Beech Fork Lake, West Virginia, USA

Lake Locations:

USA - South - West Virginia - Metro Valley -

Nestled in the verdant West Virginia hills off of Interstate 64 in Wayne County, Beech Fork Lake provides endless entertainment for visitors seeking a variety of fun outdoor activities. Located a few miles south of the City of Huntington, Beech Fork Lake is a short drive from Charleston, WV; Cincinnati, OH; and Lexington, KY.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers created Beech Fork Lake for flood control and recreation by damming the Beech Fork of the Twelve Pole Creek River. Popular belief holds that George Washington was among the explorers who gave Twelve Pole Creek River its name (its mouth was measured at 12 “poles” across). The lake opened to the public in 1978, and nearby Beech Fork State Park opened in 1979. The park offers 3,144 acres of wildlife and a breathtaking view of the lake. The Corps maintains Beech Fork Lake at a summer elevation of 592 feet above sea level. Lake levels are lowered in the fall to a winter pool elevation of 583 feet to make room for melting snow and heavy spring rains. Water levels reached an all-time high on March 6, 1997 at 608.45 feet, just six feet below the flood control pool of 614.5 feet.

The 720-acre lake is a peaceful place to enjoy a meandering boat ride, especially since the lake prohibits engines over 10 horsepower (larger boat engines must remove the propeller). Paddle boats, canoes, kayaks, and row boats are available to rent at Beech Fork Marina, near the Beech Fork Dam and Recreation Center, while pedal boats and licensed jon boats can be rented at the boat launch in Beech Fork State Park.

With over 12,000 acres of land including the lake, state park, and wildlife preservation areas, both experienced and novice anglers have ample opportunity to fish for largemouth, smallmouth and hybrid striped bass, catfish, walleye, saugeye, black crappie, and bluegill. Hunters will find seasons for rabbit, turkey, deer, squirrel, grouse, raccoon, fox, mourning dove, woodcock and waterfowl. Swimmers and sunbathers can relax at the lake’s swimming beach near the dam or take a dip in the deluxe 50-meter swimming pool at Beech Fork Lake State Park, complete with bathhouse and snack stand.

Don’t forget to take a nature hike or bike ride through the dense hickory, oak, and pine trees that cover 85% of the area. Also, keep your eye out for migratory water fowl, neotropical songbirds, raptors, whitetail deer, fox, and even the occasional black bear. You can also spot various frog and toad species as well as wildflowers tucked into the landscape. If you’re in Beech Fork State Park, why not start or join a game of volleyball, basketball, softball, tennis, or horseshoes, or enjoy a meal under one of the picnic shelters.

If an overnight stay is on the agenda, Beech Fork State Park has hundreds of campsites available, ranging from primitive to full service with water, sewer, and electricity. Many campsites are lakefront, and all sites have a grill and picnic table and access to full service bathhouses and restroom facilities. If camping isn’t your style, try one of the six deluxe cabins with lake views and modern conveniences. Both campsites and cabins are available year-round.

Schedule some time to explore nearby towns. In nearby Milton, check out a glass factory and watch from the observation deck as artisans handcraft glass, blow it into shape, and then finish the item. Also nearby is historic Huntington. It’s situated on the Ohio River and houses the Huntington Museum of Art and a riverfront park with festivals and picnic areas. Then stroll downtown to Heritage Village and tour the renovated B & O Railway Station with a real locomotive and Pullman Car, as well as Huntington’s first bank that was allegedly robbed by the James Gang in September 1875.

It’s easy to see why Beech Fork Lake attracts over one million annual visitors. Whether it’s for a day, a weekend, or a week, there will never be a shortage of fun things to do at Beech Fork Lake.

Things to do at Beech Fork Lake

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Boating
  • Swimming
  • Swimming Pool
  • Beach
  • Canoeing
  • Kayaking
  • Tennis
  • Camping
  • Picnicking
  • Cabin Rentals
  • Hiking
  • Hunting
  • Wildlife Viewing
  • Birding
  • State Park
  • Museum

Fish species found at Beech Fork Lake

  • Bass
  • Black Crappie
  • Bluegill
  • Catfish
  • Crappie
  • Perch
  • Saugeye Perch
  • Striped Bass
  • Sunfish
  • Walleye

Beech Fork Lake Photo Gallery

    Beech Fork Lake Statistics & Helpful Links

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    Lake Type: Artificial Reservoir, Dammed

    Water Level Control: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

    Surface Area: 720 acres

    Shoreline Length: 31 miles

    Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 592 feet

    Minimum Elevation (Min Pond): 0 feet

    Maximum Elevation (Max Pond): 614 feet

    Average Depth: 13 feet

    Maximum Depth: 15 feet

    Water Volume: 9,180 acre-feet

    Completion Year: 1978

    Drainage Area: 78 sq. miles

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    Trophic State | LakeLubbers

    Trophic State measures the level of algae and nutrients in a lake.

    An oligotrophic lake is very clear (blue in color) and does not support much plant or fish life. A hyper-oligotrophic lake is the clearest of all lakes, and is nearly devoid of plants and fish.

    A mesotrophic lake is slightly green and supports a moderate degree of plant and fish life. A lake's most desired trophic state is generally this mid-point - the mesotrophic state.

    A eutrophic lake is somewhat murky and supports a large amount of plant and fish life. A hypereutrophic lake is clouded with algae, plant life, and fish life. A eutrophic or hyper-eutrophic lake can be difficult to navigate by boat - and is often an unpleasant place to swim.

    The use of phosphorus-rich and nitrogen-rich fertilizer on lawns and golf courses surrounding a lake can cause it to become eutrophic or hypereutrophic.


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    Catchment or Drainage Area | LakeLubbers

    This is the surrounding area that drains into a lake, including land, rivers and their tributaries. This is also known as the lake's "catchment basin".

    Small lakes at the highest peaks of mountains have small drainage areas. The world's oceans have the largest drainage areas.


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    Lake-Area Population | LakeLubbers

    This is the estimated number of people who live in a house with a view of a lake, plus those who self-describe the lake as their home, for example: "I live at Smith Mountain Lake."


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    Water Residence Time | LakeLubbers

    This is the estimated time that it takes for an amount of water equal to the entire volume of a lake to flow out of - or evaporate from - the lake.

    Residence Time can be as short as a few days for fast-flowing small lakes, and can exceed 100 years for slow-flowing large lakes.


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    Completion Year | LakeLubbers

    This is the year that a reservoir was first filled to the reservoir's normal elevation - or the year that a natural lake was first dammed. A large reservoir can take more than a year to fill after its dam is first closed.

    The Grand Anicut in southern India is generally considered the world's oldest dam that still operates. Grand Anicut was constructed in the second century BC. It now impounds an irrigation network that includes roughly one million acres.

    You can find many of the the world's newest reservoirs on LakeLubbers. Many of the world's oldest reservoirs appear on the last page of that list.


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    Water Volume | LakeLubbers

    This is the estimated volume of water that a lake contains -- measured at the lake's normal elevation. By this measure, the world's largest freshwater lake is Siberia's Lake Baikal.

    You can find many of the the world's largest lakes (by water volume) on LakeLubbers.

    Water Volume can be measured in acre-feet, in cubic miles, or in cubic kilometers. One acre-foot is the amount of water needed to cover one acre (43,560 square feet) to a depth of one foot. One cubic mile equals 3,379,200 acre-feet. One cubic kilometer equals 810,713 acre-feet.

    1 acre-foot is equal to 325,851 US gallons. Siberia's Lake Baikal contains about 6,276,367,740,000,000 gallons of freshwater - nearly 1 million gallons for every living person on earth.

    The other - and more widely used - measure of a lake's size is the lake's surface acreage. By that measure, the world's largest freshwater lake is North America's Lake Superior.


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    Maximum Depth | LakeLubbers

    This is the estimated greatest depth of the water in a lake -- measured at the lake's normal elevation. The world's deepest lake is Siberia's Lake Baikal; that lake's maximum depth is estimated at 5,314 feet.

    You can find many of the the world's deepest lakes on LakeLubbers. If you select the last page of that list, you will find the (maximum depth of) the shallowest lakes in our database.


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    Average Depth | LakeLubbers

    This is the estimated average depth of the water in a lake -- measured at the lake's normal elevation. If the water volume and surface area of a lake are known, an estimate of the lake's average depth can be calculated:

    Water volume ÷ Surface Area = Average Depth

    Example: 1,000,000 acre-feet ÷ 20,000 acres = 50 feet average depth


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    Maximum Elevation | LakeLubbers

    This is a lake's highest water level, measured by the lake's surface distance above sea level, that can occur during flooding. A lake's highest possible maximum elevation is usually the top of the lake's dam or spillway.

    At lakes that include residential development, government regulations usually forbid the construction of homes below a lake's maximum elevation.


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    Minimum Elevation | LakeLubbers

    This is a lake's lowest water level, measured by the lake's surface distance above sea level, that can be reasonably expected to occur. Low lake levels can occur due to deliberate seasonal draw downs for irrigation or impending snow melt, reduced water inflows, drought and evaporation, residential or commercial water demands, and hydropower generation.

    Some lakes' minimum and maximum elevations are virtually the same. Lakes that generate hydropower may vary by several feet - according to power demand. Lakes whose primary purpose is to prevent flooding can seasonally vary by 100 feet or more.

    When some lakes reach their minimum elevation, their boat ramps may not be long enough to permit boat access - and boats docked on shallow parts of the lake may end up on dry ground. In those cases, kayakers and shore-based anglers may be among the few happy recreational users of the lake.


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    Normal Elevation | LakeLubbers

    This is a lake's normal water level, measured by the lake's surface distance above sea level. For a reservoir, this water level is also known as "full pond" or "full pool".

    You can find many of the world's highest-elevated lakes on LakeLubbers. Lakes with the lowest elevations (known by LakeLubbers) are shown on the final page of that list.


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    Shoreline Length | LakeLubbers

    This is the length of the exterior shoreline around a lake - measured at the lake's normal elevation. The shoreline length can be considerably shorter or longer when lake water levels are lower or higher than normal.

    A lake with many coves has a much longer shoreline than a lake of similar surface area that is nearly circular in shape.

    When known, the shoreline miles that we report in our statistics include only the lake's exterior shoreline, and exclude the shorelines of islands located within a lake's boundaries. In lakes with many islands, those islands' combined shorelines may exceed a lake's exterior shoreline.

    You can find many of the world's longest-shoreline lakes on Lakelubbers.


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    Surface Area | LakeLubbers

    This is the area (acreage, square kilometers, etc.) of the top surface area of a lake - measured at a lake's normal elevation. The surface area can be considerably smaller or larger when lake levels are lower or higher than normal. North America's Lake Superior is the world's largest freshwater lake by this measure.

    The other measure of a lake's size is the lake's water volume. By that measure, the world's largest freshwater lake is Lake Baikal in Siberia.

    You can find many of the world's largest lakes (acres) on Lakelubbers. There is no widely-accepted minimum surface area that defines a lake. What Lakelubbers describes as a lake, you might call a pond. The smallest lake that Lakelubbers currently includes is Hawaii's 2-acre Lake Waiau.


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    Water Level Control | LakeLubbers

    This is the organization that controls water releases or outflows from the lake or reservoir. In the USA, this is often the US Army Corps of Engineers, a power company, a municipal water system, an irrigation district, or a paper manufacturing company. In the case of private or gated lakes, a homeowners' association may be the lake's controlling authority.

    Many lakes cross borders, including North America's Great Lakes. The control of such lakes and their coveted freshwater may be amicably shared - or hotly disputed.

    "Water wars" continue at many lakes as growing populations and crop irrigation needs compete for the freshwater that lakes contain.


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    Lake Type | LakeLubbers

    There are 3 basic types of lakes that are currently included on LakeLubbers. 2 types may be dammed or not dammed, producing 5 classifications.

    - A Reservoir is a man-made freshwater lake that is usually created by damming rivers.

    - A Natural Freshwater Lake occurs naturally - often by glacial activity - and has a salinity of less than 30 parts per thousand. It may be dammed to produce electricity or for other reasons.

    - A Natural Saltwater Lake occurs naturally and has a salinity of more than 30 parts per thousand (ppt). It may be dammed.

    "Brackish" water may be categorized as freshwater or saltwater, depending on its salt content (salinity). Oligohaline water has less than 15 ppt of salt. Mesohaline water has 15-29 ppt. Polyhaline has 30-335 ppt.


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