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Scenic Skiatook Lake covers 10,500 acres in northern Oklahoma's Green Country, just 30 minutes from Tulsa. The lake's 160 miles of shoreline are surrounded by picturesque bluffs, hills of Blackjack and Post Oak, and tall grass prairies. Located in Osage County, Skiatook Lake is often referred to as the "Lake of the Osage" and "The Gateway to Osage." The origin of the Skiatook name is attributed to the Osage Native American, Skiatooka, who was a frequent trader at the local trading post which became the town of Skiatook.
Construction of Skiatook Lake was authorized by the Flood Control Act of 1962. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers created the reservoir from 1974 to 1984 by constructing a dam on Hominy Creek, which is the principal tributary of Bird Creek. The Skiatook Lake project protects about 100,000 acres downstream in the flood plain of Hominy Creek, Bird Creek, and the Verdigris River. In addition to flood control, Skiatook Lake provides water to nearby towns, fish and wildlife management, and plentiful recreational opportunities such as boating, fishing, swimming, camping, picnicking, and hunting.
Peaceful scenery and great outdoor fun are trademarks of Skiatook Lake. Visitors who want to relax can soak in the sun's rays at one of the three swimming beaches, or take a leisurely boat ride around the lake. There are ten recreation areas situated around the lake, eight of which are managed by the Corps of Engineers. Most of the recreation areas provide boat ramp access to the lake. The Corps also offers both primitive camping and modern camping with water and electric hook-ups, and there are even primitive campsites on Armadillo Island. An RV campsite is located near the dam on Highway 20.
Water sports lovers of all types - whether they be boaters, sailors, or water skiers - are sure to enjoy the expansive waters of Skiatook Lake. The lake's islands, secluded coves, and natural rock outcroppings provide many opportunities for exploration by boat. Boaters can access the lake from either a Corps-operated boat ramp or at one of the lake's two full-service marinas. Sailing is also a popular activity on Skiatook Lake, as the water depth and wind conditions make it perfect for this aquatic sport. There's even a club, the Edward Teach Yacht Club, for avid boaters and sailors at Skiatook Lake.
Fishing is another popular activity on Skiatook Lake. Fish species include largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, striped bass, channel catfish, crappie, and sunfish. Various fishing tournaments take place throughout the year. Whether you like to cast off from the shore or spend a day on the lake fishing from a boat, Skiatook Lake can provide a great fishing experience.
Hunting is also popular at Skiatook Lake. Public hunting grounds are managed by the Army Corps of Engineers and the Skiatook Wildlife Management Area (WMA), which is administered by the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Management. The Skiatook WMA covers more than 5,000 acres at the upper portion of the lake; 1,800 of these acres are water acres. Area game include white-tailed deer, dove, quail, rabbit, squirrel, duck, and turkey.
The Skiatook Lake area is a great place to vacation. Besides all the outdoor recreation that the lake area has to offer, the nearby towns also provide some great activities, especially the city of Tulsa. Tulsa has many attractions - museums, an aquarium and a zoo, ballet and opera performances, and many other forms of entertainment. Visitors to Skiatook Lake may also enjoy taking part in some of the area's unique and fun events, such as the "Fantasy in the Sky" fireworks bash, held around the fourth of July, and the annual bluegrass festival. Although there is no private lakefront development, nearby residential developments provide spectacular lake views.
So pack your bags and plan to spend some time under the Oklahoma sun. Skiatook Lake will provide plenty of "R&R" away from your busy daily schedules.
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