Facts about Patoka Lake
Patoka Lake lies in Dubois, Crawford, and Orange counties in Southern Indiana. The dam is located approximately 118.3 miles from the mouth of the Patoka River. This river, located 12 miles northeast of Jasper, is a tributary of the Wabash River. Although Patoka Lake provides the public with an enormous amount of recreation such as boating, hiking, site seeing, etc., this was not the primary reason for construction. The primary purpose was to protect many of the downstream communities from flooding by the Patoka River. Other reasons were to supply water to neighboring counties and control water quality. Patoka Lake currently supplies water to twelve counties, and may expand this to other counties. It takes an average of 6 million gallons per day to meet these demands. Thus, this is not just a playground, but also a place with a purpose.
Four State Recreation Areas
- Jackson State Recreation Area on the north side - 1,288 acres
- Newton Stewart State Recreation Area to the south 4,540 acres (Most facilities are located here)
- Lick Fork State Recreation Area on the west - 1,138 acres
- Tillery Hill State Recreation Area in the middle on SR 145 - 1,779 acres
Ten Boat Launching Ramps
- Newton Stewart State Recreation Area had 3 ramps
- Jackson State Recreation Area has one boat ramp
- Lickfork State Recreation Area has two boat ramps
- Painters Creek ramp on SR 145
- Wall’s Lake ramp and Little Patoka River Ramp provide access to upper portions of the lake
- Osborn Ramp is accessible to people with special needs.
- 1200 feet of sand
- Solar hot water system for showers
- Open - Memorial Day to Labor Day. Closed summer of 2012 due to low water level.
Recreation located in Newton Stewart State Recreation Area
- Fitness Trail
- Disk Golf
- 5.9 miles of paved bike trails
- Hiking trails
- Archery Range
- Reservable Shelter houses
- Softball field
Shoreline Management Plan
Engineer Regulations, 1130-2-406, dated 13 December 1974, specifically prohibits private exclusive use on lake impounded after the effective date of the above regulation. Therefore, the cutting of trees or mowing of any underbrush by private individuals on any government property at Patoka Lake is not allowed nor is the to be any private mooring floats or docks constructed around the shoreline.
Interesting Facts about the Lake and Dam
Patoka Lake is 25 miles long and there are 161 miles of shoreline at normal summer pool. The reservoir contains 588,252,310,s000 gallons of water at summer pool. Ther are 8,880 surface acres of water at the normal summer pool elevation of 536 m.s.l. The flood storage elevation of 548 m.s.l. increases the size to 31 miles long with 11,300 surface area.
If the 12 feet of flood storage was utilized it would be equivalent to filling a 20 acre pool approximately and the deepest know point is approximately 60 feet.
The dam is 1550 feet long and 84 feet high. There was approximately 1.25 cubic yards of dirt excavated from the dam sight. The dam is made of earth and rock fill. It took 1,735,662 cubic yards to construct the dam. This is approximately 216,959 average dump truck loads.
The record pool elevation was 547.143 m.s.l., on May 12, 1996. At that level, approximately 93% of the flood storage capacity was utilized. Patoka Lake saves approximately $28 million in flood damage to downstream areas during the flood. Drainage area above the dam is 168 square miles.
Proposed in early 1960’s
Authorized in 1965
Constructed of the dam began in 1972
Dam completed in 1978
Lake filled by 1979
Facilities opened to public August 20, 1980
Second larges lake in Indiana at 8,800 acres
161 miles of shoreline
20 foot average depth