Located within Pymatuning State Park, home to the second largest lake that’s at least partially in PA, this spot has been drawing visitors to the northwestern corner of the state for decades. In fact, it’s even said that this was a popular spot during the 1930s and 1940s when people were looking for inexpensive entertainment during the Great Depression.
At Where the Ducks Walk on the Fish, which is located at a small spillway in the middle of Pymatuning Reservoir, thousands of carp fight for morsels of food that both wash over the spillway and are thrown to them by gawking tourists. The spot’s name comes from the many ducks and geese that are often seen competing with the fish for bread.
This unusual is located just south of the community of Linesville, a small town only a few miles east of the Pennsylvania/Ohio border.
A roadway crosses the lake between two different portions of the lake that sit at slightly different elevations from each other. In the middle of the lake, a small spillway allows water to flow from the upper lake into the much larger lower portion.
While this is a relatively small space, thousands of carp (and likely some koi and very large goldfish) can be found looking for a meal. And, the many tourists that visit are happy to oblige by tossing in pieces of bread.
Occasionally, the lake’s waterfowl will get involved as well, hence the spot’s name (though you are more likely to see geese than ducks during parts of the year).
While it might sound strange, there is something mesmerizing about watching so many large fish competing for a small piece of bread. However, don’t take just my word for it. Believe it or not, Pymatuning State Park is the second-most visited state park in Pennsylvania in large part thanks to this unusual attraction.
The area here is known as the Linesville Spillway or simply, The Spillway. There are two parking lots located less than a 100-yard walk from this impressive spot. A beautiful concrete connects the parking area to the spillway and is definitely a nice area to spend some time just enjoying this beautiful corner of Pennsylvania.
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Near the spillway, a small building features a snack bar that offers some reasonably priced snacks and even a small assortment of meal items. For those that didn’t bring bread, you can buy some here for only $1. However, I’d recommend bringing your own in case the snack bar is closed or out of stock.
While you’ll find carp, ducks, and geese all along the stretch of sidewalk from the parking areas to the spillway itself, you’ll find the greatest concentration of them in the basin below the spillway.
This area, which is about the size of a large room, is incredibly impressive to see as it almost looks as if the water itself is writhing as the bodies of the fish completely fill the water.
When throwing bread to the fish, there’s very little you need to keep in mind. However, while it might seem to make more sense to throw in small pieces of bread, dropping in whole slices throws the fish into a tizzy as they fight for a piece of the food.
Chain-link fencing surrounds the spillway, which means that even the smallest kids can drop bread and catch a glimpse of the fish, ducks, and water below. However, portions of the bottom of the fence are a little loose, so be careful both with small children as well as anything that you don’t want to disappear into the water.
It’s also worth noting that while this isn’t the only Pennsylvania State Park with carp, it’s the only place in the state park system where you are allowed to actually feed the wildlife. This makes it both a unique spot and also much more impressive than other places where the fish aren’t quite as used to being fed.
While it’s certainly an unusual attraction, Where the Ducks Walk on the Fish is a fantastic spot to visit if you are passing through or visiting Meadville and Crawford County, PA. It’s the sort of spot where you could spend five minutes or a couple of hours simply enjoying the fun and appreciating the natural beauty at this spot.
Visiting Where the Ducks Walk on the Fish
Where the Ducks Walk on the Fish can be found just south of Linesville along Hartstown Road at the following coordinates: 41.629906, -80.441365.
This is about a 25-minute drive west of Meadville and near the western end of Pennsylvania Route 6 in Crawford County, PA.
There is parking on both sides of the road near the spillway, and it’s a short, handicapped-accessible walk over to the spillway itself.
While the snack bar here does sell bread, I recommend bringing some of your own in case it isn’t open or they are sold out. Any inexpensive bread works fine for this fun and unique attraction.
Where the Ducks Walk on the Fish is open from dawn to dusk year-round.
Looking for more things to do nearby? Check out the PennDOT Road Sign Sculpture Garden, the Baldwin-Reynolds Museum, and Conneaut Lake Park.
[Click here for information on how to use the coordinates in this article to find your destination.]
4 thoughts on “Where the Ducks Walk on the Fish: Visiting the Unique Linesville Spillway”
Thanks Jim you brought back some childhood memories. Especially now since my dad passed away in August.
I have been going to the Spillway since I was three years old, it’s really a relaxing spot to be. There is a small, honor system “store” that has been selling bread since the Spillway opened. Make a left out of the parking lot, about 2 to 3miles there is a sign that says bread for the fish on the right. Day old bread 2 for 1.00. There are no employees, you go in, put your money in a slot and take your bread. It has been the “honor” system for over 50 years. Just adds to the aura of the area. There is also a pizza shop that is inside a covered bridge in the town of Andover. Really good food. And Linesville has a couple good places to eat and a cool Hardware store. Lots to do in this area.
I lived in Linesville my sophomore year of high school
The best memories of my life made there
Took my chilfren and grandchildren back to visit the spillway several tears ago
Please don’t feed bread to wildlife – especially Ducks. It is super bad for them and high carbs can actually give them deformities to their wings. Instead give them lettuce, cabbage, cucumbers, corn, peas, beans, broccoli, beets, squash, flowers, alfalfa, tomatoes, eggplant, bananas (no peel), pineapple, pomegranate seeds, scrambled eggs, dry cat food or dog food. Lots of cheap choices other than bread. Please don’t give them bread.