Army Corps announces recreation impacts at Jennings Randolph Lake from low lake levels, lake now open for shoreline fishing

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Baltimore District
Published Aug. 9, 2022
Updated: Aug. 9, 2022

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers at Jennings Randolph Lake (JRL) reminds the public about low lake levels impacting water recreation; announces the entire lake is now accessible for shoreline fishing.

“Due to lack of rain these past few weeks, the visiting public may notice the water level at Jennings Randolph Lake is lower than average,” said Fran Gullion, natural resources specialist. “This could impact your swimming or boating experience, so be aware of shallow areas. Be safe, and always wear your life jacket while on or near the water.”

JRL does not close recreation areas when the water levels drop below a certain point; however, certain rules must be followed.

Lake level impacts for recreation areas (mean sea level):

  • The Howell Run Boat Launch ramp can no longer be used as a launch for a boat the requires a trailer when the lake reaches 1445 feet elevation. The public can still launch kayaks and boats that can be carried by hand.
  • The Maryland Boat Launch accessed from Mt. Zion Road is open and accessible down to elevation 1425.
  • Shaw Beach swim area closes when the lake drops to 1455 feet elevation. The area stays open but is closed for swimming as the beach has no water left. Beyond the designated tuff booms at the beach area, there is a steep drop off, and it is not safe for swimming. Please stay out of this area.

“We encourage all boaters to be mindful of underwater hazards and always use caution on the water,” said Gullion. “For those fishermen looking for exercise, the entire lake is now accessible to shoreline fishing.”

“Water releases from Jennings Randolph dam, which serve the project’s authorized purposes of water quality and low flow augmentation continue to be made,” said Julie Fritz, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Baltimore District, Water Control chief. “It is typical for the reservoir to gradually fall over the course of the summer to serve these authorized purposes. However, the lack of rainfall for an extended time to support the releases from the dam has resulted in the lower-than-average reservoir levels this year.”

For more information on current lake levels and three-day projections for downstream releases, visit the following web site: Additionally, for questions and updates, please call the park office at 304 355-2346, Monday - Friday, 7:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. The Rivercast app is another helpful tool, as it reads local U.S. Geological Survey stations.

About Jennings Randolph Lake

Tucked between Garrett County, Maryland, and Mineral County, West Virginia, JRL stretches along 5.5 miles of spectacular countryside on the North Branch of the Potomac River. The JRL project (originally called Bloomington Lake) consists of a rolled earth and rockfill dam, rising 296 feet from the lake bottom. The dam, dike, and spillway extends 2,130 feet across the valley. At its conservation pool, the lake is approximately 6.6 miles long with a surface area of 915 acres. Project purposes include flood risk management, water quality, low-flow augmentation, water supply, and recreation.

Recreation opportunities at Jennings Randolph Lake include boat ramps for fishing and boating, beach and picnic areas, and the Robert W. Craig campground. Whitewater releases are made each spring from the dam's outlet works.

Franny Gullion, Park Ranger
(304) 355-2346

Release no. 22-021