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Lake Martin, located in Central Alabama near Alexander City, stretches out over 44,000 acres with an incredible 750 miles of shoreline. Nestled within scenic Tallapoosa County, Elmore County, and Coosa County, Lake Martin is an ideal place for recreational pursuits. The reservoir was created by Alabama Power for hydroelectric power generation and flood control. Construction of the dam across the Tallapoosa River began in 1923, and when the project finished in 1926, Lake Martin was the largest man-made lake in the world.
Though it does not still hold the title of largest man-made lake, Lake Martin today attracts thousands of visitors annually to its cool waters, scenic shore, and blue skies. Luxury homes dot the lake, housing both year-round and temporary residents. Because of Lake Martin's large community, exciting annual events are held here every year, including a Jazz Festival in June, an enormous fireworks display on the Fourth of July, and many fishing competitions throughout the year.
Lake Martin is sprinkled with interesting landmarks, including several islands, both public and private. Chimney Rock is a small island with a large natural rock formation that has the appearance of a chimney. Acapulco Rock Island, just alongside Chimney Rock Island, is often mistaken for the former because of its chimney-like rock formations. It is also the more popular island, and because it has been mistaken so many times over the years, many think that it is Chimney Rock. Since the waters of Lake Martin are so deep, reaching up to 150 feet, boats crowd around on sunny days to watch jumpers take a leap of faith. Though popular, you jump at your own risk: several people have been seriously injured, paralyzed, and even killed after their jumps.
Boating is one of Lake Martin's most popular activities, and boaters will have access to the lake's other island offerings. Sand Island, a small island located near Willow Point, is maintained solely by volunteers. Graveyard Island, a very small island of just 30 x 30 yards, is home to a small county graveyard and is shaded by native gum and pine trees. Children's Harbor Lighthouse, which can also be reached by land, is one of Lake Martin's most popular landmarks. Goat Island, just north of Martin Dam, is home to a family of wild goats that treat boaters to the occasional sighting. There are several more, and whether you bring your own boat or rent one while you're here, area natives can help direct you to all the exciting islands and other aquatic sites.
There are numerous public boat launches at Lake Martin, including facilities at Wind Creek State Park. The 1,455-acre park offers more than 600 campsites, a marina, fishing pier, camp store, hiking trails, playground, and picnic areas. Other public boat launch areas include Smith Landing, Madwind Creek, Kowaliga Creek, and Pace's Point.
Freshwater anglers love Lake Martin, throwing their line in to catch black crappie, bluegill, channel catfish, flathead catfish, largemouth bass, redear sunfish, spotted bass, striped bass, white bass, and more. Most fish are able to reproduce on their own in Lake Martin, though the Alabama Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries Division stock striped bass into the lake. Whatever you fishing pleasure, Lake Martin delivers, so pack your pole and bait box and head on over.
Lake Martin's significant acreage and delightful topography offer sun, fun, and activities galore for every kind of visitor. If one thing is sure, it's that a visit to this Alabama reservoir will rank high on your Favorite Vacations list for years to come.
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