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A Guide To Lakes Hamilton
and Catherine

Welcome To The Lakes!
Arkansas Power and Light Company (AP&L) is proud of the fact that its two hydro-electric project lakes on the Ouachita River, Lake Catherine and Lake Hamilton, have helped transform the Garland and Hot Spring counties area around Hot Springs National Park into one of mid-America's favorite vacation/retirement areas.

AP&L encourages public use of its two beautiful lakes, under guidelines established by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. These two Company lakes, in conjunction with Lake Ouachita, a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers impoundment on the upper Ouachita River have given the area its nickname of the "Tri-Lakes Region" and contributed to the cosmopolitan atmosphere that has made the Hot Springs National Park region a world famous spa.

Long famous for its geothermal hot mineral waters, the park's historic "Bathhouse Row" and the downtown Hot Springs business district are being restored and revitalized. Oaklawn Park remains one of the most popular horse racing tracks in the nation and luxury resorts and marinas now blend into the pine-shrouded shoreline of the lakes Catherine and Hamilton.

Come enjoy the fun. Spend the day water skiing, scuba diving, or casting lure for sport fish that vary from a 4-ounce bluegill to a 30-pound striped bass; then spend an evening enjoying some of the best dining and entertainment in the nation.

We hope you enjoy your visit to the Tri-Lakes are and will return again.

A History of the Lakes

The area of the Ouachita River near Hot Springs and Malvern was a virtual wilderness in the 1920's when Harvey Couch , the founder of Arkansas Power and Light Company, began to investigate his dream of building hydro-electric dams on the Ouachita River as part of his program of "Helping Build Arkansas" by bringing new industry and jobs to the state.

An engineering marvel in its day, Remmel Dam, named in honor of Army Col. H.L. Remmel, was completed in 1924 and formed a lake 11 miles long with 1,940 surface acres. Couch named the lake after his daughter Catherine. The powerhouse at the dam contains three vertical hydraulic turbine generators with a total rating of 9,300 kilowatts;a staggering amount of electricity in an era when entire towns were served by a single 6 kilowatt generator.

In 1932, Carpenter Dam was constructed on the headwaters above Lake Catherine. It was named after Flave Carpenter, the pioneer peace officer who first discovered both dam sites while searching for outlaws along the river and recommended them to Couch. The resulting lake was 18 1/2 miles long and covered 7,200 acres. couch named it Lake Hamilton in honor of his faithful attorney, C. Hamilton Moses, who assumed the presidency of AP&L after Couch's death in 1941.

Fishing Opportunities

AP&L cooperates in a fisheries management program for both lakes with the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission. It is a cooperative relationship that began in 1939 when AP&L donated 135 acres for the Lake Hamilton Fish Hatchery. The hatchery has more than 90 acres of ponds that contribute some three million fingerlings annually to improve sport fish hatcheries in the nation.

AP&L also donated land on Lake Catherine to the Commission so they could build a unique lake shore nursery pond that is capable of releasing young game fish directly into the lake, thereby improving survival rates for such species as largemouth black bass, blue catfish, channel catfish , walleye, and one of Arkansas' most sought after new game fish, the striped bass. It has been in operation since 1977.

In fact, these lakes offer the visitor a smorgasbord of angling opportunities, ranging from scrappy redear, green and longear sunfish; black , spotted, white and smallmouth basses; black and white crappie; flathead, blue, channel, and bullhead catfish;walleye;and chain pickerel. Rainbow trout are stocked in both lakes.

During winter months, one of the hottest fishing spots on Lake Catherine is near where the cooling water from AP&L's Lake Catherine Steam Electric Station is discharged. The water from the plant is about 10 degrees warmer than the lake water, which attracts forage fish and the bass and other game fish that prey on them.

Topwater bass action is good in the spring and fall, and when summer weather arrives, night fishing is a cool way to catch a limit of big ones feeding in the deeper parts of the lake.

Water Sports

There are free swimming areas on each lake, in addition to privately owned facilities which charge a user's fee.

Boating is one of the most popular sports on the lake, and there are numerous boat launching ramps on the lake, as indicated on the map. In addition , various concessioners rent boats and motors to the public.

Water skiers will delight in the more than 14 square miles of surface area available on the two lakes and the many extended coves which offer a calm surface. Sailing, canoeing, kayaking, and paddle boating also are popular on the lake and various types of small craft can be rented.

Also, the Ouachita River above Lake Ouachita and below Remmel Dam offers some exciting and incredibly beautiful float fishing and camping trips for small boats and canoes. Local resorts, dock operators,and sporting goods stores can provide additional information.

Camping and Outdoor Recreation

In addition to being a magnet for fishermen and water sports enthusiasts, the lakes region is a popular base camp for day hikes and overnight backpack trips into the rugged Ouachita Mountains and for nature study and wildlife photography. The region offers opportunities for outdoor recreation in all its many forms.

If you want a quiet walk in undisturbed woodlands, an adventurous family can sample its own "deserted island" in Lake Hamilton by exploring Electric Island. This 118-acre island was donated by AP&L to the Arkansas Nature Conservancy in 1984 and is leased to the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission for non-game wildlife management . It is dominated by tall pines and shady groves and is frequented by bald eagles during the winter season. It is located due north of the AG&FC fish hatchery.

Lake Catherine State Park has complete camping facilities, including free boat docks and launching ramps, a swimming beach, playground, picnic tables, grills, drinking water, restrooms and showers. Camp sites are available to suit every camping taste from the spartan "go light" backpacker to the nomadic "recreational vehicle" enthusiast with his luxury motor home. Air conditioned housekeeping units are also available at the park. Reservations should be made directly with Lake Catherine State Park, Route 19, Box 360, Hot Springs, AR 71913-8605, telephone (501)844-4176.

Entergy- AP&L
Hydro Operations
P.O. Box 1330
Hot Springs, AR

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