Charles Mill Lake Birding Drive

Ohio Birding Drives
Ohio Birding Drives are routes for birding trips which can be accomplished in one day, stopping to walk and bird at various eBird hotspots. For each birding drive, a Google map is provided with the route and suggested stops at eBird hotspots. You may save the link to the Google map on your smartphone or tablet, or print a copy on paper to take with you. Links are provided with information about each eBird hotspot. Follow those links for more information about birding each location.

Charles Mill Lake Birding Drive
Click on the hotspot names below to view the page about that hotspot.

This Birding Drive explores eBird hotspots on Charles Mill Lake in Ashland and Richland Counties. When you submit checklists here you help to add to the data about birds in this region of Ohio.

Richland County

Charles Mill Lake–Eagle Point
Mansfield, Ohio 44903

From the intersection of I-71 and US-30, drive east on US-30 for .2 mile. Take the Koogle Road exit, turn left on Koogle Road, and drive 1.3 miles. Turn left onto OH-430 and drive .9 mile. Eagle Point Campground is on the left.

The Eagle Point Campground provides views of birds on Charles Mill Lake. Access is limited to campers during the summer camping season.

Charles Mill Lake is located on the Richland-Ashland County line, on OH-603 off US-30, approximately 1 mile west of Mifflin. There are two boat ramps both off OH-430. The marina is located by the boat ramp on the eastern basin of the reservoir.

The Muskingum Watershed Conservancy District owns Charles Mill Lake. The reservoir was constructed in 1935 by damming the Black Fork of the Mohican River. The reservoir impounds 1,350 acres of water and has 25-miles of shoreline. The main purpose of constructing the reservoir was for flood control. The watershed draining into Charles Mill covers 5,040,002 acres. Today, recreation is one of the biggest public benefits of the reservoir. The ODNR, Division of Wildlife manages the reservoir to provide public fishing and hunting opportunities.

The Black Fork of the Mohican River flows into the north end of the reservoir and flows out over the dam on the south end of the reservoir. The reservoir is divided up into three basins: one north of OH-430, the second south of OH-430 and the third to the east of the second basin. The basin north of OH-430 is very shallow. Channels to the boat ramp in this basin are kept open by dredging. This north basin is frequently very turbid. The basin south of OH-430 is again relatively shallow; most of the southern basin is around 6-feet deep. The narrow passage leading from the southern basin to the eastern basin is about 15-feet deep. The eastern basin is the deepest part of the reservoir with several deep holes including a hole 27-feet deep. The eastern basin generally has the clearest water in the reservoir.
From Charles Mill Lake webpage

Ashland County

Charles Mill Lake–OH-430 Boat Ramp
Mansfield, Ohio 44903

From Eagle Point, turn left to drive east on OH-430 for .4 mile. The entrance to the boat ramp is on the left.

The boat ramp on the north side of OH-430 provides views of birds on that section of Charles Mill Lake.

Charles Mill Lake Park
1277A OH-430
Mansfield, Ohio 44903

From the OH-430 Boat Ramp, turn right and drive east on OH-420 for .1 mile. Turn right into Charles Mill Lake Park.

Keep left to access the boat ramp area of the park. Keep right to enter the campground area. The campground is limited to campers during the summer camping season. In the off-season, birders may enter the campground to view birds in the campground and on the lake.

Charles Mill Lake Park is situated on 2000 acres in Richland and Ashland Counties. Charles Mill Dam was constructed in 1935 on the Black Fork Creek for the purpose of flood control. The lake has a surface area of 1350 acres, a maximum depth of 24 feet and 34 miles of shoreline. The lake has a horsepower limit of 10 and provides opportunities for sailing, boating, and fishing. The waters of Charles Mill Lake are home to channel catfish, flathead, catfish bullheads, white bass, largemouth bass, hybrid striped bass (wipers), crappie, bluegill, and saugeye. The public launch ramp is free and located off OH-430. Hunting is permitted between Labor Day and Memorial Day in designated areas. State licenses are required for boating, hunting, and fishing.

The park features two campgrounds (Main Camp and Eagle Point) with a combined total of 457 campsites and three patio cabins.

Reservations are now accepted online. Walk in’s are welcome but campers must check with park office before setting up. Activities are scheduled Fridays and Saturdays from Memorial Day to Labor Day. Ice cream, pop, snacks, ice, firewood and miscellaneous items may be purchased at both Main Camp and Eagle Point registration offices. The gate sells ice and firewood.

Admission to the park from Memorial Day to Labor Day is $5.00 per car and Special events are $8.00 per car.

Charles Mill Dam was constructed in 1935 and 1936 and is primarily for flood control but also for recreation and fish and wildlife management. Charles Mill Dam is a rolled earth fill dam with an impervious, water resistant, clay core.
From Charles Mill Lake Park website

Charles Mill Lake–County Road 1217 Access
Ashland, Ohio 44805

From Charles Mill Lake Park, turn right to drive east on OH-430 for .3 mile. Turn right onto Maine Street for .3 mile. Turn right onto OH-603 and follow OH-603 for 1.4 miles. Continue straight onto County Road 1217 and drive .5 mile to a gate.

Park near the gate at the end of County Road 1217 and walk the short trail to the southeast to have views of birds on this section of Charles Mill Lake.

Charles Mill Lake Dam and Spillway
Lucas, Ohio 44843

From County Road 1217 Access, reverse direction on Country Road 1217 driving northeast for .5 mile. Make a sharp right onto OH-603 south and drive 1.4 miles. Arrive at the parking area for the Charles Mill Lake Dam on the right.

Charles Mill Dam was constructed in 1935 and 1936 and is primarily for flood control but also for recreation and fish and wildlife management. Charles Mill Dam is a rolled earth fill dam with an impervious, water resistant, clay core.
From Charles Mill Lake Park website