Leesville Reservoir is a 3,400-acre impoundment located near Altavista Virginia. This reservoir straddles the Pittsylvania and Bedford County borders. Leesville Reservoir is owned by American Electric Power and is managed primarily for hydroelectric power generation and to pump back stored water into Smith Mountain Lake for additional hydroelectric power generation. There is very little development along the shoreline at this time but residential development is increasing. Facilities are limited primarily to four boat ramps, a picnic facility, and two marinas.
This reservoir experiences daily water level fluctuations of 1 to 10 feet per day. Dramatic water fluctuations are a result of power generation and pump back storage for Smith Mountain Lake. The headwaters of Leesville Reservoir sustain cool water temperatures throughout the year due to discharges from Smith Mountain Lake. Largemouth bass are one of the most sought after species by anglers at Leesville Reservoir. According to VDGIF electrofishing samples, fish populations vary depending on lake area. The upper reaches of the reservoir experiences dramatic water level and temperature fluctuations that reduce fish habitat and spawning success. Areas upstream of Howell Creek are dominated by low numbers of yellow perch, bluegill, and redbreast sunfish. However, catch rates for these species dramatically increase in the lower portion of the reservoir.
Since reproduction for most reservoir species such as bass and catfish is poor in comparison to other reservoirs, Leesville Reservoir is stocked with additional predators. The stocking of striped bass and walleye is a way to utilize available forage and provide additional angling opportunities.
Leesville Reservoir can be a pleasant change from most busy reservoirs especially if you are looking for little competition with other anglers and boaters. Keep in mind; frequent water level fluctuations can make patterning fish more difficult. Boaters also need to watch for floating debris that is a routine occurrence on this reservoir.