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Kentucky Lake & Lake Barkley Levels

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Right now it's mostly sunny with an air temperature of 54° at Kentucky Lake. Get detailed current weather, radar, and hourly forecasts.

Kentucky Lake, Lake Barkley Levels & Conditions

Conditions as of 7 AM 4/24/2017 Upper Lower Water

Kentucky Lake

Water Clarity:
Generally Clear

Current:   154,363 cfs / Strong










Lake Barkley

Water Clarity:
Some Stain

Current:   80,900 cfs / Strong











Special Lake Information & Notices

The water temperature source at Hancock Biological Station on Kentucky Lake is unavailable. The water temperature is in the 66-68 degree range.

Strong current is being reported in the lakes now due to a high volume of water being pushed through the reservoirs. This is due to some heavy rain that fell in the upper parts of the Tennessee and Cumberland valleys. Right now the lakes' levels are stable, hovering around summer pool.

Keep in mind there could be some wood debris in Kentucky Lake and Lake Barkley with the strong current.
6 a.m. Forecast Kentucky Upper Kentucky Flow Barkley Upper Barkley Flow
4/24 358.9' 156,000 cfs 359.0' 80,000 cfs
4/25 358.8' 156,000 cfs 358.8' 80,000 cfs
4/26 358.7' 156,000 cfs 358.8' 80,000 cfs
4/27 358.7' 156,000 cfs 358.7' 80,000 cfs
4/28 358.7' 156,000 cfs 358.7' 80,000 cfs
4/29 358.8' 156,000 cfs 358.8' 80,000 cfs

Explanation of Values

Water temperatures are reported from Murray State University and TVA.  Normal water temperatures are based on historical fishing reports and normal air temperatures.  Click here for a chart of normal water temps.

Change - this shows the difference in the past 24 hours.

Normal - this shows the departure from normal.

cfs = cubic feet per second, which is the amount of water that is discharged through the dams.

Water Clarity - "stained" means some murkiness or discolor in the lakes.  "Normal" means typical clarity, usually 3-4 feet for Kentucky.  "Muddy" means no clarity at all.

Lake elevation is based on sea-level.  Strength of current is based on the discharge rate at the dams.  Kentucky Lake is much larger than Lake Barkley, so 100,000 cfs at Barkley Dam produces stronger current than 100,000 cfs at Kentucky Dam.  Use this unofficial chart to compare current strengths.

Lake elevations and current forecasts are provided in real-time from TVA and the NWS.  Forecasts are for 6:00 a.m. each day.

The Kentucky Lake Operating Guide is provided by TVA.

Kentucky Lake Operating Guide

TVA Operating Guide

Normal Lake Stages

  • May 1 - July 1:  Summer Pool - 359.0'
  • Dec. 1 - March 31:  Winter Pool - 354.0'
  • The gray-shaded area in the chart above shows the target lake stages for Kentucky Lake throughout the course of a year.

Kentucky Lake & Lake Barkley Records

  • Kentucky Lake Record High:  372.49' set on May 4, 2011
  • Lake Barkley Record High:  372.49' set on May 4, 2011
  • Kentucky Lake Record Low:  348.02' set on March 11, 1961
  • Lake Barkley Record Low:  352.3' set on April 19, 1982
  • Lake Barkley Record cfs:  303,000 set on May 4, 2011
  • Lake Barkley Lower Record High:  350.8' set on May 4, 2011
  • Kentucky Lake Record High Water Temp:  92° set 7/24/16

Eagle Eye View
Photo by Ray Stainfield

This eagle has "puffed up" his feathers to appear more threatening. He hopes to intimidate a nearby enemy.