Late Season Rain Refills Summersville


Summersville Lake Resources Manager C.J. Hamilton calls it a "tale of two summers" when it comes to the flow of water into the state’s largest impoundment.

"You just couldn’t find any rain in the whole first half of summer.  The grass quit growing and the river went down to 20cfs at Craigsville, which is just unheard of," Hamilton said. "About midsummer we started getting some rain and they’ve been much more normal now."

West Virginia has been largely spared the widespread drought across the mid-section of the United States.  River flows are running strong with the resumption of shower activity.   Hamilton says that’s good news for rafting enthusiasts who depend on the water supply released from the Summersville Dam for the fall Gauley River rafting season.

"It certainly looks very good right now," he said. "We would expect to have at least some rain between now and then so it wouldn’t just turn off dry. So provided we get enough rainfall, we’re looking pretty good."

Summersville has 800 miles of drainage among four rivers.  The Gauley, Williams, Cherry, and Cranberry all flow into the lake and isolated events in the headwaters of those can cause quick increases in lake levels. 

Currently the dam discharge is running at 800cfs, which is a normal flow and provides for adequate fishing or kayaking flows downstream.  During the Gauley season, when the lake is drawn down for the winter, the flow is upped to 2,800cfs.

Gauley rafting season starts the weekend of September 7-10 and runs each weekend through Bridge Day the third Saturday in October.


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