Smith Mountain Lake is a 20,600-acre impoundment located near Roanoke in Bedford and Franklin counties. This reservoir is one of Virginia’s premier fisheries, offering outstanding fishing and other recreational opportunities. The reservoir was constructed in the early 1960’s and is owned by American Electric Power Company and is managed primarily for hydroelectric power generation. Most of the shoreline is developed with residential homes but other facilities catering to outdoor enthusiasts are found at various locations.
SML has numerous boat ramps (public and private) and marinas scattered throughout the reservoir. Smith Mountain Lake State Park is a major attraction with all it has to offer. Some of the parks options are picnic areas, beach, campground, cabins, handicapped-accessible fishing pier, boat ramp, hiking trails, scenic views and a golf course located next to the park. The Smith Mountain Lake Community Park in Franklin County also offers picnic areas, beach and handicapped-accessible fishing pier. Many lake visitors take advantage of the numerous houses available for rent around the lake for lodging accommodations, like Mariners Landing Resort.
Black bass are the most sought after species by anglers at Smith Mountain Lake. Largemouth bass comprise the bulk of this fishery and far outnumber smallmouth bass. Smith Mountain lake is consistently one of the top producer of bass citations in Virginia and has been hosting an ESPN Bassmaster Elite Series tournament for several years.
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