The Division of Wildlife maintains the parking lots, picnic areas, boat ramps, docks and rental boat slips. The reservoir has a 10 horse power limit on outboard motors. However, larger outboard motors may be operated at no wake or idle-speed only.
Knox Lake is historically one of the best largemouth bass fisheries in the state and is heavily targeted for large trophy flathead catfish. Other fishing opportunities include black and white crappie, bluegill, channel catfish, and yellow perch.
Check for water quality advisories: http://publicapps.odh.ohio.gov/beachguardpublic/
Knox Lake is located about 1½ miles northeast of Fredericktown and can be accessed via State Route 95. The marina and main boat ramp are located on the lower section of the reservoir along Armentrout Road. Other boat ramps are located off County Road 5 in the upper section of the reservoir.
Knox Lake was built by the ODNR Division of Wildlife in 1954. The reservoir, created by damming the Kokosing River, was built primarily for recreation. After nearly 60 years of service, the Knox Lake dam required repair to meet safety standards. In June 2020, Division of Wildlife invested $4.6 million to renovate the dam, spillway, and main boat access using the Wildlife Boater Angler Fund (funds generated from a portion of the motorboat fuel tax). Construction was completed in one year and included new gates to control lake levels, riprap to prevent erosion, re-grading the downstream side and adding stairs, placing an additional toe drain, and adding a pedestrian bridge. Public safety was the primary goal for this project, but it will also help secure a great fishing destination for decades to come.
The bass population is regularly assessed through electrofishing surveys which provide estimates of the numbers and sizes of bass in the lake. Compared to other tributary reservoirs similar in size, Knox Lake has the best average size of bass, with 51% of those collected over 15 inches. Knox Lake also ranks 5th among all Ohio reservoirs for abundance of fish over 15 inches.
Knox Lake was among the first Ohio lakes to have experimental minimum length limits aimed at enhancing largemouth bass fishing, with this progression of changes:
- 1987 – 16” (8 fish daily limit)
- 1991 – 18” (8 fish daily limit)
- 2000 – 18” (5 fish daily limit)
Surveys indicate these regulations have not only been effective but are widely supported by anglers. The abundance of bass greater than 18 inches steadily increased through time with these changes.
The reservoir is 469 acres in size and has 11.4 miles of shoreline. Maximum depth is over 24 feet near the dam, although much of the water is 12 feet or less. Bottom composition is made up of rock and gravel in the lower section and mud and silt in the upper section. The upper section of the reservoir was purposely left full of standing timber to provide natural cover to enhance fishing. In the lower basin trees have been felled along the shoreline to provide additional cover.