My First AEP Adventure

A little introduction:

One of AEP’s best-known reclamation projects, ReCreation Land is a 34,500-acre area in Southeast Ohio that offers a wide assortment recreational activities to the public, including camping, fishing, hunting, bike trails, and horseback riding. AEP reclaimed this land, once strip-mined for its rich coal deposits, and turned it into a vibrant recreation area.

— Quote from

Late in the 2011 fishing season, I was talking to my uncle about the places he used to fish with his buddies when he was younger and before he had his bass boat. One of those places was AEP’s ReCreation Land (formerly called Ohio Power). He was saying that he and his buddies would fish out of a canoe, go to the other end of the ponds, and portage over to the next pond. There are so many ponds in the ReCreation Land that make this possible.

This got me exciting about this place and I started doing some research on it. I ended up contacting Dave Dingy from AEP for more information about the best fishing spots in the area and that would be most accessible from the roads. So he shipped me this:

AEP ReCreation Land paper map
AEP ReCreation Land paper map. My 85 lb. weimaraner is there for size comparison :-)

He shipped me this huge paper map and circled a few of the most accessible places. I was very surprised to have received this and I am very thankful for his generosity. This map was very detailed with the ponds and I have spent some time comparing to Google Maps and updating it with road names. I have also created a custom map for AEP on Google Maps.

On December 21, 2011, I finally made the trip down to AEP and explored a lot of the areas the best I could. I went to Walmart the night before to buy a few things in preparation. I’m glad I did, because being late December in Ohio, it was a very cold day and one of the things I bought was a Stanley Thermos. My hot tea stayed piping hot all day.

I had quite the adventure that day and I was lucky the ponds were not frozen over yet. I did a lot of walking and also a lot of driving around. This place is definitely large enough to take at least a week to discover all the ponds. However, I only caught one bass that day. It’s funny, because even 3 years later I remember the exact spot I caught it. It is shown below in the map.

Catch Data

Date Wednesday, December 21, 2011
Species Smallmouth Bass
Lure Unknown
Air Temperature Cold
Water Clarity Clear
Location: Ohio Power Company pond mb-165