Leesville Reservoir is a 3,400-acre impoundment located near Altavista Virginia. This reservoir straddles the Pittsylvania, Campbell and Bedford County borders. Leesville Reservoir is owned by American Electric Power and is managed primarily for hydroelectric power generation and to pump back stored water into Smith Mountain Lake for additional hydroelectric power generation. There is limited development along the shoreline at this time but residential development is increasing. Facilities are limited primarily to two VDGIF boat ramps, a picnic facility and fishing pier, and one marina.
This reservoir experiences water level fluctuations of 1 to 10 feet per day. Dramatic water fluctuations are a result of power generation and pump back storage for Smith Mountain Lake. The headwaters of Leesville Reservoir sustains substantial flows and cool water temperatures throughout the year due to discharges from Smith Mountain Lake. As a result, the upper reaches of the reservoir contains limited fish habitat and spawning success due to these dramatic water level and temperature fluctuations.
Largemouth bass are the most sought after species by anglers at Leesville Reservoir. According to VDGIF electrofishing samples, fish populations vary depending on lake area. The lower half of the reservoir (Leesville dam end) contains bass, catfish and sunfish populations that are similar to other nearby reservoirs. However, the upstream half of the reservoir has a poor fishery dominated by white perch, bluegill, and redbreast sunfish.
Leesville Reservoir can be a pleasant change from most busy reservoirs especially if you are looking for little competition with other anglers and boaters. Keep in mind; frequent water level fluctuations can make patterning fish more difficult. Boaters also need to watch for floating debris that is a routine occurrence on this reservoir.