Pleasant Hill Lake, Ohio, USA

Lake Locations:

USA - Midwest - Ohio - Northeast -

Also known as:  Pleasant Hill Reservoir

Crisp clean air, glistening blue water, and miles of picturesque nature describe the majestic beauty of Pleasant Hill Lake. Located near Perrysville, Ohio in Ashland and Richland Counties, the lake offers boat lovers 850 acres of water with unlimited horsepower. Pleasant Hill Lake was created by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in 1938 by damming the Clear Fork of the Mohican River for flood control, recreation, and fish and wildlife management. Today, the reservoir remains one of the many breathtaking vacation spots in Ohio. Through the seasons Pleasant Hill Lake and surrounding area are buzzing with boaters, water skiers, anglers, swimmers, canoeists, hikers, bikers, horseback riders, campers, snowmobilers, downhill skiers, and visitors participating in the local area attractions. The Muskingum Watershed Conservancy District (MWCD) manages Pleasant Hill Lake and surrounding 1,345 acre conservation area.

Prior to the arrival of the white settlers in the early 1800’s, numerous Native American tribes occupied the Pleasant Hill Lake area, including the Delaware and Mohegan Indians. The Mohican River took its name from the Mohegan Indians. Jonny Appleseed (real name was John Chapman) lived in the area caring for his apple tree nurseries and carved his name in the sandstone at nearby Lyons Falls. Unfortunately, the passage of time has erased his sandstone etchings. The Mohican State Park and Mohican State Memorial Forest occupy land just below the Pleasant Hill Dam at the south end of the lake. During the Great Depression, the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) built roads, bridges, trails, picnic shelters, fire breaks, and fire towers in the area; they also planted over two million trees. Today, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (DNR) manages the 4,525-acre Mohican State Memorial Forest and the 1,294-acre Mohican State Park.

Glacial forces changed the flow of the Mohican River about 12,000 years ago, carving out the scenic hourglass-shaped Clearfork Gorge, designated as a Registered Natural Landmark by the National Park Service in 1967. Clearfork Gorge is an impressive one thousand feet wide at the top and about three hundred feet deep with large outcroppings and steep cliff walls cut into the sandstone bedrock. The 28-acre Clear Fork Gorge State Nature Preserve is also managed by the Ohio DNR.

Fishing and other water activities at the lake are exceptional. Pleasant Hill Lake has a full marina with boat rentals and supplies. The diverse population of fish includes white crappie, saugeye, largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, brown bullhead, bluegill, rock bass, muskellunge, and channel catfish. Many anglers enjoy relaxing on the rocky southern shore reeling them in. Considered as one of the best family oriented canoeing rivers in Ohio, visitors can take a trip down the fast rapids of the Mohican River.

Mohican State Park offers a variety of accommodations, including a lodge with resort services, two-bedroom cottages, full-service campsites, campsites with electricity, and non-electric sites. There are 13 hiking trails that range from easy to difficult. The Lyons Fall Trail is an easy 2-mile hike that follows Clear Fork Gorge and features two waterfalls (Little Lyons Falls and Big Lyons Falls).. The Pleasant Hill Trail follows the shoreline and provides beautiful views of Pleasant Hill Lake. The Hemlock Trail leads to the covered wooden bridge. An 8.5-mile biking trail passes through the state park and state forest, offering scenic and varied terrain. Bridle trails, backpacking trails, snowmobiling trails, and hunting are available in the Mohican State Memorial Forest.

The Muskingum Watershed Conservancy District operates extensive recreational facilities at Pleasant Hill Lake Park, located above the dam. The Park has a public boat launch ramp near the marina, a swimming beach with concession, playground, restaurant, Activity Center, vacation cabins, campsites (Class A full hookups and with electric), camper cabins, and a camp store. The Pleasant Hill Marina offers boat rentals, fuels, and docking.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers also provides a recreation area at the dam site with picnic areas, grills, restrooms, shelter, and two short hiking trails. The Corps provides tours of the Pleasant Hill Dam, the intake structure, and the flood control facilities. The dam is one of only two constructed by the Corps with a flood control feature called “Morning Glory Spillway”. A few miles northwest of Pleasant Hill Lake is Malabar Farm State Park which is the home of Pulitzer Prize awarded author Louis Bromfield. His farm is a popular historic attraction that numerous visitors pay homage to while at Pleasant Hill Lake.

For some off-water fun, the Pleasant Hill Lake area provides numerous attractions, activities, and festivals held from March through October. Children will enjoy go-karts, waterslides, and adventure golf. A 9-hole golf course is available for the more serious golfer. Other activities featured from spring through fall include chili cook-offs, flea markets, auctions, boating festivals, boat shows, blues fest, sport tournaments, craft weekends, and nature games. Pleasant Hill Lake is a place where lakelubbers can fully enjoy life.

Things to do at Pleasant Hill Lake

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Boating
  • Swimming
  • Beach
  • Canoeing
  • Water Skiing
  • Golf
  • Camping
  • Picnicking
  • Cabin Rentals
  • Hiking
  • Biking
  • Downhill Skiing
  • Snowmobiling
  • Horseback Riding
  • Hunting
  • Waterfall
  • Wildlife Viewing
  • State Park
  • State Forest
  • National Park
  • Playground

Fish species found at Pleasant Hill Lake

  • Bass
  • Black Bass
  • Bluegill
  • Brown Bullhead
  • Catfish
  • Channel Catfish
  • Crappie
  • Largemouth Bass
  • Muskellunge
  • Pike
  • Saugeye Perch
  • Smallmouth Bass
  • Sunfish
  • White Crappie

Pleasant Hill Lake Photo Gallery

    Pleasant Hill Lake Statistics & Helpful Links

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    Lake Type: Artificial Reservoir, Dammed

    Water Level Control: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

    Surface Area: 850 acres

    Shoreline Length: 13 miles

    Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 1,020 feet

    Minimum Elevation (Min Pond): 1,014 feet

    Maximum Elevation (Max Pond): 1,047 feet

    Average Depth: 16 feet

    Maximum Depth: 48 feet

    Water Volume: 13,500 acre-feet

    Completion Year: 1938

    Water Residence Time: 34 days

    Drainage Area: 198 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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