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Pymatuning Lake

One of the most versitile lakes that we have in Western Pennsylvania is Pymatuning Lake.  It offers something for every angler at every age and skill level.  Pymatuning Lake is a great family destination because there are multiple campgrounds, beaches, and great fishing.  The lake is has over 17,000 acres of surface area and is one of the largest lake is the state.  Even though part of the lake is located in Ohio.  Pymatuning has an average depth of approximately 15 feet but don’t let that fool you.  This lake shallows very quickly and has many boating hazards such as stumps, standing timber, and submerged islands.  The maximum horse power was recently changed on Pymatuning Lake is 20.

First let’s talk about the marinas located on the Pennsylvania side of Pymatuning Lake.  There are three marina’s located on the Pennsylvania side of the lake.  The southern most marina is Jamestown Marina and it is located near the dam.  There are plenty of slips, gas station, concession, and a public boat launch located here.  The Espyville Marina is located by the causeway on the north side of the lake.  Espyville Marina has the same amenities as Jamestown, but the public launch is on the south side of the causeway.  The causeway spans from the Pennsylvania side of the lake to the Ohio side of the lake along route 285.  The last marina is called Linesville Marina.  It is the northern most marina in the lake and has the same amenities as the Jamestown and Epsyville Marina.

There are three campgrounds located in Pennsylvania that are on the lake.  Jamestown Campground is located in the south end of the lake.  It has a private beach, playground equipment, camp store, and boat launch for campers only.  The two camground on the north side of the causeway are Tuttle and Linesville Campground.  Both have the same amenities as the Jamestown Campground.  All three campgrounds allow pets on certain sites and also have electric and water hook-ups on certain sites.  Reservations can be made through the DCNR website.  Typically, these campgrounds open on April 1st and stay open until late October.

There are a few other boat launches and sites to see and use.  Manning boat launch is located between Tuttle Campground and Epsyville Marina on the Northeast side of the lake.  Snodgrass boat launch is another commonly used boat launch which is located on the Southeast side of the lake.  Both boat launch have ADA accessible restrooms.  Another great attraction of Pymatuning Lake is the spillway on the north end of the lake.  The carp really stack up at the spill way and you can feed them on one side and fish for them on the other.  There is a little bite of something for everyone at the spillway, which makes it a great family destination.  Another place you should see is the causeway.  The causeway run East to West across the lake along PA route 285.  The causeway offers a place to fish and site seeing.

Pymatuning Lake offers great fishing for a number of different species.  Smallmouth and Largemouth bass are frequently caught and can be sizable.  Largemouth bass are often caught in shallow weeds, stumps, laydowns, and rock piles.  Some common lures for largemouth bass are spinnerbaits, tubes, jigs, crawbaits, buzzbaits, shiners, minnows, nightcrawlers, and crawfish.  Smallmouth bass are often located in slightly deeper water, but don’t be surprized if you find them spawning in the spring alongside largemouth bass.  These bass are often caught on jerkbaits, spinnerbaits, drop shot worms, crankbaits, and jigs.  Try tipping a jig and grub with fathead minnow on the rocky drop-offs.  Muskie are often taken by trolling or by casting.  Larger lures are necessary for catching these monsters, but there are plenty of them in the lake.  The southern end of the lake by jamestown seems to hold more muskie than the northern end of the lake.  Try fishing behind Jamestown Island near the dam for the best muskie action.  There is an abundent amount of pan fish for any skill level to catch.  Crappie, Perch, and Bluegill can be caught on typical panfish lures and small bass lures.  The stump field by linesville launch and clark island is a great place to try to get some panfish.  At one time Pymatuning was know for its great walleye fishing.  Although the size of the fish wasn’t as good as some locations it was good for catching high numbers of walleye.  Today the walleye population is a bit lower, but the size has increased.  Whatever species of fish you desire, Pymatuning Lake is a great location to find them.

PYMATUNING RESERVOIR

Species

Seasons

Minimum Size

Daily Limit

Walleye and Saugeye (Hybrids) Open year-round 15 inches 6 (combined species)
Bass Open year-round 12 inches 5
Muskellunge and Tiger Muskellunge (Hybrids) Open year-round 30 inches 2 (combined species)
All Other Species Open year-round No minimum None
Fishbait and Baitfish Open year-round No minimum None
Frogs and Tadpoles July 1 through Oct. 31 No minimum 15
Snapping Turtles July 1 through Oct. 31 No minimum 15 daily limit
30 possession limit
Turtles (all species other than snapping) Open year-round No minimum 2

Additional Restrictions for Pymatuning Reservoir

  • Lights or firearms may not be used to take frogs.
  • Hooks used to take turtles shall be at least 3.5 inches long with at least 1 inch space between the point and shank.
  • Spears, longbows, compound bows, and crossbows may ONLY be used to take carp and suckers.
  • Minnow seines and dip nets are restricted to 4 feet in size; mesh must measure not less than one-eighth inch, nor larger than one-half inch on a side.
  • ICE FISHING — An Ohio or Pennsylvania fishing license is recognized anywhere on the lake. It is unlawful while ice fishing to use more than five fishing devices, which may consist of rods, hand lines, tip-ups or any combination. Each device shall contain a single fishing line with no more than three hooks attached to each line. Holes cut in ice may not exceed 10 inches between the farthest points as measured in any direction. All lines, rods or tip-ups shall be under the immediate control of the person using them.

 

 

 

There are some good sources of information about Pymatuning Lake.  First, check the PA Fishing and Boat Commission website.  Then take a look at the Pymatuning Lake Association website.

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Hereford Manor

hereford-manorAll through my childhood I can remember trout fishing early in the year at Hereford Manor.  Fishing from the shore line or from a boat you can be very successful.  If you are going to boat at Hereford Manor Lake you can only use an electrical motor or row boat.  At normal pool there is about 45 acres of water surface.  The lake is well stocked with rainbow trout and may be the best kept secret for trout fishing besides the opening day of the season.  Opening day can be very good as well, but it tends to get crowded.  Although, it is not considered a primary fish in the lake, the crappie population is very high and very nicely sized.

 

Lures:

hereford-rainbow

 For trout I prefer using a threaded minnow, but I have seen anglers do very well on flies.   There is a decent amount of fishing pressure, so powerbait, salmon eggs and other live baits, such as red worms, maggots, mealworms, and wax worms, are somewhat over used.  Still under the right conditions this baits can be very effective.  For example, after a hard rain you will have good luck using a red worm or wax worm on a split shot rig (put one small bb sized split shot up your line about 6 inches from the hook) as the rain will wash worms and grubs off the bank, into the water.  If you can find any area where water is running off the bank you will do especially well. You may also want to consider using a small spinner or a niti and move around covering water. 

 

crappieFor crappie I would once again recommend minnow rigged on a jig head under a slip bobber.  Or you can try tipping a roadrunner with a minnow.  As far as artificial lures I would go with small spinners or small rapala. There is very little fishing pressure for species other than trout so your favorite lures will more than likely work for you.  Just remember that crappie will be in schools and that if you get one there are more in the area.  Crappie are also a fish that will normally hold tight to cover, wood or rocks, or weed beds.  So a good place to start when you’re looking for spring crappie is close to a patch of weeds or a tree that has fallen into the water. 

 

 

 

 

 

Location:  

Hereford Manor Lake is located west of Zelienople off of route 588.  For driving directions to Hereford Manor please visit our Local Fisheries tab on the home page.

Map

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