Post by thenextlevel on Jul 25, 2017 18:45:16 GMT -5
I have been wanting to explore below SML dam on Leesville lake for a while. I made a post here a while back and got some good info. I was curious if there are any safety issues being below the dam during generation. I've watched some YouTube videos and the water comes up pretty fast. I wouldn't be right below the dam but maybe a coupe hundred yards downstream? I would be in a 16 foot boat with a 35 horse outboard. Any advice is appreciated!
There are no charts available (save for those created by folks w/ autochart capability on their electronix). Navigating up into the river can be a lil tricky. You might wanna consider hooking up w/ a Leesville local (there are several on here) to see if you can't get some details on where to go, where not to go.
The immediate (obvious) concern would be releases from SML. It's pretty narrow up there so any release is going to be significant to someone in a tin boat. Also, Leesville is notorious for flotsam (plz see my post on Leesville from JUN this year). It isn't just the stuff on top. It's the stuff just under the surface that gets you. Finally, movement of water out of SML/Leesville Lake causes drastic swings in Leesville's water level, sometimes as much as 6'. There are some shallow and rocky spots up in the river. Gotta beware not to get hung up on one of those.
Post by thenextlevel on Jul 26, 2017 8:05:29 GMT -5
I'd love to talk with some locals about it. I don't want to get in a bad spot in the boat if I can help it. Does anyone know anything about stripers below the dam? Seems like with the generation and current it would be a good spot year round. Similiar to Melton Hill in Tennessee?
Leesville dam is nothing like Melton Hill dam imo. I've been below both. Not saying stripers aren't below Leesville somewhere in the summer, but it would be a lot different fishing it - the dams themselves don't even function the same way.
I will say if you hear the siren go off at Leesville, then get ready for a wild ride. I've seen people get the rods ripped out of their hands fishing from the bank below Leesville when they release.
Post by Shadslinger on Jul 26, 2017 15:10:42 GMT -5
You can't get to the back of sml dam from leesville. They block you off several hundred yards downstream which you may already know. The release is still very fast and turbulent in that area though but managable. I think it's more dangerous getting there than the release itself. Coming up from the pittsville ramp once you pass the pigg river the actual river channel is very narrow. Depending on the water level you can get into some trouble if you get out the channel. Stumps, submerged trees stuck in the bottom, grass beds, etc. As far as the striper fishing goes leesville as a whole is a very tough lake with a declining population of stripers. I've fished up lake behind the dam in the current and slack water and have never had much luck. I'm sure there are some there but i believe they are further up than you can get by boat. Good luck and just be careful and you should be ok. Hell ive seen idiots in pontoons pulling skiers up there make it through not realizing they in less than 5' of water evidently so you should be ok.
"Its hard to be honest in a world that's headed for hell"
Whoops I read that as below Leesville dam which had me really confused. Yeah like Shadslinger said you can't get up to SML dam but can fish the "river" down from it. SML dam works pretty similar to Leesville in as far as releasing pretty hard, but again not exactly like Melton Hill or Ft London dams in nature. That would be a heck of a fishery down there if it was more like those Tennessee systems. Leesville has way more potential then what it produces I think.
Post by catfishking on Jul 27, 2017 0:20:34 GMT -5
I been there in a 16 foot john boat and the air temp and water temp changes a whole lot lot colder. And it is loads of trash logs and stuff every where and when you get as close as they will let u go water is moving fast and once you turn around you will be back down in a hurry. I have also been up to the cable behind leesville dam and when the siren goes off you better have boat pointed down river and ready to go with the flow if you do go behind either dam just be on ur gard and would definitely recommend wearing a life vest.