Maumee River Mouth

Maumee River Mouth

Toledo, Ohio 43605

Also, see all the hotspots at:
Maumee River-Lower Important Bird Area

About this Location

The Maumee River begins its 137-mile northeastward journey in Fort Wayne, Indiana, at the confluence of Saint Joseph and Saint Marys rivers, and empties into Maumee Bay (Lake Erie) in Toledo. Covering over 6,500 square miles (4.2 million acres), its watershed is the largest drainage basin in the Great Lakes Watershed.

More than 3,900 miles of rivers and streams flow into the Maumee, including the Auglaize, Blanchard (via the Auglaize), and Tiffin rivers. The upper 43 miles of the Maumee River in Ohio is designated as a State Scenic River.

Historically, the Maumee River was also known as the Miami River and called “Miami of the Lake,” not to be confused with the Miami River in southern Ohio, which was known as “Miami of the Ohio.” The word ‘Maumee’ is an anglicized spelling of the Ottawa name for the Miami Indians, ‘maamii.’

The Maumee River provided a strategic backdrop during the Northwest Indian War in the decisive Battle of Fallen Timbers in 1794. Many forts, including Defiance, Loramie, and Recovery were established to protect trade routes along the river.

The now abandoned Miami and Erie Canal once paralleled the Maumee River between Toledo and Defiance. The canal was completed in 1845 and provided a direct connection for freight traffic between Lake Erie and the Ohio River in Cincinnati. Growing railroad networks in Ohio gradually rendered the canal systems obsolete.

In 1913 the Miami and Erie, as well as the Ohio and Erie Canal in eastern Ohio, was destroyed due to catastrophic flooding. Many remnant segments of the canal exist today and many are located on public lands for recreational use. Stretches of the canal’s towpath have been converted into hiking trails.

The Maumee River is used as a major transportation corridor for commercial freight entering and leaving the Port of Toledo. Due to concerns that too many industrial and wastewater contaminants had been discharged into the lower portion of the river, the Maumee was federally designated an Area of Concern in 1985 (along with the Ashtabula, Black, and Cuyahoga rivers), prompting the foundation of the Maumee River Remedial Action Plan (RAP). The RAP uses community-based, collaborative, ecosystem-based approaches to clean up and restore the polluted portions of the river. As a result of the RAP’s efforts, water quality in the lower Maumee is improving.

In the upper reaches, upstream of the city of Maumee, the river is shallower and used primarily for recreational purposes. The Maumee is a popular spot to fish for flathead catfish, walleye, smallmouth bass, and white bass. Each spring, thousands of walleye run up the Maumee to spawn, attracting anglers from across the nation.


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