Water tubing on R.S. Kerr
Refurbished dock at Applegate Cove on R.S. Kerr.
Campers at Applegate Cove

R.S. Kerr Recreation

Fishing and Hunting

Robert S. Kerr Reservoir provides excellent opportunities for fishing.  It is well known for its Blue and Flathead catfish, stripped bass, and crappie.  Other species that can be found in abundance are Largemouth Bass, White Crappie, Channel Catfish, Walleye, and a variety of Sunfish species.

Opportunities are equally as good for the hunting enthusiast.  Principal species present at the project include white-tailed deer, fox and gray squirrel, cottontail and swamp rabbit, raccoon, mink, opossum, bobwhite quail, mourning dove and several species of waterfowl.

Camping and Picnicking

For people of all ages, Kerr Lake has a variety of recreation for everyone, from swimming at our many beaches to camping and picnicking in one of our five park areas. Our camping areas include facilities such as boat launching ramps, designated campsites, picnic areas, drinking water, shower facilities and sanitary facilities.


Whether by power boat, sailboat or any type of craft, the broad expanse and depth of the water just above the dam and extending about 7 miles upstream will satisfy the demand for any type of pleasure craft.
Please be aware of the navigation activities that take place near the structure and up and down river.
Take notice of barge traffic, and remember, it is much easier for you to avoid them than for them to avoid you!
Lockage is available to recreational vessels 24 hours a day.  However, if commercial traffic is heavy, pleasure craft may be required to wait approximately 1.5 hours or may be permitted to lock through with the commercial vessels.  Also be sure to check the Navigation Notices page for any potential closures or delays.


The lake area is beautiful any time of the year. It is especially scenic when flowering shrubs and leaf buds decorate the landscape with a soft glow in spring, or when the brilliant colors of fall start to unfold. You can see these magnificent changes from one of our many Public Use Areas or from our Short Mountain Hiking Trail.


There are three swimming beaches available for public use at the reservoir. Two of the campgrounds have swimming beaches available, one at Cowlington Point and one at Applegate Cove.  There is also a public beach located north of the dam just off of Highway 59.


There is one hiking trail on the project; it begins in the Short Mountain Cove Campground and travels east from there.