Lake Ouachita, Arkansas, USA
Also known as: Blakely Mountain Dam Reservoir
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,…
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Welcome to the ultimate guide to Lake Ouachita! Article topics include:
- All About Lake Ouachita
- Where to Stay
- Vacation Planning Tools
- Things to Do
- Known Fish Species
- Lake Ouachita Map
- Statistics / Weather / Helpful Links
- Lake Ouachita Gifts
Looking for Lake Ouachita cabins or other accommodations? Save time and use this interactive map to find, compare and book at the best rates. Or explore more of our favorite travel partners.
All About Lake Ouachita, AR
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.
Things to Do at Lake Ouachita
These are some activities in the Lake Ouachita, AR area visitors can enjoy:
- Vacation Rentals
- Scuba Diving
- National Forest
What Kind of Fish Are in Lake Ouachita?
Lake Ouachita has been known to have the following fish species:
- Black Bass
- Largemouth Bass
- Smallmouth Bass
- Spotted Bass
- Striped Bass
Find Places to Stay at Lake Ouachita
If you’re considering a Lake Ouachita lake house rental or hotel, we’ve made it super easy to find the best rates and compare vacation accommodations at a glance. Save time using this interactive map below.
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More Sites to Book a Lake Ouachita Vacation
Our interactive Lake Ouachita lodging map above is an easy tool for comparing VRBO rental homes and nearby hotels with Booking.com, but there could be times when you need to expand your search for different types of accommodations. Here are some other lake lodging partners we recommend:
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
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