Berlin Lake, Ohio, USA

Lake Locations:

USA - Midwest - Ohio - Northeast -

Also known as:  Berlin Reservoir

One of the best-loved spots along northeastern Ohio’s Mahoning River is Berlin Lake. The Mahoning River has long done double-duty safeguarding the water levels downstream in Warren and Youngstown and providing a water source for citizens and industry. Berlin Lake actually began as the back-up reservoir for nearby Lake Milton a few miles downstream. Approved by the legislature early in the 20th century, the dam was completed in 1942 and Berlin Lake began its job of flood control, water level stabilization and water supply shortly afterward. The 18-mile long reservoir has a surface area of 3,590 acres during the normal summer, but can expand to 5,500 acres when heavy rainfall occurs. The lake is the fifth-largest inland lake in Ohio. Most visitors to Berlin Lake are interested in the recreational opportunities the large lake provides.

Berlin Lake is a paradise for boaters. The long expanse of water offers plenty of room for power-boating, water-skiing, jet-skiing, tubing, wind surfing and sailing. There are designated no-wake zones, water-skiing areas, and sailboats-only areas. The US Army Corps of Engineers maintains the Mill Creek Recreation Area around the lake which offers four public boat launch sites; this easy access to the lake assures the water will receive plenty of lakelubbers on hot summer weekends. Many bays and meandering arms make Berlin Lake ideal for paddle-craft such as canoes and kayaks, and pontoon boating on the lake is a favorite activity.

Mill Creek Recreation Area also offers a designated swimming beach at one of its six sites on the lake, and swimming and scuba diving occur and in several locations. To accommodate boaters, two marinas offer docking facilities, boating necessities, fishing tackle and supplies. Small boats are rented at one of the locations. In addition, the Mill Creek Recreation Area accommodates off-water activities with five picnic areas, three playgrounds and one of the largest Corps campgrounds with 350 campsites. Fans of Mill Creek Campground claim it offers the best variety of campsites with varying views and amenities; reservations are required to get a spot.

Berlin Lake is likely best known for fishing. The reservoir is one of the few places in this area of Ohio where walleye naturally spawn. Besides the walleye, largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, white bass, black and white crappie, channel catfish, bullhead, bluegill, and muskellunge are all caught here. In fact, Berlin Lake is the location of regular bass fishing tournaments. The many arms and bays create varied fish habitat, augmented by artificial fish structure each year when old Christmas trees are disposed of in strategic spots. One of the lesser-known fishing secrets at Berlin Lake is that there’s a second small reservoir right next door: the Deer Creek Reservoir collects another 314 acres of prime angling waters behind the Deer Creek Dam near the south end of Berlin Lake. The smaller reservoir was constructed in 1955 to provide water supply to the nearby city of Alliance. This reservoir allows only boats with electric motors for virtually undisturbed fishing. The smaller bays and arms are popular year round and provide excellent ice fishing in winter.

Water levels can vary up to 20 feet at Berlin Lake, depending on season and rainfall. The lake is drawn down about six feet in winter. Although much of the shoreline is heavily wooded, several limited development areas around the lake offer lakefront living with grand views and space for private docks by permit. The Ohio Dept. of Natural Resources also manages over 8,500 acres of mixed woodlands, grasslands and wetlands around Berlin Lake. Two popular destinations here are the archery range and a dog-training area. Some areas are open for hunting in season. As the lake attracts a large number of migrating waterfowl, it’s a natural destination for bird-watching. The exposed mudflats in low-water periods attract many shorebirds that are hard to spot at other times of the year. And of course, the songbirds delight in the wide expanse of water and the many trees along the shore. Other than the short nature trail near the campground, there are not as yet many hiking paths around the lake. A local group of volunteers, the Berlin Lake Association, is hoping to develop a major hiking trail along the abandoned railroad bed that crosses the lake. A trail system will take some time to develop and is eagerly awaited by hikers in the area.

There are no cities along the lakeshore. Berlin Lake lies in an area of the Ohio countryside characterized by small villages and farmland. Much of the area is wooded – likely one of the reasons for repeated ‘bigfoot’ sighting reports over several years. Although there haven’t been any confirmed sightings, it likely makes for exciting conversation around the campfires at Mill Creek Campground many nights. For those who don’t manage to wangle a spot in the campground, there are other, private campground resorts nearby, some with rental cabins. The lake is only a couple of hours from some of the major cities in Ohio and Pennsylvania, so ideally suited to a weekend getaway. These nearby cities offer a wealth of interesting things to do and see, from the Akron Fossil and Science Center to the National Inventor’s Hall of Fame and the Akron Zoo – all in Akron. Youngstown offers the Children’s Center For Science and Technology, the Butler Institute of American Art, and McDonough Museum of Art on the campus of Youngstown State University. Many, many more points of interest exist within a two-hour drive of Berlin Lake.

Real estate exists in the area around Berlin Lake, sometime with lake views and lake access. Occasionally, one can find a private residence for rent by the week or for the season. And the many campgrounds and RV resorts in the area can always provide lodgings. The small towns nearby don’t have much in the way of conventional lodgings, but regular hotel accommodations can be found in Akron (35 miles), Canton (20 miles), Youngstown (20 miles) or Warren (35 miles). There’s plenty of space for everyone at Berlin Lake. Come and see if you can spot bigfoot. Or at least, maybe catch a few fish. Hope to see you on the lake.

Things to do at Berlin Lake

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Fishing Tournaments
  • Ice Fishing
  • Boating
  • Sailing
  • Swimming
  • Beach
  • Canoeing
  • Kayaking
  • Jet Skiing
  • Water Skiing
  • Wind Surfing
  • Tubing
  • Scuba Diving
  • Camping
  • Campground
  • Picnicking
  • Cabin Rentals
  • Hiking
  • Hunting
  • Wildlife Viewing
  • Birding
  • Museum
  • Playground

Fish species found at Berlin Lake

  • Bass
  • Black Bass
  • Bluegill
  • Catfish
  • Channel Catfish
  • Crappie
  • Largemouth Bass
  • Muskellunge
  • Perch
  • Pike
  • Smallmouth Bass
  • Sunfish
  • Walleye
  • White Bass
  • White Crappie

Berlin Lake Photo Gallery

Berlin Lake Statistics & Helpful Links

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Lake Type: Artificial Reservoir, Dammed

Water Level Control: United States Army Corps of Engineers

Surface Area: 3,590 acres

Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 1,024 feet

Minimum Elevation (Min Pond): 949 feet

Maximum Elevation (Max Pond): 1,031 feet

Average Depth: 23 feet

Maximum Depth: 55 feet

Completion Year: 1942

Drainage Area: 249 sq. miles

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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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