Lake Gaston

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Lake Gaston
from Old Bridge Point on Hubquarter Creek
Location North CarolinaVirginia border, United States
Coordinates 36°30′35″N 77°52′51″W / 36.509649°N 77.880819°W / 36.509649; -77.880819Coordinates: 36°30′35″N 77°52′51″W / 36.509649°N 77.880819°W / 36.509649; -77.880819
Type reservoir
Basin countries United States
Max. length 34 mi.
Max. width 1.3 mi.
Average depth 40 feet (12 m) (Average)
Max. depth 95 feet (29 m)
Shore length1 350 mi.
Surface elevation 200 ft (61 m)
Islands Wobble Island, Stagger Island, Goat Island
Settlements Littleton (NC), Henrico (NC), Macon (NC) Gasburg (VA), Bracey (VA)
1 Shore length is not a well-defined measure.

Lake Gaston is a hydroelectric reservoir in the eastern United States. Part of the lake is in the North Carolina counties of Halifax, Northampton, and Warren. The part extending into Virginia lies in Brunswick and Mecklenburg counties. Lake Gaston is roughly 35 miles long and covers over 20,000 acres (80 km²), with 350 miles (560 km) of shoreline.

The area surrounding the lake is home to more than 150,000 residents. The nearest towns are Littleton and Roanoke Rapids in North Carolina, and Clarksville and South Hill in Virginia.

The lake is not federally owned. It was formed when the Virginia Electric Power Company (VEPCO) built Gaston Dam on the Roanoke River to generate electricity for Dominion Resources, which owns the lake.[1] The dam is located on the North Carolina side and generates electricity for Dominion North Carolina Power, which is the North Carolina operating company of Dominion Resources. The dam includes four hydroelectric generators, with a total generating capacity of 224 megawatts.[2]

Lake Gaston is fed by water from Kerr Lake upstream, and supplies water to Roanoke Rapids Lake downstream, a smaller predecessor to Lake Gaston. This is one of the few areas of the country with three hydroelectric dams so close together.

Lake Gaston has long been popular for fishing and other water recreation. The lake is a favorite vacation spot, because it is close to the Research Triangle region of North Carolina and is close to I-85 and I-95. Lake Gaston was built for flood control, hydroelectric power and recreational enjoyment, including activities such as fishing, boating, swimming, water skiing and wakeboarding.

The lake has been a popular retirement destination since the 1970s.

Sunrise over Lake Gaston

Lake Level and Water Management[edit]

Lake Gaston differs from many other lakes in that the water levels are strictly regulated through a license with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). The license also requires cooperation with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which manage the upstream feeder lake, Lake Kerr. There are four defined operating conditions for Lake Gaston:[3]

  • Normal: 199 – 200 feet of elevation
  • Fish Spawning: 199 – 201 feet of elevation
  • Flood Control: up to 203 feet of elevation [204 feet possible in a 100 year flood event]
  • Drought: No lower than 197 feet of elevation

As a result of controlled lake levels, fixed docks and boat houses are normal on Lake Gaston.

Community Association[edit]

The Lake Gaston Association is a citizens' organization that actively advocates and promotes the interests of households and businesses who own property in the two states and five counties of Lake Gaston. Each of the five counties surrounding Lake Gaston has four volunteer Director positions on the LGA Board, plus one at large position for a total of 25 Directors.It is a volunteer, non-profit, nonpartisan and nonsectarian organization, unified for greater influence with our federal, state and local officials and agencies that have management authority on and around Lake Gaston NC & VA.

Real Estate[edit]

Lake Gaston covers an extended geographical area and is bordered by several towns. Real estate is generally broken up via quadrant,[4] and realtors will use the terms 'South-East, South-West, North-East, North-West' when discussing general location of a property on the lake.[5]

Waterfront Construction Authority[edit]

Generally speaking, no individual owns waterfront property on Lake Gaston because Dominion Power owns the lake and the land up to the 'High Water Mark'. Real Estate is listed with an indicator which tells the buyer how many linear feet of property they would own which abuts to the High Water Mark. This number used to be referred to as the "HWM" on real estate listings, and is now referred to as "DOM".[6] However, Dominion Power does allow for construction of boat houses and other permitted structures through an approval process.[7]

Major On Water Marinas[edit]


  • South-West / Central
    • Eaton Ferry Marina (Morningstar) Littleton, NC
  • South-East
    • Stonehouse Timber Lodge Littleton, NC
    • Outdoor World Littleton, NC
  • North-West
  • North-East
    • Washburn's Marina Henrico, NC
    • Lake Gaston Resort Gasburg, VA

Marine Supply and Boat Dealers around Lake Gaston[edit]

Boating Regulations[edit]

The North Carolina part of the lake is controlled by the Wildlife Resources Commission. The Virginia side is regulated by the VA Department of Game and Inland Fisheries.[8]


After many years of court battles,[9][10] the Virginia Beach area was able to operate a 70+ mile water pipeline from Lake Gaston to Virginia Beach and its surrounding areas for the purpose of providing drinking water.[11]


External links[edit]