Lake Moomaw, Virginia, USA

Welcome to the ultimate guide for history, statistics, local fun facts and the best things to do at Lake Moomaw.

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Lake Moomaw visitor and community guide

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.

Custom Lake Moomaw house decor

Read our full review of these personalized lake house signs.

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

Best hotels and vacation rentals at Lake Moomaw

The Lake Moomaw map shown above is a simple and stress-free way to search for trip accommodations. But if you want to take a deeper dive to find the ideal waterfront home, cabin, condo, hotel or resort, visit our favorite lodging partners by clicking the buttons below.

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Lake Moomaw photo gallery

New photos coming soon!

Lake Moomaw statistics & helpful links


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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