Chewalla Lake, Mississippi, USA

Lake Locations:

USA - South - Mississippi - Hills Region -

A little pool of heaven in the Mississippi Hills region describes Chewalla Lake. This 260-acre reservoir provides a place for a cooling swim, excellent bass fishing and Forest Service campsites beneath a canopy of pines. Located only an hour from both Tupelo and Memphis, TN, the easily accessible swimming beach is often full on hot summer weekends. Families come here to picnic, swim and fish from the fishing pier. Grills, playground and pavilion (by reservation) round out the amenities offered at the day-use area. A boat ramp accommodates smaller boats.

Nestled within the Holly Springs National Forest, Chewalla is the largest of nearly 50 nearby small reservoirs constructed by the Soil Conservation Service over a period of 30 years. Primarily designed for flood control on what was badly-eroded farmland, subsequent soil restoration and tree planting created the lovely landscape making up the 155,000-acre Holly Springs National Forest. Most of the lakes are now used primarily for recreational purposes and support a good warm water fishery. Several hold small campgrounds and hiking trails. Chewalla Lake was formed in 1966 when little Chewalla Creek was dammed. The lake also receives water from underground springs. The entire area around the lake is shaded by loblolly pine, sweet gum and oak. Dogwood and wildflowers blossom in the spring.

The campground is open from April to November; a campground host is usually on-site. Campsites with electricity or water are limited, so early arrival on busy weekends is a necessity. The campground provides hot showers and flush toilets, along with an RV dump station. The lake is shallow and serene, ideal for canoeing or kayaking. Many come to take advantage of the wide range of walking trails in the immediate area.

A four-mile trail completely circles the lake and ventures into the surrounding hills. Only foot traffic is allowed. An ancient Indian mound is located along the shore, reminding visitors that the name Chewalla derives from a Native American word for ‘the Supreme Being’. A walkway along the lakeshore also offers great views of the lake and a chance to glimpse native pond and marsh dwelling amphibians, water fowl and the occasional deer. Other areas within the national forest allow ATVs and off-road vehicles, but the area around Chewalla Lake, designated Chewalla Lake Recreation Area, is devoted to foot traffic. A quaint footbridge leads to a small island near the western shoreline.

Fishing is excellent, particularly for smallmouth bass. Because Chewalla Lake was previously overrun with ‘trash’ fish, a major lake renovation was undertaken in 1998 to improve the fishery. The lake was drained, gravel spawning beds were constructed, and brush fish-attracting structures anchored. Several new ‘channels’ were built to better direct water flow to some areas of the lake. Then the lake was refilled and stocked. Now, catches of 10 to 12 pound bass are not uncommon. Chewalla Lake also offers catfish, redear sunfish, bluegill and crappie. The lake is no-wake water, so small trolling motors are ideal, along with rowboats, canoes and kayaks. A Mississippi fishing license is required and all current regulations should be checked prior to fishing. And, when the bass aren’t striking on Chewalla Lake, other nearby lakes in the area provide more opportunities to fill the angler’s limit.

Chewalla Lake is located less than 10 miles from the small historic city of Holly Springs. Visitors wishing a history-filled Southern vacation will find Chewalla Lake the perfect spot to make their base camp. Families with competing interests can serve both an angler’s needs and the desires for more luxurious lodgings. They will find Holly Springs the perfect destination. Visitors can arrange to stay at one of the many historic bed & breakfasts located in antebellum homes so prevalent near Holly Springs. Because the Civil War missed Holly Springs completely, many of the beautiful pre-war homes and buildings survived intact and have been lovingly restored by their owners. Many have been turned into inns and guest cottages. There are also several commercial hotels in the area.

Holly Springs offers a variety of attractions for the family. If one tires of meandering the miles of trails within the Holly Springs National Forest, the Strawberry Plains Audubon Center is located just outside of town and provides a 2600-acre nature sanctuary with several walking trails, complete with interpretive signage. The center is dedicated to far more than birds, with wetlands, wildflowers and wildlife holding center stage. Also on-site is the antebellum Davis mansion, home of the two sisters who provided much of the property for the Audubon Center. Tours can be arranged. Holly Springs provides a golf course, and the Holly Springs Motor Sports Park has regularly scheduled motor racing.

Visitors with foresight try to schedule their visit to Holly Springs to coincide with the annual Holly Springs Pilgrimage in April. The Pilgrimage includes several historic mansions and former plantation properties. A more recent addition to the tour is the new Behind the Big House Project. This living history, interpretive tour features actual slave quarters of those behind the glittering facades that kept plantation life operating smoothly. Only in operation for a couple of years, the slave quarters tour has become an immensely popular educational project featuring noted historians who conduct research into the forgotten history of the African-American slaves who lived here. Currently, the tours are free but only available the weekend of the Holly Springs Pilgrimage and include the slave quarters of several historic plantations. Sponsored by Preserve Marshall County & Holly Springs, Inc, the Project receives continued funding from the Mississippi Development Authority/Tourism Division and the Mississippi Humanities Council.

All of this and more is available with a vacation to Chewalla Lake and nearby Holly Springs. So pack up the fishing gear and load up the kids. Chewalla Lake awaits.

Things to do at Chewalla Lake

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Boating
  • Swimming
  • Beach
  • Canoeing
  • Kayaking
  • Golf
  • Camping
  • Campground
  • Picnicking
  • Hiking
  • Wildlife Viewing
  • Birding
  • National Forest
  • Playground

Fish species found at Chewalla Lake

  • Bass
  • Black Bass
  • Bluegill
  • Catfish
  • Crappie
  • Redear Sunfish (Shellcracker)
  • Smallmouth Bass
  • Sunfish

Chewalla Lake Photo Gallery

Chewalla Lake Statistics & Helpful Links

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Lake Type: Artificial Reservoir, Dammed

Water Level Control: US Forest Service

Surface Area: 260 acres

Shoreline Length: 4 miles

Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 344 feet

Maximum Depth: 12 feet

Completion Year: 1966

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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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