951.

The area is rich in Native American history, and the 273-acre lake on the area was named "Paho" from the Indian word meaning "first" or "number one".

Visitors to the area may enjoy the numerous prairie plants, such as Indian grass, compass plant, and wild indigo that occur naturally in the gently rolling uplands.

General Information




Owned by MDC

  • Users are responsible for providing equipment needed to comply with Missouri State Boating Laws.

(Activity Explanations)
(Population Definition)
Bird Watching  Migratory waterfowl and Eagles present during fall and spring migrations.  Get the Audubon Society of Missouri Conservation Area Bird List.  
Camping - Individual Campsites  There are 3 camping areas with 40 individual sites. No amenities provided.  
Fishing - Bass Good population. Lake and area ponds, harvest restricted to two bass >18".  
Fishing - Catfish Good population. Lake and area ponds  
Fishing - Crappie Fair population. In the lake there are many crappie but sizes are smaller.  
Fishing - Other Fair population. A few larger walleye persist from past stocking  
Fishing - Sunfish Fair population. Bluegill in lake and area ponds.  
Hiking  No designated trails.  
Hunting-Deer Good population. Deer regulations are subject to annual changes. Please refer to the Fall Deer and Turkey Booklet for current regulations.  
Hunting-Dove Good population. Click on link to dove management map (available in August).  
Hunting-Pheasant Fair population.  
Hunting-Quail Fair population.  
Hunting-Rabbit Good population.  
Hunting-Squirrel Good population.  
Hunting-Turkey Fair population. Turkey regulations are subject to annual changes. Please refer to the Spring Turkey or Fall Deer and Turkey Booklet for current regulations.  
Trapping with Special Use Permit   

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Conservation Department Facilities
Facility Item Name Count Comments
Boat Ramp - Lake - Concrete   Lake Paho  
Camping Area - Individual Campsites   40 individual sites divided in 3 separate campgrounds. Campgrounds are on the east and north sides of the lake. No amenities provided.  
Dock - Boat/Courtesy    
Fishing Jetty/Platformaccessible  Accessible from a gravel access road just east of the main entrance on Hwy 136. 
Parking Lotaccessible 16  Disabled parking lot is associated with the jetty on the east side of the lake dam. 1-Gravel Parking Lot with a concrete pad.  
Picnic Table  38  Tables are scattered in the three campgrounds and associated picnic areas. 
Privy/Restroomaccessible  Disabled privy is at the jetty parking lot on the east side of the lake dam. Others are in the three campgrounds and just south of the headquarters.  
Staffed Office    

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Feature Item Name Count Size Comments
Fishing Lake or Pond  14 7.40 acres Some of the small ponds on the area support fishing for bass, bluegill, and channel catfish. See area map for locations.  
Fishing Lake or Pond Lake Paho 273.00 acres 

New brush piles placed in several locations around the lake in December 2014. GPS coordinates for these new brush piles may be obtained from the MDC website.


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Land Cover Types
Land Type Acres Comments
Forest and Woodland 480.00  
Crop Land 230.00  
Grassland (non-prairie) 595.00  
Lakes/Ponds 280.00  
Old Field 765.12  
Total Area Acres:2350.12 

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Designated Trails
Trail Name Trail Type Length
No Designated Trails

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Shooting Range General Information

This area has no shooting ranges.

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