The key to the Canal across the Isthmus of Panama is Gatun Lake, formed by the Chagres River. At Gatun a gigantic dam was built between two mountains, 8,400 feet long and a half mile wide at the base. By means of this man-made mountain, the waters of the Chagres were pushed back and impounded in the valley of its 1,320-mile watershed, until they formed the largest artificial lake in existence - approximating in size, Lake Geneva in Switzerland.
With an area of 164 square miles, a shore line of 1,100 miles and a capacity of 183,000,000,000 cubic feet, Gatun Lake rests 85 feet above the Atlantic Ocean, which it easily overlooks from a distance of about six miles.
Gatun lake is an excellent area for freshwater fishing, and such fish as peacock bass, tilapia, perch, tarpon, and on rare occasion snook can be caught in these water.
Gatun also home to several indian villiages reserves, as well as an island by the name of Barro Colorado, which is home to one of Smithsonians Research centers.
Lands that border with the Gatun lake, or any other watershed areas of the Panama Canal, have a mandatory set back of 100 feet from the highest point of the water line. This 100 foot area, is not sellable, transferrable, nor can it be developed, constructed upon, or used for permanent agriculture.