The Crazy Name and The Crazier Legend
Interestingly, the crazy name “Mosquito Lake” comes from an even crazier legend that involves two brothers from Cleveland who were traveling to Youngstown in a horse-drawn carriage. They camped alongside a creek and were attacked by a swarm of mosquitoes. So they hid under their cooking cauldron to escape from the mosquito horde… and died (I assume by suffocation). The creek by which they camped was then named Mosquito Creek, which was later dammed and made into a lake in 1944.
Through the years, there has been talk about changing the name, but I hope it will always carry the utterly resistible, downright avoidable name of Mosquito Lake. Hear me out. A spiffy, non-scary name might make the lake more attractive to campers who will want to take my favorite campsites! Luckily for you, my helpful nature has overcome my self-serving inclinations. So sit back and enjoy while I share why Mosquito Lake is hands-down, my favorite Ohio State Park (so far).
Spanning 7,850 acres, Mosquito Lake is Ohio’s second largest inland body of water. It features a beautiful campground with 218 electric sites and 16 non-electric sites. Campers will find a variety of lot sizes to suit most anyone’s needs and preferences. My favorite spots are the walk-in sites, which happen to be waterfront, private and spacious. Pit latrines and access to water are found throughout the campground. Pets are welcome in all of the camping areas. There is a nice little playground (most appropriate for kids aged between 4-10, although my kids still play there) and a clean, locker-room style shower house. A Naturalist and volunteers run fun weekend activities for the kids during the summer and show movies in a little amphitheater at night.
The campground is safe and clean, with incredibly friendly and helpful staff and volunteers. A 600-foot section of the lake is dedicated to swimming. Because the lake is so shallow, the water is surprisingly warm. You’ll find two hiking trails, Disc Golf, a large dog park and a picnic area.
If you enjoy bird watching, Mosquito Lake is a birders delight, with a 9,021-acre wildlife area to see Pied-billed Grebe, Least Bittern, Common Moorhen, Sora, Virginia Rail, Hooded Merganser, Marsh Wren, Cerulean Warblers, as well as various species of waterfowl and raptors.
Mosquito Lake is best known as a fishing mecca for Bass, Crappie, Northern Pike, and, most notably, Walleye. Although my family has had some success with fishing while standing along the water’s edge, I’m told that the real fishing is done in a boat. And there are A LOT of boats on Mosquito Lake. At any given moment, you’ll see boats zooming across the lake to get the next fishing spot, bass boats drifting along the shoreline, pontoon boats floating in the warm sun and boats of all sizes pulling water skiers. A boater friend tells me that the marina’s boat launch is the very best he’s used in Northeast Ohio, due to its width and gradual slope. I don’t have a boat, so I can’t attest to the accuracy of his statement. So, I’ll pass on the information, with hopes that you can experience it for yourself someday.
You can’t beat the location of Mosquito Lake. When camping, it feels like you are a million miles from anywhere. In reality, Warren and Cortland are just a couple of miles down the road, where you’ll find anything you need from Wal-Mart, grocery stores, restaurants, etc.
My absolute favorite Mosquito Lake moments are spent sitting in my chair at the water’s edge, watching the sun rise and set with a book and a steaming hot cup of coffee. The sun dances across the water and creates the most beautiful imagery. A close second is time spent with my family around the campfire, eating and laughing. Mosquito Lake is truly my happy place.
I honestly don’t know if there are more mosquitoes at Mosquito Lake than at any other lakes in the region. Lord knows, there are lots of mosquitoes everywhere. But if you are prepared for the little critters, you should be absolutely fine.
If you read this blog, you’re probably aware of my reluctant co-existence with bugs of all types, including mosquitos. My daughter is severely allergic to mosquito bites. Her poor skin swells painfully and she gets a large blister at the bite site. To further complicate things, mosquitoes love her. They seem to know my daughter is outside and flock to her exposed skin. As a result, we take mosquito bite prevention pretty seriously. Over the years, I experimented with natural solutions to keep the mosquitos from biting her, and found a recipe that really worked. And so Bug Be Gone was born. Click on this link for more information about this safe, effective natural insect repellent that was tested at our beloved Mosquito Lake.
I’d love to hear your favorite camping spots in Ohio. Have you been to Mosquito Lake? If so, do you share my enthusiasm for all the park has to offer?