Acton Lake, Ohio, USA

Lake Locations:

USA - Midwest - Ohio - Southwest -

Also known as:  Hueston Woods Lake

Acton Lake, In the Southwest region of Ohio, has provided recreation opportunities to generations of visitors in the 50 years since it was created. Only a few short miles from the Indiana state line, the facilities at Acton Reservoir draw fishermen and campers from several surrounding states. Home to the Hueston Sailing Association and crew training lake for Miami University, Acton Lake has been carefully developed to provide the most fun to suit a wide variety of interests. Although not planned as a water supply reservoir, Acton Lake now serves as emergency water supply to the nearby town of Oxford. Hueston Woods State Park surrounds the lake and offers a number of activities to please special-interest visitors.

With 3,600 acres, Hueston Woods State Park holds all access to the lake. Several boat launch sites open the lake to anglers who enjoy their pursuit of bluegill, brown bullhead, channel catfish, largemouth bass, muskie, tiger muskellunge and white crappie. The fishing is good enough that bass and crappie tournaments are held here regularly. With a 10 hp motor limit in force on Acton Lake, anglers have no problem finding quiet waters in which to fish. In winter, the lake occasionally freezes enough to permit ice fishing. The no-wake speeds also favor small-boat sailing on the lake. Although the sheltered location limits the amount of wind available, the lake is the perfect spot to teach beginners to rudiments of sailing. The Hueston Sailing Association offers lessons to youngsters every summer.

Hueston Woods State Park offers a variety of activities and amenities seldom found in a state park setting. In addition to picnic areas, a 1500-foot swimming beach, fishing pier and over 500 campsites (both rustic and all-service), Hueston Woods also provides a dozen hiking trails, a bridal path, equestrian campsites, rental cottages in a number of configurations, an 18-hole golf course, 36-hole disk golf course, full-service marina which rents boats, and a ‘resort’ with a 94-room lodge, snack bars, conference rooms indoor and outdoor swimming pool, dining room and lighted tennis courts. Other amenities include a dog-accessible swim area, horseshoe pits, paintball field and target practice area, volleyball court, miniature golf, archery range, playground, basketball court and a Nature Center.

A favorite among birders due to the large number of birds seen here, a special birding trail allows viewing of great blue heron, green heron, black-crowned night-heron, great egret, barred owl, great-horned owl, eastern screech owl, pileated woodpecker, red-headed woodpecker, white-breasted nuthatch, red-belied woodpecker, yellow-bellied sapsucker, brown creeper, hairy woodpecker, hermit thrush, downy woodpecker and winter wren, with the occasional sighting of a bald eagle, common loon or white-fronted goose. All together, at least 150 species of birds either live or visit here seasonally. Two hundred acres of old-growth forest have been preserved in the Hueston Woods State Nature Preserve. The rare stand of beech and maple forest is listed as a National Landmark, and interpretive tours can be arranged at the Nature Center. The perimeter road around Acton Lake is a favorite with mountain bikers and hikers.

If activities at Acton Lake don’t serve to keep visitors occupied during their stay, nearby Miami University offers a selection of Natural Areas on their campus at Oxford. On campus the McGuffey House and Museum preserves the home and personal artifacts of the originator of the famed early American textbooks, William Holmes McGuffey. Miami University hosts an art museum and several galleries and offers musicals and theater performances throughout the year. In nearby Preble County, the Preble Historical Society preserves seven covered bridges from the late 1800s that can be visited via a tour route, several restored buildings from the area and an exhibit hall with regular touring exhibits.

Parts of the original site of the future Acton Lake were preserved by the original owner-veteran of the Indian Wars, Matthew Hueston. Later, the original wooded area was purchased and preserved in trust by a local conservationist until the state legislature was persuaded to purchase the property and designate it as a state forest. Originally purchased by the State of Ohio in 1941, the site was used as a prison camp for 12 years. In 1956, an earthen dam was built across Four-Mile Creek, creating Acton Lake. The 625-acre lake quickly became one of the favored recreation areas in southwestern Ohio. Additions and improvements have slowly built the state park into one of Ohio’s showpiece nature areas.

Originally, the lake level was lowered 10 feet in winter to prevent damage to park structures. That winter water level lowering has been reduced in recent years until there is minimal reduction most years. In its early years Acton Lake had serious sedimentation problems from agricultural run-off upstream, and parts of the lake required dredging in the 1970s and 1980s. Changing agricultural practices have reduced sedimentation considerably in recent years to the point that it is no longer a serious problem. Funding has recently been granted to repair or replace the existing dam for safety reasons. Because of Acton Lake’s proximity to Miami University, the lake is the subject of ongoing water quality and limnology studies by students. A semi-permanent high-tech buoy has been placed on the lake to provide real-time measurements of water quality and conditions for study.

Although there are no private rentals on Acton Lake itself, nearly every visor will find the perfect campground space, guest cabin or resort room at Hueston Woods State Park. A few bed-and-breakfasts are in operation nearby. Oxford has a number of hotels and other lodgings available for overnight or even longer. Real estate is available in the area, often at other nearby lakes. Located within an hour’s drive from Dayton and Cincinnati and only a couple of hours from Indianapolis and Louisville, Acton Lake is nearby and convenient for a day’s fishing or sailing – or a week’s vacation. So bring the fishing tackle and the sun screen. Acton Lake and Hueston Woods await.

Things to do at Acton Lake

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Ice Fishing
  • Boating
  • Sailing
  • Swimming
  • Swimming Pool
  • Beach
  • Golf
  • Tennis
  • Camping
  • Campground
  • Picnicking
  • Cabin Rentals
  • Hiking
  • Horseback Riding
  • Birding
  • State Park
  • State Forest
  • Museum
  • Playground
  • Miniature Golf

Fish species found at Acton Lake

  • Bass
  • Black Bass
  • Bluegill
  • Brown Bullhead
  • Catfish
  • Channel Catfish
  • Crappie
  • Largemouth Bass
  • Muskellunge
  • Pike
  • Sunfish
  • Tiger Muskellunge
  • White Crappie

Acton Lake Photo Gallery

Acton Lake Statistics & Helpful Links

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Lake Type: Artificial Reservoir, Dammed

Water Level Control: Ohio Dept. of Natural Resources

Surface Area: 625 acres

Shoreline Length: 9 miles

Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 664 feet

Average Depth: 13 feet

Maximum Depth: 26 feet

Water Volume: 8,000 acre-feet

Completion Year: 1957

Drainage Area: 104 sq. miles

Trophic State: Eutrophic

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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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