DeGray Lake, Arkansas, USA

Lake Locations:

USA - South - Arkansas - Ouachitas -

DeGray Lake is nestled in the foothills of the Ouachita Mountains, in an area logically known as the Ouachita Mountain Region of Arkansas. This section of Arkansas is known for its scenic views, which are both breathtaking and the ideal surroundings for a relaxing retreat. Created as a recreational lake, DeGray Lake offers many entertaining activities including boating, swimming, scuba diving, fishing and camping.

In addition to its recreational purposes, DeGray Reservoir was authorized to control floods and produce hydroelectric power by the River and Harbor Act of 1950. It was later commissioned to supply water through the Water Supply Act of 1958. DeGray Dam was completed in 1972 after impounding of the Caddo River. The DeGray Dam and Power Plant is the first pumped-storage electric generation facility built by the Corps of Engineers. A conventional hydraulic turbine is located downstream from the dam and is used to generate electricity for parts of Arkansas, Oklahoma and Texas. Additionally, the Water Supply Act dictated that Hot Spring, Clark and Garland Counties would receive water from DeGray Lake. Due to its recreational value and water supply, DeGray Lake has become an important resource to the Ouachita Mountain Region.

The DeGray Lake area is rooted in history, which can be traced back to AD 700. The Caddo Native Americans originally inhabited the region, giving the Caddo River its name. In 1541, when the Caddo Native Americans were still living in the area, the explorer DeSoto passed through during his expeditions. Fur trappers soon arrived to the region, and called their first settlement the DeGray community, giving the future DeGray Lake its name. The DeGray Lake Visitor Center has a display of Caddo artifacts.

With 208 miles of shoreline and 13,400 surface acres of water, DeGray Lake visitors will enjoy many recreational activities. Anglers can cast in their line and try to catch a number of game fish, including largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, spotted bass, walleye, channel catfish, blue catfish and flathead catfish. Hunters will find designated hunting areas, where they may encounter white-tailed deer, black bear and bobcat. Lake visitors who enjoy nature watching or bird watching should cast their eyes above and around for bald eagles, ducks, loons, wild turkeys and herons. Additionally, a State Wildlife Management Area (WMA) was established on DeGray Lake and consists of approximately 31,800 acres of land and water. The WMA provides opportunity for hunting and wildlife viewing while protecting the natural habitat of the animals that make DeGray Reservoir their home.

DeGray Lake visitors who like to camp will be pleased to find campsites dotting the lake’s shoreline. Catering to every kind of camper, Lake DeGray offers full hook-ups as well as primitive camp sites. In addition to camping, there is a choice of Corps-operated recreational areas with boat ramps, more than a dozen swimming beaches, and a state park to enjoy. In fact, the DeGray Lake Resort State Park is the only state resort park in Arkansas. The State Park offers an 18-hole championship golf course, a convention center, lodge, tennis courts, swimming pool, and a full-service marina.

Although DeGray Lake has no lakefront residential development, the DeGray and Hot Springs areas offer mountain hideaways and country style cottages available for sale or vacation rental. Visitors and residents alike can enjoy the rustic feel of the Ouachita Mountains foothills and still be close to lake amenities.

DeGray Lake visitors may want to take a short drive to visit Hot Springs National Park, protected by an Act of Congress since 1832. The park is the oldest in the National Park System. The hot springs have been used for years as therapeutic baths for many ailments, and people from all walks of life flocked to the resort that was nicknamed “The American Spa”. Today visitors can unwind and relax in the spa-like settings that fill the bathhouses. The bathhouses, now called Bathhouse Row, are where the refreshing waters of the hot springs emerge, and bathing in the hot springs are only permitted in the bathhouses. In addition to the bathhouses, Hot Springs National Park offers hiking, scenic drives and picnicking. With all Hot Springs has to offer, lake visitors do not need to leave empty handed. Visitors are encouraged to collect the crystal clear spring water in bottles or jugs to take home with them.

While in Hot Springs, DeGray Lake visitors should spend some time touring the Ouachita National Forest which covers 1.8 million acres in central Arkansas and southeastern Oklahoma. The Forest is located primarily in the Ouachita Mountains and offers many nature-loving activities. The trails that meander through the Forest provide places for hiking, horseback riding, off-road vehicle riding and mountain biking. In addition to the trails, visitors will enjoy fishing in the many streams and lakes, as well as hunting and camping.

The beauty of Lake DeGray will remain for years to come due to “Keeping DeGray Lake Beautiful”, which established community improvement and beautification through litter control, waste reduction and recycling. Lake visitors can help by taking part in making sure they do not leave anything behind after visiting DeGray Lake. Whether visitors want to sunbathe on one of the many beaches, or cast in their line for a relaxing time of fishing, they will find DeGray Lake has just what they are looking for and will return time and time again to enjoy the natural beauty around them.

Things to do at DeGray Lake

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Boating
  • Swimming
  • Swimming Pool
  • Beach
  • Scuba Diving
  • Golf
  • Tennis
  • Camping
  • Picnicking
  • Hiking
  • Biking
  • Horseback Riding
  • Hunting
  • Wildlife Viewing
  • Birding
  • State Park
  • National Park
  • National Forest

Fish species found at DeGray Lake

  • Bass
  • Black Bass
  • Blue Catfish
  • Catfish
  • Channel Catfish
  • Flathead Catfish
  • Largemouth Bass
  • Perch
  • Smallmouth Bass
  • Spotted Bass
  • Walleye

DeGray Lake Photo Gallery

  • OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

DeGray Lake Statistics & Helpful Links

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Lake Type: Artificial Reservoir, Dammed

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

Surface Area: 13,400 acres

Shoreline Length: 208 miles

Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 408 feet

Minimum Elevation (Min Pond): 0 feet

Maximum Elevation (Max Pond): 420 feet

Average Depth: 47 feet

Maximum Depth: 200 feet

Water Volume: 1,377,000 acre-feet

Completion Year: 1972

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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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