Pymatuning Lake

How do you begin to describe a location whose claim to fame is "where the ducks walk on the fish?" Well, let's just start at the beginning.
Pymatuning Lake is located in the northeast corner of Pennsylvania, and part of it spills over into Ohio. I know this first hand, because even though we went with a local, we missed the turn to Linesville and skirted the western shore of the lake on the Ohio side before crossing over on a causeway to the Spillway.
It was a chilly November day when we were there, but I can just imagine how beautiful and busy the lake is in the summer. Even though the lake is large, there is a 20-hp motor limit for boats, which must make it a very laid-back and relaxing place to visit in the summer. As described in the Pennsylvania State Park website:
Almost everything about Pymatuning State Park is huge. At 21,122 acres, it is one of the largest state parks in the Commonwealth. The 17,088-acre Pymatuning Reservoir is the largest lake in the Commonwealth. In its three campgrounds, Pymatuning has the most campsites in the Pennsylvania state park system. More people visit Pymatuning than almost any other state park in Pennsylvania. But the biggest thing about Pymatuning is the fun you can have boating, fishing, swimming, camping and enjoying other recreational opportunities. In addition to the state park facilities, the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission operate a fish hatchery and visitor center, and the Pennsylvania Game Commission has wildlife viewing areas and a learning center.
The spillway area is beautifully developed with a concessionaire (not open while we were there), and great parking areas and walkways. Feeding the seagulls is almost as popular as feeding the fish.
Pymatuning lake was originally built after a disastrous flood in 1913 to control the water, but it has since become a haven for fish, wildlife and birds. The spillway separates two portions of the lake. It's hard to describe because I don't understand the mechanics behind it, but the water flows over into the bowl, which is filled with fish.
And ducks, too, of course. After all, how could you have a place where the ducks walk on the fish without the ducks?
When the concession is open, they sell bread there, but it wasn't open on the day that we were there. Although we didn't bring any bread, fortunately for us, there were other people who had, and we got to watch the antics of the seagulls, ducks, and the carp devouring the bread that was thrown. Did I mention carp? Millions of carp, I swear!
Click on the video below so you can see the frenzy that is created when bread is thrown. First the ducks, then the seagulls, and last of all, the carp.

While we didn't observe any ducks walking on the carp while we were there, it was easy to see that they could have if they had wanted to.
Everywhere you look, the fish are just begging to be fed! It is well worth a visit, and while you're in the area, be sure to visit some of the other attractions at the great communities of Crawford County, Pennsylvania.
According to what I read, more than 300,000 people visit the Linesville area each year to feed the fish. What an incredible example of making the most out of what you have. Figure out what makes you unique, that people can't get anywhere else (really, do think there is anywhere else like this?), then market that! The resulting visitors will benefit all of the other area attractions.

It was a great side trip, and had it been in the summer, would have been a great place to rent a cabin and stay for a few days exploring.

Thanks for stopping by. The coffee is always on.


  1. I've been there a few times and have to admit it's scary and neat every time. Kids are the greatest there since they are just amazed at the number of the fish (not that us grown-ups aren't amazed either).

  2. It was an amazing place. When my aunt told us we were going to see carp, I thought she was crazy. Then we got there and I understood. Strange the things that make tourist attractions.

  3. There used to be an animal park near there too that was neat. Had all sorts of animals, llamas, bears, lions, deer, etc. Some you could feed and pet (like the goats), others you couldn't (like the tigers). BTW - My mom lives near there in Sandy Lake and my wife and I went to college just north of there in Edinboro. That's why I knew about those crazy carp!

  4. If there's a college in Edinboro whose band playse the bagpipes, I think one of my new found cousins-in-law went to school there. Except for the snow that you're getting hammered with, that part of the country is beautiful.

  5. The mascot for Edinboro University of Pennsylvania is the Fighting Scots. Which means our marching band had kilt wearing bagpipe players. Tons of fun to watch them during homecoming. I graduated in '98 and my wife graduated in '98 and 2000. And you're right, other than the snow in the winter, it was a very pretty place to live.


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