Lake Martin, Alabama, USA

Lake Locations:

USA - South - Alabama - Metropolitan -

Also known as:  Martin Lake

Lake Martin, located in Central Alabama near Alexander City, stretches out over 44,000 acres with an incredible 750 miles of shoreline. Nestled within scenic Tallapoosa County, Elmore County, and Coosa County, Lake Martin is an ideal place for recreational pursuits. The reservoir was created by Alabama Power for hydroelectric power generation and flood control. Construction of the dam across the Tallapoosa River began in 1923, and when the project finished in 1926, Lake Martin was the largest man-made lake in the world.

Though it does not still hold the title of largest man-made lake, Lake Martin today attracts thousands of visitors annually to its cool waters, scenic shore, and blue skies. Luxury homes dot the lake, housing both year-round and temporary residents. Because of Lake Martin’s large community, exciting annual events are held here every year, including a Jazz Festival in June, an enormous fireworks display on the Fourth of July, and many fishing competitions throughout the year.

Lake Martin is sprinkled with interesting landmarks, including several islands, both public and private. Chimney Rock is a small island with a large natural rock formation that has the appearance of a chimney. Acapulco Rock Island, just alongside Chimney Rock Island, is often mistaken for the former because of its chimney-like rock formations. It is also the more popular island, and because it has been mistaken so many times over the years, many think that it is Chimney Rock. Since the waters of Lake Martin are so deep, reaching up to 150 feet, boats crowd around on sunny days to watch jumpers take a leap of faith. Though popular, you jump at your own risk: several people have been seriously injured, paralyzed, and even killed after their jumps.

Boating is one of Lake Martin’s most popular activities, and boaters will have access to the lake’s other island offerings. Sand Island, a small island located near Willow Point, is maintained solely by volunteers. Graveyard Island, a very small island of just 30 x 30 yards, is home to a small county graveyard and is shaded by native gum and pine trees. Children’s Harbor Lighthouse, which can also be reached by land, is one of Lake Martin’s most popular landmarks. Goat Island, just north of Martin Dam, is home to a family of wild goats that treat boaters to the occasional sighting. There are several more, and whether you bring your own boat or rent one while you’re here, area natives can help direct you to all the exciting islands and other aquatic sites.

There are numerous public boat launches at Lake Martin, including facilities at Wind Creek State Park. The 1,455-acre park offers more than 600 campsites, a marina, fishing pier, camp store, hiking trails, playground, and picnic areas. Other public boat launch areas include Smith Landing, Madwind Creek, Kowaliga Creek, and Pace’s Point.

Freshwater anglers love Lake Martin, throwing their line in to catch black crappie, bluegill, channel catfish, flathead catfish, largemouth bass, redear sunfish, spotted bass, striped bass, white bass, and more. Most fish are able to reproduce on their own in Lake Martin, though the Alabama Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries Division stock striped bass into the lake. Whatever you fishing pleasure, Lake Martin delivers, so pack your pole and bait box and head on over.

Lake Martin’s significant acreage and delightful topography offer sun, fun, and activities galore for every kind of visitor. If one thing is sure, it’s that a visit to this Alabama reservoir will rank high on your Favorite Vacations list for years to come.

Things to do at Lake Martin

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Boating
  • Camping
  • Picnicking
  • Hiking
  • Wildlife Viewing
  • State Park
  • Playground

Fish species found at Lake Martin

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

Lake Martin Photo Gallery

Lake Martin Statistics & Helpful Links

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Lake Type: Artificial Reservoir, Dammed

Water Level Control: Alabama Power Company

Surface Area: 44,000 acres

Shoreline Length: 743 miles

Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 490 feet

Average Depth: 41 feet

Maximum Depth: 150 feet

Water Volume: 1,626,000 acre-feet

Completion Year: 1926

Drainage Area: 2,984 sq. miles

Trophic State: Oligotrophic

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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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