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Kentucky State Parks

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Highlands Region
Fishtrap Lake State Park
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2204 Fishtrap Rd.
Shelbiana, Kentucky   41562

Phone: 502-564-2172
Fishtrap Lake State Park is a new addition to the Kentucky State Parks system.

A man-made lake surrounded by natural beauty, Fishtrap Lake was created to help control flooding along the Ohio and Big Sandy Rivers. The Army Corp of Engineers broke ground on the project in 1962, and President Lyndon Johnson dedicated the project upon its completion in 1968.

Nestled among mountains and dense forests, the Fishtrap Lake area will appeal to anyone who loves boating, fishing or hiking. But don't be surprised if the other visitors you meet as you wander around the park area aren't of the human variety this site is well-known as a haven for deer, raccoons and even the occasional grouse.
History of the Area
Established in 2003

The impoundment of the waters of the Levisa Fork of the Big Sandy River in 1969 provided Kentucky with one of its best fishing lakes. Near the states of Virginia and West Virginia, the deep, long, narrow Fishtrap Lake is known for some of the finest fishing in the commonwealth. The highest dam 195 feet in Kentucky contains the waters of the lake.

Fishtrap Lake is located in Pike County, seven miles south of the county seat of Pikeville. The natural beauty of eastern Kentucky enhances the lake as a popular destination for tourists. Built for flood control along Levisa Fork by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the lake can hold as much as 54 billion gallons of water. Extending 16.5 miles in length, Fishtrap Lake covers 1,131 acres and is 84 feet deep. Construction of the dam began in February 1962. President Lyndon B. Johnson dedicated the project on October 26, 1968. Workers moved five million cubic yards of earth and rock to construct the dam.

The Pike County area is also filled with Kentucky history. The name of the lake came from pioneers who observed the unique fish traps made by the American Indians. Archeologists discovered 33 prehistoric American Indian sites in the Fishtrap area. They found 65,000 artifacts at the Slone site at Woodside. Pike County is also known for being the site of the infamous Hatfield-McCoy Feud. The struggle between these two families lasted for decades and made headlines in national newspapers. Although not the bloodiest or longest lasting feud, the Hatfield-McCoy conflict remains the epitome of the romantic mountain feuds of the late nineteenth century. The physical facilities of the park are under the auspices of the Army Corps of Engineers.
1. Fishtrap Lake State Park offers a designated swimming area for visitors.
2. Lifeguards are not present, so swim at your own risk.
3. Swimming is allowed during daylight hours only.
4. No diving or jumping from cliffs into the lake is permitted due to safety concerns.
5. The park provides clean restrooms and changing facilities near the beach area for swimmers' convenience.
6. The sandy beach makes it ideal for sunbathing after a refreshing swim in summer months.
7. Picnic tables and grills are available nearby making it perfect spot post-swim relaxation with family or friends.

The park offers a marina with 84 open slips, four launching ramps and rental fishing boats for visitors. In addition to this, there are also pontoon boat rentals available. The lake is well-stocked with bass, catfish, crappie and bluegill for those interested in fishing from their boats.
Throw in your line and catch a variety of species. A Kentucky Fishing License is required.

Fishtrap Lake State Park is located near Pikeville

The park offers several group and individual picnic sites, along with several picnic shelters. Shelters are available for rent up to one year in advance.
Bicycling enthusiasts should be aware that options are limited within this state park. The terrain is mostly rugged and hilly, not ideal for casual biking.

The area lacks designated cycling trails which might pose a challenge to riders unfamiliar with the region's topography.

However, adventurous mountain bikers may find some enjoyment navigating through forested areas around the lake perimeter.

Remember though: safety first! Always wear protective gear when exploring off-road paths or tackling steep inclines in these parts of Kentucky wilderness.

Lastly, always respect nature by sticking to existing routes and avoiding sensitive wildlife habitats while riding your bike here.
The park offers diverse birding opportunities with over 100 species of birds. Birdwatchers can spot waterfowl, songbirds and raptors in the area's mixed hardwood forests, open fields and wetlands. The lake attracts migrating ducks while woodland areas are home to warblers during spring migration season.

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