Greers Ferry Lake, Arkansas, USA

Lake Locations:

USA - South - Arkansas - Ozarks -

People who love the outdoors will love Greers Ferry Lake. The lake offers ample opportunities for hiking, biking, boating, hunting, and world class fishing. With nearby shopping, multiple golf courses, and an interesting social environment, there is something for everyone. Tucked in the foothills of the Ozark Mountains between Clinton and Heber Springs, Arkansas, Greers Ferry Lake is a recreation paradise waiting to be savored.

Built by the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers, Greers Ferry Dam is a concrete, gravity dam on the Little Red River. The dam and resultant lake were built by the Corps for flood control, hydroelectric power generation, and as a drinking water reservoir for Cleburne County. In his last major appearance, President John F. Kennedy dedicated Greers Ferry Dam in 1963. President Kennedy spoke of the prosperity and recreation opportunities the lake would bring to the region, and his words still ring true today.

Greers Ferry Lake has a well earned reputation as one of the most pollution free lakes in the nation, and one of the cleanest and most scenic places in the mid-south. The area is home to two of the finest wildlife refuges in Arkansas. Mallards make their home at the Henry Gray/Hurricane Lake Wildlife Refuge. With about 15,000 acres on a large rice farm, Bald Knob National Wildlife Refuge is home to a large concentration of waterfowl, and visitors can sometimes catch a glimpse of wintering bald eagles. Greers Ferry Lake Wildlife Management Area is almost 9,000 acres of land above the conservation pool designated for hunting. Bow hunting is the only hunting permitted; archers can hunt for white-tailed deer, rabbit, squirrel, and Eastern wild turkey. Duck hunters will find many duck blinds and plenty of waterfowl to challenge them.

The fishing on Greers Ferry Lake is unsurpassed. Beginning and professional anglers are sure to have success fishing for largemouth bass and white bass hybrids. The Lake holds world records for walleye at 22 pounds 11 oz. and hybrid striper at 27 pounds 5 oz. The Lake is also home to the Devils Fork Fish Tournament Center. Trout fishing is managed by the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission. Water is piped from the dam to Collins Creek in a continuous stream to promote trout reproduction. There is a handicap accessible place on Collins Creek Trail for fishing. Downstream from the dam on the Little Red River, anglers will find exceptional trout fishing. There are brook, cutthroat, and rainbow trout. In 1992 Heber Springs resident, Rip Collins, caught a world record German brown trout weighing an unbelievable 40 pounds 4 oz. A replica of the trout is on display at the visitor center.

The William Carl Garner Visitor Center is managed by the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers. In addition to admiring Mr. Collins’ trout, visitors can enjoy an exhibit area of the Little Red River from prehistoric times to the present. There is also an audio-visual presentation titled “The saga of the Little Red River: A tale of two centuries.”

The U. S. Army Corp of Engineers also manages some well maintained camping areas and three nature trails for hiking and biking around the lake. The Buckeye National Trail, Collins Creek Trail, and the Mossy Bluff National Nature Trail, part of which looks over the Greers Ferry National Fish Hatchery, give visitors a chance to explore the lake and surrounding area. The Josh Park Memorial Trail is a multipurpose fitness trail that hosts an annual cross country meet for several schools. Perhaps the most interesting hiking on Greers Ferry Lake, however, is the Sugar Loaf Mountain National Trail.

Visitors have been hiking Sugar Loaf Mountain for years, long before Greers Ferry Lake was formed. Hikers and photographers were drawn to the spectacular views of the Ozarks from 1,001 feet above sea level. Sugar Loaf Mountain got its name because of an erosion process called pedimentation. The rocky top of the mountain protects the soft shale and sandstone beneath, creating a flat topped mountain with nearly vertical walls, like a loaf. With the construction of the dam and lake, Sugar Loaf Mountain was flooded and became an uninhabited island. Hiking the mountain today starts with a boat ride from one of the local marinas to the “shore” of the mountain.

Sugar Loaf Mountain National Trail is Arkansas’ first nationally designated hiking trail. It is a winding trail that leads hikers past wildflowers in the spring and summer and flaming leaves in the fall. There are a variety of trees and bushes, including sumac, oak, and redbud, as well as wild grape, huckleberry, and prickly pear cactus. The mountain acts as a game refuge, and a lucky hiker may startle small animals, including rabbits and squirrels on their way to the summit. The rocks forming the mountain are over 300 million years old, and at places on the trail, hikers can walk under massive stone walls and past giant stone formations to one of the most beautiful panoramic views of the Ozarks.

The fun doesn’t stop with hunting, fishing, and hiking. Sailboats, house boats, motor boats, and party barges all share the waters of Greers Ferry Lake. There is also scuba diving, water skiing, and swimming. Since 1987, the local Chamber of Commerce has played host to the World Champion Cardboard Boat Races. Participants build a person powered boat out of corrugated cardboard and race on a course on the lake. The race has been featured on ESPN and the Tonight Show.

With the challenging golf courses in the Ozark foothills, where you may find yourself teeing over water or canyons, and the shopping in Cleburne County’s historic downtown, a visit to Greers Ferry Lake has something for everyone.

Things to do at Greers Ferry Lake

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Boating
  • Sailing
  • Swimming
  • Water Skiing
  • Scuba Diving
  • Golf
  • Camping
  • Hiking
  • Biking
  • Hunting
  • Wildlife Viewing
  • Birding
  • National Wildlife Refuge
  • Shopping

Fish species found at Greers Ferry Lake

  • Bass
  • Black Bass
  • Brown Trout
  • Largemouth Bass
  • Perch
  • Rainbow Trout
  • Trout
  • Walleye
  • White Bass

Greers Ferry Lake Photo Gallery

Greers Ferry Lake Statistics & Helpful Links

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Lake Type: Not Known

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

Surface Area: 31,500 acres

Shoreline Length: 276 miles

Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 462 feet

Minimum Elevation (Min Pond): 435 feet

Maximum Elevation (Max Pond): 487 feet

Maximum Depth: 160 feet

Water Volume: 1,910,000 acre-feet

Completion Year: 1964

Drainage Area: 1,146 sq. miles

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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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