Families are invited to a day of free, water-focused fun at Madison Lake State Park. The 3rd annual Family Fun Day will take place from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Aug. 3.
Activities include fishing, archery and canoeing on the 106-acre lake. Ohio Department of Natural Resources Wildlife Officer Matt Teders said a designated area of the lake will be netted off for the event, so “good fishing” is expected.
Anglers age 16 and older need a valid Ohio fishing license, and all state regulations and fishing limits apply. A limited number of loaner poles and bait will be available.
“The division of wildlife is bringing in an enclosed archery range to help kids learn archery,” Teders said, “and our division of watercraft is bringing in canoes. If you’ve never been in a canoe, they will be able to help you.”
Madison County Sheriff’s Deputy and D.A.R.E. Officer Roberta Braithwaite added, “Our deputies will be hanging out with the kids and serving lunch to everyone, which is also free.”
Braithwaite said it is important for families to have fun, inexpensive activities to do together and that is the goal of the event.
“We have a state park in our community and we need to take advantage of it,” she said. “It’s nice to see kids outside and having fun with sports other than football, basketball or playing Xbox.”
The first Family Fun Day, which drew 200 children, was held three years ago following a discussion Teders had with a member of the Sheriff’s Office.
“A deputy and I sat down one day and said it would be nice if we could get more kids fishing in the county,” Teders said. “We partnered up and got the Ohio Department of Natural Resources and Madison County D.A.R.E. together to sponsor the event.
“It’s a great opportunity for families to spend the day fishing and learning about boating and archery. There is no set schedule for the events, so you can go back and forth between activities.”
The Ohio Department of Natural Resources operates parking lots, a boat ramp and dock, picnic areas, shelter houses, hiking trails, volleyball and basketball courts, horseshoe pits, a playground and a small swimming beach at Madison Lake.
For licensed anglers, the lake features populations of largemouth bass, bluegill, crappie (primarily white), channel catfish, bullheads and carp. The Division of Wildlife supplements the channel catfish population by stocking yearlings every other year. Gizzard shad is the main forage species.
In 1946, a small tract of land was deeded to the state in order to develop a lake in the area. Under the supervision of the old Division of Conservation, a dam was constructed across Deer Creek. The lake was filled by 1947 and in 1950, it was turned over to the newly created ODNR Division of Parks and Recreation.
Madison Lake is a shallow lake with a maximum depth of just under six feet. Large mats of lily pads typically form during the summer in the northern half of the lake.
Woodchucks (groundhog), red fox, ring-necked pheasant, 13-lined ground squirrel and numerous songbirds call the area home and kestrels, horned larks, bobolinks and meadowlarks can be spotted in the park. The lake supports populations of migrating waterfowl and shorebirds.
Madison Lake State Park is located three miles east of London, with access from Cheseldine Road and Park Drive East. For more information about the Family Fun Day, call Braithwaite at (740) 845-1808.