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Knox Lake Wildlife Area


This 756-acre wildlife area is in central Ohio, located about 1½ miles northeast of Fredericktown. The topography is flat to slightly rolling. Most of the area is comprised of water area. A variety of beech, maple, oak, walnut, hickory, and various other hardwoods comprise the forest along the lake. 
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.


Fishing -- Fishing opportunities include largemouth bass, flathead catfish, black and white crappie, bluegill, channel catfish, and yellow perch. A no-wake, idle-speed boat operation is in place lake wide to accommodate more boaters and anglers. For more information about the fishery at Knox Lake, visit the Knox Lake Fishing Area page

Birding – Knox Lake is a great place to spot migrating waterfowl in during the spring and fall migrations. Ospreys, bald eagles, and several species of hawks can also be seen.  

Hunting – Hunters can pursue waterfowl at Knox Lake Wildlife Area. The northern part of the lake is popular for waterfowl hunting and has a strong population of Canada geese. Wood ducks also frequent the area. Aquatic vegetation allows for cover. Knox Lake falls within the North Zone for waterfowl hunting. Be sure to familiarize yourself with the regulations for the North Zone for this area. 
Small game, turkey, and deer can be pursued in the forested areas along the lakeshore.

History & Purpose

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.


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