Belton Lake, Texas, USA

Lake Locations:

USA - Southwest - Texas - Prairies and Lakes -

Imposing bluffs stand tall in the Texas wind, as if serenely surveying Belton Lake’s calm, clear waters. An osprey spreads its wings from atop the bluff, gathering speed while descending into one of the lake’s many curling coves. Boaters, kayakers, anglers and sunbathers glance upwards to watch the osprey’s smooth flight, resuming their activities once the bird melts into the surrounding trees.

Belton Lake is home to an abundance of both animals and activities, keeping all types of outdoor enthusiasts happy with the nearly limitless number of things to do. Throughout the year, vacationers and locals tackle this 12,385-acre body of water to fish, boat, hike, camp or picnic. Located within the Prairies and Lakes tourism region in central Texas and next door to the U.S. Army’s Fort Hood, the lake is a prime spot for settling down or recharging for a vacation along its 136 miles of shoreline.

Construction began back in early 1949 in order to reduce flood damage, to create water conservation, fish and wildlife habitat and to bring in general recreation to the area. Belton Lake, whose shoreline lies within Bell and Coryell Counties, was completed in 1954 and resides on the Leon River. Belton Lake, which is now owned by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, cost an approximate $17.2 million to create.

Now the lake is filled to the brim with lake-goers. If patient, anglers have a number of opportunities to hook a variety of species located in different areas of the lake’s depths, including smallmouth bass, channel catfish, crappie and flathead catfish. Anglers casting out in the early morning mist may find a decent number of largemouth bass, white bass and sunfish in the lake. Hybrid striped bass are found in excellent supply, their scales shimmering beneath the warm summer sun.

Children with energy to burn can assist their parents in choosing a place for their next water adventure on Belton Lake’s shores. The plethora of parks gives campers the chance to sing songs softly beneath a blanket of stars or to cook a hot meal within the comfort of an RV. A water park towards the lake’s western arm holds slippery water slides with happily screaming children, hot grills fired up with hamburgers and hotdogs and sandy beaches full of swimsuit-clad vacationers.

Tucked away from the summer hubbub are areas of Belton Lake made for the quiet hikers, canoeists and kayakers. Those with a practiced eye can scout out wildlife within Tweedle Mountain, which sits in the middle of the lake. Kayakers and canoeists seeking solitude will find plenty of reflection in the lake’s many quiet coves, where rabbits, quail, deer and doves may peek out between trees with curiosity.

Boaters have easy access to Belton Lake with multiple boat ramps spread throughout the lake. The shoreline’s high bluffs keep waters calm, making it easy for anyone to hop over the boat’s wake and to glide easily over the water’s surface. Only the steady swish of water on one’s skis and the whoosh of air in one’s ears can be heard when playing out on the lake.

After exhausting Belton Lake’s many resources, a 20-minute drive will take you to the cities of Belton or Temple. The City of Temple brings annual events such as jazz festivals, airshows and the July Fourth Family Fun Fest. Right next door is the City of Belton, where anyone can find bike trails, central Texas cooking, or museums on the area’s history.

Boaters looking for another lake’s shore can skip on over to Stillhouse Hollow Lake, located less than 30 minutes away. The 6,430-acre lake boasts 58 miles of shoreline and an abundance of fish for anglers. Hikers can find a secluded waterfall hidden along the Chalk Ridge Falls trail.

Miller Springs Nature Center is directly east of Lake Belton and attracts anyone, any age. The 260-acre area, set between 40-foot high bluffs and the Leon River, is open every day from dawn until dusk for no charge. Hike through the trails and open your eyes to new wilderness, throw on your rock climbing gear and scale a few boulders, or sit down to a peaceful picnic with your family.

Belton Lake provides year-round activities for the casual vacationer to the steady homebody. Seek out real estate opportunities and settle into City of Belton’s tight-knit community, or skip rocks during sunset and tuck into cozy vacation rentals when the evening is done. Belton Lake will be there, awaiting your arrival.

Things to do at Belton Lake

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Boating
  • Swimming
  • Beach
  • Canoeing
  • Kayaking
  • Camping
  • Picnicking
  • Hiking
  • Rock Climbing
  • Waterfall
  • Wildlife Viewing
  • Birding
  • Museum

Fish species found at Belton Lake

  • Bass
  • Black Bass
  • Catfish
  • Channel Catfish
  • Crappie
  • Flathead Catfish
  • Largemouth Bass
  • Smallmouth Bass
  • Striped Bass
  • Sunfish
  • White Bass

Belton Lake Photo Gallery

Belton Lake Statistics & Helpful Links

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Lake Type: Artificial Reservoir, Dammed

Water Level Control: US Army Corps of Engineers

Surface Area: 12,385 acres

Shoreline Length: 136 miles

Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 594 feet

Average Depth: 28 feet

Maximum Depth: 124 feet

Water Volume: 372,700 acre-feet

Completion Year: 1954

Drainage Area: 3,560 sq. miles

Trophic State: Mesotrophic

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Trophic State | LakeLubbers

Trophic State measures the level of algae and nutrients in a lake.

An oligotrophic lake is very clear (blue in color) and does not support much plant or fish life. A hyper-oligotrophic lake is the clearest of all lakes, and is nearly devoid of plants and fish.

A mesotrophic lake is slightly green and supports a moderate degree of plant and fish life. A lake's most desired trophic state is generally this mid-point - the mesotrophic state.

A eutrophic lake is somewhat murky and supports a large amount of plant and fish life. A hypereutrophic lake is clouded with algae, plant life, and fish life. A eutrophic or hyper-eutrophic lake can be difficult to navigate by boat - and is often an unpleasant place to swim.

The use of phosphorus-rich and nitrogen-rich fertilizer on lawns and golf courses surrounding a lake can cause it to become eutrophic or hypereutrophic.


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Catchment or Drainage Area | LakeLubbers

This is the surrounding area that drains into a lake, including land, rivers and their tributaries. This is also known as the lake's "catchment basin".

Small lakes at the highest peaks of mountains have small drainage areas. The world's oceans have the largest drainage areas.


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Lake-Area Population | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated number of people who live in a house with a view of a lake, plus those who self-describe the lake as their home, for example: "I live at Smith Mountain Lake."


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Water Residence Time | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated time that it takes for an amount of water equal to the entire volume of a lake to flow out of - or evaporate from - the lake.

Residence Time can be as short as a few days for fast-flowing small lakes, and can exceed 100 years for slow-flowing large lakes.


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Completion Year | LakeLubbers

This is the year that a reservoir was first filled to the reservoir's normal elevation - or the year that a natural lake was first dammed. A large reservoir can take more than a year to fill after its dam is first closed.

The Grand Anicut in southern India is generally considered the world's oldest dam that still operates. Grand Anicut was constructed in the second century BC. It now impounds an irrigation network that includes roughly one million acres.

You can find many of the the world's newest reservoirs on LakeLubbers. Many of the world's oldest reservoirs appear on the last page of that list.


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Water Volume | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated volume of water that a lake contains -- measured at the lake's normal elevation. By this measure, the world's largest freshwater lake is Siberia's Lake Baikal.

You can find many of the the world's largest lakes (by water volume) on LakeLubbers.

Water Volume can be measured in acre-feet, in cubic miles, or in cubic kilometers. One acre-foot is the amount of water needed to cover one acre (43,560 square feet) to a depth of one foot. One cubic mile equals 3,379,200 acre-feet. One cubic kilometer equals 810,713 acre-feet.

1 acre-foot is equal to 325,851 US gallons. Siberia's Lake Baikal contains about 6,276,367,740,000,000 gallons of freshwater - nearly 1 million gallons for every living person on earth.

The other - and more widely used - measure of a lake's size is the lake's surface acreage. By that measure, the world's largest freshwater lake is North America's Lake Superior.


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Maximum Depth | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated greatest depth of the water in a lake -- measured at the lake's normal elevation. The world's deepest lake is Siberia's Lake Baikal; that lake's maximum depth is estimated at 5,314 feet.

You can find many of the the world's deepest lakes on LakeLubbers. If you select the last page of that list, you will find the (maximum depth of) the shallowest lakes in our database.


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Average Depth | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated average depth of the water in a lake -- measured at the lake's normal elevation. If the water volume and surface area of a lake are known, an estimate of the lake's average depth can be calculated:

Water volume ÷ Surface Area = Average Depth

Example: 1,000,000 acre-feet ÷ 20,000 acres = 50 feet average depth


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Maximum Elevation | LakeLubbers

This is a lake's highest water level, measured by the lake's surface distance above sea level, that can occur during flooding. A lake's highest possible maximum elevation is usually the top of the lake's dam or spillway.

At lakes that include residential development, government regulations usually forbid the construction of homes below a lake's maximum elevation.


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Minimum Elevation | LakeLubbers

This is a lake's lowest water level, measured by the lake's surface distance above sea level, that can be reasonably expected to occur. Low lake levels can occur due to deliberate seasonal draw downs for irrigation or impending snow melt, reduced water inflows, drought and evaporation, residential or commercial water demands, and hydropower generation.

Some lakes' minimum and maximum elevations are virtually the same. Lakes that generate hydropower may vary by several feet - according to power demand. Lakes whose primary purpose is to prevent flooding can seasonally vary by 100 feet or more.

When some lakes reach their minimum elevation, their boat ramps may not be long enough to permit boat access - and boats docked on shallow parts of the lake may end up on dry ground. In those cases, kayakers and shore-based anglers may be among the few happy recreational users of the lake.


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Normal Elevation | LakeLubbers

This is a lake's normal water level, measured by the lake's surface distance above sea level. For a reservoir, this water level is also known as "full pond" or "full pool".

You can find many of the world's highest-elevated lakes on LakeLubbers. Lakes with the lowest elevations (known by LakeLubbers) are shown on the final page of that list.


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Shoreline Length | LakeLubbers

This is the length of the exterior shoreline around a lake - measured at the lake's normal elevation. The shoreline length can be considerably shorter or longer when lake water levels are lower or higher than normal.

A lake with many coves has a much longer shoreline than a lake of similar surface area that is nearly circular in shape.

When known, the shoreline miles that we report in our statistics include only the lake's exterior shoreline, and exclude the shorelines of islands located within a lake's boundaries. In lakes with many islands, those islands' combined shorelines may exceed a lake's exterior shoreline.

You can find many of the world's longest-shoreline lakes on Lakelubbers.


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Surface Area | LakeLubbers

This is the area (acreage, square kilometers, etc.) of the top surface area of a lake - measured at a lake's normal elevation. The surface area can be considerably smaller or larger when lake levels are lower or higher than normal. North America's Lake Superior is the world's largest freshwater lake by this measure.

The other measure of a lake's size is the lake's water volume. By that measure, the world's largest freshwater lake is Lake Baikal in Siberia.

You can find many of the world's largest lakes (acres) on Lakelubbers. There is no widely-accepted minimum surface area that defines a lake. What Lakelubbers describes as a lake, you might call a pond. The smallest lake that Lakelubbers currently includes is Hawaii's 2-acre Lake Waiau.


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Water Level Control | LakeLubbers

This is the organization that controls water releases or outflows from the lake or reservoir. In the USA, this is often the US Army Corps of Engineers, a power company, a municipal water system, an irrigation district, or a paper manufacturing company. In the case of private or gated lakes, a homeowners' association may be the lake's controlling authority.

Many lakes cross borders, including North America's Great Lakes. The control of such lakes and their coveted freshwater may be amicably shared - or hotly disputed.

"Water wars" continue at many lakes as growing populations and crop irrigation needs compete for the freshwater that lakes contain.


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Lake Type | LakeLubbers

There are 3 basic types of lakes that are currently included on LakeLubbers. 2 types may be dammed or not dammed, producing 5 classifications.

- A Reservoir is a man-made freshwater lake that is usually created by damming rivers.

- A Natural Freshwater Lake occurs naturally - often by glacial activity - and has a salinity of less than 30 parts per thousand. It may be dammed to produce electricity or for other reasons.

- A Natural Saltwater Lake occurs naturally and has a salinity of more than 30 parts per thousand (ppt). It may be dammed.

"Brackish" water may be categorized as freshwater or saltwater, depending on its salt content (salinity). Oligohaline water has less than 15 ppt of salt. Mesohaline water has 15-29 ppt. Polyhaline has 30-335 ppt.


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