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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.
Its average depth is about 15 feet with a maximum depth of about 35 feet. 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 titles add up to one thing: big fun for you and your family.
Pymatuning Lake is famous for its four-season offerings. Beginning in the warm summer months, water sport opportunities abound. Boating is one of the most popular, though visitors should be aware that there is a 10 horsepower limit imposed on all motorboats. There are three boat marinas on the lake -- Jamestown Watercraft Concession, Espyville Marina Concession, and Linesville Marina Concessionaire -- and 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 ever 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 sandcastles 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 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 as well as ice fishing are both allowed and enjoyed on this Pennsylvania lake.
One of the most unique things that Pymatuning Lake is known for is its Spillway Concession, where the "ducks walk on the fishes' backs." Each year, 300,000 visitors come to the lake to feed the fish thousands of loaves of bread a 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 navigate the lake on the backs of the fish. Truly a must-see, must-do event!
If you choose to visit the area in 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, you'll have fun. Just be sure to follow it up with a warming mug of hot chocolate!
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