Description - The Flood Control Act approved July 3, 1958, for flood control, water supply, water quality, and fish and wildlife conservation, authorized the dam for construction. Although recreation was not approved as a specific project purpose, it was included as incidental to the basic authorized purposes.
Gillham dam construction was started in June 1963 with work on the right access road. This was followed by Howard County road relocations and construction of project buildings.
- "The Bright Spot on the Cossatot," Gillham Lake, is located on the Cossatot River, one of the most challenging white water streams in
Arkansas. The lake is surrounded by mountains and beautiful forests. It consists of 1,370 surface acres of water and offers a variety of recreational
activities. Visitors can fish, hunt, boat, canoe, ski, sightsee, camp, and picnic. The species of fish most actively sought are small mouth, largemouth, and spotted bass, crappie, channel and flathead catfish and various species of sunfish. In addition, white bass and saugeye have been introduced.
Fifteen miles below the dam on the Cossatot River is a good area for floating. Caution should be taken, because the Cossatot is Arkansas's wildest stream and should be attempted by only the most experienced canoeists and kayakers.
Recreation - Gillham Lake offers fishing, hunting, boating, canoeing, skiing, sightseeing, camping, and picnicking opportunities.
Climate - Arkansas has a temperate climate with the coldest temperatures near freezing during December, January and February. Daytime highs for these months usually reach 55 degrees F. Spring and fall temperatures are very mild with lows dipping to 44 degrees F and highs reaching 70 degrees F. July and August are the hottest months of the year with average temperatures reaching 90 degrees F. June and September average temperatures usually reach into the mid-eighties. Spring and winter months are the wettest of the year.
The Gillham Lake lies in Howard and Polk Counties about 16 miles north of the town of DeQueen and six miles northeast of Gillham. From DeQueen, travel 15 miles north on US 71, then five miles east to lake.