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Skiatook Lake in Oklahoma
Skiatook Lake is located on Highway 20, 4 miles west of the town of Skiatook and 11 miles east of Hominy, Oklahoma, approximately one hour’s drive from Tulsa. This beautiful lake is surrounded by the gentle rolling hills of Blackjack, Post Oak and Tallgrass prairie.
Skiatook Lake has a surface area of approximately 10,500 acres and 260 miles of shoreline. The winding coast is highlighted by steep picturesque cliffs that offer a spectacular view.
History of Skiatook
The town of Skiatook was established in the late 1880s. There are conflicting historical accounts of the origin of Skiatook’s name. One story says that the town was founded on land that was the home of a prominent Osage Indian named Skiatooka. The community surrounding his home was named Skiatooka’s Settlement. There is another story that the name is taken from Ski-A-Took which is a Cherokee word meaning “big one hurts me” or describes a big man or a huge expanse of land.
But what is generally accepted is that Cherokee Chief William C. Rogers founded Skiatook when he established a trading post in the Cherokee Nation south of Bird Creek. Skiatooka, an Osage Indian was a frequent post trader, which may be why his name became associated with the town’s name.
In the early 1920s, the road to Tulsa was paved. With good roads leading in all directions, Skiatook has become known as the Gateway to all points north, south, east and west. Skiatook began buying water from Spavinaw in the 1930s, but when Skiatook Lake was finally completed in 1984, Skiatook had its own water source. Records show that the town of Skiatook has grown steadily since its beginnings in the 1880s. The number of inhabitants has increased by 93% since 1990.
On October 23, 1962, the 87th Congress approved the Flood Control Act. This approved the construction of the dam and Lake Skiatook. It is one of five projects in the Bird Creek Basin plan. These projects are recommended to meet the comprehensive water needs of the area. The purpose of Skiatook Dam and Lake construction was flood control, water supply, recreation, and fish and wildlife management. By the time the project was completed on October 31, 1984, the total cost was $120 million.
The dam is a rolled earth embankment 3,590 feet long, including the spillway. It rises 143 feet above the stream bed. The embankment has a crown width of 32 feet. The uncontrolled overflow consists of a concrete threshold in the right abutment. The bottom of the spillway is 100 feet wide and its crest elevation is 732.0 and has a design capacity of 21,700 cfs. The discharge works include a gate tower with selective intakes; a 10.5-foot pipeline routed through the starboard abutment served by two 4.67 x 10.5 tiered low-flow weirs and a 36-inch water inlet pipe.
Skiatook Lake offers many opportunities for outdoor recreation, including:
- Boating and sailing
You can motorboat on Skiatook Lake. Boaters can explore islands and coves that have natural rocks. There are secluded areas where people can have family outings. Boaters can launch from public boat ramps or rent boats at two marinas on the lake. The lake also has deep banks, which gives boaters the opportunity to make the most of the available surface of the lake. Winds come from the south or north and this gives the boats the ability to go up and down along the lake. Wave heights are also minimized.
The water is clean and clear, which makes it safe for bathers.
- Camping and picnic
Visitors can choose from several camping areas on the lake. The most popular is Tall Chief Cove. Campgrounds at Twin Points and Tall Chief Cove have water and electricity. As well as Crystal Bay Marina, which is located on a site overlooking the lake. The Bull Creek Peninsula has campsites that are more primitive. As well as Armadillo Island. Stony Ridge Campground, located near the dam on Highway 20, can accommodate RV campers.
- Mountain climbing
Hiking trails are located in Skiatook Lake Wildlife Management Areas.
The shoreline around Skiatook Lake is under the control of the US Army Corps of Engineers. It is a habitat for different types of wild animals such as squirrels, rabbits, deer, some coyotes, quail, ducks and other domestic bird species. There are approximately 8,000 acres of land open to all hunters (subject to state and federal hunting regulations) at various times of the year.
Skiatook Lake is known for providing one of the best bass fishing experiences in the country. Bass anglers are always rewarded for their efforts whether they fish in the main part of the lake or on the uplands. The water is clean and clear all year round because there are no agricultural tributaries, waste or chemicals. In addition, the release of water through the dam maintains water quality downstream and improves certain types of fisheries. Skiatook Lake is always in perfect ecological balance. Very little land was cleared when Skiatook Lake was formed. Many trees remained standing in most bays. This provided good habitat for the fish as well as privacy for the bass hunters. The lake hosts several fishing tournaments throughout the year. Skiatook Lake is becoming a popular spot for smallmouth bass. Tournament records show anglers catching bass up to five pounds. Other sport fish are large sea bass, black and white crappie, channel catfish, flathead catfish, blue catfish, bluegill, carp, lake perch and others.
Skiatook Lake is a pristine body of water that is a paradise for fish as well as those who love to enjoy the outdoors – especially bass anglers. It is perfect for people who want to communicate with nature. So if you want to relax for a few days or longer, come and visit Skiatook Lake in Oklahoma.
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