If you're a serious angler, Nimisila Reservoir is for you. It's known for its channel catfish and largemouth bass. Other fish in the lake include northern pike, walleye, bluegill, black and white crappie, yellow perch, brown bullhead and red ear sunfish. With only electric boat motors permitted, the pace is slower and quieter, making for a good fishing experience even when the stringer remains empty.
Nimisila Reservoir is one of the 13 bodies of water that make up the Portage Lakes. At 825 acres, it's the largest body of water in the park district. Nimisila Reservoir was the last of the Portage Lakes to be created. The reservoir originally provided the ever-expanding water needs of Akron's industrial complex. Built in 1936 by the federal Works Progress Administration, the reservoir was created when an earthen dam 44 feet high and 2,350 feet long was built on Nimisila Creek. The reservoir has 16 miles of shoreline and four boat launches, with the deepest spot at around about 30 feet.
Historically, the area was an important trading post for settlers and Indians. It was a recognized landmark during the War of 1812, serving as a rendezvous point for American troops. The old Indian portage path was part of the ancient boundary between the Six Nations and the Western Indians. In more recent history, a WWII corsair airplane crash landed in the reservoir on a training mission from Goodyear. Legend has it that it is underwater and remains stuck in the mud somewhere within the reservoir.
An important migratory stop-over habitat, Nimisila is the staging area for several thousand purple martins during the month of August. The birds roost on the grassy islands during the night, feast on the insect population and then continue their migration south for the winter. The reservoir is also home to several species of waterfowl, eagles and osprey. Many other species can be seen at various times during the year.