Carvins Cove is a 630-acre impoundment located just north of the city of Roanoke. This reservoir supplies drinking water for the city of Roanoke and is part of a nearly 12,500-acre nature reserve. Recreational opportunities at Carvins Cove Natural Reserve include fishing, hiking, mountain biking, and horseback riding. Carvins Cove reservoir contains largemouth bass, sunfish, and hybrid striped bass. Picnic facilities and boat rentals are also available from the boat dock office.
Largemouth bass and bluegill are the most abundant sportfish in Carvins Cove. Most largemouth bass in Carvins Cove are between 10 and 16 inches with only a few fish greater than 17 inches. Bluegills are plentiful but most are small, between 2 and 5 inches. Although not as common Carvins Cove also supports yellow perch, black crappie, smallmouth bass, and channel catfish. Hybrid striped bass were introduced in 2013 and are stocked each year. The hybrid striped bass are doing well, with many fish in the 14 to 18 inch size range.
Carvins Cove Natural Reserve and all trails are open year round from 6:00am to 11:00pm. An access permit is required for $2/ day or $20 for an annual pass. The boat launch hours are April 1 – September 30, 6:30am-9:30pm and October 1 – March 31, 8:30am-6:30pm. Boat launch fees are $5 for non-motorized boats and $9 for motorized boats. Motor use is restricted to 10 horsepower or less. To maintain the integrity of the reservoir bait and bait containers are not allowed. Swimming and camping are not permitted at Carvins Cove. A fishing license is require for persons 16 years of age or older. With the exception of a 14-inch minimum size limit for largemouth and smallmouth bass, all fish species are regulated with statewide regulations.
Carvins Cove reservoir has a concrete boat ramp as well as a canoe and kayak launch area. Boat rentals are available at the boat dock office April through September. The property has more than 45 miles of trails for hiking, biking, and horseback riding. Restrooms and a picnic shelter are also available near the boat landing.