|Ross Barnett Reservoir
Known as "The Rez" among locals, the Ross Barnett Reservoir serves as Mississippi's largest drinking water source. Created when the Pearl River was dammed in 1963, this 33,000-acre body of water is a major recreational venue with over two million people visiting each year to enjoy pleasure boating, fishing, water skiing, and camping. The lake hosts five campgounds, sixteen parks, twenty-two boat ramp launches, and trails.
Located just twenty miles from Jackson, Mississippi along the Natchez Trace Parkway, this lake has seen a recent rise in private developments. Visitors can see new marinas, golf courses, and subdivisions around the lake. However, public developments also exist, such as the Pearl River State Wildlife Management Area.
The Mississippi Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks divides the lake into several sections for fishing reports. These sections include the Upper Main Lake, the Lower Main Lake, a section of the reservoir located above Highwy 43, Pelahatchie Bay, and the spillway. The focus is on crappie and bass in the main lake areas, and on crappie, bass, and catfish in the other sections.
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Pleasure boaters can enjoy a wide expanse of water for sightseeing around the lake or for water skiing. However, no wake zones exist around the Coal Bluff, Ratliff Ferry, and Eddies Island areas. Boat launch ramps are located around the lake at campgrounds and parks.
Although flanked by Bienville National Forest, the campgrounds located in that refuge are over an hour's drive away. Other campgrounds, such as Timberlake, Goshen Springs, Coal Bluff, Leake County Water Park, and Low Head Dam, are located around the lake and offer both tent and RV camping. Various types of lodging also are available in Madison and in Jackson.
Review the Lake Resource Guide for additional lodging.
Ross Barnett Reservoir extends across Rankin and Madison Counties in Mississippi. Most areas of the lake are within an hour's drive from Jackson. Other towns in the area include Brandon, Ridgeland, and Madison.
Fun times at Ross Barnett Reservoir
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