Lake Cumberland history:

Lake Cumberland is located in Wayne, Russell, Pulaski, Clinton, McCreary, Laurel, and Whitley counties in Southeastern Kentucky on the Cumberland River. The dam

site is at river mile 460.9 or about 10 miles southwest of Jamestown, Kentucky.

southwest of Jamestown, Kentucky. The Wolf Creek Project was authorized by the Flood Control Act of 1938 and the Rivers and Harbor Act of 1946. Construction of the project, designed and supervised by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, began in August 1941. After a three-year delay caused by World War II, the project was completed for full beneficial use in August 1952.

The dam was completed for flood control operation in 1951 and the remaining three in 1952. Operation of the lake is for the primary purposes of flood control and the production of hydroelectric power. The cost of the project was approximately $80.4 million.

The dam, powerhouse, and lake are operated and supervised by Corps of Engineers personnel under the direction of the District Engineer at Nashville, Tennessee.

The reservoir is 101 miles long in length and has 1,255 miles of shoreline, providing a total storage capacity of 6,089,000 acre-feet (1 acre-foot = 1 acre, 1 foot deep or 325,850 gallons). The upper portion of the reservoir containing 2,094,000 acre-feet of area, is used to hold floodwaters which would otherwise cause flooding downstream. Such impounded water is utilized to the maximum extent possible for power production and the surplus water is released through the spillway gates after any flood danger had passed.

Of the remaining 3,995,000 acre-feet of reservoir capacity, 2,142,000 acre-feet, corresponding to a drawdown of 50 feet, is allocated specifically for power operation, leaving a minimum pool of at least 1,853,000 acre-feet available at all times for public use and conservation purposes. The electrical energy produced by the project is sufficient to supply the needs of an average city with a population of 375,000. Incidental to the production of power, the water released through the turbines provides a favorable stream flow below the dam. In supplementing low flows, this water improves domestic water supply, reduces stream pollution and provides aid to navigation.

The reservoir normally fluctuates between 50,250 acres at the top of the power pool and a minimum surface area of 35,820 acres. During periods of high inflow, when it is necessary to utilize the floor storage, the surface area may reach 63,530 acres. However, such floods occur infrequently, and the levels resulting from minor floods and power operations do not seriously interfere with most recreational activities.

Learn more about the history of Lake Cumberland by clicking here.

Local area links:

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General fishing information:

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Local area dining:

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