Home > Missions > Recreation > Kentucky > Fishtrap Lake

How To Find Us

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To the Project Office: From U.S. Route 23 take U.S. Route 460 and 80 to State Route 1789, (3 miles to Project Office). See Map

Mailing Address:
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
Fishtrap Lake
2204 Fishtrap Road
Shelbiana, KY 41562

Contact: For more information about the lake contact us at 606-437-7496

General Information

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General Information

Fishtrap Lake is contained by the highest dam in Eastern Kentucky. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers developed the project after the people of Levisa Fork valley expressed the need for flood control. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers welcomes you and your family to this vital flood control and recreation development project. Come and enjoy the natural scenic beauty of southeastern Kentucky countryside and the recreational facilities at Fishtrap Lake! The lake is located entirely in Pike County on the Levisa Fork of theBig Sandy River near the states of Virginia and West Virginia. Fishtrap Lake's primary purpose is reduction of flood damages along Levisa Fork, Big Sandy River and the Ohio River, with minimal reductions on the Mississippi. At its maximum (flood storage) level, the lake would contain more than 54 billion gallons of water. During the summer recreation season, the lake is 16.5 miles long, has a surface area of 1,131 acres and contains about 12 billion gallons of water. It is 84 feet deep at the intake structure during summer pool. Part of this water is released all year for municipal water supply at Pikeville, 15 miles downstream from the dam. After extensive field studies and cost estimates were made, Congress appropriated funds. Construction began in February 1962. President Lyndon B. Johnson dedicated the project on October 26, 1968. The dam, built of native rock with a clay waterproof core, is 195 feet high and 1,000 feet long. The job required moving five million cubic yards of rock and earth. An outstanding job or rock treatment called a 'stairstep' excavation at the left end of the dam exposes the 330,000,000 year old Pennsylvania Period strata. Release of water from the lake is controlled by gates in the tower-like 'intake structure' located at the left end of the dam. From that structure, the water flows through a 15-½ foot diameter tunnel and discharges back into the Levisa Fork below the dam. If the lake should rise above its maximum permissible level during storage of potential floodwaters, then the four 'tainter' gates located in the spillways would be used to control additional releases. It is the policy of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to provide a safe, healthy family recreational environment. All recreational areas are closed from 10:00 p.m. until 7:30 a.m. except for persons engaged in boating, fishing and camping. For the self motivated person, Fishtrap Lake offers many volunteer activities including, campground host, lake clean ups, tree and flower planting, wildlife enhancement programs such as, bird house building and placement, food plot planting, and fish attractor programs, just to name a few. For more information please contact the Volunteer Program Coordinator at the project office. Restrooms are located at the Project Office, Marina parking lot, Outflow/Below Dam Area, Lower Picnic Area, Grapevine Recreation Area, Grapevine Campground, and Lick Creek Recreation Area.

Handicapped Access

Universally Accessible Facilities are provided at Project Office, Visitor Center, picnic shelters, restrooms, outflow fishing area, camping facilities, and at selective picnic sites.

Historical Info

Archaeological investigations in the Fishtrap lake area resulted in the recording of 33 prehistoric native American sites including 1 rock shelter, 8 late prehistoric village sites, and 24 open camp sites. Excavations at what is called the Sloane site at Woodside recovered 65,000 artifacts, now stored at the University of Kentucky. Life-styles of the pioneers, primarily of English and Scot Ancestry, consisted mainly of subsistence farming, hunting, trapping and timbering. The mountains provided a degree of security and privacy and also fostered an isolation of early cultural traits. Pike County was formed from a part of Floyd County in December of 1821, and was named in honor of the popular military hero, General Zebulon M. Pike. Later historical studies focus primarily on the Hatfield-McCoy feud in which Pike County, and what is now Mingo County, West Virginia, played major geographic role.

Recreation

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Bicycling Access

Access into the Wildlife Management Area is restricted to non-motorized vehicles. Hiking, horseback riding and mountain bikes are permitted unless otherwise signed.

Boating

Launch ramps for the boating enthusiasts and fishermen are located at the Fishtrap Marina, Grapevine and Lick Creek Recreation Areas. Launching is $3.00 per day at Grapevine and Marina area. Lick Creek offers free launching. Seasonal Passes for launching are available for $30.00 at the Fishtrap Lake Project Office between the hours of 7:30am and 4:00pm. Holders of Golden Age/Access Passports are entitled to 50% discount.

Camping

Fishtrap Lake has one campground located at the Grapevine Recreation Area. Grapevine Campground has 28 sites, now with 10 sites equipped with water and electrical hookups. Each site has, impacted gravel pads, picnic table, fire ring, and lantern pole. Campground opens Memorial Day Weekend, (Friday of the holiday weekend) and closes the day after Labor Day. No reservations are accepted but to check availability of sites call 1-606-835-4564 to speak with the campground host. Campsites are currently on a first come first serve basis. Camping fees for the 2006 season are $8.00 for primitive and $12.00 for water and electric sites per night per site. Holders of Golden Age/Access Passports are entitled to a 50 % discount. Camping on the shoreline or in the Wildlife Management Area is not permitted except in designated areas.

Fishing

Fish and wildlife management is a shared responsibility –the Department of Natural Resources and the Corps manage the fish and wildlife programs by habitat improvement, nesting site development, and food-plot programs for the benefit of many fish and wildlife species.

Hiking

Universally Accessible Facilities are provided at Project Office, Visitor Center, picnic shelters, restrooms, outflow fishing area, camping facilities, and at selective picnic sites.

Horseback Riding

A developed hiking and horseback riding can be accessed at the Lick Creek Recreation area where the trail begins. Also, several local equestrians and hikers do use existing oil/gas well roads.

Hunting

Fish and wildlife management is a shared responsibility -the Department of Natural Resources and the Corps manage the fish and wildlife programs by habitat improvement, nesting site development, and food-plot programs for the benefit of many fish and wildlife species.

Marina

Fishtrap Lake Marina, located at the Dam Site Recreation Area provides visitors with docking facilities and a Concession Area. The Concession Area provides visitors with fuel, live bait, snacks, ice, picnic supplies, etc. . Facilities at this area includes, restrooms, a launch ramp, bank fishing access, basketball court, and picnic sites.

Picnicking

Picnic shelters are located at the Lick Creek Park and Lundy Rowe Memorial Park, (Administered by Pike County), Grapevine and Dam Site Recreation Areas, (Administered by Corps of Engineers). All shelters are available on a first come - first served basis EXCEPT WHEN RESERVED IN ADVANCE (a fee is required for reserving a shelter). Fishtrap Lake no longer takes shelter reservations at the project office. Persons wanting to reserve a group picnic shelter for the 2006 recreation season in the Dam Site and Grapevine Recreation Areas, at Fishtrap Lake, can do so by calling the National Recreation Reservation System (NRRS) at their toll free number 1-877-444-6777 or visiting www.ReserveUSA.com. There is no cost to use this system, however, if you need to make a change or cancellation there will be a service fee charged at that time. Credit cards, certified checks, bank checks or money orders can be used for payment. Personal checks will not be accepted. In addition to shelters each area contains several group and individual picnic sites.

Swimming

No developed swimming facilities currently exist. Swimming is at your own risk unless otherwise signed.

Visitor Center

The Visitor Center is at the Project Office, which is located, just downstream of the dam. Fishtrap Lake conducts and/or offers a variety of safety oriented programs. - See Safety-

Announcements

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New Shelter Reservation Procedure  Fishtrap Lake no longer takes shelter reservations at the project office. Persons wanting to reserve a group picnic shelter for the 2006 recreation season in the Dam Site and Grapevine Recreation Areas, at Fishtrap Lake, can do so by calling a toll free number 877-444-6777 or visiting www.ReserveUSA.com. There is no cost to use this system, however, if you need to make a change or cancellation there will be a service fee charged at that time. Credit cards, certified checks, bank checks or money orders can be used for payment. Personal checks will not be accepted. When calling or visiting the website make sure to mention or note that the shelter you want to reserve is a "day use facility" and NOT a campground. Each person that makes a reservation will receive a confirmation letter in the mail that will include information concerning changes or cancellations to a reservation. An additional feature of this system will allow you to make your reservation for future years 360 days in advance of the date you want to reserve the shelter.

Shelters #1 & #2 are located at the below Dam Site area. Shelter #3 is located at the Grapevine recreation area. All shelters have a $50.00 rental fee.