Lake Barkley Fun Facts

Lake Barkley Fun Facts

Kentucky has many must-see locations for visitors and locals, including Lake Barkley. Learn all about the lake and what makes it so unique.

History of Lake Barkley

Lake Barkley has a lot of history that helped it become one of the biggest lakes in Kentucky today. In 1966, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) blocked the flow of the Cumberland River by installing the Barkley Dam to help control flooding. The water overflowing from the river began creating a lake — Lake Barkley. The man-made lake is the second largest after Kentucky Lake, which was made in 1944 by the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA). 

During the creation of both lakes, many residents in the surrounding towns had to relocate because the areas became permanently flooded. As the towns became lakes, the engineers also dug out the Barkley Canal, which helped bring both lakes to the same water level. An even water level allowed ships and barges to move more freely toward the Mississippi River without using locks. The Land Between the Lakes was born with the creation of the lakes and canal. The canal helped create one of the largest inland peninsulas in the U.S. 

Lake Barkley is one of the most popular recreation areas for people to enjoy hunting, fishing, hiking, camping and more.

5 Facts About Lake Barkley

Lake Barkley's history is not the only interesting thing about it. Here are some fun facts about Lake Barkley you can enjoy the next time you visit.

1. The Lake Experiences Seasonal Water Temperatures

Kentucky's central location in the U.S. ensures the state's residents and visitors can experience all four seasons. The changing seasons affect Lake Barkley's water temperature. During the summer, the water temperature can range from 70 degrees to 80 degrees Fahrenheit, making the lake a perfect place to swim.

In the winter, Lake Barkley's water can average between 45 degrees and 65 degrees.

2. The USACE Manages the Lake's Water Levels

The USACE and TVA work together to manage Kentucky Lake's and Lake Barkley's water levels to ensure they stay equal with each other, especially after heavy rainfalls. When Lake Barkley's water levels drop in the winter, you can see some of the old towns' foundations, streets and sidewalks before the lake's creation.

3. Lake Barkley Is One of the Largest Lakes in Kentucky

Lake Barkley is the second-largest lake in Kentucky after Kentucky Lake. It is about 134 miles long and has 1,004 miles of shoreline.

4. You Can Enjoy Fishing at the Lake

With how big Lake Barkley is, visitors can enjoy various recreational opportunities, from fishing and boating to hiking and more. Lake Barkley is a popular area for fishing because the waters are home to many fish, including:

  • Crappie
  • Channel catfish
  • Bluegill
  • Kentucky bass
  • Largemouth bass

You can rent a boat from Prizer Point Marina or hire a guide who will take you to the best fishing spots and offer advice. Prizer Point Marina has private fishing areas, helping you have fun while relaxing on the water.

5. The Lake Is Named After the 35th U.S. Vice President

Lake Barkley got its name from honoring the late 35th vice president of the U.S., Alben W. Barkley. He was a native of Paducah, Kentucky, and a U.S. senator for 22 years before becoming President Harry Truman's vice president.

Vice President Barkley was instrumental in passing the 1938 Flood Control Act, which made the creation of the lakes possible.

Stay at Kentucky Lakes / Prizer Point KOA

You can enjoy Lake Barkley's activities and recreation with your friends and family. When you need a place to stay during your fun, outdoor vacation, consider coming to Kentucky Lakes / Prizer Point KOA. The campground is perfect for those who want to relax while camping.

Start planning your trip to Lake Barkley by reserving a campsite at our KOA Campground today.

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