Rough River Lake, Kentucky, USA

Welcome to the ultimate guide for history, statistics, local fun facts and the best things to do at Rough River Lake.

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Rough River Lake visitor and community guide

Lake Locations: USA - South - Kentucky - Kentucky Derby Region -

Straddling the Grayson, Breckinridge, and Hardin County lines in south central Kentucky, Rough River Lake is a 5,100 acre reservoir completed in 1951 by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers as a flood control mechanism for the Ohio River Basin. The recreational opportunities created were a welcome bonus..

The Army Corps of Engineers reduces the lake level in winter to prevent flooding in the spring. The lake is 39 miles long with 220 miles of scenic shoreline at summer pool, with an elevation of 495 feet above sea level. Maximum depth ranges from 60-80 feet. The winter pool level is 475 feet above sea level, reducing the lake’s acreage to 2,180. The lake is navigable during the winter.

Rough River Lake Resort Park offers several options for the discriminating visitor. A 9-hole, par-3 golf course challenges you to make a birdie, but only if you can stop from staring at the beautiful scenery around you. Upscale, secluded cottages are available nestled into the woods around the lake. And when you get a little hungry, head to the park’s Grayson’s Landing Restaurant, which offers panoramic views and fine Kentucky fare. The park’s 637 acres also include a paved airstrip for private planes.

Boaters can launch their watercraft from any of the four public boat ramps or three marinas. 5,100 watery acres beckon to you, and you’ll look forward to getting out onto the lake, whether you choose a power boat or canoe. Take some time to explore the coves, and when you do, keep your eyes open for some of the waterfowl, land dwellers, and bird life that are prevalent at the lake.

If you fish, prepare to reel in some large bass, catfish, and crappie, the lake’s biggest producers. Bass fishermen at Rough River Lake generally practice catch-and-release fishing, where they release all but trophy fish. Catfish and crappy anglers go for the prize and catch what they eat. Whichever your pleasure, make sure to grab your bait box as you’re packing your bags for Rough River Lake.

Swimmers, rejoice: Rough River Lake presents very pleasant swimming opportunities in the cool and clean water. A white sand beach provides the perfect space for sun bathing and enjoying the lake breezes. If you’re hankering for a walk, a one-mile nature trail winds and weaves through the Rough River Lake Resort Park, offering you an upfront look at the colorful plants and shy wildlife of Kentucky. What’s more, you’ll be treated to some special views of the lake that only those on foot will ever see.

Rough River Lake is also within 50 miles of Mammoth Cave National Park, the longest cave system in the world. Visitors can explore more than 240 miles of mapped passageways.

Rough River Lake is a special place for a special vacation. Deep blue waters are accentuated by emerald golf greens, rainbow-hued sunsets, flowering bushes and trees, and natural beauty only found far away from the glow of the city.

Custom Rough River Lake house decor

Read our full review of these personalized lake house signs.

Things to do at Rough River Lake

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Boating
  • Swimming
  • Beach
  • Canoeing
  • Golf
  • Hiking
  • Wildlife Viewing
  • National Park

Fish species found at Rough River Lake

  • Bass
  • Catfish
  • Crappie

Best hotels and vacation rentals at Rough River Lake

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Rough River Lake photo gallery

New photos coming soon!

Rough River Lake statistics & helpful links


Lake Type: Artificial Reservoir, Dammed

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

Surface Area: 5,100 acres

Shoreline Length: 220 miles

Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 495 feet

Minimum Elevation (Min Pond): 470 feet

Maximum Elevation (Max Pond): 524 feet

Completion Year: 1951

Drainage Area: 44 sq. miles

Trophic State: Mesotrophic

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