Kharchinskoye Lake stretches at the base of Kharchinsky Volcano. Covering an area of 45 sq-kilometers, it is 11 km long and has a maximum width of 5 km.
In time of rise in water level the meadows on the western side of the lake are flooded. Many marine birds gather there. In time of migration thousands of birds stay in this place. The lake is also a wintering place for many species. It also hosts a population of beaver from Canada brought in in 1977. Its waters are well-known for the carps that reach impressive weights because they have no predators here. Numerous salmons from the Pacific come to the lake to spawn. The Zoological Reserve was created so as to protect all this diversity.
The name of the lake comes from an old village called “Kharchino” that used to be an Itelmen camp. A local legend says that the lake was formed after volcano Shiveluch decided to change location, on its way it would inadvertently have stepped on two mountains and left its prints on the earth. With time they filled with water and created tzo lakes: Kharchinskoye and Kurazhshnoye. Lake Kharchinskoye has an island; the story says it was inhabited by lepers in remote times.