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Best Lakes Around Hot Springs

The Hot Springs area is home to a number of beautiful lakes. In this article, we've listed a few of our favorite lakes and the activities you can enjoy there. For more information, feel free to give us a call at your convenience. We'll be more than happy to answer your questions.

Lake Hamilton (and Lake Catherine)

  • Location: northeast, off AR 7
  • Distance from us: 5.7 mile

Lake Hamilton is a 7,200-acre reservoir located on the Ouachita River. It's one of Arkansas' most popular lakes. Here, you can enjoy swimming, boating, fishing, and wildlife viewing. Lake Hamilton is also the location of National Park Duck Tours, Bell of Hot Springs riverboat, and Garvan Woodland Gardens (on a peninsula that's part of the lake).

Lake Hamilton has close to 200 miles of shoreline, with a variety of inlets and coves. Three islands are also on the lake: Big Goat Island, Little Goat Island, and Rabbit Island. Big Goat Island is an especially nice island to visit. There, you can enjoy hiking, picnicking, and watching various wildlife, including bald eagles.

Fishing is extremely popular at the lake. Expect to find smallmouth bass, striped bass, white base, walleye, crappie, and a number of catfish species. In addition, the lake is stocked with rainbow trout.

Lake Catherine is a 1,940-acre lake close to Lake Hamilton. It's an excellent location for swimming, fishing, and boating. It's a very popular fishing location. You can expect to find bass, catfish, bream, crappie, and walleye. At Lake Catherine State Park, you'll have access to a full-service marina, supplies, and boat ramps.

DeGray Lake

  • Location: south, off Arkansas Scenic Byway 7
  • Distance from us: 15.5 miles

DeGray Lake is a 13,400-acre reservoir located on the Caddo River, in the Ouachita Mountain foothills. Nationally known for its clean water and clean shoreline, the lake is a great place to enjoy a number of water sports, including swimming, boating, and fishing.

DeGray Lake has around 208 miles of shoreline and five designated beach locations: North Beach, South Beach, Arlie Moore, Caddo Drive, and Shouse Ford. The beaches have designated swim areas open to the public. Costs are minimal. No lifeguards are on duty; however, rescue devices, such as throw bags, are on the beaches.

For boating enthusiasts, DeGray Lake has 11 boat ramps, with minimal costs for launching a boat. Two full-service marinas are located on the lake: DeGray Lake State Park Marina, and Iron Mountain Marina and Lodge. You also have a number of options for renting a boat if you need to.

DeGray Lake is a great place for fishing, especially bass fishing. (The lake is considered one of the best lakes for bass fishing in the country.) You'll find largemouth bass, striped bass, and white bass. The lake is also filled with crappie, bream, catfish, and walleye. If you're interested in fishing tournaments, hundreds are held at the lake each year.

Lake Ouachita

  • Location: north, off AR 227
  • Distance from us: 26.6 miles

Lake Ouachita is the largest lake in Arkansas. It covers over 66,000 acres and has over 690 miles of shoreline. It's also one of the cleanest lakes in the United States. Like most lakes around Hot Springs, it's a great place to boat, swim, scuba dive, and fish.

Lake Ouachita is a very popular fishing location (including spear fishing). In fact, it's known as the "Striped Bass Capital of the World." Besides striped bass, you'll find spotted bass, smallmouth bass, largemouth bass, crappie, bream, walleye, and walleye.

Scuba diving is also popular at Lake Ouachita. The lake has over 30 dive spots, with unique geological formations.

Note that Lake Ouachita is actually a reseroir and was not clear cut before it was created. The lake bottom is basically a forest, with trees that were originally over 60-feet tall. In some cases, tree tops are very near the lake's surface. Remember that when boating.