Location & Description
This 8,518-acre wildlife area is situated in northeast Ohio on lands adjacent to Berlin Lake. The area is scattered, lying both north and south of U.S. Route 224. The western part can be reached from State Route 225, the central portion from State Route 14, and the eastern portion from U.S. Route 224 and Bedell Road. At full summer pool (elevation 1,024.7 feet), the surface water area of Berlin Lake totals 3,590 acres. Approximately 4,928 land acres are available for public hunting. The topography of the land ranges from flat to gently rolling. The soils are poorly drained and low in productivity. Nearly 60 percent of the wildlife area consists of second growth hardwoods. The timber stands are mainly pin oak, hickory, elm, ash, and red maple. Swamp white oak, other maples, beech, birch, and sycamore are present in lesser numbers.
History & Purpose
The Berlin Lake project was authorized in 1938 to provide flood control and a water supply for industry downstream. Full operation of the project, by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, was initiated in 1944. In 1946, the Division of Wildlife was granted a license for fish and wildlife management on the 6,935 acres in the project area. The state began additional land acquisition in 1956 for public hunting and currently owns over 1,200 acres. The wildlife management plan provides for the maintenance and protection of existing woodlands, establishment of regular crop rotations, improvement of open fields for nesting, and establishment of food patches for general wildlife use. Permanent wildlife cover has been provided by planting trees and shrubs along field borders and in odd areas and by establishing brushy field dividers. The primary purpose of the wildlife area is to provide general public hunting and fishing. Other uses which have become popular include dog training and hunting dog field trials.
Berlin Lake contains diverse sport fish populations which include largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, white bass, walleye, white crappie, black crappie, bluegill, channel catfish, brown bullhead, and muskellunge. Cottontail rabbit, ring-necked pheasant, squirrels, woodchuck, raccoon, muskrat, mink, white-tailed deer, and opossum are the principal upland game and fur species. During fall migration, sizable flights of woodcock augment local production. Waterfowl occur on the lake and on the ponds and beaver marshes on the area. Beaver have become fairly common. The impoundments on the area provide excellent habitat not only for beaver, but for many furbearers, shorebirds, and waterfowl. During migration, bald eagles may be seen on Berlin Lake along with a great variety of songbirds.
Upland game species are well distributed throughout the wildlife area as a result of fairly uniform distribution of crop fields, shrubby coverts, grasslands, and woods. After the opening of the upland game season, hunting dogs are recommended because the fields are large and cover is extensive. The best rabbit hunting is in the brushy uplands along edges or borders. There are several good squirrel woods on the area. Brushy areas with open wet meadows provide the best opportunity for woodcock hunting. Fishing in Berlin Lake is productive. Walleye, bass, and crappies predominate. Spring is the best time to fish; live bait and spinning lures are the most effective. During April, May, and June, crappies, largemouth bass, and smallmouth bass are taken in shallow water around submerged willows and brush. In July and August largemouths are caught in deeper water over bottom obstructions. Walleyes are taken in shallow water in early spring and then in deeper water when the water warms to 70° in June. An archery range is also located on the wildlife area. The range is open sunrise-sunset, except during holidays, and is free-of-charge. No permit is required to use the range and a range attendant will not be present. Public facilities include roads and parking lots situated throughout the area. A dog training ground is maintained for year-round use. Several boat launching sites and commercial boat liveries provide fishing access to Berlin Lake. Berlin Lake Wildlife Area also features designated access roads for Electric Powered All Purpose Vehicle (EPAPV)/Motor Vehicle Use Permit holders. The permit allows use of an EPAPV with a 30 horsepower and/or use of a motor vehicle on designated access roads on specific state wildlife areas for mobility impaired persons.