What to know
As evidenced by its popularity for fishing, camping, swimming, water-skiing and other water sports, the 13,400-acre DeGray Lake is a prime vacation and weekend getaway in west-central Arkansas. Situated among ridges of the Ouachita Mountains and formed by a dam across the Caddo River, the lake has more than 700 campsites, ranging from full hook-ups to primitive, and some 15 boat-launching ramps on its shores. Houseboating, sailing and scuba ping are also popular, as is observing bald eagles that winter on DeGray. Located near Arkadelphia, this U.S. Army Corps of Engineers reservoir can be counted on for good catches of largemouth bass. Bassmaster Magazine selected the impoundment as one of the country's Top 100 Bass Lakes (May 2012). Some of the fastest action, however, is provided by striped bass and hybrid stripers. Anglers often find mixed schools of hybrid stripers and white bass. Both species run together, feeding on schools of shad, with the best action in summer in the hours around dawn and dusk. Look for schools thrashing the water’s surface near the dam and around the islands between DeGray Lake Resort State Park Lodge and Iron Mountain. When fishing for hybrids here, it’s best to rig some rods with topwater lures and others with spoons or crankbaits. The daily hybrid limit is six. Maps and info can be obtained from the Vicksburg District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, 601-631-5054. The lake is home to Arkansas's only resort state park, DeGray Lake Resort State Park, which features a 96-room lodge, modern conference center, 18-hole championship golf course, heated swimming pool, tennis courts and a marina. Camping, trails, a swimming beach and numerous interpretive programs are also offered by the park. Private facilities on DeGray Lake include a resort, marina and cabins. DeGray Lake is located on State Scenic 7 Byway eight miles north of Arkadelphia (Exit 78 off I-30 at Caddo Valley/Arkadelphia) and 29 miles southwest of Hot Springs, Arkansas's leading tourist destination and home to Hot Springs National Park and many other attractions. Construction of the DeGray Dam began in 1963 and was completed in 1972. It contains about 7 million cubic yards of compacted earth fill. A Corps of Engineers visitor's center is located at the dam site.