Located in the foothills of the Ozark Mountains of Southeast Missouri near
the Mark Twain National Forest, is one of Missouri's hidden treasures, called
Wappapello Lake. The lake along with Wappapello State Park and
Sam Baker State
Park that surrounds it, provides a variety of activities for everybody.
The Army Corps of Engineers started construction of
Wappapello Dam and Wappapello Lake in 1936, and finished it in
1941. Both the lake and the dam were a part of the St. Francis
River Basin Project. They were built to help control flooding in the area. The flood
control act enabled the Army Corps of Engineers to build this beautiful lake,
which has become a popular vacation spot in Southeastern Missouri.
There are over 40,000 acres of public land and water for activities such as:
Those who love being on the water can enjoy over 8,400 acres of water,
perfect for fishing or recreational boating. 26 boat ramps makes accessing the
lake easy and convenient. Beach goers can choose from three man made sand
beaches, and those seeking lodging can choose from several modern resorts with
full service marinas. Special events such as the 4th of July Festivities and
Greenville Days are sure to entertain the whole family and are free of charge.
While you're visiting Wappapello Lake, be sure to visit the Bill Emerson
Memorial Visitor Center, which is located at the south side of the dam. While
you are there you can pick up free lake information, and see the exhibit room
and the displays that depict the everyday operations of Wappapello Lake, and
learn some of the lake and dam's history. Natural and cultural resources are
interpreted through trails and various programs, which highlight the natural
beauty found in Southeast Missouri. Pine Ridge, Lost Creek and Johnson Tract
Trails are part of the National Trails System, and the "Memory Lane" historic
walk, located inside the Greenville Recreation Area, is listed on the National
Register of Historic Places.
Wappapello Lake has a large population of white bass, crappie and bluegill, as well as
bass and catfish. Fisherman love the fishing here, it is truly a fisherman's
paradise. Whether you fish from shore, or fish from a boat, you are likely to
catch your limit of fish.
The Budweiser Drag Boat Nationals are held at Wappapello Lake in
May of every
year. There are several classes of boats racing, such as:
Some of the top prizes pay up to $2,500 to the champions. It is truly an
exciting event, one that should not be missed.
Living near the lake, I have been able to enjoy the many hidden treasures it
has to offer. The scenery in the fall is breathtaking with all of the fall
foliage and their beautiful colors.
Should you ever find yourself in Southeastern Missouri, and you find yourself
heading 16 miles north of Poplar Bluff, Missouri on U.S. Hwy. 67, stop by Wappapello Lake
for a day or a week. Be sure to bring your fishing gear and bathing suit. You
will have a very enjoyable time.
Source: Many visits to Wappapello Lake
Wappapello Lake Tourism and History Guide.