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Laurel Bed Lake

Notice (Updated 6/2/15): Forest habitat improvement projects will begin soon in the Brier Cove, Jackson's Gap and Panther Lick sections of Clinch Mountain WMA. Timber harvested in these areas will be transported off the WMA on the main road system. Visitors to the Clinch Mountain WMA, Clinch Mountain Fee Fishing Area and Laurel Bed Lake could encounter logging trucks on the main road system. Logging will likely continue through the summer and fall of 2015. The timber harvest will improve forest habitat for a variety of wildlife species including ruffed grouse and deer.

Laurel Bed is a Department-owned lake located in Russell County on the Clinch Mountain Wildlife Management Area. This 330-acre lake rests on the top of Clinch Mountain at 3600 feet of elevation. It is surrounded by second growth hemlock and mixed hardwoods, and provides a spectacular setting with scenery rivaling that found at an Adirondack or Canadian natural lake. Liming projects have improved the lake's pH to suitable levels, and have allowed the restoration of a brook trout fishery. Although considerable effort was expended to remove rock bass from the lake in 1996, rock bass have returned to the lake. Smallmouth bass fingerlings have been stocked to control rock bass abundance. If smallmouth can keep the rockbass population at a manageable level, both populations could enhance and diversify fishing opportunities in the future.

Laurel Bed Lake is closed to fishing for the five days prior to the first Saturday in April. The access road leading to the lake is often gated during the winter months due to hazardous conditions; so call the VDGIF, Marion Regional Office at (276) 783-4860, or the Clinch Mountain Wildlife Management Area Office at (276) 944-3434 prior to making a trip during the winter.

Access Permit Requirement

The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (DGIF) will require an Access Permit for visitors to department-owned Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs) and public fishing lakes effective January 1, 2012, who are age 17 and older, unless they possess a valid Virginia hunting, freshwater fishing, or trapping license, or a current Virginia boat registration. Learn more about the Access Permit »