Composed of seven small natural lakes stretching over 739 acres in both Whitley and Kosciusko counties, the Barbee Chain of Lakes provides an abundance of natural resources for visitors and residents alike.Located just west of SR 13 and south of the town of North Webster, the Barbee Chain of Lakes are divided into two sections—the Upper Barbee Lakes and Lower Barbee Lakes. The Upper Barbee Lakes include Banning, Irish, Sawmill, Sechrist and Little Barbee lakes. The Lower Barbee Lakes include the Big Barbee and Kuhn lakes. The lakes are interconnected by Grassy Creek and were formed by the most a glacial retreat during the Pleistocene era, resulting in both Whitley and Kosciusko having a nearly level topography.
The Upper Barbee’s Banning Lake is the smallest of the lakes, with only five acres of water. Irish Lake has 143 acres of fishing and boating area with a sand and marl bottom and an average depth of 30 feet. Sawmill Lake’s 27 acres has an average depth of 35 feet and has a muck bottom. Visitors to Sechrist Lake can take advantage of the deepest in the Barbee chain, which has a maximum depth of 70 feet with an average of 35 feet depth along its sand bottom. Finally, the Little Barbee Lake, located between Big Barbee and Irish Lakes covers 69 acres and averages a depth of 15 feet with a mud bottom. The Upper Barbee Lake’s offer a prime fishing spot for a variety of fish, including largemouth bass, bluegill, perch, pike and sunfish, just to name a few.
The Lower Barbee’s two lakes offer additional water resources for leisure and play. The Big Barbee Lake is the largest of the lakes, covering 278 acres with a marl bottom and an average depth of 20 feet. Kuhn Lake lies just east of Big Barbee and covers 118 acres with an average depth of 12 feet. Both Big Barbee and Kuhn Lake are renowned for their bluegill, perch, black crappie, redear, largemouth bass and catfish populations.
The speed limit for these lakes is 10 mph, with the exception of the Big Barbee which has an open speed limit. A public boat ramp is located on the north side of Kuhn Lake and is accessible from SR 13. To access Tippecanoe Lake, boaters must pass through a tunnel and through a set of locks. Any boat under 16’ in length can use the manual locks, but pontoons and larger boats can’t reach the locks because of the tunnel under the road.
Click here for a complete Guide to Kosciusko County Lakes.