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Gad Dam. Gauley Dam. Summersville Dam!

When exploring a new area, it can be fun to learn little things along the way. One fun fact to learn about Summersville Lake and Dam before your excursions is how it got its name. Beneath the beautiful crystal-clear water is a ghost town called Gad. It was filled in to create the lake many years ago. As we were told by a guide, the original name consideration was “Gam Dam” after the town. For obviously reasons that was not the winner. Next was the “Gauley Dam” after the river. Yep, same outcome. Summersville Dam it was! The rest is history; when you visit the lake, here are some fun things you might enjoy.


If you are from out of state, first you would want to get a temporary fishing license. Next prepare to catch a lot of fish. The lake is full of small/large mouth bass, walleye, rainbow trout, crappie, perch and several more. To have best success, avoid high traffic boating and swimming areas, so renting a boat might help get around the lake. The lake is very deep so consider this as you look for the best spot. If you want to get ahead of the game, consider getting a Fishidy profile to learn the forecasts for the various fish found in the lake.


There are plenty of spots to swim across the lake, but to find one that will serve as a beach you can create a camp at, and also be safe for children – head to Battle Run. This is a free beach, as others across the lake may require payment or proof of occupancy to enter the beach. Here, there are restrooms, picnic tables, set grills and enough room to spread out.


If you’re looking for a lake to boat to the middle, sit and relax on – this is your place. The views around the lake are second to none, and there are not strings of businesses found shoreside like other more commercially popular spots around the country, which helps keep the water clean and clear. If you are looking for a place to get a boat consider the forementioned Summersville Lake Marina. Be sure to do some research first and to call them a few weeks before your trip – they may be rented out a few days or weeks in advance, so the sooner you contact them, the better. If you are considering bringing your own boat, make sure to look into tags and regulations in the state of West Virginia so you are knowledgeable for your trip.

Kayaking/Paddle Boarding

One of our favorite activities is kayaking. It’s a great workout and a peaceful way to get around the lake. You might find several dropping points online, but there is one dedicated to paddle boats (coordinates 38.24443, -80.855802). Make sure when doing these activities to consider how far you will be paddling away from your starting point, and make sure to keep track of landmarks to get you back. There can be a lack of spots to portage or land around the lake, so be sure not to venture away from your boat without it being secured or fully out of water or it will float away – and as always wear a life vest! For rentals, checkout Lakeside Outfitters. If you bring your own, again review any registration regulations from the state of West Virginia.

Rock Climbing

Ever heard of Batman? There is a rock formation in one spot of the lake that looks like his lair could be housed there. Next to it is a small amateur rock-climbing spot. I am not at all skilled in this area of exercise or sport, which makes it perfect for anyone who might want to give this a shot. First, I’d keep your life-vest on, and when climbing and considering jumping into the water, do not go higher than 10-12 feet high. Be sure to launch way from the wall as to not scrape or hurt yourself. Across the lake are great rock-climbing spots. To find more challenging rocks, check out Mountain Project and lookup Pirate’s Cove. As anyone may tell you, do not jump into the fall from high cliffs. No amount of thrills is worth severe or mortal injury.

Closing Thoughts

So much to do, so little time! Unless you stay with us longer, of course! Whether you’re looking for adventure or peace, its all waiting for you at Summersville Lake. If you want to stay long enough to do all these activities and more, contact us for extended stay deals.

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