Well, it’s about that time again as the smoke from campfires starts rising around the Kerr Lake campgrounds. The boat ramps get to see the rear ends of more trailers and trucks and you can see the fish starting to jump!
From the US Army Corps of Engineers and for our fishing fans, is a list of the permitted fishing tournaments according to the Corps’ Glenn Card.

You don’t need a ship on Kerr Lake!

John H. Kerr Dam and Reservoir Special Events List
Event Type
20180064 4/20/2019 – 4/20/2019 Fellowship Bass Club Kerr Tournament 15 Rudds Creek
20190006 4/20/2019 – 4/20/2019 Collins INC Bass for Cash Series 75-100 Nutbush Bridge
20190024 4/20/2019 – 4/20/2019 James River Bassmasters James River Bassmasters 14 Island Creek Ramp
20190025 4/27/2019 – 4/28/2019 New Horizon Bass Anglers NHBA Kerr Tournament 6-8 Occoneechee
20190027 4/27/2019 – 4/27/2019 Piedmont Bass Classics Piedmont Bass Classics 75 Flemingtown Road
20190030 4/27/2019 – 4/27/2019 Hope Baptist Church Charity Fishing Tournamen 15 Longwood Boat Rampl
20190033 4/27/2019 – 4/27/2019 FlW T-H Marine BFL NC #3 150 Nutbush Bridge
20190017 4/28/2019 – 4/28/2019 Carolina Anglers Team Tra Kerr Spring Final 30 Occoneechee
20190023 4/28/2019 – 4/28/2019 Meherrin Bassmasters Monthly Club Tournament 15 County Line
20180061 5/4/2019 – 5/5/2019 VA BASS Federation Mr. Bass 110 North Bend Park
20190027 5/4/2019 – 5/4/2019 Piedmont Bass Classics Piedmont Bass Classics 75 Flemingtown Road
20180053 5/4/2019 – 5/5/2019 BASS Nation Of Va INC 2019 High School Champs 70 Occoneechee
20190020 5/11/2019 – 5/11/2019 Halifax Vol. Fire Dept HVFD 18th Annual Tournam 50 Staunton River State Park
20190010 5/11/2019 – 5/11/2019 Fishers of Men,Tournament FDM NC Central Legacy To 20 Henderson Point
20190003 5/18/2019 – 5/18/2019 American Bass Anglers Bass Pro Shops ABA Open 75 Nutbush Bridge
20180055 5/18/2019 – 5/18/2019 Region 8 Va Bass Federati Region 8 Tournament 30 Eastland Creek
20180054 5/18/2019 – 5/19/2019 BASS Nation Of Va INC 2019 Championship 90 Occoneechee
20180056 5/18/2019 – 5/18/2019 Region 1 Va Bass Federati Region 1 25 Longwood Boat Rampl
20190031 5/18/2019 – 5/18/2019 Bojangles Pro Am Bojangles Pro Am 70 Henderson Point
20190013 5/18/2019 – 5/19/2019 Ridgeway Bass Anglers Club Tournament 20 Longwood Boat Rampl
20190007 5/25/2019 – 5/25/2019 Kerr Lake Bassmasters Tournament 20 Ivy Hill
20190022 6/1/2019 – 6/1/2019 Carolina Anglers Team Tra 2019 CATT Championship 100 Nutbush Ramp
20190022 6/2/2019 – 6/2/2019 Carolina Anglers Team Tra 2019 CATT Championship 100 Nutbush Ramp
20190011 6/2/2019 – 6/2/2019 Bass Nation Of Va Reg 2 Region 2 Stop #2 20 Rudds Creek
Permit Dates Organization Boats Staging Area
John H. Kerr Dam and Reservoir Special Events List
Event Type
Anglers 20190026 6/8/2019 – 6/8/2019 Anglers Choice Choice Invit Team 150-200 Occoneechee
20190022 6/8/2019 – 6/8/2019 Carolina Anglers Team Tra Old Noth Qualifier 40 Flemingtown Road
20180063 6/8/2019 – 6/8/2019 Jon Boat Bass Club of NC JBBC Camping Tournament 20 Nutbush Bridge
20190007 6/15/2019 – 6/15/2019 Kerr Lake Bassmasters Tournament 20 Ivy Hill
20190021 6/22/2019 – 6/22/2019 5 Alive Team Trail 5 Alive Team Trail 25 Ivy Hill
20190015 6/29/2019 – 6/29/2019 Southwestern VA Bassmaste Bass Tournament 25 Ivy Hill
20190014 6/30/2019 – 6/30/2019 Pamunky River Mini Series Bass Tournament 21 Rudds Creek
20190007 8/31/2019 – 8/31/2019 Kerr Lake Bassmasters Tournament 20 Ivy Hill
20190007 9/14/2019 – 9/14/2019 Kerr Lake Bassmasters Tournament 20 Ivy Hill
20190003 9/28/2019 – 9/29/2019 American Bass Anglers Bass Pro Shops ABA Open 75 Nutbush Bridge
20180063 10/5/2019 – 10/5/2019 Jon Boat Bass Club of NC JBBC Points Tournament 20 Longwood Boat Rampl
20180054 10/5/2019 – 10/6/2019 BASS Nation Of Va INC 2019 Championship 90 Occoneechee
20190007 10/5/2019 – 10/5/2019 Kerr Lake Bassmasters Tournament 20 Ivy Hill
20190026 10/12/2019 – 10/13/2019 Anglers Choice Anglers Choice Invit Team 150-200 Occoneechee
20190023 10/19/2019 – 10/19/2019 Meherrin Bassmasters Monthly Club Tournament 15 County Line
20190002 11/9/2019 – 11/10/2019 Virginia Bassmasters Club Bass Tournament 11 Rudds Creek
20180003 1/27/2020 – 1/27/2020 Kerr Lake Bassmasters Fishing Tournament 20-25 Longwood Boat Ramp
Bait up, boat up and remember in the boat or in the water, practice the US Army Corps of Engineers water safety motto: “Life Jackets Worn…Nobody Mourns.”
Let’s be safe out there.

Posted in: KLPW - Corps of Engineers Campgrounds, KLPW - WATER RELATED

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According to news reports, since that is the only way Kerr Lake Park Watch can get information on Virginia’s two state parks on Kerr Lake, the new Splash – Spray Ground is now open at Clarksville’s Occoneechee State Park.

It was about 13 months ago on April 22, 2017, that Kerr Lake Park Watch broke the story about Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe attending a ground-breaking ceremony for the new park.  We attended uninvited, although some Kerr Lake Park Watch founders are also co-founders of the Friends of Occoneechee State Park, which unfortunately is fairly defunct.

                      Photo from Virginia State Parks/DCR

The Spray Ground, which cost just under $2 million and from news reports it looks as though the Splash Spray Ground will be open for fee participation on weekends, and will operate through the summer, generally from Memorial Day to Labor Day.

The water feature is the first of its kind offered on the shores and on public land of Kerr Lake.  In addition to supplying fun for kids of most ages, a key component of the design of the Splash Spray Ground is that it has its own water reclamation system.  That is a wise use of water since Occoneechee State Park is the largest water customer of the Town of Clarksville.

Posted in: KLPW - Occoneechee State Park, KLPW - WATER RELATED

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The waters of Kerr Lake are still rising here on Monday night, just four nights away from one of the biggest camping, picnicking, boating and grilled foods weekends of the year, the extended Memorial Day Weekend.

With rains pouring in again this evening, there’s a good chance that the level of Kerr Lake will rise above the 308.5-foot level, and depending on how much rain, the lake could go higher.

Affecting the North Carolina side with the seven NC State Recreation areas which are lower in elevation, the waters of Kerr Lake rose over two feet last night hitting 307.5 ft (above mean sea level) today around noon.  Several campers have been moved to other sites on the NC side because the electrical boxes must be pulled and according to NC State Parks, Bullocksville and Henderson Point parks were completely shut down today.

Campers on this loop may have no where to camp this holiday weekend.

Contacted by Kerr Lake Park Watch, the US Army Corps of Engineers said today that the much sought after QRR Plan (Quasi-Run-of-River), which allows for larger releases of water from Kerr and the lower lakes.  The Corps had been releasing 15,000 CFS (cubic feet per second) but has upped that to 25,000 and for the rest of this week, 35,000 CFS.

Inflows were slowing until most of the Kerr watershed received another dumping of rain this evening.

This is part of the hourly Kerr Lake measurements of water levels by the USACE:  1st column – date; 2nd column – time (24hr); 3rd column – inflows to Kerr in CFS; 4th column – outflow from Kerr in CFS; 5th column – Kerr Lake level at that hour

Commenting on the large and heavy inflows to Kerr Lake, Ashley Hatchell, Water Resources Management with the Corps said, “The last week has produced a tremendous amount of rain (see graphic below – view in html), pushing river flows above flood stage and resulting in inflows into Kerr over 80,000 CFS for most of Saturday and Sunday. Dan and Roanoke River flows, and thus inflows into Kerr, have peaked, but there is still plenty of water being stored in the lake.”

Hatchell added, “Anticipate a peak elevation nr 308.5 ft tonight/Tuesday.  We are increasing this week’s declaration to initiate 25,000 CFS releases tomorrow, followed by 35,000 CFS releases beginning Wednesday through middle of next week.  Even with this increase, we will possibly be near 305.5 – 306 feet (above mean sea level) next Friday, based on forecast inflows.

For any of the parks with low-lying camp sites, picnic areas, swimming areas and boat ramps, that could mean canceling plans.  Several public roads outside the parks are also affected and will continue to be affected this weekend.

In Hibernia Park, for instance, all 148 campsites in Areas 1, 2 and 3 are booked this weekend.  Those in Area 3 which is a much lower elevation, mostly like will not open back for the holiday weekend.

The drop from what ever level Kerr Lake reaches by Friday will still leave some campsites under water or without power.

If you do not know your camping spot you’re going to on Kerr or you know your camping spot is normally very close to the water, you should call the agency which oversees the particular park you’re going to visit.  That could be the US Army Corps of Engineers, NC State Parks or possibly Virginia State Parks, although those parks are not as susceptible to flooding.

If you are coming to Kerr Lake, particularly to boat, some of the closed boat ramps may open by the Memorial Day weekend, but you should remember two important things:

  1. DANGER – the water is much higher than normal and driving a watercraft close to shore is dangerous if you are unfamiliar with your location on the lake.
  2. DANGER – because of high waters, there are a lot of floating debris on the lake, including but not limited to logs, trees and trash.

Take time to find out the status of the location for your Kerr Lake activities and then enjoy and be safe.


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“I remember the first time an out-of-state visitor asked me about high and low tides at Kerr Lake. I laughed until I cried.” Comment from Kerr Lake Park Watch’s Frank Timberlake, who offers this information about the tide going up this weekend at Kerr Lake.
“We’ve had an update from the US Army Corps of Engineers that due to recent rains, many very heavy in the Roanoke River Basin, the lake levels are going up,” said Timberlake. There’s no need for serious concern or cancellations at this point, but they’re (USACE) expecting Kerr Lake to hit 306 feet above mean sea level by sometime Monday, if the rains continue.”
Ashley Hatchell, Water Resources Manager with the US Army Corps of Engineers said, “Heavy rain is in the basin and more is forecast for today and tomorrow. Rivers are responding and inflows are starting to increase into the lakes. The following shows the 7-day total rainfall on the basin. Totals are near 2-4 inches basin-wide, with higher amounts in various locations.”
Hatchell added that lake goers should expect a peak near 306 ft Monday if rainfall forecast materializes. The Corps will begin 15,000 cfs (cubic feet per second) releases Monday (increased from 9,000 cfs as were requested in the original declaration), to address the rain that has already fallen. Further increases may be needed in releases next week to manage lake levels. The Corps will revise the declaration on Monday to adjust if necessary.
As of 5:00 PM today, Kerr Lake’s level had risen to 301.58. Forecasts change and changes in releases constantly change the lake level. People with plans at the public facilities along the shore of Kerr Lake this weekend and next Memorial Day weekend should check the lake level from time to time.


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Happy and pretty dry New Year from Kerr Lake.  Kerr Lake is suffering from chronic low tide.  The lake went down in September and has remained uncustomarily low around the 294-foot level for about four months.   Normal lake level is 300 feet above mean sea level.  You can see from the attached USACE graph that the current level is below all measured “should be” levels.  In preparation for at least two hurricanes the U S Army Corps of Engineers lowered the Kerr Lake level by about six feet and there hasn’t been much rainfall in the watershed since then.

The water has been so low that grass is growing on some of the normally water-covered shore.  Some dock owners like Kerr Lake Park Watch Steering Committee member Larry Matthews are taking advantage of the low tide at Kerr.

Matthews says, “If you can stand the cold,  now is a great time to work on your dock on dry land. Took these pics of our dock today in Wilson Cove just down from Hibernia with water level at 294.3′.”

All the frustration in the world will not raise the tide in Kerr Lake.  It will take rain and lots of it.  In the meantime,  you can visit one of the open parks and you can walk farther around the shoreline than ever.

Happy New Year from the more than 580 members of Kerr Lake Park Watch!

Posted in: KLPW - Boating and Related Improvements, KLPW - US ARMY CORPS OF ENGINEERS, KLPW - WATER RELATED

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