Laurel Bed Lake
Snow covered roads have been packed down by vehicle traffic and are extremely slick in the section that passes through the Big Tumbling Creek gorge. Four wheel drive vehicles and tire chains are recommended.
Notice (updated November 20, 2013):
Construction on the dam and emergency spillway at Laurel Bed Lake is now complete. The lake was lowered about five feet to accommodate construction. While the lake is currently refilling, the pool will remain low until sufficient rainfall causes the lake to reach its normal pool level. The boat ramps will remain open but should be used with caution while the lake is below full pool. The upper boat ramp is expected to have limited capability for hand launching small boats only. Fishing from the shore will be impacted but still possible at some locations.
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.
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 »