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Kentucky Lake

The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) created a major navigable reservoir in 1944, when they impounded the Tennessee River with the Kentucky Dam. Kentucky Lake, which spans the western portion of Tennessee and southwest Kentucky, is 184 miles long, and has 2,380 miles of shoreline and 160,300 surface acres of water at summer water levels. This is the largest artificial lake by surface area east of the Mississippi River. Located along a major waterfowl migration route, this lake enjoys more than 450,000 waterfowl during the winter months.

Kentucky Lake provides a source for hydro-electric power and is one of the major tourist attractions in an area known as The Land Between the Lakes. Located between Kentucky Lake and Lake Barkeley, The Land Between The Lakes National Recreation Area was designated a national recreation area by President John F. Kennedy in 1963. Originally, TVA managed this area, but jurisdiction now lies with the U.S. Forest Service.


Anglers can enjoy fishing in a lake that holds record catches for largemouth and small mouth bass. Some Kentucky Lake records include:

  • 1943: Five-pound white bass
  • 2000: Fifty-five pound buffalo
  • 2010: One-pound, seven-ounce yellow perch
  • 2010: Sixty-four pound bighead carp

Search Kentucky Lake Resources
   Kentucky Lake KY Coordinates:
37.0126N -88.2700W
Map It:
Lake Type:
Surface Area:
160,300 acres
Maximum Depth:
60 ft
359 ft
Normal Water Clarity:
3 ft
Major City:
Paducah or Nashville


Boaters will enjoy the numerous marinas and several access sites located along the lake's 160,000 acres. Most marinas offer full service including boat rentals, accommodations, supplies, fishing tackle, and restaurants. You can enjoy activities on this lake in both states, especially during the summer. Year 'round activities include drag boat races, poker runs, and open regattas. This lake offers recreational water sports for water skiers, swimmers, and PWC owners, as well as a prime spot for fishing. Search the Lake Resource Guide for boating resources.


Kentucky Dam State Park offers 72 rooms and 68 cottages. There are serveral hotel, cottages, campsites availabe in the area. Review the Lake Resource Guide for more information on lodging.


The closest major cities are Paducah KY and Nashville TN. Other nearby Tennessee cities are Camden, Paris and Dover. The lake is located in Tennessee counties of Benton, Henry, Houston, Humphreys and Stewart.

Fun times at Kentucky Lake  kentucky lake

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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