Inks Lake, Texas, USA

Lake Locations:

USA - Southwest - Texas - Hill Country -

Inks Lake is located about an hour northwest of Austin in the picturesque Texas Hill Country. Measuring just 4.2 miles long and 3000 feet at its widest point, this reservoir was formed in 1938 by the construction of the Inks Dam by the Lower Colorado River Authority. Before Buchanan Dam at Lake Buchanan was completed, LCRA began work three miles downstream on this smaller dam so the two could work in tandem. Inks Dam has no floodgates, and the power plant is the smallest in the Highland Lakes chain. A small amount of water can be released through hydroelectric generation, but the bulk of floodwater passes over an uncontrolled spillway. Water levels are fairly constant, with annual fluctuations about one foot. During flooding situations, the lake level can rise as the flood waters are passed through Inks Lake to other lakes downstream.

Inks Lake is still relatively untouched by the hustle and bustle of civilization. The draw is the environment, nature and wildlife. You will not find commercialized high-rise buildings, condominiums, or overcrowded waterways. Inks Lake is noted for its picturesque scenery and pristine beauty of granite, limestone, cactus and wildflowers. The terrain is rolling hills, pink granite, cactus, and trees. Unique and magical geological features are a big draw for visitors. Gneiss (pronounced like nice), pinkish granite outcroppings, and lichens, a combination of fungus and algae that tints the rock formations in hues of yellow and green, rim the limestone edges of Inks Lake. They pop from the ground like little sculptures.

Inks Lake State Park, a 1,200 acre panorama of natural beauty, borders approximately one-third of the eastern shoreline of the lake. The park’s recreational opportunities include swimming, boating, canoeing, water skiing, scuba diving, sailing, and fishing. Deer, turkey, quail, numerous songbirds, and other species of wildlife are abundant here. With more than 200 campsites to accommodate everyone from tent campers to RV users, Inks Lake State Park ranks as the runner-up in overnight camping leaders among Texas state parks. Most of the mini cabins and many of the campsites line the shores of the lake. A two-lane boat ramp is available at the park along with a lighted fishing pier and plenty of shoreline access. Because of the park’s popularity, it is a good idea to make reservations well in advance if you would like to camp there.

Inks Lake has been stocked with several species of fish intended to improve the utility of the reservoir for recreational fishing. Fish present in Inks Lake include largemouth bass, white bass, catfish, crappie, and sunfish. Inks Lake offers a variety of cover and structure to fish. The shoreline contains numerous rock piles, ledges, and chunk rock banks. Water color in the reservoir is fairly clear. Although the lake remains at a near constant level, no significant aquatic vegetation is present.

Is photography your passion? With its wealth of natural beauty, Inks Lake is a photographer’s heaven. Scenic drives on either side of the lake will provide many opportunities to stop, explore and take pictures. A short, uphill trail leads to a granite overlook above Devil’s Waterhole, while the old Highway 29 Bridge, now a pedestrian walkway, spans the width of Inks Lake, allowing a breathtaking view of the lake and the spillway of Buchanan Dam.

If you are looking to take a break from water sports and nature activities, then consider a trip to nearby Longhorn Cavern State Park. There you will be awed by Longhorn Cavern, a Texas Hill Country wonder created over thousands of years by the dissolving and cutting action of water on the limestone bedrock of the area. Fossil remains show that many Ice Age animals once occupied the cave. On your way back to camp, be sure to check out the quaint antique and craft shops along the way. Another fun day can be spent with a tour of Fall Creek Vineyards, or playing golf on the waterfront golf course. And when hunger strikes, there is no shortage of good BBQ in the area.

Inks Lake and the surrounding Texas Hill Country hold many other opportunities for you to explore. Whether it is in one of the other Highlands Lakes, Enchanted Rock, Falkenstein Castle, or a beautiful moonlight walk on the old bridge with the gentle lake breezes, you will never run out of things to do.

Things to do at Inks Lake

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Boating
  • Sailing
  • Swimming
  • Canoeing
  • Water Skiing
  • Scuba Diving
  • Golf
  • Camping
  • Cabin Rentals
  • Hiking
  • Wildlife Viewing
  • Birding
  • State Park
  • Antiquing

Fish species found at Inks Lake

  • Bass
  • Black Bass
  • Catfish
  • Crappie
  • Largemouth Bass
  • Sunfish
  • White Bass

Inks Lake Photo Gallery

Inks Lake Statistics & Helpful Links

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Lake Type: Not Known

Water Level Control: Lower Colorado River Authority

Surface Area: 837 acres

Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 888 feet

Minimum Elevation (Min Pond): 877 feet

Maximum Elevation (Max Pond): 903 feet

Maximum Depth: 60 feet

Water Volume: 15,063 acre-feet

Completion Year: 1938

Drainage Area: 31,290 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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