Williamstown Lake - Flatwater Paddling

Mist rises off the rose-hued waters as the sun breaks over the lush green treetops. Paddles dip into glass-smooth waters, only broken by the rising of the fish and possibly the anglers that are stalking after them. In the spring, the haunting calls of loons float through the air. Welcome to early mornings on Williamstown Lake.
The largest lake in northern Kentucky, Williamstown Lake is a public, 330-acre recreational lake and water reservoir. It was created in 1955 by impounding the South Fork of Grassy Creek and opened for boating, fishing, and swimming in 1957. It’s the main water supply for Grant County residents.
Nestled into the almost 20 miles of tree-lined shores surrounding Williamstown Lake are over 450 homes and rentals, making this a perfect destination to get a little taste of ‘summer camp’ with all the amenities of home. Launch a canoe, kayak, or stand-up paddleboard right from your temporary front yard. There is also a free public ramp and many boat docks that provide supplies and boat rentals. Wake up early for some bird watching while exploring the various coves.
Every August, the lake hosts an annual “Paddle Williamstown” event to encourage paddlers to discover this northern gem. For several hours they restrict the motorized boat traffic on the lake so that canoes, kayaks, and SUPs can have the water all to themselves.
If small craft fishing sounds appealing, the local fish population includes a wide variety of species including largemouth bass, bluegill, crappie, sunfish, channel catfish, bullhead, and redhorse sucker. The area’s marinas and fishing shops can provide detailed local beta and bait.
Just two miles away is the lake’s namesake, the charming city of Williamstown. Plan an afternoon to wander the craft shops downtown and stop for lunch at Shem’s Snack Shack for one of the best hot dogs in Kentucky. Also be sure to check out the old time soda fountain atmosphere at Elmer's General Store.
These flat, calm waters are the perfect place for active families who want to venture out for a day of canoeing, picnicking, and swimming. Kids can learn the ropes in an environment with no tricky maneuvers, but then practice their new skills of turning and paddle strokes in a fun, wooded cove. It’s also good for kayakers training for multi-day or distance events but want all the amenities nearby, or for any paddlers who want to rent a cabin with easy access to the water right out the front door.
The lake is just two miles east of Williamstown, and parking near the boat ramp is free. To get to the public boat ramp, take Highway 22 E out of Williamstown, then turn left on KY 489 (Fairview Road). From here, take a left on Summer Drive.
All Kentucky state regulations for boating and fishing are applicable.
Written by Lisa Collard for RootsRated in partnership with Kentucky Tourism.

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