Last Updated: December 4, 2020

Russell Lake, Georgia

Located in the Richard B. Russell State Park, Richard B. Russell Lake is a 26,650-acre lake with some of the best fishing in two states. The lake was created by the construction of the Richard B. Russell Dam on the Savannah River, a border river that runs between Georgia and South Carolina. The lake incorporates the Rocky River in South Carolina and Beaverdam Creek in Georgia. The lake and state park are approximately 120 miles east of Atlanta in Northeast Georgia and 80 miles north of Augusta.

Unlike neighboring lakes Hartwell to the north and Carters to the south, the lake was designed to consistently have an elevation within 5 ft. and doesn’t vary. The result is a lake that always looks full. The lake was named in honor of Richard Brevard Russell, a longstanding U.S. senator.

Known as Lake Russell by the locals, the lake has an interesting history at its bottom. The waters that flooded the area covered some fascinating sites that were excavated and explored before filling the lake. The sites included a Native American village and mound believed to be leftover from the Paleo-Indians of 10,000 years ago, an old fort, and a plantation. The historic Georgia-Carolina Memorial Bridge remains intact at the bottom of the lake. The area is now known as Rucker’s Bottom.

Lake Russell has a natural-looking shoreline that is very different than Lake Hartwell and Carters Lake. That’s because the Army Corps of Engineers has prohibited exclusively private use of the 540-mile shoreline since its construction in 1974. The shoreline is undeveloped except for state parks and day-use areas. Additionally, a 300-foot buffer zone around the shoreline helps to mitigate the loss of wildlife habitats.

Despite the lack of a developed shoreline, there’s plenty of accommodations and fun at Lake Russell and the park. Rent a fully-equipped cottage on or near the water’s edge. The campground offers 28 tent, trailer, and RV sites. The park has three picnic shelters and a group shelter that seats 150. Boats are rentable for boating and fishing. Bring or rent a kayak or canoe for paddling.

Other recreation includes an 18-hole golf course and a sandy beach for swimming. Hike and bike on six miles of trails, join the Muddy Spokes Club, or participate in geocaching. One nature trail in the park leads to an old steel pin bridge. The park is also popular for its disc golf course, a new game in which discs resembling frisbees are thrown into metal baskets. The sport is easy to learn and lots of fun.

About the Author Roger Timbrook

Roger is a little obsessed with travel. He has been to over 40 countries, broken 3 suitcases and owned over 10 backpacks in 12 months. What he doesn't know about travel, ain't worth knowing!

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