Lake Hamilton, Arkansas, USA

Lake Locations:

USA - South - Arkansas - Ouachitas -

Located on the southern edge of Hot Springs, Lake Hamilton is a premier vacation destination. This beautiful lake was formed in 1932 with the construction of the Carpenter Dam on the Ouachita River. The Dam is named after Flave Carpenter, the pioneer peace officer who discovered the site while tracking down outlaws along the Ouachite River. Ouachita is a Native American word that means “good hunting grounds and sparkling silver water.” The only hunting that happens at Lake Hamilton today is for treasures in one of the many area shops, but the “sparkling silver water” still draws visitors from all over.

Lake Hamilton has almost 200 miles of shoreline characterized by small coves and inlets, and is almost entirely surrounded by homes, restaurants, and resorts. The lake covers 7200 acres and stretches out over 18 miles in length. Arkansas Scenic 7 Byway crosses over the lake. In addition to relaxing at one of the many resorts, visitors can enjoy all types of watersports. Speed boats, sailboats, canoes and kayaks share the waters of Lake Hamilton.

Fishing is also a popular pastime, and Lake Hamilton’s mix of water temperatures support habitats for a variety of fish. The Arkansas Fish and Game Commission operates the Lake Hamilton Fish Hatchery, and releases fingerlings into the lake each year. Angling opportunities include striped, spotted, white and smallmouth bass; black and white crappie; flathead, blue, channel, and bullhead catfish; walley and chain pickerel. The Commission also stocks the lake with rainbow trout. Lake Hamilton has hosted several fishing tournaments, and with the fishing resources being managed by the Arkansas Game & Fish Commission, it is sure to host many more.

Seven public recreation areas provide ample opportunities for nature lovers. Three islands dot Lake Hamilton: Rabbit Island, Little Goat Island, and Big Goat Island. Also known as Electric Island, the 118 acre Big Goat Island may be enjoyed for hiking, picnicking, and wild life viewing. Bald eagles spend winter months on the island. Garvan Woodland Gardens is a 210 acre botanical garden accessible by boat and car. The Gardens are home to flowers, bonsai, and a spectacular spring daffodil display. Visitors can also cruise the lake on a riverboat offering sightseeing, lunch, dinner and dance cruises.

Lake Hamilton is a reservoir created for hydropower generation and municipal water supply. Power generation and water levels are controlled by Entergy Arkansas Inc. (previously Arkansas Power & Light). The power company lowers water levels three to nine feet in the winter for shoreline maintenance and control of nuisance aquatic vegetation. Arkansas Power & Light constructed Carpenter Dam to provide power for the resort community of Hot Springs. Hot Springs Reservation, now Hot Springs National Park, was created over 100 years before the Dam to protect the natural springs that flow from Hot Springs Mountain. Hot Springs National Park is the oldest and smallest area in the national park system. Visitors to the Springs can touch the 147 degree thermal water, tour the historic Fordyce bath house, or hike one of the many trails.

With all the amenities of a premier resort community and sparkling silver waters, Lake Hamilton is sure to delight all the senses.

Things to do at Lake Hamilton

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Fishing Tournaments
  • Boating
  • Sailing
  • Canoeing
  • Kayaking
  • Picnicking
  • Hiking
  • Hunting
  • Birding
  • National Park

Fish species found at Lake Hamilton

  • Bass
  • Black Bass
  • Bullhead Catfish
  • Catfish
  • Chain Pickerel
  • Crappie
  • Pickerel
  • Pike
  • Rainbow Trout
  • Smallmouth Bass
  • Trout
  • White Crappie

Lake Hamilton Photo Gallery

Lake Hamilton Statistics & Helpful Links

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Lake Type: Artificial Reservoir, Dammed

Water Level Control: Entergy Arkansas Inc.

Surface Area: 7,200 acres

Shoreline Length: 198 miles

Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 400 feet

Average Depth: 25 feet

Maximum Depth: 60 feet

Water Volume: 183,160 acre-feet

Completion Year: 1932

Drainage Area: 1,441 sq. miles

Trophic State: Mesotrophic

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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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