Richard B. Russell Lake, Georgia & South Carolina, USA

Also known as:  Lake Russell

Welcome to the ultimate guide for history, statistics, local fun facts and the best things to do at Richard B. Russell Lake.

If you’re considering Richard B. Russell Lake 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 Richard B. Russell Lake guide!

Richard B. Russell Lake visitor and community guide

Richard B. Russell Lake, sometimes nicknamed Lake Russell, claims 26,650 sparkling acres and 540 miles of shoreline on the Georgia-South Carolina state line. This expansive lake straddles Georgia’s Northeast Mountains region and South Carolina’s Old 96 District. Like many lakes in the area, Lake Russell was originally created in 1985 by damming up the Savannah River to provide flood control. Originally named Trotters Shoal Lake, it was later renamed after the late Georgia Senator Richard B. Russell.

While flood control is the reason for the initial creation of the lake, it is now host to many recreational activities such as fishing, water skiing, hiking, jet skiing, swimming, kayaking, canoeing, and wildlife viewing. Managed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, federal law prohibits private use of public lands around the lake. This lack of development offers the opportunity to visit a lake in its natural state. This unique experience offers up a beautiful, pristine lake with abundant wildlife and endless outdoor fun.

Due to its large size, Richard B. Russell Lake offers visitors and residents a plethora of enjoyable activities. If you want to stretch your legs and lungs, the lake’s excellent hiking and biking activities will be right up your alley. If you’re looking for a bit more relaxation, grab your beach towel and head down to the shoreline to enjoy the sun and the beckoning lake waters.

Ideally situated along the South Carolina Lake Russell shoreline, Calhoun Falls State Park enjoys gorgeous orange sunsets, fishing opportunities that come with significant bragging rights, and endless recreational activities. Picnic areas, campsites, a playground, hiking trails, a tennis court, basketball nets, and a swimming area are available to the public. The Richard B. Russell State Park on the Georgia border offers loads of outdoor fun including camping, hiking and fishing.

Well-known for its excellent fishing, Richard B. Russell Lake is home to diverse species due to its many different aquatic environments. Offering both warm and cold wqater fisheries the lake is one of the finest fishing lakes in the area. Stumps, old docks, and manmade habitats dot the water landscape, providing the perfect hiding places, breeding grounds, and homes to the lake’s fish. And while crappie and largemouth bass are your best bet, you can also look forward to the less-common species that inhabit the lake.

Due to the federal lands encompassing most of the land around Richard B. Russell Lake, vacation rentals are only available in the surrounding communities such as Elberton and Calhoun Falls. Campsites are also available in Calhoun Falls State Park in South Carolina and Richard B. Russell State Park in Georgia. A warm summer day with a brilliant yellow sun decorating a perfect blue sky is best enjoyed from the water. Boats can be rented around the lake, so whether you prefer the speed of a power boat or the gentle sway of a canoe, you can have your way at Richard B. Russell Lake. So drag a skier behind your speedboat or stop your kayak in the middle of a quiet cove and dive into the cool, blue waters; whatever your heart desires, it will be fulfilled here.

Custom Richard B. Russell Lake house decor

Read our full review of these personalized lake house signs.

Things to do at Richard B. Russell Lake

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Boating
  • Swimming
  • Beach
  • Canoeing
  • Kayaking
  • Jet Skiing
  • Water Skiing
  • Tennis
  • Camping
  • Picnicking
  • Hiking
  • Biking
  • Wildlife Viewing
  • State Park
  • Playground

Fish species found at Richard B. Russell Lake

  • Bass
  • Black Bass
  • Crappie
  • Largemouth Bass

Best hotels and vacation rentals at Richard B. Russell Lake

The Richard B. Russell Lake 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.

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Richard B. Russell Lake photo gallery

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Richard B. Russell Lake statistics & helpful links


Lake Type: Not Known

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

Surface Area: 26,650 acres

Shoreline Length: 540 miles

Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 475 feet

Average Depth: 40 feet

Maximum Depth: 165 feet

Water Volume: 1,066,000 acre-feet

Completion Year: 1985

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