Lake Ouachita, Arkansas

Fresh Water Scuba Diving Paradise

Top Diving & Spear Fishing Tournament GPS Points Spearfishing Trips


Located in the beautiful Ouachita National Forest just a few miles west of Hot Springs, Lake Ouachita is the largest lake within the state of Arkansas.

With over 60 square miles of surface area and almost a thousand miles of shoreline, Lake Ouachita is a mecca of recreational and sporting activity. Islands of various sizes dot the surface with areas for camping with improved campgrounds at many locations.


One state park and six Corps of Engineers RV parks as well as a number of primitive and semi-improved campgrounds located around the shoreline provide for lots of family camping and recreational access.

The view from the Brady Mtn Campground was voted in 2005 as the second most scenic in all of the "Reserve America" listings. This includes most of the Federal campgournds in the US.

There are lots of water activities that are popular around Lake Ouachita. The beautiful clear waters are ideal for swimming, water skiing, tubing and cruising along the myriad of islands and coves. Typical summer water temperatures run from the mid 70s in May and October to the low 90s in August.

Fishing is great and the lake hosts numerous Bass tournaments anually. In addition to bass the lake produces lots of stripers, crappie, blue gill, red-ear, catfish and walleye.

Scuba divers come from long distances to experience the diving and spearfishing that the lake is so well known for. As a scuba training location Lake Ouachita is one of the most popular in the area. It draws instructors and students from neighboring states as well as locals to learn to dive in its clear waters.

Several marinas on the lake including Spillway, Brady Mtn, Crystal Springs, and Mountain Harbor have shops that offer air for Scuba divers and some have a large selection of diving equipments as well.

Spearfishing is a popular sport in the lake. Arkansas is one of the few states that allows spearfishing for freshwater species and the divers enjoy this special sporting activity here.

Spearfishing season runs from June 15th to March 15th each year with the bag limit being 1/2 of the regular fishing limit for most gamefish species.

There are few lakes around that offer more opportunity for just plain old fun than Arkansas' Lake Ouachita. The combination of convenient location with easy accessibility and a rich menu of available activities make it a favorite for locals, and tourists.

For the RVer, there are lots of campsites overlooking the water and, for the boat camper, there are about 200 islands and nearly 1000 miles of shoreline to explore for a secluded get-away.

There is no charge for camping on the islands and non-improved sites. Just leave them a bit cleaner than you found them so they will continue to be a great asset for those who will follow you.

Brady Mountain, Crystal Springs, Mountain Harbor, and other marinas on the lake offer accommodations, boat rentals, and even houseboat rentals to make an outing special. Gas, food, bait, and tackle are readily available and it is all just a short drive west of Hot Springs, Arkansas.

Come on down and give it a try. This lovely campsite is just one of the more than four hundred Corps of Enginners' sites that are waiting for you.

You'll probably find me camping close by.

Top Diving & Spear Fishing Tournament GPS Points Spearfishing Trips

Scuba Diving Lake Ouachita

This is my limo on the water. Perhaps it doesn't look particularly elegant to you, but it comfortably carries a half dozen spear-fisherfolk, a bunch of gear, lots of food and drinks, and all the fish we can outsmart.
This is the result of my recent birthday trip. That cat was 18# of delicious dinners. There's lots of fish in Ouachita; catfish, bass, crappie, walleye, bluegill, and stripers just to name a few of the more popular varieties.
During recent brushpile building trips this is 1/2 of one of my crappie brushpiles. This was anchored on the bottom and tied to a stump where it floats abut 4' off the bottom. It collects thousands of bait fish which hopefully will attract lots of crappie and other delicacies
This is the other half of that same brushpile just dipping beneath the surface. These were placed in Sept 14 and will be added to this summer.
Top Diving & Spear Fishing Tournament GPS Points Spearfishing Trips

Scuba Spearfishing Tournament Held in June

Had a bunch of really nice cats in '09 Tournament.

Sam's winning "Largest Other" fish. Paid $140.

Bob had some nice cats, but his stringer of 20# was not in the money.

This was a really great day on the lake. We had less than usual walleyes, and even fewer crappie, but cats and rough fish were abundant. The weather was almost perfect and in spite of more murky dive conditions than usual most folks got fish. Winning cat was 47# and the winning stringer was three cats that totaled about 70#. Another diver brought in a cat of about 65#, but he unfortunately was not entered in the tournament. There were cash prizes as well as drawings for a new BC, speargun and lots of other prizes. Everyone had a great time. This tournament occurs each year on the first Saturday after June the 15th on the lake. Make your plans to join us next year.

This year (2015) the tournament is scheduled for Saturday June 20th. Full details and entrance forms available at the Scuba and Archery Center in Hot Springs, AR (501)623-7062 or at the Lake Ouachita Dive Center at Brady Mtn Resort on Lake Ouachita. (501)760-1500

The Tournament this year (2015) was a bit of a disappointment. Due to exceptional spring rains the water was very high and very muddy. As a result a lot of our participants, myself included, did not get any measurable fish. On top of that, my motor died and I had to limp back at trolling speed. A few guys still managed to get some nice cats and walleyes in spite of the haze and it was a georgeous day out on the water. Still a great way to start the season out on the lake. My motor should be back up and running by time the visibility has cleared up a bit and this should be a great summer on the lake.

Top Diving & Spear Fishing Tournament GPS Points Spearfishing Trips

Points of Interest on the lake. GPS coordinates.

Starting from the Dam. Listed as Degrees and

Lake Ouachita Dam - shore dive access (*)
N34 34.439' W93 11.675'
Crawdaddy Island
N34 36.064' W93 12.148'
Point #02
N34 35.739' W93 14.089'
Brady Ramp (new) (LODive Center)
N34 35.295' W93 15.423'
Brady Ramp (old)
N34 34.922' W93 16.034'
Point #03
N34 34.507' W93 17.183'
Point #04
N34 34.148' W93 18.795'
School Bus (wreck) (*)
N34 36.170' W93 18.410'
VW Rabbit (wreck) (*)
N34 36.473' W93 18.162'
Bird Island
N34 35.698' W93 19.214'
Point #05
N34 34.909' W93 19.743'

Buckville Cmpgnd
N34 36.597' W93 20.635'

Lake Entry to Crystal
N34 34.973' W93 20.592'
Crystal Springs Ramp
N34 32.579' W93 20.995'
Point #08
N34 33.720' W93 21.450'
Pollard Creek
N34 34.634' W93 22.510'
Avant Cmpgnd
N34 38.285' W93 23.044'
Big Fir Cmpgnd
N34 36.313' W93 24.483'
Mountain Harbor Marina
N34 34.535' W93 26.324'
Little Fir Cmpgnd
N34 37.987' W93 28.282'
Denby Point Cmpgnd
N34 33.179' W93 29.272'
Twin Creeks Cmpgnd
N34 33.131' W93 30.753'
(*) Indicates popular dive sites

Top Diving & Spear Fishing Tournament GPS Points Spearfishing Trips

Scuba Fishing Trips

I offer Summertime guided spearfishing trips on the lake beginning June 15th and running thru September for parties of two to five scuba certified persons.
Most any day is fine except Sundays when I can only offer an afternoon trip. Cost is $65 per person for a half day (2 tanks - 4 hrs) or $90 for full day (3 tanks - 7 hrs). Can sometimes arrange trips for one person with other divers.

Tanks and weights provided. Fishing licenses are available from the various places around Hot Springs, or on line from the Arkansas Game and Fish site.

If you need other equipment I will arrange for it to be available for rent at the Lake Ouachita Dive Center (LODC) where we launch the boat. Give me a call and lets go diving. For information on equipment call the Scuba and Archery Center in Hot Springs at (501)623-7062 or their lakeside office, Lake Ouachita Dive Center at (501)760-1500.

Chuck Chatham
P.O Box 62
Royal, AR 71968
cel (501)617-1656