Raystown Lake incorporates new fishing tournament safety measures ahead of 2024 recreation season

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Baltimore District
Published Jan. 16, 2024

In an effort to increase visitor safety, minimize traffic congestion and provide safe access for emergency vehicles at boat ramps during peak recreation season at Raystown Lake, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Baltimore District, requests that fishing tournament directors schedule the start and end times of their tournaments outside of peak capacity weekend hours, 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., Saturday and Sunday, between Memorial Day and Labor Day holiday weekends, when first-come, first-served boating traffic is heaviest. For example, a tournament could begin at 8 a.m. and end at 4 p.m., or begin at 4 p.m. and end at 1 a.m., or begin at 1 a.m. and end at 9 a.m., etc.

Tournament directors wishing to schedule their activities, such as launch times, weigh-in’s, and prize distribution, during peak capacity hours are requested to follow the established safety measures that will assist in mitigating the impact of their event on other lake users who will be accessing the same areas.

Project staff will continue to evaluate permit applications on a case-by-case basis and will contact tournament directors to discuss alternative scheduling options. Tournament directors may be asked to meet special conditions for tournaments that cannot be scheduled outside of peak capacity times.

"A 2018 boating capacity study conducted as part of our Master Plan revision found that the project has ‘reached or exceeded’ boating capacity,” said Raystown Lake Operations Project Manager Jude Harrington.  "Fishing, recreational boating, and boat-to-shore camping activities are very popular at Raystown and efforts to access the lake via the boat launches often create heavy congestion that could impede safe access for emergency vehicles. The safety of our visitors is our top priority, and this request will assist with maintaining accessibility, should an emergency arise."

The 2024 tournament season will serve as an evaluation period to allow project staff and tournament directors an opportunity to evaluate and refine existing procedures in the future.

Fishing tournament organizers must apply for a permit through the PA Fish and Boat Commission. As a waterways management authority, PA Fish and Boat Commission issues tournament permits at Raystown Lake. USACE, as the primary land management agency, may approve/disapprove these requests in accordance with special use activities requirements found in USACE Recreation Operations and Maintenance Guidance and Procedures, Engineer Circular 1130-2-550 Chapter 9.

Raystown Lake, the popular Huntingdon County destination, welcomed more than 1.2 million visitors and hosted 125 fishing tournaments in 2023. It is home to Seven Points Campground, one of the top earning campgrounds among 770 campgrounds at USACE projects across the country, as well as the Allegrippis Trails, a premier single-track mountain biking trail system rated amongst the best in the Eastern United States.

The Raystown staff would like to encourage all boaters using the public launches during the summer recreation season to plan ahead by having boats loaded with all gear and equipment needed for a fun and safe day on the water before they approach the boat ramp. This will ensure more efficient use of the facility and assist with relieving traffic congestion.

For more information, please contact the Raystown Lake Ranger Office at (814) 658-3405 or the PA Fish and Boat Commission Southcentral Office at (717) 486-7087 or RA-FBSCRLE@pa.gov. Additional information regarding fishing tournament safety measures can also be found on our website.  


Raystown Lake is the largest lake located entirely in Pennsylvania and offers 8,300 surface acres of clear water surrounded by 21,000 acres of forested mountain slopes. Raystown is a multi-purpose lake constructed and managed by USACE for flood damage reduction, recreation and natural resource opportunities, and hydropower. Visitors come to Raystown to enjoy panoramic views of undeveloped land and waters, access to excellent public recreation facilities, and fishing and hunting opportunities. From camping and boating, to hiking and mountain biking, to striped bass fishing and whitetail deer hunting, and everything in between - Raystown offers something for everyone. Visit our website for more: https://www.nab.usace.army.mil/Missions/Dams-Recreation/Raystown-Lake/   



Cynthia Mitchell
443-240-5019 (cell)

Release no. 24-001