Detailed Info on Water Levels at Patoka Lake
in Indiana

This page is used to convey info on how high water events affect Patoka Lake.

Patoka Lake’s level varies based on rainfall.  The lake can handle most rain events, and the Corps of Engineers manages the lake level to avoid flooding. You can see what the current level of the lake is, how much they are releasing, and what the target level is by looking at the bottom of this page.

Infrequently the lake gets high, but even when it does you can still find easy access and use the lake. I wanted to use this page to let the boaters know exactly how the lake levels affect the ramps and the bridges.

  1. When are the boat ramps open?
    • Kings Bridge Ramp – not easily useable because the bridge is pretty low and also because the way the launching is done.  It is not a regular ramp like you might see commonly used for Trailered boats. 
    • Walls Lake Ramp – could be used.  Even at flood pool you can see the top of the slope of the ramp.
    • Osborne Ramp – iffy at flood pool because you cannot easily see the ramp itself.  But at about 2 feet lower than flood pool or at 546 feet of lake level  you could see the top lip of the ramp and thus could use the ramp. (see picture below)
    • Painters Creek Ramp – open, even at flood pool.  You will need to go under a bridge to get anywhere from there.  The bridge slopes so a bass boat will clear the bridge even at flood pool.  (548 feet is flood pool)
    • Little Patoka Ramp – that is pretty steep and you could see where the ramp is even in high water, so this ramp will always be useable.
    • Jackson Ramp – this ramp is open at about 1 foot below flood pool (547 feet)  
    • Newton Stewart North Ramp – useable anytime
    • Newton Stewart South Ramp – useable anytime
    • Fishermans Ramp – this ramp is useable once the lake drops to about 545 feet
    • South Ramp – useable anytime
    • Lick Fork Ramp – useable anytime
  2. It was observed that with an output of 3658 CFS the lake dropped 0.6 feet in 24 hours. At 3000 CFS the lake dropped 0.4 feet in 24 hours. You can use that info as a guide for expected lake levels when you see the current lake conditions by looking at the bottom of this page. Keep in mind, though, that many factors affect the lake level, not just the outflow.
  3. When are the bridges passable?
    • Painters Creek Bridge – This bridge is sloped and you can always get under this bridge with a bass boat even in high water.
    • Main Hwy 145 Bridge – The main bridge has 3 feet of clearance when the lake is at 545 feet. A small fishing boat needs 32 inches and an average bass boat needs about 40 inches. Your minimum clearance may vary depending on the boat and weight of passengers and gear. So look up the lake level and use the following guidelines:
      • If gauge height is 545 feet you have 3 feet of clearance.
      • If gauge height is 540 feet then you have 8 feet of clearance.
      • Use your math skills to figure out what level you need to clear the bridge.
      • See picture of bridge clearance at 546 feet below.
    • Kings Bridge – Typically only small boats go up this high and launch. This ramp is not a normal concrete sloped ramp. You can see pictures of the ramp under normal conditions here. When the lake level is 547 you have about 1 foot of clearance. Below is a picture of the bridge by the ramp when the lake had about 547 feet of water in it.
    • Hwy 164 Bridge – This bridge is much like the main Hwy 145 bridge, so you can expect the same guidelines for clearance

Osborn Ramp at 546 feet:
Osborn Ramp on Patoka Lake at 546 ft
Kings Bridge at 547.5 feet (with about 1 foot of clearance):
Kings Bridge on Patoka Lake at 547.5 feet Kings Bridge on Patoka Lake at 547.5 feet
Main Hwy 145 Bridge at 546 feet (with a few inches short of 1 yard of clearance - note yardstick at left):
Main Hwy 145 Bridge on Patoka Lake at 546 feet Main Hwy 145 Bridge on Patoka Lake at 546 feet

Outdoor Resources:
Other Information: - Indiana's Online Outdoor Recreation Guide

Osborne Ramp Little Patoka Ramp Walls Lake Ramp King's Bridge Ramp Painter Creek Ramp North (Newton-Stewart) Ramp South Ramp Jackson SRA Ramp South Lick Fork Ramp Fisherman's Ramp Lick Fork SRA Ramp Patoka Lake Marina Fishermen's & Youth Campgrounds Backcountry Campground Electric Loop sites 246-367 Electric Loop sites 1-245