• River: Ouachita River
• Surface Area: 40,000 Acres
• Volume: 2,768,000 Acre Feet
• Drainage Area: 1,105 Square Miles
• Average Depth: 50 Feet
• Length: 975 Miles
Lake Ouachita (Pronounced WAH-shi-tah) is a reservoir created by the damming of the Ouachita River by Blakely Mountain Dam.
The Downstream side of Blakely Mountain Dam as photographed from the river in July 25, 2009
Blakely Mountain Dam was built by the United States Army Corps of Engineers from 1948 to 1953 for hydroelectric power, recreation, water supply and wildlife conservation. The dam is 231 feet tall, 1,100 feet long at the crest, and is capable of 75 megawatts.
The lake is located near Hot Springs, Arkansas. Lake Ouachita is the largest lake completely in Arkansas, as the larger Bull Shoals Lake extends into Missouri. Lake Ouachita has over 690 miles (1,110 km) of shoreline and over 40,000 acres (16,000 ha) of water. It is completely surrounded by the Ouachita National Forest. Lake Ouachita is located near two other lakes, Lake Hamilton and Lake Catherine. These three lakes, DeGray Lake to the near south, and the thermal springs of Hot Springs National Park make Hot Springs a popular tourist getaway.
Lake Ouachita has many unusual features. One feature by the Corps of Engineers is the Geo-Float Trail, a marked trail which can be followed with a brochure which details prominent geologic features along the route.
Lake Ouachita also features one of the largest crystal veins in the world. Lake Ouachita has rare jellyfish (non-stinging) and sponges found in only very few of the cleanest freshwater lakes.
Scuba divers from all over the world enjoy the underwater experience as well as the special spear fishing season. The original purpose of Lake Ouachita was flood control and hydroelectricity.