I am going to be camping at Lake Monroe this weekend (labor day 2008) and am wanting to take my 3 children geode hunting. We will be with another couple who have 2 children. I am seeking information about where we can find some nice geodes in the area either on private property (with permission of course) or public. We are trying to stay away from road cuts as two of the children are only 5 years old. Does anyone know somewhere that is safe and productive near Lake Monroe? We will be camping there from Friday night through Monday.
We are respectful of people and their property.
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Considering your situation, I recommend that you take your crew to Lake Monroe to collect along its rocky shoreline. The best access point is at the spillway, just below the dam. Simply walk across the flat grassy area to the shoreline and hike in either direction. You should be able to find geodes and geode fragments - at least enough to satisfy your kids. Also, if you get hot, this is a good place to take a swim, although be sure to wear sandals or old shoes into the water because of sharp rocks and some glass. I have been warned to stay off the cliffs on either side of the spillway.
Also, according to the Indiana Geological Survey, there are many locations in Monroe County where geodes may be found without having to extract them from the hard limestone walls. Geodes may be collected along the shores of Monroe Lake, especially in the area near the dam's spillway. Geodes may also be found in and along streams that empty into that lake, including Stephens Creek (six miles east of Bloomington) and Ramp Creek (east of Smithville). Other streams where geodes may be found in Monroe County include Clear Creek (three to five miles south of Bloomington), and Jackson Creek (two miles southeast of Bloomington to four miles south of Bloomington). Geodes are commonly found in ravines about the town of Bedford. Small geodes are reportedly abundant at the western end of the railroad tunnel west of Unionville. Geodes may also be found in Brown County along the banks of Bear Creek in the northwestern part of the county. Access to the stream is available along Bear Creek Road north of the town of Trevlac. In Lawrence County, geodes can be found along the banks and in Little Salt Creek, which runs through the northern part of the county. Guthrie Creek and Back Creek, south of Leesville in eastern Lawrence County, are also good places to hunt geodes.
You'll need a 3-pound crack hammer at a minimum to bust open the geodes. I use a 6-pound sledge hammer with the handle sawed off to 18-inches as my "crack" hammer. Using a flat chisel to score the perimeter of a geode before the final blow will help to ensure that they split in half, instead of many pieces, but this is a tedious process. Make sure to use tools that are designed for busting rock - using a regular hammer is dangerous because it can shatter, thus shooting out steel fragments into the air like bullets. ALWAYS wear safety glasses when busting rocks - you WILL injure or destroy an eye sooner or later without them.
You should find plenty of specimens with the above directions, so good luck, stay safe and have fun.
Thank you Mr. Streeter and Mr. Harrington. I will let you all know what we find. I found that this board offers a ton of informaiton as I started to follow the threads. Thanks again for the quick responses and have a great holiday.
I have a 7 year old who is obsessed with hunting for geodes! We actually found one in our own backyard in Evansville. I read the description about hunting Lake Monroe, and it sounds doable for our family of 7, but the website collecting is prohibited. Is there a way to let him find even just one geode without jumping through a million hoops???
Hello. My son and I are looking for a place to dig up a few geodes this Spring Break. Can anyone in the area help me out? Looking for permission on private property or a place open to the public. Any information would be great. Thanks everyone.
Where are you located, how far are you willing to drive, and how old is your son? After giving this bit of info, I will feel a bit more comfortable in giving you some Indiana suggestions.
Having said that here are a few generalities. Spring break time of the year is when Lake Monroe, other lakes, and most streams have high water levels so collecting opportunities might be significantly affected. Watch the rainfall amounts between now and the break and you will have a good idea of the water levels; they are hi right now. Collecting at road cuts might be okay, but if your son is less than a teenager, that will become problematic as well; the police get quite antsy seeing younger kids wandering around after their attention span runs out. As to private lands, I have my favorites, but am reluctant to share them as it sometimes takes awhile to get comfortable with the landowners. So Indiana, in reality, might be quite limited as to collecting sites at that time of year. Anyway give a bit of info and maybe I can help you. BOB
This is a further response to DAN and any others wanting to come down here in the near future. This is specifically regarding Monroe Reservoir (Lake Monroe).
As mentioned elsewhere, this lake is actually a reservoir built in 1964 for flood control and the water source for Bloomington Indiana and other nearby towns. The normal lake level is 538'. That is 538 feet above sea level; today's current level is 542.23, or 4+ feet above normal. The levels (believe it or not!) are updated every 5 minutes of every day and can be found by going to: water.weather.gov and clicking onto the proper icon for this Indiana lake. So today the water level is 4+ feet above normal level. The dam is only partially open releasing water, but it can't be wide open as there are hi water levels down stream so water is being held back in the lake to prevent down stream flooding. The hi lake level means that the lake water goes into the lakeshore woods. There are no beaches to hike on and no rocks can be seen or collected in those areas open to collecting. I have found that the lake level should be about 539' or less to make hiking and collecting pleasant. When the lake is below normal, usually in late summer after a long dry spell, that is really when collecting is best. Remember that collecting, with hand tools only, is only permitted on some forest service lands. Never in the Indiana State Parks lands so you must know where you are. BOB
Thank you for the information everyone. My son is 11 and we are willing to drive a bit. Good to know about lake levels. We may be going elsewhere as it seems like things may be a little to unpredictable. We love to hunt so maybe Indiana will have to wait for another time. Thanks again
Lake Monroe level today, February 12, 2017 @ 5:25 pm is 538.55'. This is down about 4 feet from my last posting. It will be muddy in spots, but you can hike on the shoreline now. Go to water.weather.gov for up to date water levels on this lake. A dry spell is now in progress. BOB
hi i have a 10 year old son with high functioning autism who wants to be a geoligist when he grows up. all he wants to do is find geodes. we live south of indianapolis and willing to drive a little. we just need to find a place where he would be "successful". any suggestions?
WELCOME KELLY V !
The places to find geodes in South central Indiana include road cuts, lake shores and stream beds. With your son, I believe road cuts are out, besides, the most reliably productive one on Indiana rte 37 South of Bloomington has had all the rock rubble cleaned up just several weeks ago and will be worthless without a lot of back breaking work. Lake shores are your best bets after dry spells. Today the level of Lake Monroe is within a foot of normal so you might try that one, but know exactly where you are as there is no collecting in the areas of Indiana state parks and areas controlled by the Indiana DNR. Stream beds in this portion of Indiana are dependent on rainfall so only go after dry spells. Be wary of poison ivy, ticks, mosquitos, and PRIVATE PROPERTY boundaries. Practically speaking, for the casual collector family with a youngster, today there are only limited opportunities. Sorry not to be more helpful. BOB