West Branch Lake, Ohio, USA

Also known as:  Michael J. Kirwan Reservoir

West Branch Lake is set in Northeast Ohio’s glaciated land, where large boulders of ice left marshy wetlands in their recession thousands of years ago. The fresh and luscious plains are settled by Portage County’s fertile farmlands, where delicate fruit of blueberries, raspberries and strawberries cover acres of moist green. West Branch Lake, also known by its more official name, the Michael J. Kirwan Reservoir, is a diverse and bountiful – READ THE FULL ARTICLE

Welcome to the ultimate guide to West Branch Lake! Article topics include:

Looking for West Branch Lake cabins or other accommodations? Save time and use this interactive map to find, compare and book at the best rates. Or explore more of our favorite travel partners.

Welcome to the ultimate guide to West Branch Lake! Article topics include:

Looking for West Branch Lake cabins or other accommodations? Save time and use this interactive map to find, compare and book at the best rates. Or explore more of our favorite travel partners.

All About West Branch Lake

Lake Locations: USA - Midwest - Ohio - Northeast -

West Branch Lake is set in Northeast Ohio’s glaciated land, where large boulders of ice left marshy wetlands in their recession thousands of years ago. The fresh and luscious plains are settled by Portage County’s fertile farmlands, where delicate fruit of blueberries, raspberries and strawberries cover acres of moist green. West Branch Lake, also known by its more official name, the Michael J. Kirwan Reservoir, is a diverse and bountiful resource that offers visitors thousands of acres of fun, adventure and rejuvenation.

One of 16 flood control projects in the US Army Corps of Engineers’ Pittsburgh District, Michael J. Kirwan Reservoir alleviates flooding for the Mahoning River Valley and the Beaver and upper Ohio Rivers. Impounded on the West Branch of the Mahoning River, the reservoir has the capacity to store excess precipitation and also to release water downstream when the weather becomes too dry. Completed in 1965, West Branch Lake does more than just provide flood control. It also acts as a water supply, an excellent recreation area and a fish and wildlife management resource.

By 1966, the West Branch State Park was opened on the 2,665-acre reservoir, leased by the Corps to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources. Together, the lake and surrounding land encompass 6,332 acres. The park helps to guide visitors in their usage of West Branch Lake’s pristine waters and surrounding meadows and woodlands. It offers diverse camping facilities along with restrooms, water facilities, showers, toilets and other convenient amenities. A volleyball court and playgrounds, picnic areas and a sandy beach offer further options for outdoor recreation.

West Branch Lake has no limit on horsepower. Small and large crafts, sailboats and canoes, fishing boats and cruisers glide, skip and float up and down the lake’s 10-mile length or in and out of rocky coves. (Be sure to find out about the lake’s no-wake zones.) The lake has contours that create ranges from warm and shallow to deep and cool and supports some great angling opportunities for trophy-size fish.

Anglers will delight at the strong and acrobatic muskies that have made a reputation for themselves on the lake. Walleye and striped bass can also be found in trophy sizes; and largemouth bass, smallmouth bass and bluegill all thrive in abundance. Northeast Ohio has mild summers and sunny, colourful falls perfect for the temperate personality. Winter, however, brings biting temperatures below freezing, heavy snowfall and the excitement of ice fishing. After checking with the State or Corps Park Office for ice conditions, venture onto West Branch Lake’s frozen surface for some walleye and panfish.

The bike trails at West Branch State Park boast a five-star rating and will excite any seasoned cyclist. Trails meander throughout the park, in and out of ravines, over rocks, and through a gorge. Less difficult trails for beginner cyclists offer a more leisurely pace. The dam’s two-mile access road provides an expansive view of the lake. Non-accessible to vehicles, it is another “trail” for bikers and for those on foot. Hiking, snowmobile, cross-country skiing and bridle trails are also plentiful around West Branch Lake.

In hunting season, waterfowl and deer are common hunting targets around West Branch Lake. Hunters may use only shotguns and primitive weapons, and target shooting is prohibited.

Another attraction to complement your visit is the host of summer programs offered by the State and Corps. At West Branch Lake’s Visitor Information Center, naturalists, park rangers, and adventurers intrigue visitors with engaging presentations about the natural, cultural and historical significance of both the reservoir and its environment. Take a walk with a naturalist during a full moon and learn things you never knew about the moon or listen to the fascinating recounts of adventurers’ nature travels; learn about the unique animals and plants that have made the reservoir their home.

If your hunger for adventure leads you outside of the West Branch area, you are not far from Cleveland and the Lake Erie coast. Since you are so close, that would be a worthwhile trip, but with so many miles of such pristine beauty, a vacation at West Branch Lake will provide more than enough recreation and relaxation.

Things to Do at West Branch Lake

  • Fishing
  • Ice Fishing
  • Boating
  • Sailing
  • Swimming
  • Beach
  • Canoeing
  • Camping
  • Picnicking
  • Hiking
  • Cross-Country Skiing
  • Snowmobiling
  • Hunting
  • Wildlife Viewing
  • State Park
  • Playground

Fish Species Found at West Branch Lake

  • Bass
  • Black Bass
  • Bluegill
  • Largemouth Bass
  • Perch
  • Smallmouth Bass
  • Striped Bass
  • Sunfish
  • Walleye

All About West Branch Lake

Best hotels and vacation rentals at West Branch Lake

The West Branch Lake map shown above is a simple and stress-free way to search for trip accommodations. But if you want to take a deeper dive to find the ideal waterfront home, cabin, condo, hotel or resort, visit our favorite lodging partners by clicking the buttons below.

Note: These are affiliate links so we may earn a small commission if you book through them. While there is no extra cost to you, it helps provide resources to keep our site running (thank you)! You can read our full disclosure policy here.


More Ways to Book a West Branch Lake Vacation

While our interactive map above is perfect for comparing LAKENAME rental homes (with VRBO) and nearby hotels (with Booking.com), there might be times when you need to expand your search with a different type of accommodation. Here are some other LAKNAME lodging partners you might want to explore:

Check TripAdvisor
Explore RV Rentals
Find a Campspot
View All Resources

Note: These are affiliate links and we may earn a small commission. Read our full disclosure policy here.


More Sites to Book a West Branch Lake Vacation

Our interactive lodging map shown above is perfect for comparing LAKENAME VRBO rental homes and nearby Booking.com hotels, there are times when you need to expand your search for different types of accommodation. Here are some other LAKNAME lodging partners you can explore:

Check TripAdvisor
Explore RV Rentals
Find a Campspot
View All Resources

Note: These are affiliate links and we may earn a small commission. Read our disclosure policy here.


More Sites to Book a West Branch Lake Vacation

Our interactive lodging map shown above is perfect for comparing LAKENAME VRBO rental homes and nearby Booking.com hotels, there are times when you need to expand your search for different types of accommodation. Here are some other LAKNAME lodging partners you can explore:

Check TripAdvisor
Explore RV Rentals
Find a Campspot
View All Resources

Note: These are affiliate links and we may earn a small commission. Read our disclosure policy here.


Recommended Sites to Book a West Branch Lake Vacation

If you want to take a deeper dive to find waterfront lake cabins, cottages, condos, hotels or resorts, check out our favorite West Branch Lake lodging partners.

  • VRBO – Use VRBO to find the perfect lake rental home, condo, cabin, cottage or other vacation property.
  • Booking.com – One of the world’s leading digital travel companies, Booking.com connects travelers to everything from cozy B&Bs to luxury resorts.
  • Expedia – Expedia is a popular online travel agency with more than 140,000 lodging properties worldwide.
  • Hotels.com – With more than 325,000 hotels in 19,000-plus locations, Hotels.com is an industry leader in online accommodations.
  • TripAdvisor – Read traveler reviews and compare prices on hotels, vacation rentals and more at TripAdvisor.
  • Trivago – Trivago helps travelers compare deals for hotels and other accommodations from a variety of booking sites.
  • KAYAK – KAYAK scours hundreds of other travel websites at once to find the best deals on hotels and other travel-related services.
  • RVshare –RVshare connects travelers interested in renting a motorhome with owners who have RVs to rent.
  • CampSpot – Campspot offers premier RV resorts, family campgrounds, cabins and glamping options across North America.
ALL TRAVEL RESOURCES

Note: These are affiliate links so we may earn a small commission if you book through them. While there is no extra cost to you, it helps provide resources to keep our site running (thank you)! You can read our full disclosure policy here.

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Lake Type: Artificial Reservoir, Dammed

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

Surface Area: 2,650 acres

Shoreline Length: 40 miles

Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 986 feet

Minimum Elevation (Min Pond): 0 feet

Maximum Elevation (Max Pond): 993 feet

Average Depth: 21 feet

Maximum Depth: 58 feet

Water Volume: 52,900 acre-feet

Completion Year: 1966

Drainage Area: 81 sq. miles

We strive to keep the information on LakeLubbers as accurate as possible. However, if you’ve found something in this article that needs updating, we’d certainly love to hear from you! Please fill out our Content Correction form.

More West Branch Lake news from LakeLubbers.com

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  • New West Branch Lake photos coming soon!
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Do you have a vacation rental property at West Branch Lake? Coming in 2022, LakeLubbers will have an opportunity for you to showcase your listing and put it in front of thousands of lake lovers searching our site for homes, condos or townhomes to rent for their upcoming lake trip this season.

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Looking for the West Branch Lake forum?

LakeLubbers previously offered visitors the ability to create accounts and participate in lake forums. When we overhauled the site’s content management system in 2021 we had to disable those features. We’re evaluating options and welcome your comments and feedback here.

We also encourage you to join our lake-lovin’ community on Facebook and Instagram!

Click here to advertise your West Branch Lake vacation rental or local business.

The former West Branch Lake forum is closed. Find out why here.

New West Branch Lake photo gallery is coming soon.

Please share this article with your fellow lake lovers!

Spread the word! Share our West Branch Lake article with your fellow Lake Lubbers!

Explore local West Branch Lake vacation rentals and hotel accommodations using our interactive map. Clicking on listings below will allow you to compare nearby properties, best rates and availability for your dates.

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New West Branch Lake photos coming soon!

Vacation Home Name

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  • 2 bedrooms
  • 2 bathrooms
  • hot tub
  • wifi