Located in Defiance County, Ohio, Oxbow Lake offers excellent opportunities for the warm water fly fisherman seeking panfish and bass.
In Defiance County, Ohio, Oxbow Lake offers excellent opportunities for fly fisherman. The lake is stocked with Largemouth Bass, Bluegill, Hybrid Sunfish, Crappie, Yellow Perch, Channel Catfish, and Yellow Bullhead. Although it’s a relatively small 36-acre lake, it has a mile and a half of shoreline and a boat launch.
The bottom of Oxbow Lake is comprised of a mixture of rocks and mud with lots of cover such as submerged trees and vegetation. The lake is somewhat shallow with an average depth of five feet, but some places have a depth of 10 feet. The northeastern edge of the lake, down to the southern edge of the lake is where you can find the deeper parts. There are also a few holes in the middle of the lake that are around 10 feet deep.
Oxbow Lake has a daily bag limit of five Largemouth Bass. They must be at least 18 inches to possess. You can easily find bass along the shorelines in any part of the lake, but the best spots are where there is some form of cover for the fish. Many local fly fishermen use topwater bass bugs and streamers to catch bass cruising the shorelines. Most of them average in the seven- to 13-inch range, but there are some that grow much larger.
Oxbow Lake is a local hotspot for catching panfish. Sunfish, Perch, and Crappies are protected by a daily bag limit of 10 fish with no size regulation. Most sunfish are caught by using Panfish Charlies, small nymphs, foam panfish bugs, and panfish poppers. Sunfish are found by all the shorelines and around various forms of cover. Fly fishing around the boat launch is a sure bet to land some sunfish. Most of the sunfish average anywhere from small four- to five-inch fish, to over eight inches. Many anglers catch a few Fish Ohio worthy fish.
Crappie can be caught on small streamers. Try casting around submerged timber along the bank. If you have a boat and can access the high-bank sides, try fishing the deeper water around there. Crappie tends to be on the smaller side, averaging six to nine inches. There is not a huge population in the lake, but they are in there.
Yellow Perch still make an occasional appearance at Oxbow Lake as well. Try casting a small streamer on the high-banked, eastern side of the lake into the deeper waters. They average around six to eight inches.
Catfish and Bullheads
Channel cats and bullheads usually aren’t typically fly rod quarry, but they can be easily caught at Oxbow Lake. Try using a black or purple woolly bugger twitched near the bottom in the deeper sections of the lake during the day. In the evening, they come into shallower waters to feed. For evening fly fishing, try using the above-named fly and cast near cover beside the shorelines. There are no site-specific regulations for cats in Oxbow Lake, but you still have to follow the general statewide limits. You can possess six Channel Catfish under 28 inches, and one Channel Catfish over 28 inches. There is no limit on Yellow Bullhead.
Grab a fly rod and come on down to Oxbow Lake and enjoy another one of Ohio’s great fisheries. Please be sure to pick up after yourself and help keep our waterways clean.
Keep in mind that regulations can and do change, so if you’re not familiar with the current regulations, visit the website of the ODNR to stay up to date on the laws before you fish.