Conneaut Lake

A boat dock near Fireman's Beach can be seen covered in water due to heavy rains.

The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission has restricted speeds on Conneaut Lake temporarily due to the lake's high water level, and high water levels at Pymatuning State Park will mean swift and hazardous conditions on the Shenango River below the lake's dam.

While Conneaut Lake has no restrictions on motor horsepower, boats and other watercraft are temporarily limited to slow, no-wake speed until further notice from the commission.

The commission issued the temporary change Monday morning.

The entire lake is under the speed limitation. The restriction is in place due to hazardous conditions caused by elevated water levels from heavy rains, according to Mike Parker, commission spokesman.

Numerous docks along the lake's shores and areas near the normal summer shoreline are submerged due to the volume of extra water.

“There is a bit of an issue out there,” Parker said, adding that no other lakes in northwestern Pennsylvania are under such speed restrictions.

The commission issued a similar temporary restriction on Conneaut Lake in June 2019 due to high water levels at that time.

Meanwhile, Pymatuning State Park's massive lake has crested, according to Dan Bickel, the park's operations manager/superintendent.

The current lake elevation was at 1,009.20 feet above sea level Monday and dropping slowly, Bickel said. The state park's normal elevation for the lake's summer water pool is 1,008.00 feet.

"We are about 16 inches above," he said. "We have both sluice gates open 58 percent and are releasing about 1,000 cubic feet per second. This is near the maximum release without inundating residential areas downstream."

The sluice gates are open to reduce the lake's level, but will create swift and hazardous conditions on the Shenango River below the dam.

Due to the amount of water impounded from the recent storms, it may take several weeks to return to the lake to its summer pool levels, Bickel said.

The primary purpose of the Pymatuning Dam is water supply and flood control.

Keith Gushard can be reached at (814) 724-6370 or by email at kgushard@meadvilletribune.com.

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