Pymatuning Lake, Pennsylvania & Ohio, USA

Lake Locations:

USA - Mid-Atlantic - Pennsylvania - Great Lakes - Midwest - Ohio - Northeast -

Also known as:  Pymatuning Reservoir

Pymatuning Lake, located in northwestern Pennsylvania and spilling over into northeastern Ohio, is a lake of superlatives: Clocking in at 17,088 acres in area, 17 miles in length, and 1.6 miles in width, it is the largest lake in Pennsylvania aside from Lake Erie. Pymatuning Lake is also one of North America’s most important conservation areas, especially for the Common Goldeneye, Canada Goose, and Hooded Merganser.

Like many North American lakes, Pymatuning is a man-made reservoir. Completed in 1934, its average depth is about 15 feet, with a maximum depth of about 35 feet. Its shoreline measures 70 miles. The lake’s three campgrounds comprise the most campsites in one area in all of Pennsylvania. With more than 4.5 million annual visitors, Pymatuning State Park, within which the lake is located, boasts more visitors per year than almost any other park in the state. All these superlatives add up to one thing: great fun for you and your family.

Pymatuning Lake is famous for its four-season offerings. Beginning in the warm summer months, water sports opportunities abound. Boating is one of the most popular, although visitors should be aware that there is a 20 horsepower limit imposed on all motorboats. There are three boat marinas on the lake — Jamestown Watercraft Concession, Espyville Marina Concession, and Linesville Marina Concessionaire; all offer rental boats, fishing gear, and places to moor your boat.

Five beaches and seemingly endless acres of cool, sparkling waters lure thousands of swimmers every year. Fill your afternoon with a power swim, a lazy dip, or spend hours floating on a raft in the calm waters. Catch some rays in the sand and observe children building sand castles around you. No matter what you do, you’ll leave the water and beach feeling relaxed and refreshed.

Fishing is another popular Pymatuning activity: the Pennsylvania State Park’s Fish and Boat Commission operates one of the largest warm-water hatcheries in the world. The lake is well-stocked, so bring your pole (or rent one) and get set to catch walleye, crappie, muskellunge, bluegill, perch, smallmouth bass, and largemouth bass. And don’t let the seasons stop you: summer fishing and winter ice fishing are both allowed and enjoyed on this Pennsylvania lake.

One of the most unique sights at Pymatuning Lake is its Spillway Concession at Linesville, where the “ducks walk on the fishes’ backs.” Each year, 300,000 visitors come to the lake to feed the carp and the ducks thousands of loaves of bread each week. The carp, in their mad scurry to capture as many morsels as possible, are so thick in the water that the ducks, in competition for the bread, are able to walk the lake on the backs of the fish. This is truly a must-see, must-do event!

If you choose to visit the area during the cold winter months, you’ll be greeted with white vistas and myriad snow-based activities. Cross-country skiing is an ever-popular activity, as Pymatuning State Park’s walking and biking trails are covered with powder and readied for your skis. Another exhilarating option is to tackle the five miles of snowmobiling trails at the abandoned railroad grade near Tuttle Campground. Fun for the whole family can be found on the sledding hills near the dam at Jamestown, or simply in the creation of snow angels and snowmen. No matter what you do there, you’ll enjoy your stay at Pymatuning Lake.

Things to do at Pymatuning Lake

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Ice Fishing
  • Boating
  • Swimming
  • Beach
  • Camping
  • Campground
  • Hiking
  • Biking
  • Cross-Country Skiing
  • Snowmobiling
  • State Park

Fish species found at Pymatuning Lake

  • Bass
  • Black Bass
  • Bluegill
  • Carp
  • Crappie
  • Largemouth Bass
  • Muskellunge
  • Perch
  • Pike
  • Smallmouth Bass
  • Sunfish
  • Walleye

Pymatuning Lake Photo Gallery

  • Pymatuning Lake (Richard Callahan)

  • Pymatuning Dam 1949 (Richard Callahan)

Pymatuning Lake Statistics & Helpful Links

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Lake Type: Artificial Reservoir, Dammed

Water Level Control: Pennsylvania Game Commission

Surface Area: 17,088 acres

Shoreline Length: 70 miles

Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 1,010 feet

Average Depth: 15 feet

Maximum Depth: 35 feet

Water Volume: 188,000 acre-feet

Completion Year: 1934

Drainage Area: 1,065 sq. miles

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Trophic State | LakeLubbers

Trophic State measures the level of algae and nutrients in a lake.

An oligotrophic lake is very clear (blue in color) and does not support much plant or fish life. A hyper-oligotrophic lake is the clearest of all lakes, and is nearly devoid of plants and fish.

A mesotrophic lake is slightly green and supports a moderate degree of plant and fish life. A lake's most desired trophic state is generally this mid-point - the mesotrophic state.

A eutrophic lake is somewhat murky and supports a large amount of plant and fish life. A hypereutrophic lake is clouded with algae, plant life, and fish life. A eutrophic or hyper-eutrophic lake can be difficult to navigate by boat - and is often an unpleasant place to swim.

The use of phosphorus-rich and nitrogen-rich fertilizer on lawns and golf courses surrounding a lake can cause it to become eutrophic or hypereutrophic.


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Catchment or Drainage Area | LakeLubbers

This is the surrounding area that drains into a lake, including land, rivers and their tributaries. This is also known as the lake's "catchment basin".

Small lakes at the highest peaks of mountains have small drainage areas. The world's oceans have the largest drainage areas.


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Lake-Area Population | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated number of people who live in a house with a view of a lake, plus those who self-describe the lake as their home, for example: "I live at Smith Mountain Lake."


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Water Residence Time | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated time that it takes for an amount of water equal to the entire volume of a lake to flow out of - or evaporate from - the lake.

Residence Time can be as short as a few days for fast-flowing small lakes, and can exceed 100 years for slow-flowing large lakes.


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Completion Year | LakeLubbers

This is the year that a reservoir was first filled to the reservoir's normal elevation - or the year that a natural lake was first dammed. A large reservoir can take more than a year to fill after its dam is first closed.

The Grand Anicut in southern India is generally considered the world's oldest dam that still operates. Grand Anicut was constructed in the second century BC. It now impounds an irrigation network that includes roughly one million acres.

You can find many of the the world's newest reservoirs on LakeLubbers. Many of the world's oldest reservoirs appear on the last page of that list.


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Water Volume | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated volume of water that a lake contains -- measured at the lake's normal elevation. By this measure, the world's largest freshwater lake is Siberia's Lake Baikal.

You can find many of the the world's largest lakes (by water volume) on LakeLubbers.

Water Volume can be measured in acre-feet, in cubic miles, or in cubic kilometers. One acre-foot is the amount of water needed to cover one acre (43,560 square feet) to a depth of one foot. One cubic mile equals 3,379,200 acre-feet. One cubic kilometer equals 810,713 acre-feet.

1 acre-foot is equal to 325,851 US gallons. Siberia's Lake Baikal contains about 6,276,367,740,000,000 gallons of freshwater - nearly 1 million gallons for every living person on earth.

The other - and more widely used - measure of a lake's size is the lake's surface acreage. By that measure, the world's largest freshwater lake is North America's Lake Superior.


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Maximum Depth | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated greatest depth of the water in a lake -- measured at the lake's normal elevation. The world's deepest lake is Siberia's Lake Baikal; that lake's maximum depth is estimated at 5,314 feet.

You can find many of the the world's deepest lakes on LakeLubbers. If you select the last page of that list, you will find the (maximum depth of) the shallowest lakes in our database.


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Average Depth | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated average depth of the water in a lake -- measured at the lake's normal elevation. If the water volume and surface area of a lake are known, an estimate of the lake's average depth can be calculated:

Water volume ÷ Surface Area = Average Depth

Example: 1,000,000 acre-feet ÷ 20,000 acres = 50 feet average depth


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Maximum Elevation | LakeLubbers

This is a lake's highest water level, measured by the lake's surface distance above sea level, that can occur during flooding. A lake's highest possible maximum elevation is usually the top of the lake's dam or spillway.

At lakes that include residential development, government regulations usually forbid the construction of homes below a lake's maximum elevation.


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Minimum Elevation | LakeLubbers

This is a lake's lowest water level, measured by the lake's surface distance above sea level, that can be reasonably expected to occur. Low lake levels can occur due to deliberate seasonal draw downs for irrigation or impending snow melt, reduced water inflows, drought and evaporation, residential or commercial water demands, and hydropower generation.

Some lakes' minimum and maximum elevations are virtually the same. Lakes that generate hydropower may vary by several feet - according to power demand. Lakes whose primary purpose is to prevent flooding can seasonally vary by 100 feet or more.

When some lakes reach their minimum elevation, their boat ramps may not be long enough to permit boat access - and boats docked on shallow parts of the lake may end up on dry ground. In those cases, kayakers and shore-based anglers may be among the few happy recreational users of the lake.


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Normal Elevation | LakeLubbers

This is a lake's normal water level, measured by the lake's surface distance above sea level. For a reservoir, this water level is also known as "full pond" or "full pool".

You can find many of the world's highest-elevated lakes on LakeLubbers. Lakes with the lowest elevations (known by LakeLubbers) are shown on the final page of that list.


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Shoreline Length | LakeLubbers

This is the length of the exterior shoreline around a lake - measured at the lake's normal elevation. The shoreline length can be considerably shorter or longer when lake water levels are lower or higher than normal.

A lake with many coves has a much longer shoreline than a lake of similar surface area that is nearly circular in shape.

When known, the shoreline miles that we report in our statistics include only the lake's exterior shoreline, and exclude the shorelines of islands located within a lake's boundaries. In lakes with many islands, those islands' combined shorelines may exceed a lake's exterior shoreline.

You can find many of the world's longest-shoreline lakes on Lakelubbers.


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Surface Area | LakeLubbers

This is the area (acreage, square kilometers, etc.) of the top surface area of a lake - measured at a lake's normal elevation. The surface area can be considerably smaller or larger when lake levels are lower or higher than normal. North America's Lake Superior is the world's largest freshwater lake by this measure.

The other measure of a lake's size is the lake's water volume. By that measure, the world's largest freshwater lake is Lake Baikal in Siberia.

You can find many of the world's largest lakes (acres) on Lakelubbers. There is no widely-accepted minimum surface area that defines a lake. What Lakelubbers describes as a lake, you might call a pond. The smallest lake that Lakelubbers currently includes is Hawaii's 2-acre Lake Waiau.


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Water Level Control | LakeLubbers

This is the organization that controls water releases or outflows from the lake or reservoir. In the USA, this is often the US Army Corps of Engineers, a power company, a municipal water system, an irrigation district, or a paper manufacturing company. In the case of private or gated lakes, a homeowners' association may be the lake's controlling authority.

Many lakes cross borders, including North America's Great Lakes. The control of such lakes and their coveted freshwater may be amicably shared - or hotly disputed.

"Water wars" continue at many lakes as growing populations and crop irrigation needs compete for the freshwater that lakes contain.


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Lake Type | LakeLubbers

There are 3 basic types of lakes that are currently included on LakeLubbers. 2 types may be dammed or not dammed, producing 5 classifications.

- A Reservoir is a man-made freshwater lake that is usually created by damming rivers.

- A Natural Freshwater Lake occurs naturally - often by glacial activity - and has a salinity of less than 30 parts per thousand. It may be dammed to produce electricity or for other reasons.

- A Natural Saltwater Lake occurs naturally and has a salinity of more than 30 parts per thousand (ppt). It may be dammed.

"Brackish" water may be categorized as freshwater or saltwater, depending on its salt content (salinity). Oligohaline water has less than 15 ppt of salt. Mesohaline water has 15-29 ppt. Polyhaline has 30-335 ppt.


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