Lake Moomaw, Virginia, USA

Lake Locations:

USA - South - Virginia - Shenandoah Valley -

Lake Moomaw is located in western Virginia, just north of Covington in the Shenandoah Valley region. It is nearly surrounded by George Washington National Forest, in the heart of the Allegheny Mountains. With its over 2500 surface acres, Lake Moomaw is a year-round outdoor wonderland for visitors seeking out its recreational opportunities. Fishing, boating, wildlife viewing, camping and water sports are just some of the wide variety of outdoor activities enjoyed by visitors. The lake location, nestled in the Allegheny Highlands, is a scenic outdoor paradise. Visitors have a plethora of natural sites for their activities in the area including the Gathright Wildlife Management Area, George Washington and Jefferson National Forests, Douthat State Park, many clear mountain streams and – of course – Lake Moomaw with its 43 miles of undeveloped, forested shoreline. One often-photographed site near the lake is the Humpback Bridge, the only arched single span covered bridge in the U.S.

Lake Moomaw is a U.S. Corps of Engineer reservoir created by Gathright Dam impounding the Jackson River. The Dam is of earth and rock construction, was authorized by the Flood Control Act of 1946 and was completed in 1982. The dam’s main purpose is to improve downstream water quality with low flow augmentation, flood control and increased recreational use. To this end the dam’s intake tower has 10 water quality gates located at 9 levels that allow water mixing from different levels of the lake. Like most flood control reservoirs, starting in June, Lake Moomaw is lowered between 10-15 feet annually. Generally, it reaches its lowest level in September. The US Corps of Engineers operates and maintains the dam and reservoir while the National Forest Service administers recreational use on and around Lake Moomaw.

Excellent boating is a major enjoyment on the beautiful waters of Lake Moomaw. A marina, boat rentals and a number of boat launching sites enhance all boating activities. Water sports abound and boating is enjoyable in the spectacular mountain rimmed setting.

Lake Moomaw is a fine ‘fishing hole’. Before the lake was filled, analysis showed that the lake would be deep enough for both warm and cold water fish species. With this determination, thousands of largemouth bass, bluegill, redear sunfish, and channel catfish were stocked in 1980. Wild populations of smallmouth bass, rock bass, and chain pickerel already called the Jackson River home. Yellow perch and black crappie and were later added to make Lake Moomaw a fine sport fishing water body. The trout fishing for rainbow, brown and ‘brookies’ is also excellent with the lower layer of cold, oxygenated water. Anglers will find all of these species in the usual places on Lake Moomaw.

Developed camping is available around Lake Moomaw, with hiking and biking trails, picnic areas and some primitive sites. The camping possibilities are endless and memorable. For the geocaching enthusiasts, there are more than ten caches nearby, with one on an island using lake statistics to determine coordinates.

In summary, Lake Moomaw delivers a spectacular scenic setting in which to enjoy a wealth of outdoor activities. A trip to Lake Moomaw will provide the visitor with a multitude of treasured memories.

Things to do at Lake Moomaw

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Boating
  • Camping
  • Picnicking
  • Hiking
  • Biking
  • Wildlife Viewing
  • State Park
  • National Forest

Fish species found at Lake Moomaw

  • Bass
  • Black Bass
  • Black Crappie
  • Bluegill
  • Catfish
  • Chain Pickerel
  • Channel Catfish
  • Crappie
  • Largemouth Bass
  • Perch
  • Pickerel
  • Pike
  • Redear Sunfish (Shellcracker)
  • Smallmouth Bass
  • Sunfish
  • Trout
  • Yellow Perch

Lake Moomaw Photo Gallery

Lake Moomaw Statistics & Helpful Links

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Lake Type: Artificial Reservoir, Dammed

Water Level Control: Corps of Engineers

Surface Area: 2,530 acres

Shoreline Length: 43 miles

Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 1,582 feet

Minimum Elevation (Min Pond): 1,567 feet

Maximum Elevation (Max Pond): 1,610 feet

Average Depth: 50 feet

Maximum Depth: 152 feet

Water Volume: 123,700 acre-feet

Completion Year: 1982

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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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