Just 35 miles from Roanoke is the 20,000-acre, 50-mile-long Smith Mountain Lake. It’s Virginia’s second-largest freshwater lake. Bass anglers come from far and wide to land the citation largemouth and stripers that are caught every year during recreational and tournament fishing. A Virginia freshwater license is required whether fishing from the shore, a boat, or the fishing pier at the boat launch.
Appalachian Power Company created the lake in 1960 by damming the Roanoke River, but the park didn’t open until 1983. Smith Mountain Lake State Park is not just a fishing area, however. It is also a great destination for tent campers looking for a little solitude in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. In fact, if you remained at the campground during your entire stay, you’d never see the lake, which is rather inconspicuous unless you ride over to the Discovery Center, boat launch, or beachfront swimming area.
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