Arkabutla Lake, Mississippi, USA

Welcome to the ultimate guide for history, statistics, local fun facts and the best things to do at Arkabutla Lake.

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Arkabutla Lake visitor and community guide

Lake Locations: USA - South - Mississippi - Hills Region -

Arkabutla Lake, a popular vacation destination located on the Scenic Loop 304 in Mississippi, is less than a half hour drive from Memphis. Over 2 million visitors each year enjoy the lake’s recreational activities and beauty. Recreational activities include fishing, hunting, swimming, sailing, boating, camping, picnicking and wild life viewing.

Arkabutla Lake is a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers project and was created by impounding the Coldwater River. The project includes 57,250 acres of land and water. Arkabutla Lake was designed as a flood control reservoir and has a normal summer pool of 11,240 acres, while in the fall and winter the lake is gradually drawn down to a conservation pool of 5,100 acres. This is done to help prevent flooding caused by the spring rains. Arkabutla Dam became operational in 1943 and stretches 11,500 feet long and has an average height of 67 feet.

Nestled in the beautiful countryside of DeSoto County, Mississippi’s Hill Region, Arkabutla Lake is best known for its crappie fishing. In 2007 Bass Pro Shops sponsored a Crappie Maters Tournament at the lake. Currently, there is a bag limit of 20 per person on crappies, and they must be over 12 inches long. Other fish of interest for anglers are largemouth bass and catfish. Wildlife is abundant at Arkabutla Lake which makes hunting another popular pastime. Game animals include white tailed deer, turkey, quail, rabbit and squirrel. Anglers and hunters may check with the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks for more information on licenses needed for fishing and hunting on the lake’s property.

Visitors who enjoy wildlife will have ample opportunity to view a variety of birds and animals, including bluebirds and wood ducks. Wildlife viewers can take advantage of Arkabutla Lake’s five miles of nature trails as well as a horse trail for horse riders. The staff at Arkabutla Lake has developed a number of ways to protect the natural resources and environment that is important to the lake which includes the planting of trees, revitalizing the wetland area, as well as planting of food plots.

Water sports are also enjoyed on Arkabutla Lake, and it is considered to be one of the best sailing lakes in the nation due to its prevailing westerly winds. Camping is another activity enjoyed by many. The Corps of Engineers provide many campsites that include primitive as well as electrical hook-ups. Swimming beaches and day use areas are also available. Visitors should check the Corps website before going out to swim at Arkabutla Lake or visiting day use areas. In times of high water the swimming beaches and some day use areas will be closed.

For those who would like to do a little sightseeing, they can check out the DeSoto County Museum. The Museum features the history of DeSoto County, artifacts from the great explorer Hernando DeSoto, the parlor of an antebellum mansion, artifacts from the Civil War as well as other exhibits.

Visitors of Arkabutla Lake may enjoy the beautiful setting so much that they make the lake a repeat vacation destination. Family friendly and great for serious fishing and hunting, Arkabutla Lake has a lot to offer.

Custom Arkabutla Lake house decor

Read our full review of these personalized lake house signs.

Things to do at Arkabutla Lake

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Boating
  • Sailing
  • Swimming
  • Beach
  • Camping
  • Picnicking
  • Hiking
  • Horseback Riding
  • Hunting
  • Wildlife Viewing
  • Birding
  • Museum

Fish species found at Arkabutla Lake

  • Bass
  • Black Bass
  • Catfish
  • Crappie
  • Largemouth Bass

Best hotels and vacation rentals at Arkabutla Lake

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Arkabutla Lake photo gallery

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Arkabutla Lake statistics & helpful links


Lake Type: Artificial Reservoir, Dammed

Water Level Control: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

Surface Area: 11,240 acres

Shoreline Length: 134 miles

Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 220 feet

Minimum Elevation (Min Pond): 209 feet

Maximum Elevation (Max Pond): 244 feet

Maximum Depth: 60 feet

Completion Year: 1943

Drainage Area: 1,000 sq. miles

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