Oxbow Lake Homeowners Association

Spring and summer is the time of year to enjoy our pontoons, ski boats, wake boats, fishing boats, sail boats, etc.  A few basics: follow a counterclockwise course around the lake; keep at least 100 feet from the shoreline or any anchored object (no wake if within these limits); keep at least 200 feet from a vessel displaying a "diver down" flag (red back ground with white diagonal stripe);  you must give way to any vessel not under command, sail boats, boats involved in fishing, or any boat which is hampered in its maneuverability; a vessel overtaking another vessel or a vessel to the port side of another vessel must give way.  It is always your responsibility to avoid a collision even if you have the right of way.  Although there are no specific distances for vessels under way, you should avoid coming close enough to a vessel where your wake will significantly disturb that vessel--this is not a specific number of feet, but more common sense.  Your vessel must be registered with clearly visible registration numbers on both sides of the boat with a current validation decal displayed and the registration available on board the vessel (except for row boats and non-powered canoes under 16 feet).  You need an appropriate personal flotation device (PFD) for each passenger and every child under 6 must be wearing an approved floatation device.  In addition, you need a throwable flotation device.  You must also have a fire extinguisher appropriate for your vessel.  Finally, you must have navigation lights appropriate to your boat and use them between sunset and sunrise.  Even non-powered vessels require an all around white light. Those born before July1, 1996 may operate a vessel without restrictions, those born after this date require a boating safety certificate.  See the Michigan Boating Handbook for further information. Michigan Boater's Handbook

The vacant land on M59 across from Oxbowindo is listed on Zillow here.   The OHLA board has inquired about grants, etc. to purchase the land to avoid the lot becoming a public access site.


According to Michigan law, you must have a Boater's Safety Certificate to operate a PWC if you were born after 1978.  You cannot operate a PWC if you are under age 14.  Persons age 14-15 must have a certificate as well as a parent or guardian either on the PWC or within 100 feet of the PWC.  It is illegal to operate a PWC from the hours of sunset (determined by the National Weather Service) and 8am.  You must wear a PFD at all times on a PWC. PWCs must not cross within 150 feet behind another vessel other than another PWC.  For more information see Michigan Boater's Handbook.

10193 Highland Rd.


Like many other issues facing us, lake wide weed control would require approval of 51% of riparians. Neighbor riparians can group together to treat locally. Companies involved in weed treatment have made presentations to home owners in the past. Most of these contracts are made before the season starts. Watch OHLA meeting minutes for future announcements.


Winter Lake Level

Personal Watercraft (PWC)

Towing Skiers/Tubers/Wakeboarders, Surfers



Once again, we face summer with a flock of swans along with the praise and complaints they create. This year, their numbers appear to be decreased. Most of these swans are non-nesting transients.  All of these swans are invasive (mute) swans.  You can differentiate them from native swans by their orange beaks.  All swans in Michigan are protected (even from harassment).  Egg shaking/replacement is ineffective, because almost all of the swans on the lake come from somewhere else.  The only solution available to us to reduce the swan population is to do a (riparian financed) roundup of the swans after which they would be destroyed and incinerated (the DNR does not allow relocation).  This would require approval by 75% of the riparians on the lake. For more information, see the State's web site here.

Boating Safety

Oxbow Lake is located at Union Lake and Elizabeth Lake Roads (42°38'26"N 83°28'23"W / 42.64056°N 83.47306°W / 42.64056; -83.47306; Elevation: 945 ft./288 m.). The lake is in White Lake Township and is bordered by M-59 (Highland Road) to the North, Teggerdine Road to the West, and Elizabeth Lake Road to the South. 

Oxbow Lake is the third lake in the Huron River chain, which originates just a few miles away in the Huron Swamp at the Indian Springs Metropark.  Tull Lake pumps millions of gallons of water from the Huron River nearly every day, but due to the porous basin of man-made Tull Lake, most of this water seeps back into Oxbow Lake.  Still, the Tull Lake pumps frequently cause the Huron River to flow back upstream, robbing Oxbow Lake of the natural water flow any natural lake needs to thrive.  The Huron River between Tull and Oxbow Lakes is dangerously threatened by siltification, which would result in the loss of lake access to a number of our Riparians.  Neither the Michigan DNR nor any other State or local governmental agencies care to address this problematic issue. 

Oxbow Lake is a private lake, called such because it does not have any public launch facilities nor any public access.  If you do not live on the lake, the only way to access the lake is via privately-owned property.  Oxbow Lake is an all-sports lake which allows all manners of boating and water sports.  Being a fairly large inland lake, we have enough water surface area to enjoy water sports including fishing, cruising, water skiing, jet skiing, sailing and every kid's favorite, tubing behind a boat.  Traffic on the lake is normally heavy on the weekends and extremely heavy over holidays.  As you can imagine, the best fishing is during weekdays and other periods of low boat traffic.

Fishing on Oxbow Lake ranges from good to excellent. 

We have Northern Pike, Largemouth and Smallmouth Bass, Walleye (which are stocked), Bluegill and other sorts of panfish, Rock Bass, Crappie, stunted little Yellow Perch, Catfish, Gar, Cisco, Bowfin and other specie in smaller numbers.  As Oxbow Lake has progressed from an oligotrophic body to a mesotrophic lake, the Yellow Perch have declined in numbers and accordingly, as a feeder-fish for predators. 

Oxbow Lake has a surface area of either 270 acres or 290 acres, depending on which map you choose.  The Michigan DNR map done in the 1940s (dates are estimated) reflects 270 acres, but later satellite maps show a surface area of 290 acres.  The lake is composed of 5 or 6 distinct pools of water, depending on how you look at it.  The dredging of the "back bay" area probably added enough water to the lake to change the official numbers.  Each of the pools of water are separated by shallows that often are no more than two feet deep.  

Examination of the DNR survey shows the shallow areas all around the lake that are at times, overgrown with weeds and lily pads.  These areas provide a good environment for young fish and fry, but the proliferation of weeds and aquatic growth certainly frustrates Riparians because they impact boating and swimming on the lake.  The entire issue of weeds and aquatic grasses is linked to changing composition of the lake, a process known as eutrophication.  You can find more information about this entire matter in the Water Quality section of this site.

Water Quality

The rights to explore the Pontiac and Highland recreation areas for natural gas (using hydrolyic fracturing or fracking techniques) were recently sold.  Regardless of your views on the safety of fracking and the watershed, the traffic of heavy equipment alone is reason enough to oppose this. Time to contact your state legislators and let them know of your opposition.Type your paragraph here.

The winter lake level initiative had been spear headed by Henry Storm.  With his retirement from the OHLA board, there is no one currently providing leadership for this initiative.  The proposal is to evaluate an appropriate winter lake level that would allow riparians to make repairs of seawalls and docks as well as clean out their water front.  Despite years of effort, less than half of the riparian home owners have even bothered to answer.  Any suggestion on strategies to move ahead would be welcomed.Type your paragraph here.

General Watercraft

Every person being towed must have a type I, II, or III PFD.  The vessel towing must have a spotter in addition to the vessel operator at all time.  Hours of legal operation are between one hour after sunrise and one hour before sunset if using a boat or between sunset and 8am if using a PWC.  If towing anyone, you must stay at least 100 feet from shore, any moored or anchored vessel, any dock or raft, any marked swimming area or person in the water.