Lake Hamilton, located in Hot Springs, is one of Arkansas’s most popular recreation lakes. In addition to all types of boating, other favorite water sports found all on the lake are parasailing, water skiing, tubing, jet skiing, and just cruising. Fishing is also a popular sport on the lake, having played host to the Wal-Mart Bass Fishing League All-American Tournament for several years. To keep the fishing at its best, the Andrew Hulsey Fish Hatchery, located on the bank of the lake, helps refresh the fishing population. The hatchery contains more than 90 acres of ponds that contribute some three million fingerlings annually to improve sport fishing.
Lake Hamilton was formed after the Carpenter Dam was completed in 1931. The dam was the second hydroelectric facility completed on the Ouachita River by the Arkansas Power and Light Company. The 7,200-acre lake quickly became a recreational hotspot, in part because of the its scenic location in the Ouachita Mountains and in part because of its proximity to Hot Springs, which was already a tourist mecca. Today, the lakeshore sports numerous resorts and private residences and is home to the 400-passenger riverboat, the Belle of Hot Springs. Also located on the shore is Garvan Woodland Gardens, 210 acres of a forested peninsula jutting into the lake. The gardens showcase floral landscapes, free-flowing streams and waterfalls, as well as architectural structures in a natural woodland setting. This woodland habitat is home to hundreds of natural and exotic plant and animal species; E. Fay Jones-designed gazebo is popular for weddings