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Stonewall Jackson Lake


Stonewall Jackson Lake lies on the West Fork River in Lewis County just off Interstate 79 near Weston. The lake and adjoining state park and wildlife management area have become a major recreational attraction. The lake’s additional purposes include flood control, stream-flow and water-quality augmentation, and water supply.

The concrete gravity dam has an uncontrolled spillway and five sluices through the dam. Its overall length is 620 feet, with a maximum height of 95 feet above the stream. The dam became fully operational in 1988 and creates a lake of 2,650 acres with a drainage area of 102 square miles. The winter drawdown is only five feet, so the size of the lake in winter doesn’t change significantly from summer. Fishermen and boaters enjoy the lake’s 26-mile length and 82-mile shoreline. The reason for its impressive size is the irregular ‘‘V’’ shape of the lake created by the West Fork and Skin Creek drainages.

The lake is noted for its excellent fish habitat, the result of a large amount of standing timber that was left when the lake was created. The primary fishing attractions are largemouth bass and muskies, although there are also trout in the dam tailwaters, and crappie, bluegill, and Kentucky spotted bass in the lake. Stonewall is the premier water in the state for trophy muskellunge of 40 inches and above. Fishermen also like the several miles of no-wake zones.

Stonewall Jackson State Park and Stonewall Resort offer a full range of conference and recreational facilities, including an 18-hole golf course designed by Arnold Palmer. The park and resort cover 1,833 acres. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers leased the land to the state for 99 years, and the state in turn contracted with private firms to develop and operate the park and resort.

Stonewall is the southernmost facility in the Pittsburgh District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The building of the lake was controversial and vigorously opposed by many who had lived in the project area.

Written by Skip Johnson