Lake Gaston, North Carolina & Virginia, USA

Lake Locations:

USA - South - North Carolina - Piedmont - Virginia - Southern Virginia -

Lake Gaston covers 20,300 acres along 34 miles of Virginia and North Carolina real estate. The lake was created in 1963 by the Virginia Electric and Power Company (now Dominion Virginia Power) to generate hydroelectric power. Three lakes were created by dams on the Roanoke River. Lake Gaston is in the middle of the chain. Waters from Kerr Lake Dam, at elevation 300 feet above sea level, flow into Lake Gaston which has a full pond elevation of 200 feet above sea level. Waters from Lake Gaston Dam flow downstream into smaller Roanoke Rapids Lake at normal full pond elevation of 132 feet above sea level. Because regulations permit water level fluctuations of only one foot plus or minus from normal level, Lake Gaston enjoys relatively constant water levels with an average depth of 40 feet.

The Lake Gaston community straddles two Virginia counties (Brunswick and Mecklenburg) and three North Carolina counties (Halifax, Northampton and Warren) with Interstate 85 to the west and Interstate 95 to the east. The lake population is a diverse mix of vacation homeowners and retirees, with about one-half of the population full-time residents. The lake attracts visitors and transplants alike with its sparkling blue waters, relaxed lake lifestyle, and convenient location.

Hydrilla, an invasive aquatic plant, was introduced into Lake Gaston in the mid-1980’s from boat trailers and motor propellers. In its efforts to stop the spread of hydrilla, the community treats the lake with herbicide applications and grass carp, a plant-eating fish with a preference for the weed.

Water enthusiasts love Lake Gaston with its 350 miles of shoreline to explore, seemingly endless acreage, and emerald green backdrop. In addition to the 34-mile long main channel, 20 smaller coves run north-south off the main channel. If you love boating, you’ll feel right at home watching pontoon boats leisurely cruising the lake, jet skis enjoying a quick romp, power boats speeding across the reservoir, and water skiers, tubers, wake boarders whipping along behind boats. Sailboats, too, drift along, waiting to catch the perfect wind; sailboats pepper the lake’s shoreline. Launch from any of the public boat ramps or marinas that dot the shoreline, and prepare for a day of prime lake enjoyment.

Anglers love Lake Gaston for the largemouth bass, striped bass, and black crappie caught here. Other species found in the lake include walleye, chain pickerel, white perch, catfish, and bluegill. The fishing is above average, a fact supported by the several annual fishing tournaments held on the lake. But whether you’re a hobbyist or tournament-oriented angler, keep in mind that a fishing license is required for those over 15 in both North Carolina and Virginia. Anglers can use either a Virginia or North Carolina fishing license on either side of the state line.

Outdoor activities don’t stop in the lake, though, as Lake Gaston is surrounded by beautiful spots. Campers flock to Americamps Lake Gaston, located on the Virginia side of the lake. The campground offers sites with water and electric hookups, some waterfront, as well as rental campers and rustic sleeping quarters that include air conditioning and a small refrigerator. Americamps is a perfect jumping-off point for nature hiking, bird watching, and animal watching, as it enjoys a prime wooded location. As you explore hardwood forests, keep your eyes open for swallows, robins, and the occasional owl, and watch as squirrels scavenge for acorns, chipmunks scurry up nearby trees, and white-tail deer prance through the forest. Here at Lake Gaston, all of nature will be your front door.

Though the reservoir is man-made, nature surrounds the lake. Whether you’re looking for a vacation getaway or a permanent relocation, Lake Gaston is rich in convenience, rustic charm, and recreation.

Things to do at Lake Gaston

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Fishing Tournaments
  • Boating
  • Sailing
  • Jet Skiing
  • Water Skiing
  • Wakeboarding
  • Camping
  • Campground
  • Hiking
  • Wildlife Viewing
  • Birding

Fish species found at Lake Gaston

  • Bass
  • Black Bass
  • Black Crappie
  • Bluegill
  • Carp
  • Catfish
  • Chain Pickerel
  • Crappie
  • Grass Carp
  • Largemouth Bass
  • Perch
  • Pickerel
  • Pike
  • Striped Bass
  • Sunfish
  • Walleye
  • White Perch

Lake Gaston Photo Gallery

Lake Gaston Statistics & Helpful Links

divider

Spread the word! Share our Lake Gaston article with your fellow Lake Lubbers!

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.


Lakes for Vacation and Recreation

Except as noted, Copyright © LakeLubbers LLC. All Rights Reserved.

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.


Lakes for Vacation and Recreation

Except as noted, Copyright © LakeLubbers LLC. All Rights Reserved.

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."


Lakes for Vacation and Recreation

Except as noted, Copyright © LakeLubbers LLC. All Rights Reserved.

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.


Lakes for Vacation and Recreation

Except as noted, Copyright © LakeLubbers LLC. All Rights Reserved.

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.


Lakes for Vacation and Recreation

Except as noted, Copyright © LakeLubbers LLC. All Rights Reserved.

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.


Lakes for Vacation and Recreation

Except as noted, Copyright © LakeLubbers LLC. All Rights Reserved.

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.


Lakes for Vacation and Recreation

Except as noted, Copyright © LakeLubbers LLC. All Rights Reserved.

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


Lakes for Vacation and Recreation

Except as noted, Copyright © LakeLubbers LLC. All Rights Reserved.

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.


Lakes for Vacation and Recreation

Except as noted, Copyright © LakeLubbers LLC. All Rights Reserved.

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.


Lakes for Vacation and Recreation

Except as noted, Copyright © LakeLubbers LLC. All Rights Reserved.

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.


Lakes for Vacation and Recreation

Except as noted, Copyright © LakeLubbers LLC. All Rights Reserved.

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.


Lakes for Vacation and Recreation

Except as noted, Copyright © LakeLubbers LLC. All Rights Reserved.

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.


Lakes for Vacation and Recreation

Except as noted, Copyright © LakeLubbers LLC. All Rights Reserved.

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.


Lakes for Vacation and Recreation

Except as noted, Copyright © LakeLubbers LLC. All Rights Reserved.

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.


Lakes for Vacation and Recreation

Except as noted, Copyright © LakeLubbers LLC. All Rights Reserved.