Seneca Lake

Tips for Birding

The Senecaville Lake Project provides flood control and conservation for wildlife. It is part of the Muskingum Watershed. There are 3,550 acres of water, 45 miles of shoreline, and 4,060 acres of land. A log-cabin Nature Center and hiking trails are near Seneca Lake Park and Campground.

The northern section of the lake hosts many ducks, grebes, and loons. Small sections of water are usually open near the dam area even in cold weather. Eagles have been seen here also. During times of lower water levels, the southern end of the lake can be good for migrating shorebirds. Many woodland species can be found near the campground and cabin areas.

From Cambridge, 6 miles south on I-77, 6 miles east on OH-313, south on OH-574.

Open all year during daylight hours.

Seneca Lake is fed by the Seneca Fork of Wills Creek.

Seneca Lake touches Guernsey and Noble Counties, so it spans counties in both the East-Central and Southeast OOS areas. Seneca Lake has been one of the most productive inland lakes in this part of Ohio for producing diving ducks, including massive rafts of Loons. When birding the Seneca area, be sure to check out Hatchery Road, which runs along the outflow from the Seneca dam. These hatchery ponds often hold dabbling and diving ducks, and the drained ponds sometimes might hold a lingering shorebird in the winter months. Be sure to check the Birding In Ohio eBird hotspot page to get details on how to bird Seneca Lake. Happy birding!

Birds of Interest

Common Loon; Pied-billed, Horned, and Red-necked Grebes; numerous species of ducks. In late winter Bald Eagle.
Migrating shorebirds and warblers, Brown Thrasher, swallows, and other passerines.
Ohio summer nesters.
Migrating warblers and other passerines.

About this Location

Seneca Lake is in eastern Ohio, mostly in Noble County, with a small northern portion in Guernsey County. The dam is located 2 miles east of Senecaville on OH-313 and 12 miles southeast of Cambridge via I-77 and OH-313.

Seneca Lake dam was built across the valley of Seneca Fork of Wills Creek by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in 1938 for flood control and recreation. It was opened to fishing in 1940, but due to highway relocation, the lake did not reach the conservation pool until March 1942.

The lake is in the Muskingum Watershed Conservancy District’s (MWCD) chain of lakes and all boating, swimming, camping, and picnicking is under MWCD control. Seneca Lake Park is operated by the MWCD. The Division of Wildlife annually leases public fishing and hunting rights on MWCD lakes and lands. Seneca Lake, the largest of the MWCD lakes, has 3,509 surface acres of water and 45 miles of shoreline.

Restrooms at Northern Shore, Seneca Lake Park, and Campground, Marina.


  • Restrooms on site

Content from Ohio Ornithological Society and Jon Cefus, Ohio Ornithological Society East Central Regional Director