I've submitted a series of reports on Paddling.net as I bite off sections of the Maumee River. This is the most recent installment of those reports. As my home river, I've wanted to paddle the length of the Maumee from its source near Fort Wayne Indiana to Lake Erie. The depth of the Maumee and its ability to be paddled is directly related to rain run-off or snow run-off. This section of the river is paddlable baring ice and some sections are a foot deep during the summer.
I caught this section of the Maumee on a good day. It had rained a couple of days before my trip and the Maumee was running close to 4000 cfs. I've found that anything much below 4000 cfs, the Maumee gets dicey and is difficult to paddle.
I put in at Kingsbury park on the south side of the river. If you are not familiar with the geography of Defiance, it sits at the intersection of the Auglaize and Tiffin Rivers. For Northwest Ohio's paddlers, it is a great place to get your paddling fix, because you have three sections of water that are almost always paddlable. Paddling up river, you'll pass right by Fort Defiance.
It was a partly cloudy day in which I saw the sun, rain and lots of wind. Not having a partner to run a shuttle, I proceeded to paddle about 13 miles up river towards Antwerp, OH.
While lower sections of the Maumee River is big, open and suburban, once you get past downtown Defiance, this section of the Maumee becomes pretty rural and uninhabited. At most, this section of the Maumee is 100-150 yards wide and becomes pretty winding and twisty. Since I caught this section at a good time, I could see where you would have to pick your way through some rocks at lower levels. The banks are all tree lined and at points the banks are pretty high. I had to look to find a place to take a break and rest.
This part of the Maumee could be classified as perfect Northwest Ohio farmland paddling. Since the river is the lowest thing within 100 miles, the water flows pretty quick and I didn't realize how hard I was paddling up river until I would stop to take a photo or listen for a bird call. The trees had just begun to turn and in another week this section of river would explode with color.
It was hard for me to keep to my mission of paddling the Maumee, because I was drooling as I paddled past the intersection of the Auglaize River and the Tiffin Rivers (those reports will have to wait until I paddle those sections.)
For bird watchers I lost count on the numbers and types of birds that crossed my path. Being extremely quiet I was also was able to sneak up on a deer before he bounded off into the forest. The only other encounter was with two older farmer/fishermen that I encountered as I rounded a bend. I think I almost gave one guy a heart attack and the other almost jumped out of his shorts. The guys were very friendly and I joked about dropping my skier. It was neat to see two long-time buddies out enjoying an afternoon of fishing and comraderie.
For the perfect trip, shuttle with someone and the Antwerp to Defiance would be ideal.
I launched at a nice boat launch at Kingsbury Park, but I counted two other launches off of route 424. There is also a great launch at Independence Dam State Park. From the State Park to downtown Defiance, the Maumee is wide, straight and pretty much un-inspired paddling.
Camping can located at Independence Dam State Park near Defiance. There are also numerous locations along the river that are campable. Before camping, please check to see if you are trespassing. Like some rivers I've paddled, I don't remember seeing any "No Trespassing" signs, but you will still need to check to see if you are on someones property.
Ohio boaters need their permits, there is a fee for camping at Independence Dam State Park.
From the East, Defiance can be accessed off of Route 24. Route 24 can be accessed off of I-75 at Maumee, OH. From the West Defiance can be reached from Fort Wayne on Route 24.
Canoeing and Kayaking Ohio's Streams: An Access Guide for Paddlers and Anglers. by Rick Combs, Steve Gillen, Richard Combs