Smith Mountain Lake is a host to a large variety of water crafts from kayaks and paddleboats to luxury yachts. The mainstays of the lake are bass boats, pontoon boats and personal watercraft (PWC or see-doos).
The Tri County Lake Administrative Commission is an agency set up by Franklin, Bedford and Pittsylvania Counties to maintain the navigational markers on the Lake and to advise the Counties about issues regarding the Lake. You can reach them at (540) 721-4400 to report markers out of service or dangerous debris in the water.
I urge you to learn as much as possible about boating BEFORE you get out on the lake. One web site with very good information is BoatUS.
The Commonwealth of Virginia is phasing in a mandatory boater education law. The required course is offered regularly around the lake and may be taken on line.
A fishing license is required and most of the fishing stores and marinas sell them. It can also be purchased on line prior to your visit.
For more information, contact The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries. The Conservation Police Officers (formerly known as the game wardens) can be reached at (804) 525-7522. To report boating, fishing or game violations, call (800) 237-5712.
Smith Mountain Lake is known for its striper fishing. Many citation stripers are caught here every year. A new state record striper of 49 pounds, 4 ounces was caught here in 1999, only to be broken in the Spring of 2000 by a 53 pound 7 ounce whooper caught in Leesville Lake (below the dam).
Although famous for its striped bass, Smith Mountain Lake also contains Largemouth Bass, Smallmouth Bass, Muskie, Crappie, Walleye, Catfish and many different varieties of sunfish.
The Bassmasters have held several tournaments here and the Elite Series Blue Ridge Brawl was held here in April in 2009 and 2010.
If you have never fished Smith Mountain Lake, you may want to consider hiring a guide for half a day to "pick their brain"! The following guides we have used or have been recommended to us:
Pullin' Drag Captain Wendell Dudley (540) 493-8790
Spike's Prime Time Fishin' Spike and Kathy are celebrating over 25 years of guiding on this lake! They also have rental rooms available. (540) 297-5611
There are handicapped fishing piers at the State Park and at the Franklin County Park. The Smith Mountain Lake State Park is located off Route 626 in Bedford County. The Franklin County Park is at the end of the Park Place community off Parkway Avenue.
For those of you who can't get enough fishing news, one of the more comprehensive sites on the web is The Fish Ticker.
Several world class water skiers and wakeboarders live and train here year round.
There are many commercial places on and around the Lake to assist you with recreational boating & fishing.
Bay Roc Marina R-87 (540) 890-2194
Hardy Ford Bridge, Hardy
Full service marina with short order restaurant.
Bayside Marina and Yacht Club R-26 (540) 721-3664
On Becky's Creek - old Shoreline Marina. Now owned by Dale Runyon (in our opinion the best marine mechanic on the lake!). If you stop in, please tell Dale the Bowmans say hello!
Full service marina
Blackwater Marina and Grill End of Old Salem School Road in Union Hall (540) 576-4486
Bridgewater Marina R-28 (540) 721-1639 or (800) 729-1639
Bridgewater Plaza at the Hales Ford Bridge
Full service marina
Captain's Quarters R-28 (540) 721-1175
Fishing supplies, gas and boat rentals at Hales Ford Bridge.
Conrad Brothers Marine Off water (540) 721-5017
Route 122 Next to Capp's in Westlake
Crazy Horse Marina B-10 (540) 721-1587
Full service marina, campground, restaurant.
Gills Creek Marina formerly Fox Port Marina now under new ownership and being renovated G-2 (540) 721-2451
Lumpkin's Marina B-1 (434) 927-5150
Magnum Boating Across Morehead Road from the Westlake Waterfront Inn (540)719-2427
Mitchell's Point Marina C-3 (540) 297-7174
Gas, slip rentals, restaurant
Parrot Cove Rentals R-28 (800) 488-4516
All types of rentals including house boats.
Hales Ford Bridge
Parkway Marina(sometimes referred to as Saunders Marina R-6 (540) 297-5420
Near Craddock Creek, just up from the Dam
Full service marina.
Pelican Point Yacht Club B-10 (540) 576-2019
Union Hall, Specializes in sail boats.
Sportsman's Marina R-11 (540) 297-2020
Virginia Dare Marina R-20 (540) 297-7100
Webster Marine R-28 (540)297-5228
Boat sales and service near Hales Ford Bridge.