Lake Ouachita, Arkansas, USA
Also known as: Blakely Mountain Dam Reservoir
Welcome to the ultimate guide for history, statistics, local fun facts and the best things to do at Lake Ouachita.
If you’re considering Lake Ouachita vacation rentals, we’ve made it super easy to explore accommodations and nearby hotels using the interactive map below. Simply click on a listing to compare similar properties, best rates and availability for your dates. Or keep scrolling to read our Lake Ouachita guide!
Lake Ouachita visitor and community guide
Lake Ouachita is completely surrounded by the Ouachita National Forest. It’s the largest lake located entirely within the state of Arkansas. More than 200 islands can make your own private camping spot a reality! Explore 40,000+ acres of boating and water recreation, and 975 miles of shoreline. There are designated recreation areas for camping, fishing docks, boat slips and swimming. Several marinas rent a variety of watercraft, including houseboats.
Shoreline development is limited. For non-campers, several resorts with full boating facilities dot the shore. The surrounding Ouachita National Forest has over 700 miles of trails and facilities for hiking, mountain biking and ATVs.
Lake Ouachita was authorized by the Flood Control Act of 1944, primarily for flood control and power generation. It is the first of three reservoirs on the Ouachita River, near Hot Springs, created by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. (Lake Hamilton and Lake Catherine are the downstream reservoirs.) The gates of Blakely Mountain Dam were closed in 1953, creating this reservoir. Ouachita is the French spelling of an Indian word ‘washita’, which means ‘good hunting grounds.’
Lake Ouachita is an angler’s paradise. Largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, spotted bass, bream, crappie, catfish and walleye rank among its top fishing attractions. But trophy striped bass are the biggest draw for most anglers. For many, Lake Ouachita earns the title ‘Striped Bass Capital of the World’.
Other attractions on and around Lake Ouachita include one of the largest crystal veins in the world, rare non-stinging jellyfish, and sponges. The Geo Float Trail, the first water-based interpretive trail in the National Trails System, is a project of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Arkansas Geological Commission, and the U.S. Geological Survey. The 16-mile trail guides boaters around Lake Ouachita, stopping at many unique geological formations. Boaters should try this one!
For the geocaching aficionado, there are dozens of nearby caches to find and log. Bring your GPS and find a few.
The lake’s Vista Trail challenges mountain bikers, as do Womble Trail and Little Blakely Trail. The Vista Trail is planned to eventually cover 35-40 miles of Lake Ouachita’s shoreline.
Spearfishing is popular; Arkansas is one of the few states that permit it in fresh water. Scuba divers revel in a special spearfishing season at Lake Ouachita. A scuba training area attracts instructors and students from neighboring states to Ouachita’s clear waters, where underwater visibility can reach 30 feet during good weather.
Lake Ouachita has something for everyone – boating, fishing, hiking, biking, scuba diving, and hunting. Pure outdoor enjoyment beckons nature lovers to Ouachita, and makes it a ‘must visit’ Arkansas lake.
Custom Lake Ouachita house decor
Read our full review of these personalized lake house signs.
Things to do at Lake Ouachita
- Vacation Rentals
- Scuba Diving
- National Forest
Fish species found at Lake Ouachita
- Black Bass
- Largemouth Bass
- Smallmouth Bass
- Spotted Bass
- Striped Bass
Best hotels and vacation rentals at Lake Ouachita
The Lake Ouachita map shown above is a simple and stress-free way to search for trip accommodations. But if you want to take a deeper dive to find the ideal waterfront home, cabin, condo, hotel or resort, visit our favorite lodging partners by clicking the buttons below.
Note: These are affiliate links so we may earn a small commission if you book through them. While there is no extra cost to you, it helps provide resources to keep our site running (thank you)! You can read our full disclosure policy here.
Lake Ouachita photo gallery
New photos coming soon!
Lake Ouachita statistics & helpful links
Lake Type: Not Known
Water Level Control: U.S Army Corps of Engineers
Surface Area: 40,100 acres
Shoreline Length: 975 miles
Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 578 feet
Minimum Elevation (Min Pond): 0 feet
Maximum Elevation (Max Pond): 592 feet
Average Depth: 50 feet
Maximum Depth: 200 feet
Water Volume: 2,768,000 acre-feet
Completion Year: 1953
Drainage Area: 1,105 sq. miles
We strive to keep the information on LakeLubbers as accurate as possible. However, if you’ve found something in this article that needs updating, we’d certainly love to hear from you! Please fill out our Content Correction form.
Advertise your Lake Ouachita vacation rental
LakeLubbers will soon offer homeowners and property managers the opportunity to to showcase their vacation rentals to the thousands of lake lovers searching our site daily for accommodations. If you’d like additional details, please contact our advertising team here.
Looking for the Lake Ouachita forum?
LakeLubbers previously offered visitors the ability to create accounts and participate in lake forums. When we overhauled the site’s content management system in 2021 we had to disable those features. We’re evaluating options and welcome your comments and feedback here.
Spread the word! Share our Lake Ouachita article with your fellow Lake Lubbers!