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Allatoona Dam and Lake
Lake Allatoona (rarely called Allatoona Lake, its government name) is a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers reservoir in Georgiamarker, located in northwestern metro Atlanta. The lake is mostly in southwestern Cherokee Countymarker, but a significant part is in southeastern Bartow Countymarker, and a small part in Cobb Countymarker near Acworthmarker. Cartersvillemarker is the nearest large town to the dam. Red Top Mountain State Park is located on its shores, on the peninsula between the Etowah and Allatoona arms of the lake. Most of the north side of the lake remains protected from land development because of its isolated location, mostly blocked by the lake.

The lake was authorized by the Flood Control Acts of 1941 and 1946. The creekside town of Allatoonamarker was destroyed by the creation of the lake. Several roads were also severed or rerouted, including Acworth Dallasmarker Highway.

There are several private marinas and public boat ramps.

Allatoona also supplies much of the drinking water for the three counties it is in. The lake is supplied mostly by the Etowah River, and its major tributary the Little River (which joins the lake at Bell's Ferry), and in turn Noonday Creek. The other major arm of the lake is Allatoona Creek, extending down to Acworth, where pre-existing Lake Acworth now empties directly into Allatoona at Lake Acworth Drive (Georgia 92). Other significant streams include Kellogg Creek and Rose Creekmarker.

The Allatoona Dam holding back the lake was built in the late 1940s on the Etowah, which in turn merges into the Coosa River downstream (northwest) at Romemarker. The basin upstream (mostly northeast) of Allatoona covers about . This is nearly as large as the basin of Lake Laniermarker (Atlanta's biggest water source), but since the Allatoona is smaller, it drains and fills more rapidly than Lanier during droughts and floods.

The lake's full summer pool is above mean sea level, though during major droughts it has dropped as much as below this, exposing dangerous obstacles such as old tree stumps and former hills which are normally submerged at a safe depth. Its maximum capacity or flood stage is + [ AMSL], though it has never been known to reach this level, and flooding of boat ramps and other lakeside facilities begins to occur well below it.

During the late 1980's there was a prolonged drought. The peak of the drought in 1986 exposed vast portions of the lake bed revealing tree stumps, roads, and foundations of houses (Wilson's farm). Grass grew in some places and children were seen to mow the grass and play baseball on the newfound vacant lots.

The general contractor for construction of Allatoona Dam was National Constructor Inc. The total cost of the Allatoona project for construction, land, clearing, and relocation was $31,500,000 in 1950. Allatoona serves seven authorized purposes:

  1. Flood Control
  2. Hydropower generation
  3. Water supply
  4. Recreation
  5. Fish and wildlife management
  6. Water quality
  7. Navigation

The power plant began operation January 31, 1950. Since 1957 the summer pool elevation has been AMSL. Since 1957 the winter draw-down has been AMSL. Two municipalities withdraw water from the lake. The city of Cartersville uses 12 million gallons (45 million liters) per day. Cobb County-Marietta Water Authority uses 43 million gallons (163 million liters) per day.

In 1998 Allatoona clocked 86,813,126 hours, which were more visitor hours than any of the other 450 Corps of Engineer projects in the United States, and exceeded that in 2006 with more than 92 million visitor hours.



Lake Allatoona plays host to eight (8) privately operated marinas that provide fuel, storage, boat repairs, rentals, supplies, and/ or other boater's needs, from the southern most marina, Holiday Marina Harbor, to the northern most marina, Little River Marina.

You can access Glade Marina, Park Marina (Red Top Mnt.), Allatoona Landing Marina and Holiday Marina Harbor from Interstate I-75 or US 41. Glade Marina is on 137 acres on two quiet coves. Little River Marina, Victoria Harbour and Harbor Town Marina are all off Bells Ferry Road. Etowah Yacht Club and Allatoona Yacht Club provide marinas located in the middle portion of the lake. Wilderness Camp Marina located off Georgia 20 provides convenient access to deep water.

Location and telephone numbers are provide through the U.S. Army Corps web page under "Boat Ramp & Beach Status" tab. Whether your preference is sailing, wind surfing, or power boating, Lake Allatoona is the place to be!!

Boat ramps

Lake Allatoona provides fifteen (15) boat ramps throughout the lake area conveniently located in three counties: Cobb, Cherokee and Bartow Counties. Ramps located near Interstate I-75 and SR 41 provide convenient access to lake activities, including water sports, fishing and boating, for the south-western part of the lake. Ramps located near Interstate I-575 and Bells Ferry Road provide access to the north-eastern part of Lake Allatoona. Parking is provided, but limited to parking areas only, and does require a parking pass or day-use fee depending on location. Information regarding the boat ramp status can be found on the U.S. Army Corps web link provided below. Several boat ramps play host to fishing tournaments each months. Check with each Day Use Area for schedule of events or parking statues.


Camping: The Corps of Engineers operates several campgrounds and campsites on the Lake Allatoona area. Many of these sites are reservable on the web at Specific site amenities are listed for reservable sites.

Hunting: All hunting seasons are set by the appropriate state or local governing authority. State hunting licenses are required at all areas OPEN to hunting on the Corps of Engineers property. Georgia may require an additional stamp for hunting in WMA's (Wildlife Management Areas). Some areas have additional restrictions and/ or requirement.

Special Events: Events such-as a fishing tournament, boat regatta, music festival, fireworks display, film or television production, large scale picnic, wedding or fair may require a special event permit. Contact lake management office for information on obtaining a permit.


Lake Allatoona has become an excellent fishery, with numbers and sizes coming up every year. The most common and successful daytime method for catching fish is with live minnows or small jigs fished around downed trees, brush, rocky banks, docks and bridges in 15 feet of water or less. At night, a simple lantern or dock light will attract smaller minnows which crappie feed on, and they'll school together under the light just out of sight. Use live minnows right under the light for steady action all night.

Since the lower water levels of 2007, the lake levels have improved through proper lake management by the Corps of Engineers. Whether you're looking for bank fishing or boat fishing bass, bream or catfish, Lake Allatoona has a spot for you. State and local fish and game laws apply on the lake and a state fishing license is required. Lake Allatoona has a good number of Stripers, Hybrids, and trophy white bass. Just remember Blueback Herring are an illegal bait on Allatoona.

Lake Allatoona Fishing Reports page states Allatoona is the most visited lake in Georgia, according to Georgia Outdoor News (



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