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Lake Merriweather

Important Notices for this Waterbody

Lake MerriweatherAttention anglers! The water level at Lake Merriweather often fluctuates. Goshen Scout Reservation staff draw down the lake during flood events and in the winter for shoreline maintenance. For the most up to date lake conditions call 251-230-5538 or follow Goshen Scout Reservation Hunt and Fish on Facebook.

Part of the Goshen Boy Scout Reservation and made available to public access (permit required, see below) through the Public Access Lands for Sportsmen (PALS) program, Lake Merriweather is a 450 acre reservoir located in Goshen, Virginia.

Black Crappie captured during spring trap netting surveys.

There are a variety of sportfish to target. They include largemouth bass, black crappie, channel catfish, sunfish, and common carp. Lake Merriweather is a fairly shallow reservoir with depths averaging four feet throughout much of the lake with max depths near the dam measuring 20 feet. Anglers fishing from boats should target docks, sunken trees and stumps, and the stream channel. Woody debris scattered along the east shoreline can also be very productive. Anglers fishing from shore can only target the emergency spillway area (see map below). Despite the lack of shoreline access, this area holds high numbers of largemouth bass, crappie, and sunfish as well as an occasional channel catfish.

Fishing is allowed from September 1 – May 31. Exception: NO FISHING the Saturday-Sunday-Monday of extended Labor Day and Memorial Day Weekends (see map and fishing regulations for specifics).

Creel Survey in Progress

Anglers are encouraged to report their catch after they are finished fishing for the day. Fishing survey cards will be located at the boat launch and the bank fishing area in the emergency spillway. Accurately completing these surveys assist DGIF biologists with evaluating the fishery.

Public Access Lands for Sportsmen (PALS) Permit Required

The PALS program has opened more than 30,000 acres of private land to public use including this 2,700 acre portion of the Goshen Scout Reservation where Lake Merriweather is located. A PALS permit is required to hunt, fish, view wildlife or access the public portions of the property, in addition to all other applicable hunting or fishing licenses. Proceeds from the purchase of the PALS permit will be used for the on-going lease payment to the Boy Scouts and to provide additional public access opportunities in the future.

PALS permits can be acquired through license agents or online.

Buy Your PALS Permit Now

Maps & Directions

Get Directions from Google Maps

From Staunton:

  1. Take VA-254 W and VA-42 to Goshen, VA (28.6 mi)
  2. Turn left onto Maury River Rd (0.3 mi)
  3. Turn left onto VA-39 E / Maury River Rd (3.2 mi)
  4. Turn left onto State Rte 601 (0.7 mi)
  5. Turn right onto Beltway Dr

From Lexington:

  1. Take Rt. 39 west (16.4 mi)
  2. Turn Right onto State Rte 601 (0.7mi)
  3. Turn Right onto Beltway Dr

Lake Merriweather Shoreline Fishing Map


Public Fishing Season: September 1 through May 31

  • Exception: NO FISHING the Saturday-Sunday-Monday of extended Labor Day and Memorial Day Weekends
  • Fishing is allowed one hour before sunrise to one hour after sunset for lake and shore
  • A State Freshwater Fishing License and PALS Permit are required to fish these waters

Fishing Regulations:

  • Largemouth Bass: Only one bass >22 inches in length can be harvested per day, per angler; daily creel limit for largemouth bass = 5
  • Sunfish: 50 per day in the aggregate (combined). No length limit
  • Crappie: 10 per day. No length limit
  • Channel Catfish: 20 per day. No length limit

Largemouth Bass captured during spring electrofishing surveys.


  • Boats powered with electric trolling motors, kayaks, canoes, fishing rafts, paddle boards (with PFDs) and jon boats with oars allowed to fish on the lake
  • Sailboats, tubes, inflatable-toy rafts and paddle-wheel boats not allowed
  • The public can launch boats during the public fishing season at Camp Olmsted near the dam.
  • Parking for trailered vehicles will be in a designated location
  • Seasonal shore fishing is allowed along the bank on the east side of the dam, running the length of the emergency spillway from the dam breast to the wood line that enters into Camp Bowman. (See Shoreline Fishing Map)
  • No organized fishing tournaments allowed
  • No Camping and No Fires

More Information

Please remember that public access is provided by an annual lease agreement with the Boy Scouts of America. We ask that you pay particular attention to the rules for hunting and fishing of the area and be respectful of the Boy Scout’s property: clean any trash that you or others have left, report any violation that you witness, and be kind and courteous to Scout employees and staff. If you have any questions about public access to the property please contact DGIF’s Region 4 Office at 540-248-9360.