Ozark Lake, Arkansas, USA

Lake Locations:

USA - South - Arkansas - River Valley -

Formed by the completion of the Ozark-Jeta Taylor Lock and Dam and Powerhouse in 1969, Ozark Lake is a 10,600-acre lake located between the Ozark and Ouachita Mountains in Arkansas. The lake stretches across Franklin, Crawford, and Sebastian Counties and extends for 36 miles along the Arkansas River. Its 137 miles of shoreline and multiple parks make it an excellent lake for fishing, boating and other water related activities.

Ozark Lake is part of a multi-purpose plan for development of the Arkansas River and tributaries, known as the McClellan-Kerr Arkansas River Navigation System which connects Tulsa, Oklahoma to the Mississippi through 440 miles of waterways. Hydroelectric power generation, navigation, recreation, water supply, erosion control, and enhancement of fish and wildlife resources were the primary objectives of the project completed in the 1970s. In addition to the lake acreage, 6,349 acres of land surrounding Ozark Lake have been included in the project and are used for hiking, biking, horseback riding and hunting. Recreational facilities constructed along the shoreline of Ozark Lake include picnicking and camping areas complete with grills, tables, pavilions, boat ramps, canoe rentals, swimming areas, drinking water, showers, restrooms, and playgrounds.

Thanks to the flowing waters of the Arkansas River, all game fish native to Arkansas can be found in Ozark Lake. Fishing is good year round for catfish, bream, crappie, white bass and largemouth bass. For variety, the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission stocks the lake with striped sea bass and sauger. Anglers will find great success whether fishing from boat or shore. To enjoy some of the best sauger fishing, try the water below the Ozark-Jeta Taylor Lock and Dam. From late fall until early spring, this is a very popular spot. Eating fish from most Arkansas lakes and streams is safe, but several counties have issued a fish consumption advisory. Check the link at the bottom of this page to see which areas are affected.

The public land surrounding Ozark Lake is heavily used for hiking, biking, hunting and camping. There a number of campgrounds around the lake and in the wooded areas near the lake. The River Bluff Trail is approximately 7/8 of a mile in length and winds its way to the high bluffs overlooking Ozark Lake. An overlook shelter at the top of the bluffs is a great place for photos and an incredible view of the area. Hunters will find an abundance of deer, quail, squirrels, rabbits, dove, wild turkey, ducks and geese during state hunting seasons. Cabin and vacation rentals are available for hunters and those seeking the perfect vacation retreat.

Wildlife enthusiasts visiting Ozark Lake won’t want to miss a trip to the Ozark-St. Francis National Forests. Located north of Ozark Lake, the Ozark-St. Francis National Forests are two separate forests. The Ozark National Forest covers 1.2 million acres of land, mostly in the Ozark Mountains. The tallest mountain in the state, Mount Magazine, and an incredible, underground cave, Blanchard Springs Caverns, can be found in this forest. The St. Francis National Forest covers 22,600 acres and is one of the smallest and most diverse forests in the country. The Forest contains two large lakes, Bear Creek Reservoir and Storm Creek Lake, where anglers will find large populations of largemouth bass, crappie, warmouth, and channel catfish. Both forests offer recreational opportunities for camping, hiking, horseback riding, swimming, fishing, hunting, boating, scenic drives, picnics sites, and opportunities for wildlife viewing. Several National Scenic Byways cross the Ozark-St. Francis National Forest, including the Scenic 7 Byway which runs from Missouri to Louisiana, 60 miles of which are within the Ozark National Forest.

Two of the largest wineries in the state are located 7 miles east of Ozark Lake in the town of Altus. Visitors will find large grape vineyards and fine wineries for tasting and purchasing wine.

35 miles south of Ozark Lake sits the town of Fort Smith, named for General Thomas A. Smith, commander of the 9th Military Department. The original fort was the scene of much activity during the Civil War. Fort Smith sits on the banks of the Arkansas River and is today the second largest city in Arkansas. With a blend of the Old South and the Old West, Fort Smith offers visitors of all ages a peek into the past with its restorations and museums and a view of the future with its modern malls, water parks, and golf courses.

Ozark Lake a great place to take the entire family for a few days or even a week of fun. You can spend the day fishing, canoeing, or hiking into the lush forests. Cool off and go for a swim or ride a horse to the top of a mountain for some spectacular views.

Things to do at Ozark Lake

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Boating
  • Swimming
  • Canoeing
  • Golf
  • Camping
  • Campground
  • Picnicking
  • Cabin Rentals
  • Hiking
  • Biking
  • Horseback Riding
  • Hunting
  • Wildlife Viewing
  • Birding
  • National Forest
  • Museum
  • Playground

Fish species found at Ozark Lake

  • Bass
  • Black Bass
  • Catfish
  • Channel Catfish
  • Crappie
  • Largemouth Bass
  • Perch
  • Sauger
  • Sunfish
  • Warmouth
  • White Bass

Ozark Lake Photo Gallery

    Ozark Lake Statistics & Helpful Links

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    Lake Type: Natural Freshwater Lake, Dammed

    Water Level Control: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

    Surface Area: 10,600 acres

    Shoreline Length: 173 miles

    Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 372 feet

    Water Volume: 148,400 acre-feet

    Completion Year: 1969

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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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