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Lake Monticello is a rather new lake that was built in 1997. It was originally planned to be a secondary water reservoir for Monticello, Arkansas. Now the 1,520 acre lake is becoming well known as bass lake. Lake Monticello is owned by the city of Monticello and is open to fishing and boating.
The area surrounding Lake Monticello was thought to be first viewed by early European explorers as they made their way westward. The thick forest of oak, hickory, elm, and maple trees may have been seen first by the explorer LaSalle or even Hernando de Soto. In 1846, Drew County was formally established, then in 1852 Monticello was incorporated and was named after Thomas Jefferson's home place in Virginia. Now the city of Monticello and Drew County offer endless recreational activities which in addition to Lake Monticello include public swimming, golf courses, museums, and hunting.
Visitors of Lake Monticello may enjoy two nearby wildlife management areas, Cut-off Creek and Seven Devils Swamp. Both of these places offer some of the best duck hunting in the state of Arkansas due to the areas flooded timber during duck season. Wildlife viewing as well as other types of hunting is permitted at these two wildlife management areas.
Lake Monticello is best known for its bass fishery. The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission manages the lake to make a trophy largemouth bass lake. Due to their efforts the fourth largest largemouth bass in the state was caught at Lake Monticello. In addition to largemouth bass, crappies have been noted as excellent catches by local anglers. Bream and catfish may also be caught in the waters of Lake Monticello. Fisherman may launch their boats from the public boat ramps located on both ends of Lake Monticello. For the anglers who prefer to fish without a boat will find a fishing dock much to their liking.
Lake Monticello is not just for anglers but for anyone who loves lakes. Recreational activities at the lake include swimming, water skiing, jet-skiing, picnicking or even wildlife viewing. Each year in July, the city of Monticello and the Chamber of Commerce host a hotdog cookout and a firework presentation. Residents of the Monticello area enjoying coming out for the event and to view the fireworks sparkling on the waters of Lake Monticello. Pavilions are located in a few places around the lake for family and friends to enjoy gatherings of all kinds. For those who may want to sit and to enjoy the calm waters of the lake will appreciate the concrete benches that have been provided and overlook the Lake Monticello. While the lake is still developing, city officials are hoping to include walking trails, rest rooms and playground equipment to make the lake more family friendly.
It will be interesting to see how this young lake takes shape over the upcoming years. For now Lake Monticello visitors can enjoy the natural beauty while trying their hand at catching one of those record size bass.
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