Pymatuning Reservoir is the largest impoundment in Pennsylvania at 17,088 acres. With 70 miles of shoreline along the reservoir, PA DCNR is responsible for maintaining over 42 miles. The lake also includes 28 miles of shoreline in the state of Ohio. The reservoir was built on what used to be the largest swamp in Pennsylvania and the former wetland soils are prone to erosion. Pymatuning Dam was completed in 1934 and as the lake continues to age, many miles are in need of stabilization to improve safe fishing access, better fish habitat, and water. The offshore fish habitat has also deteriorated over time. The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission has developed a fish habitat improvement plan in cooperation with the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.
The plan includes shoreline stabilization structures that will enhance shoreline rock habitat for fish, increase safe angler access, and improve water quality. The proposed project also includes a partnership volunteer aspect that will increase the wood type habitat offshore. Largemouth and smallmouth bass will use this structure through various life stages. Project estimates, structural designs, project management, and installation will be completed by the PFBC Lake Habitat division, staff and construction contractor paid for by PFBC. All habitat devices planned for this project have been designed and placed by the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission through-out the state and have been proven to provide longlasting fish habitat in reservoir systems.
Pymatuning was host to 119 fishing tournaments in 2021on the Pennsylvania side of the lake. That included 102 bass, 5 crappie, 5 walleye, and 7 multi-species tournaments which also includes kids derbies. All of the new habitat sites will be shared with anglers through the fish habitat improvement maps available on the PFBC website. The shoreline stabilization portions of the plan will also increase angler access from shore. Pymatuning State Park is a destination for many anglers. The park offers many different overnight accommodations including multiple campgrounds and modern cabins.
The McArthur Access project site includes a gravel launch area that will allow kayak and small fishing boat anglers access to parts of the lake that before were a diffcult paddle to get to and fish.
The proposed projects in this plan include:
- Site #2- 100 Porcupine crib juniors and 50 short vertical plank structures that will provide 2,400 square feet of offshore woody habitat spread across 3 acres.
- Site #8- 14 Stone-framed deflectors that will stabilize 650 feet eroding shoreline and increase rock and wood type habitat near shore
- Site #13- 11 Stone-framed deflectors and 5 rock rubble humps that will stabilize 360 feet eroding shoreline and increase rock and wood type habitat near shore
- Site #14- 69 Sawtooth deflectors that will stabilize 690 feet of eroding shoreline and one riparian buffer that will stabilize lakeshore and filter stormwater runoff