Lake Washington, Mississippi, USA

Lake Locations:

USA - South - Mississippi - Delta Region -

Star of Mississippi’s Delta region, Lake Washington is an emblem of the ‘old’ South. Lake Washington is an oxbow lake, formed when the mighty Mississippi changed its course around 1300 AD. Shaped like a double crescent, Lake Washington stretches long and narrow from north to south. The northwestern tip of the lake is only a mile from the Mississippi’s current course, while the southern end is several miles from the river. Lakes like Lake Washington, the adjoining bayous, and the often-changing river are what create the Delta itself, with all of its diverse wildlife and interesting ecology. But what creates the most interest in Lake Washington today for visitors is the excellent fishing.

Surveys show that a large portion of Lake Washington’s avid anglers come from over 100 miles to fish one of the best crappie holes in the state. Although crappie usually steal the show, bream, channel catfish and largemouth bass all play a supporting role. Sporting articles often feature an item about another huge catch of crappies or another successful tournament or fishing trip; nine-pound crappies are not that unusual here. Fishing is enhanced by the addition of artificial fish structures, natural drop-offs and channels. So popular is the lake among anglers that additional enforcement of fishing regulations has been necessary in recent years to police the overly-enthusiastic. A fishing license and careful attention to all regulations are important.

Besides fishing, the lake is used for water-skiing, swimming, tubing, paddling and pontooning. Several flooded cypress swamps attract paddlers to view wildlife, including the occasional alligator. Unique Delta features such as John Henry Slough and a wetland locally just called ‘the swamp’ grace the western shoreline, inviting waterfowl, birds and a variety of reptiles and amphibians. Much of the lakeshore is private, and about 300 homes are located along the shoreline. Most the shoreline is still heavily vegetated, and many homes sit back from the water due to the marshy lakeshore.

There is plenty of public access and many private, fee boat launch facilities. A public dock operated by Washington County is located in the village of Glen Allan along the southeast shore. Another ramp, also operated by Washington County, is found on Washington Bayou in Paul Love Jr. Park, south along the lake’s outlet stream. A few campsites are rented here also. The rest of the ramps are operated by commercial establishments which also rent campsites, RV spaces and cabins, sell bait, provide restaurants, sell fishing licenses and tackle, and offer such amenities as coin laundry facilities, game rooms and pool halls. Most of these facilities have been in existence for many years and offer a laid-back, southern Delta charm to the excitement of the catch.

The small village of Glen Allan doesn’t have much in the way of visitors facilities but provides a small grocery store to augment the convenience stores around the lake. The village’s largest claim to fame is that it is the birthplace of blues guitarist/singer/songwriter Robert Lee “Smokey” Wilson. Lake Washington is set in a rural agricultural area, and population in the vicinity is rather sparse. Several small villages are located within a few miles of Lake Washington, but the nearest city of any size is Greenville, 30 miles to the north.

Lake Washington lies just west of historic Highway 1, a Scenic Route in its own right. Near the highway, two aging plantation-style homes can be seen, but both are in private hands despite the efforts of preservationists to attempt restoration. At the south end of the lake near Glen Allan, sightseers can view the ruins of one of the first churches in the Delta. Saint John’s Episcopal Church was built in the 1830s, and during the Civil War the lead was melted from its original stained glass windows to make mini ball ammunition. The Church fell into ruin after being hit by a tornado early in the 20th century.

Wildlife abounds around Lake Washington, in the adjoining bayous and nearby in Yazoo National Wildlife Refuge. The oldest designated national wildlife refuge in the state of Mississippi, the 12,941-acre refuge was designated in 1936 and allows protected areas for several rare species. The refuge has a healthy population of alligators, and some of the alligator nesting areas are easily viewed by the public. All regulations and suggestions by refuge personnel should be obeyed to avoid injury as the females guard the eggs until they hatch and can be very protective. Other wildlife inhabiting the refuge include raccoon, nutria, opossum, swamp rabbit, beaver, muskrat, mink, bobcat, white-tailed deer and a variety of small reptiles and amphibians such as salamander, spring peeper, bullfrog, Fowlers toad, American alligator, common snapping turtle, midland smooth soft shell turtle, broad-banded water snake, timber rattlesnake, and eastern cottonmouth. The latter snakes are poisonous, so all wildlife should be kept at a safe distance. Waterfowl, ducks and all types of song birds enjoy the refuge, a favorite of bird watchers. During hunting season, certain areas of the refuge are open to hunting: many sportsmen vacation here annually to take advantage of the hunting and fishing.

Estimates of Lake Washington’s actual size vary widely. Average depth is just six feet. Some sources describe the lake as 5,000+ acres, while other sources cite 2,965 acres. The larger acreage may include adjacent wetlands and bayou waters. It is sometimes difficult to determine where the lake’s waters end and the land begins, since wet weather floods nearby wetlands and makes the lake temporarily larger. A couple of small inlets bring water into Lake Washington, including a small stream from Lake Jackson which is another small oxbow to the west. Most of the water in the lake appears to come from precipitation and run-off from the local area. The run-off is thought to be a contributing factor in recently degraded water quality due to sedimentation. This is the common life cycle of oxbow lakes: they gradually fill with sediment over hundreds of years. No one wants to lose Lake Washington, even to Mother Nature, so efforts are underway to find a method of preventing sediments from entering the lake.

If a laid-back southern lakefront vacation sounds like the kind of thing your heart calls out for, pay a visit to Lake Washington. Cabins are available for rent, and real estate is occasionally offered for sale. Most owners like it here and are reluctant to sell and leave. But visitors can catch their limit of crappies and a stringer of bass.

Things to do at Lake Washington MS

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Boating
  • Swimming
  • Canoeing
  • Kayaking
  • Water Skiing
  • Tubing
  • Camping
  • Cabin Rentals
  • Hunting
  • Wildlife Viewing
  • Birding
  • National Wildlife Refuge
  • Ruins

Fish species found at Lake Washington MS

  • Bass
  • Black Bass
  • Catfish
  • Channel Catfish
  • Crappie
  • Largemouth Bass

Lake Washington MS Photo Gallery

Lake Washington MS Statistics & Helpful Links

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Lake Type: Natural Freshwater Lake, Not Dammed

Surface Area: 2,965 acres

Shoreline Length: 23 miles

Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 109 feet

Average Depth: 6 feet

Maximum Depth: 20 feet

Water Residence Time: 150 days

Drainage Area: 43 sq. miles

Trophic State: Eutrophic

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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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