Harris Brake Lake, Arkansas, USA

Lake Locations:

USA - South - Arkansas - Ouachitas -

The essence of small-town life is vastly different from one community to the next and in the Arkansas River Valley, Harris Brake Lake gives the tiny town of Perryville much of its big personality. Lying within the Ouachita tourism region, the reservoir attracts individuals who wish for a quiet retreat in the central portion of the state.

Harris Brake Lake was built in 1955 by the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission and remains the third largest lake owned by the state wildlife agency. The surface of the lake spreads across approximately 1,300 acres in Perry County and has an average depth of six feet. The lake is part of the Harris Brake Wildlife Management Area (WMA), which totals 2,788 acres. Harris Brake Lake is adjacent to an 800-acre green tree reservoir, a lowland area typically flooded during the fall and winter to attract waterfowl and to prevent tree mortality.

The reservoir adjoining Harris Brake Lake makes a prime target for waterfowl hunting. The majority of ducks hunted in the green tree reservoir are mallards, though wood ducks, teal, gadwalls and widgeons have also been harvested.

Lake activities run the gamut but the mood on Harris Brake Lake runs apace with the sedate, slow-moving fish that live in the lake. Anglers arriving at the lake with hopes of ensnaring various fish species will not leave unhappy: below the surface swim bluegill, channel catfish, black crappie, hybrid striped bass, largemouth bass, redear sunfish and many other species. Supplies can be stocked at various bait shops located around the lake. Anglers are granted access to the lake at multiple boating ramps.

Fishing and hunting may be the lake’s biggest draw, but canoeing and kayaking enthusiasts enjoy dipping their paddles into Harris Brake Lake’s serene waters. Discover Doughty Cove near the lake’s southern shores or paddle into the north portions of the lake near the dam site. Kayakers and canoeists gliding along the smooth, calm waters are afforded views and moments rarely experienced by those who stick to to the lake’s shores — explore hidden coves, watch deer drink from the lake, or observe puffy, white clouds disappear into the horizon.

Bird enthusiasts sit at the water’s edge, listening carefully as songbirds reveal their daily orchestra. Bring a bird identification book to spot new species or snap photos of a bird’s daily routine as the sunlight filters through the trees. Walking quietly through the woods uncovers additional wildlife, including rabbits, squirrels, deer, doves, turkeys and furbearers, such as mink or beaver.

Harris Brake Lake’s amenities do not end with the beautiful scenery. Get back to the basics with the kids by picking out a camp site and roasting marshmallows while listening to a crackling fire. Those looking for additional luxury can lean back in an armchair at the lake’s RV park, motel or in the lakeside home and cabin vacation rentals which are open throughout the year.

The vacationer looking to get more out of their trip need not venture far from Harris Brake Lake. Rolling hills dominate the landscape, making for a quick but memorable five-minute drive to Perryville. Experience small town life by sinking your teeth into slabs of barbecue ribs or sitting down with locals to talk about the old days.

Directly to the west of Harris Brake Lake lies Ouachita National Forest, the oldest national forest in the South covering 1.8 million acres of forest in both Arkansas and Oklahoma. Miles of winding hiking trails and hours of plentiful fishing and await at this next door retreat. Residing closer to Harris Brake Lake is the Flatside Wilderness Area, located within the Ouachita National Forest, offering hours of recreational possibilities. The total area covers 10,000 acres but there are 10 miles of the Ouachita National Recreation Trail open to heart-pumping hikers and wilderness-exploring horseback riders.

Visitors looking to open the door to calm and quiet shores need look no further: vacation rentals and real estate on Harris Brake Lake promise to fulfill your dreams. Be it snagging that prized largemouth bass or capturing the memory of strolling down a dock during an early morning sunrise, this small town lake has big opportunities for water lovers.

Things to do at Harris Brake Lake

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Boating
  • Swimming
  • Canoeing
  • Kayaking
  • Camping
  • Cabin Rentals
  • Hiking
  • Horseback Riding
  • Hunting
  • Wildlife Viewing
  • Birding
  • National Forest

Fish species found at Harris Brake Lake

  • Bass
  • Black Bass
  • Black Crappie
  • Bluegill
  • Catfish
  • Channel Catfish
  • Crappie
  • Largemouth Bass
  • Redear Sunfish (Shellcracker)
  • Striped Bass
  • Sunfish

Harris Brake Lake Photo Gallery

    Harris Brake Lake Statistics & Helpful Links

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    Lake Type: Artificial Reservoir, Dammed

    Water Level Control: Arkansas Game and Fish Commission

    Surface Area: 1,300 acres

    Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 280 feet

    Average Depth: 6 feet

    Maximum Depth: 28 feet

    Water Volume: 7,800 acre-feet

    Completion Year: 1955

    Trophic State: Eutrophic

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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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