Tappan Lake, Ohio, USA

Lake Locations:

USA - Midwest - Ohio - Northeast -

Also known as:  Tappan Reservoir

Tappan Lake is a 2,350-acre reservoir in Northeast Ohio, one of a series of lakes managed by the Muskingum Watershed Conservancy District. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers created the lake in 1936 with construction of a dam across the Little Stillwater Creek. Tappan Lake controlled flooding along the Muskingum River as part of the Ohio-Mississippi Flood Control Program. There are ten permanent dams with lakes draining to the Muskingum River and four ‘dry dams’ which impound water only during periods of high water. The Muskingum Watershed Conservancy District manages activities in the lake easement areas- land controlled along the shoreline to allow for flood-stage storage. Two additional dams have since been built but are not under MWCD management. Tappan Lake has become a favorite recreation destination since its creation.

In addition fo 2,350 acres of water, another 5,000 acres of land along the 47-mile shoreline offer many activities for the public to enjoy. A series of causeway bridges carry US 250 traffic along the northern shore and over several arms of the reservoir. Part of the area along the northern shore is developed with lake view homes; however, the homeowners do not own to the water’s edge. A lucky few can lease dock space from the MWCD. There is plenty of space for the general public to access the lake for all types of recreation. Two public launch sites, including one at the marina, offer boaters access to the water. A 399 horsepower limit exists on the lake, and no-wake areas and rules must be followed. Water skiing, tubing, sailing, wake-boarding, sail-boarding and power boating are all enjoyed. The shallow arms of the reservoir are particularly popular for canoeing and kayaking. A swimming beach is available at Tappan Lake Park along with a concession stand, picnic grounds, and playground. A hiking trail leads to Tappan Wetlands, a designated Watchable Wildlife Area.

Tappan Lake Park also offers over 500 camping spaces, many with full hook-ups. Both rustic camping cabins and ‘vacation’ cabins are also available and even have WiFi. A laundry, nature center, and an activity center all assure that there will be few cases of boredom among young visitors. Seasonal rental of campsites is so popular that a lottery is held to award space. The well-known Buckeye Trail System has its headquarters at Tappan Lake. From the lake serious hikers can access hundreds of miles of ‘blue-blazed’ trails encircling the entire state. Hunting in season is permitted in certain areas of the MWCD management area, both near Tappan Lake and within the nearly 55,000 acres of land under their control in the area.

Tappan Lake is a popular fishery. Channel catfish, crappie, largemouth bass, saugeye, smallmouth bass, sunfish and white bass are all caught. The Ohio Division of Wildlife regulates both fishing and hunting on MWCD lands and requires appropriate licenses be held and all regulations followed. Tappan Lake is especially popular for shore fishing as it contains more accessible shoreline than most reservoirs in the area. Its many arms offer excellent spawning habitat for many of the fish species, and casting from a boat in toward shore is usually productive. The marina rents boats including small pontoon rafts and sells bait, along with providing a restaurant and both overnight and seasonal docking. The marina arranges the rental of vacation cabins and hosts tournaments and seasonal events at the lake.

The towns of Uhrichville and Cadiz are less than ten miles in either direction. Both offer grocery stores, restaurants, and other shopping. A water park near Uhrichville will please the youngsters, while Cadiz holds a special treat for movie fans: Clark Gable’s birthplace and museum. The Clark Gable Birth Home, Museum and Store is a reconstruction of the original building where the movie idol was born in an upstairs room. Both the home and the bed-and-breakfast next door are decorated in period furnishings and hold Gable memorabilia. Gable didn’t grow up here: after his birth in the boarding house, his mother died seven months later and he moved with his father to a town not far away. That town, Hopedale, has nothing to commemorate Gable so the Cadiz Museum is a combined effort.

If these diversions are too tame, the City of Wheeling, WV is only 50 miles away and offers a ton of history and entertainment. This often-overlooked historic gem was the first capital of West Virginia and played an important role in the development of the young nation. A number of historical buildings still remain downtown. The Wheeling Artisan Center is being developed in former industrial space in the downtown area and already offers a variety of arts and crafts shops open for visitors’ shopping pleasure. Those wishing a little nightlife to add to their vacation should check out the entertainment venues in Wheeling. Both the Oglebay Institute and the Wheeling Symphony offer fine arts performances on a regular basis. The area in and around Wheeling also offers a variety of lodgings for those whose tolerance for camping has been exhausted.

Along with the camping and vacation cabin choices at Tappan Lake, visitors can often find private rentals near the shoreline. Other lodgings in the way of guest cottages, small motels, and bed-and breakfasts are found nearby. Conventional hotel rooms are found in the larger cities. Real estate is usually available near the lakefront, often with contractual rights to dock space on the lake itself. So if an Ohio vacation beckons, make the trip to Tappan Lake.

Things to do at Tappan Lake

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Boating
  • Sailing
  • Swimming
  • Beach
  • Canoeing
  • Kayaking
  • Water Skiing
  • Tubing
  • Camping
  • Picnicking
  • Cabin Rentals
  • Hiking
  • Hunting
  • Wildlife Viewing
  • Museum
  • Playground
  • Shopping

Fish species found at Tappan Lake

  • Bass
  • Black Bass
  • Catfish
  • Channel Catfish
  • Crappie
  • Largemouth Bass
  • Saugeye Perch
  • Smallmouth Bass
  • Sunfish
  • White Bass

Tappan Lake Photo Gallery

Tappan Lake Statistics & Helpful Links

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Lake Type: Artificial Reservoir, Dammed

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

Surface Area: 2,350 acres

Shoreline Length: 47 miles

Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 899 feet

Maximum Depth: 24 feet

Water Volume: 35,100 acre-feet

Completion Year: 1936

Drainage Area: 71 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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