Smith Mountain Lake Factoids

Smith Mountain Lake Factoids – Channels & Tributaries

hollyGeneral, Lake Living Leave a Comment

Before launching into more detail about Smith Mountain Lake real estate, some readers may want a broad brush version of the lake as a whole.

Is Smith Mountain Lake man-made?
Yes. Smith Mountain Lake was formed in the 1960s as a power generation project of Appalachian Power, part of American Electric Power (AEP). It is the result of a 235-foot tall dam in a gap of Smith Mountain on the Roanoke River channel in Pittsylvania County.

What are the channels of Smith Mountain Lake?
The main channels of the lake total about 40 miles along the basins of two main rivers, the Roanoke and the Blackwater, which join a few miles west of the dam and flow together to form the widest part of the lake. The Roanoke River channel flows south-southeast from the city of Roanoke to the lake, and it generally provides a border between Franklin County on the southwest and Bedford County on the northeast shore. The Blackwater River Channel generally flows west to east through Franklin County until it joins the Roanoke River Channel near the Pittsylvania County border. At the point where the main channels join, the combined main channel flows east to the dam and provides a border between Bedford County on the north and Pittsylvania County on the south shore.

In addition to the two main channels, numerous other tributaries were backed up as a result of the dam at Smith Mountain. Since the dam provided a water level of 795 feet above sea level along all of these creeks and stream basins, several creeks are as broad in places as parts of the main channel itself. Those familiar with the lake throw around the names of tributaries as though they are talking about separate entities from the lake.

Comments such as “Try out that Marina on the east side of Craddock Creek” or “The striper bass are running near the mouth of Betty’s Creek” may seem confusing to newcomers, but you’ll quickly become accustomed to the local lingo. 🙂 Some of the main tributaries in Bedford County are Witcher Creek, Hatcher Creek ­­­­­­­­­and Craddock Creek. Major tributaries in Franklin County include Bull Run, Betty’s Creek, Becky’s Creek, Gill’s Creek, Lynville Creek, and several more.

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