Kentucky Tourism

Paintsville Lake History

Established in 1986

The 242-acre Paintsville Lake State Park is located in portions of Johnson and Morgan Counties in eastern Kentucky. The park borders over 13,000 acres leased by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Created by the Corps of Engineers and opened to the public in May 1984, Paintsville Lake covers more than 1,100 acres, is 26 miles long, and in places is more than 100 feet deep. Fishing is an important sport at the park. Largemouth, smallmouth, and spotted bass are some of the favorite catches in this mountain lake. Also to be found in the lake’s waters are catfish, rainbow trout, sunfish, and walleye. Paintsville Lake has a full service marina with over 160 boat slips. Boat rentals are available for those who wish to enjoy fishing or just taking a leisurely boat ride. There is also a four-lane launching ramp to the lake.

Johnson and Morgan Counties are located in eastern Kentucky, where traditions of coal mining and timber cutting are a part of the region’s culture and economy. The rugged beauty of the area’s hills and valleys has been a source of inspiration for poets and singers for many years. Country music greats such as Loretta Lynn and her sister Crystal Gayle grew up in this beautiful region of Kentucky.

Along the jagged cliffs that line the lake a variety of wildlife can be found. In March, 2018, a female bald eagle was reintroduced at the state park after suffering a leg injury the previous year. Bald eagles and wild turkey can be seen. Black bears are once again making their home in the area. There is an abundance of deer, squirrels, rabbits and ruffled grouse in the woods surrounding the park. The scenic beauty of the Paintsville Lake region is a wonderful destination for both sportsmen and naturalists.