Delaware Lake, Ohio, USA

Lake Locations:

USA - Midwest - Ohio - Central -

Also known as:  Lake Delaware

Delaware Lake is a central Ohio reservoir designed and constructed by the Huntington District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The Corps’ Ohio River Basin plan was sanctioned by the Flood Control Act of 1938. Construction of Delaware Dam was completed in 1948, and the lake filled to capacity in 1951. Located north of the capital city of Columbus, the lake was designed for flood control, increased water supply, recreation, and fish and wildlife management. Today, Delaware Lake and Delaware Lake State Park are major recreation destinations, offering boating, fishing, swimming, camping, hiking, and hunting.

Delaware Lake spans 963 acres with two main sources of water: the Olentangy River and Whetstone Creek. The reservoir is part of a system of dams that reduces flooding in the Olentangy, Scioto, and Ohio River Basins. Delaware Dam is situated north of the town of Delaware, Ohio. The Corps of Engineers maintains Delaware Lake at summer pool level from April through September, then begins lowering water levels in October. Winter pool levels are maintained from October through March to provide floodwater storage for winter snow melt and spring rains.

Delaware Lake is one of the best lakes in Ohio for fishing. Anglers on the hunt for white and black crappies have an abundant amount of good sized fish ready for the catching. The lake is also a hotspot for largemouth bass tournament fishing and continually voted one of the top-10 in the state for bass tournament results. When it comes to fishing for saugeyes, the tailwater area in late fall and early spring is ideal. However, Whetstone Creek is better for catching white bass, especially during the month of May. Take note that a valid Ohio fishing license is required.

The Ohio Division of Parks and Recreation operates an assortment of amenities at Delaware Lake, including parking lots, boat ramps, docks, campgrounds, swimming beach, picnic areas, and hiking trails. The Division of Wildlife also operates and maintains a shooting range and public hunting areas primarily on the east side of the lake.

Sightseers have the world at their fingertips, since there is an abundance of open fields and airy woodlands. Delaware Lake, in conjunction with Delaware State Park, offers vacationers many activities. The sightseeing is spectacular, and the biking opportunities and boating options are endless. The state park also operates camping areas with an electric hookup available at some sites. The nature programs, hiking trails, and a full service marina are also a plus. In addition, patrons can enjoy everything from game hunting and lake swimming to picnicking and bird watching. Autumn brings brilliant fall foliage displays in mid-October, and winter provides ample opportunity for cross-country skiing and sled riding.

Delaware State Park offers attractive, clean public facilities on the north side of Delaware, Ohio. This landscape boasts not only wide open fields, but interesting forest land great for nature lovers. It provides local residents and visitors alike with outstanding recreational opportunities. The State Park is a perfect area for all to enjoy from kids to adults. The Delaware Lake Dam picnic shelter is located within the day-use area with restrooms and playground.

Just south of the State Park, the Dam offers a wonderfully panoramic view of the lake and surrounding area. An ideal location for a group picnic, the park has a large parking area for those enjoying the grounds. A large group shelter, playground, and restrooms are available. Patrons can reserve the shelter by calling the USACE office. If not, this picnic section is operated on a first-come, first-serve basis.

Visitors can also paddle the Olentangy River below the dam, which carries to the capital city of Columbus and merges with the Scioto River. For those who would like to stick to dry land, bicycling is permitted on the state and local roads. The popular choice of cyclists is usually the easy park roads. Also, public hunting and trapping are allowed on all areas of Delaware Lake except recreational ones and areas specifically posted. And of course, Ohio hunting licenses are required.

The Delaware Lake area is a hiker’s delight with foot trails in both the park and dam areas. Note, hiking the dam area is not for the slight of heart, since walking up and across the dam’s levy is quite a workout. As a whole, the State Park is a rich spot for viewing the area’s flora and fauna. Visitors enjoy the melodies of songbirds and the beautiful displays of native wildflowers.

Although created by the Corps of Engineers, Delaware Lake is now a wonder of nature. The Dam and State Park are sources of great reward for not only its water control purposes, but for visitors and sports lovers, too.

Things to do at Delaware Lake

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Fishing Tournaments
  • Boating
  • Swimming
  • Beach
  • Camping
  • Campground
  • Picnicking
  • Hiking
  • Biking
  • Cross-Country Skiing
  • Hunting
  • Wildlife Viewing
  • Birding
  • State Park
  • Playground

Fish species found at Delaware Lake

  • Bass
  • Black Bass
  • Crappie
  • Largemouth Bass
  • White Bass

Delaware Lake Photo Gallery

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Delaware Lake Statistics & Helpful Links

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Lake Type: Artificial Reservoir, Dammed

Water Level Control: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

Surface Area: 963 acres

Shoreline Length: 35 miles

Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 915 feet

Average Depth: 15 feet

Maximum Depth: 29 feet

Water Volume: 14,000 acre-feet

Completion Year: 1951

Drainage Area: 386 sq. miles

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Trophic State | LakeLubbers

Trophic State measures the level of algae and nutrients in a lake.

An oligotrophic lake is very clear (blue in color) and does not support much plant or fish life. A hyper-oligotrophic lake is the clearest of all lakes, and is nearly devoid of plants and fish.

A mesotrophic lake is slightly green and supports a moderate degree of plant and fish life. A lake's most desired trophic state is generally this mid-point - the mesotrophic state.

A eutrophic lake is somewhat murky and supports a large amount of plant and fish life. A hypereutrophic lake is clouded with algae, plant life, and fish life. A eutrophic or hyper-eutrophic lake can be difficult to navigate by boat - and is often an unpleasant place to swim.

The use of phosphorus-rich and nitrogen-rich fertilizer on lawns and golf courses surrounding a lake can cause it to become eutrophic or hypereutrophic.


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Catchment or Drainage Area | LakeLubbers

This is the surrounding area that drains into a lake, including land, rivers and their tributaries. This is also known as the lake's "catchment basin".

Small lakes at the highest peaks of mountains have small drainage areas. The world's oceans have the largest drainage areas.


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Lake-Area Population | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated number of people who live in a house with a view of a lake, plus those who self-describe the lake as their home, for example: "I live at Smith Mountain Lake."


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Water Residence Time | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated time that it takes for an amount of water equal to the entire volume of a lake to flow out of - or evaporate from - the lake.

Residence Time can be as short as a few days for fast-flowing small lakes, and can exceed 100 years for slow-flowing large lakes.


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Completion Year | LakeLubbers

This is the year that a reservoir was first filled to the reservoir's normal elevation - or the year that a natural lake was first dammed. A large reservoir can take more than a year to fill after its dam is first closed.

The Grand Anicut in southern India is generally considered the world's oldest dam that still operates. Grand Anicut was constructed in the second century BC. It now impounds an irrigation network that includes roughly one million acres.

You can find many of the the world's newest reservoirs on LakeLubbers. Many of the world's oldest reservoirs appear on the last page of that list.


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Water Volume | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated volume of water that a lake contains -- measured at the lake's normal elevation. By this measure, the world's largest freshwater lake is Siberia's Lake Baikal.

You can find many of the the world's largest lakes (by water volume) on LakeLubbers.

Water Volume can be measured in acre-feet, in cubic miles, or in cubic kilometers. One acre-foot is the amount of water needed to cover one acre (43,560 square feet) to a depth of one foot. One cubic mile equals 3,379,200 acre-feet. One cubic kilometer equals 810,713 acre-feet.

1 acre-foot is equal to 325,851 US gallons. Siberia's Lake Baikal contains about 6,276,367,740,000,000 gallons of freshwater - nearly 1 million gallons for every living person on earth.

The other - and more widely used - measure of a lake's size is the lake's surface acreage. By that measure, the world's largest freshwater lake is North America's Lake Superior.


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Maximum Depth | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated greatest depth of the water in a lake -- measured at the lake's normal elevation. The world's deepest lake is Siberia's Lake Baikal; that lake's maximum depth is estimated at 5,314 feet.

You can find many of the the world's deepest lakes on LakeLubbers. If you select the last page of that list, you will find the (maximum depth of) the shallowest lakes in our database.


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Average Depth | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated average depth of the water in a lake -- measured at the lake's normal elevation. If the water volume and surface area of a lake are known, an estimate of the lake's average depth can be calculated:

Water volume ÷ Surface Area = Average Depth

Example: 1,000,000 acre-feet ÷ 20,000 acres = 50 feet average depth


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Maximum Elevation | LakeLubbers

This is a lake's highest water level, measured by the lake's surface distance above sea level, that can occur during flooding. A lake's highest possible maximum elevation is usually the top of the lake's dam or spillway.

At lakes that include residential development, government regulations usually forbid the construction of homes below a lake's maximum elevation.


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Minimum Elevation | LakeLubbers

This is a lake's lowest water level, measured by the lake's surface distance above sea level, that can be reasonably expected to occur. Low lake levels can occur due to deliberate seasonal draw downs for irrigation or impending snow melt, reduced water inflows, drought and evaporation, residential or commercial water demands, and hydropower generation.

Some lakes' minimum and maximum elevations are virtually the same. Lakes that generate hydropower may vary by several feet - according to power demand. Lakes whose primary purpose is to prevent flooding can seasonally vary by 100 feet or more.

When some lakes reach their minimum elevation, their boat ramps may not be long enough to permit boat access - and boats docked on shallow parts of the lake may end up on dry ground. In those cases, kayakers and shore-based anglers may be among the few happy recreational users of the lake.


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Normal Elevation | LakeLubbers

This is a lake's normal water level, measured by the lake's surface distance above sea level. For a reservoir, this water level is also known as "full pond" or "full pool".

You can find many of the world's highest-elevated lakes on LakeLubbers. Lakes with the lowest elevations (known by LakeLubbers) are shown on the final page of that list.


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Shoreline Length | LakeLubbers

This is the length of the exterior shoreline around a lake - measured at the lake's normal elevation. The shoreline length can be considerably shorter or longer when lake water levels are lower or higher than normal.

A lake with many coves has a much longer shoreline than a lake of similar surface area that is nearly circular in shape.

When known, the shoreline miles that we report in our statistics include only the lake's exterior shoreline, and exclude the shorelines of islands located within a lake's boundaries. In lakes with many islands, those islands' combined shorelines may exceed a lake's exterior shoreline.

You can find many of the world's longest-shoreline lakes on Lakelubbers.


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Surface Area | LakeLubbers

This is the area (acreage, square kilometers, etc.) of the top surface area of a lake - measured at a lake's normal elevation. The surface area can be considerably smaller or larger when lake levels are lower or higher than normal. North America's Lake Superior is the world's largest freshwater lake by this measure.

The other measure of a lake's size is the lake's water volume. By that measure, the world's largest freshwater lake is Lake Baikal in Siberia.

You can find many of the world's largest lakes (acres) on Lakelubbers. There is no widely-accepted minimum surface area that defines a lake. What Lakelubbers describes as a lake, you might call a pond. The smallest lake that Lakelubbers currently includes is Hawaii's 2-acre Lake Waiau.


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Water Level Control | LakeLubbers

This is the organization that controls water releases or outflows from the lake or reservoir. In the USA, this is often the US Army Corps of Engineers, a power company, a municipal water system, an irrigation district, or a paper manufacturing company. In the case of private or gated lakes, a homeowners' association may be the lake's controlling authority.

Many lakes cross borders, including North America's Great Lakes. The control of such lakes and their coveted freshwater may be amicably shared - or hotly disputed.

"Water wars" continue at many lakes as growing populations and crop irrigation needs compete for the freshwater that lakes contain.


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Lake Type | LakeLubbers

There are 3 basic types of lakes that are currently included on LakeLubbers. 2 types may be dammed or not dammed, producing 5 classifications.

- A Reservoir is a man-made freshwater lake that is usually created by damming rivers.

- A Natural Freshwater Lake occurs naturally - often by glacial activity - and has a salinity of less than 30 parts per thousand. It may be dammed to produce electricity or for other reasons.

- A Natural Saltwater Lake occurs naturally and has a salinity of more than 30 parts per thousand (ppt). It may be dammed.

"Brackish" water may be categorized as freshwater or saltwater, depending on its salt content (salinity). Oligohaline water has less than 15 ppt of salt. Mesohaline water has 15-29 ppt. Polyhaline has 30-335 ppt.


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