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Lake Barkley

Lake Barkley is a 134-miles-long reservoir located in Livingston, Lyon, and Trigg counties in Kentucky and in Stewart and Houston counties in Tennessee. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers impounded the lake from the Cumberland River near Grand Rivers, Kentucky, in 1966 upon the completion of Barkley Dam. The dam is located approximately 38 miles upstream from where the Cumberland enters the Ohio River.

One mile above the dam is a canal that connects Lake Barkley with Kentucky Lake, forming one of the greatest freshwater recreational complexes in the country. The Land Between The Lakes National Recreation Area runs between those two lakes for more than 50 miles. The canal contains a 400-foot bottom width, and a 1.75-mile length. It provides a navigable channel for both commercial and recreational craft moving between the two waterways.

President John F. Kennedy designated The Land Between The Lakes National Recreation Area as a national recreation area in 1963. The recreation area, which TVA originally managed, is now managed by the United States Forest Service.

Millions of visitors come to Lake Barkley each year to enjoy a variety of outdoor recreational opportunities such as boating, fishing, hiking, fishing, hunting, camping, and picnicking. In addition, vacationers can enjoy historic relics, a Civil War Monument, commercial marinas, public parks, and wildlife refuges that contain and abundance of wildlife, including bald eagles.


Anglers can enjoy thriving populations of largemouth and white bass, crappie, catfish, sauger, and bluegill. Although May and June typically represent the best fishing months on the lake, you can still catch crappie post spawn and find bass on gravel points and around stumps. You can find catfish on gravel points that taper off to mud layers, and you can take bluegill, which often spawns later, with grubs, worms, and crickets. The record fish caught in this lake was in 2009 -- a one-pound, 6.4-ounce yellow bass.


   Search Lake Barkley Resources
    Barren River Lake KY Coordinates:
36.5335N -86.730W
Map It:
Lake Type:
Surface Area:
57,920 acres
Maximum Depth:
68 ft
359 ft
Normal Water Clarity:
3 ft
Major City:


Boaters will enjoy the numerous marinas and several access sites located along the lake's 58,000 acres. Most marinas offer full service including boat rentals, accommodations, supplies, fishing tackle, and restaurants. The warmth of summer brings water activities to an all-time high. Drag boat races, poker runs and open regattas are scheduled throughout the year. Boating, skiing, swimming and personal water crafts are a great source of recreation and entertainment in the summer months. Search the Lake Resource Guide for boating resources.


Lake Barkley State Resort Park provides a lake view from the private balconies of most of the 120 rooms and four suites. Check out more Land Between the Lakes lodging, including cozy cabins and campsites at the Lake Resource Guide..


The closest major city is Paducah KY and Nashville TN. Other nearby Tennessee cities; Camden, Dickson and Centerville. The lake is located in the Tennessee counties of Stewart and Houston.

Fun times at Lake Barkley  lake barlkey

  lake barlkey   lake barlkey

Average Temperatures Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Avg. High  47 Avg. High  52 Avg. High  63 Avg. High  72 Avg. High  81 Avg. High  89 Avg. High  93 Avg. High  92 Avg. High  86 Avg. High  73 Avg. High  61 Avg. High  49
Avg. Low  28 Avg. Low  32 Avg. Low  39 Avg. Low  48 Avg. Low  58 Avg. Low  67 Avg. Low  71 Avg. Low  69 Avg. Low  60 Avg. Low  51 Avg. Low  40 Avg. Low  30