Plum Orchard Lake was constructed in 1962 by the STEP (State Temporary Employment Program), a public works program that put unemployed coal miners to work at $1 an hour on conservation projects. The lake impounds 202 acres, provides 6.5 miles of shoreline, and has a maximum depth of 40 feet. The lake is nestled between Packs and Haystack mountains on Plum Orchard Creek, near Oak Hill.
The surrounding Plum Orchard Lake Wildlife Management Area encompasses 3,201 acres. Purchased in 1960 by the West Virginia Conservation Commission, the area is now managed by the Wildlife Resources and Parks and Recreation sections of the Division of Natural Resources. Most of the area is forested in hickory and mature oaks. The wildlife management area is managed for forest game habitat, and deer, wild turkeys, raccoons, squirrels, and grouse are abundant. It is open to hunting.
The lake provides fishing for sunfish, large mouth bass, channel catfish, and crappie and was initially opened for fishing on June 12, 1963, the state’s Centennial Year. Recreational facilities include two rustic campgrounds, a rifle range, picnic facilities, and hiking trails. Plum Orchard Lake is located on County Route 23 off the West Virginia Turnpike (Interstate 77).
Written by Robert Beanblossom