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 gentle rolling hills of Blackjack, Post Oak and Tallgrass prairie.
Skiatook Lake has a surface area of approximately 10,500 acres and 160 miles of shoreline. The winding shoreline is highlighted by steep picturesque bluffs that offer spectacular views.
History of Skiatook
The town of Skiatook came into being in the late 1880’s. There are conflicting historical records as to the origin of Skiatook’s name. One story states that the town was founded on land which was home to a prominent Osage Indian named Skiatooka. They called the community surrounding his home, Skiatooka’s Settlement. There is another story that the name was taken from Ski-A-Took which is a Cherokee word meaning “big injun me” or describing a large man or a vast expanse of land.
But what is generally accepted is that Cherokee Chief William C. Rogers founded Skiatook when he set up a trading post in the Cherokee Nation located south of Bird Creek. Skiatooka, the Osage Indian was a frequent trader at the post, which may be the reason why his name was connected to the town’s name.
In the early 1920’s a road to Tulsa was paved. With good roads leading out in all directions, Skiatook became known as the Gateway to all points North, South, East and West. Skiatook began buying water from Spavinaw in the 1930’s but when Skiatook Lake was finally completed by 1984, Skiatook had its own water source. Records show that the town of Skiatook has grown steadily since its beginnings in the 1880’s. The population has increased by 93% since 1990.
On October 23, 1962, the Flood Control Act was approved by the 87th Congress. This authorized the construction of the Skiatook Dam and Lake. It is one of five projects in the Bird Creek Basin plan. These projects were recommended to meet the comprehensive water needs within the area. The purpose for the construction of the Skiatook Dam and Lake was for flood control, water supply, recreation and fish and wildlife management. By the time the project was completed in October 31, 1984 its total cost was $120 million.
The dam is a rolled earthfill embankment that is 3,590 feet long, including the spillway. It rises 143 feet above the streambed. The embankment has a crown width of 32 feet. The uncontrolled spillway consists of a concrete sill 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 outlet works includes a gate tower with selective intakes; a 10.5 foot conduit tunnelled through the right abutment serviced by two 4.67 by 10.5 floor low flow sluice and a 36 inch water supply pipe.
Skiatook Lake offers many opportunities for outdoor recreation including:
- Boating and Sailing
You can go power boating on Skiatook Lake. Boaters can explore the islands and coves that have natural rock outcrops. There are secluded areas where people can have family outings. Boaters can launch from public boat ramps or rent boats at the two marinas on the lake.
The lake also has deep shorelines giving sailboats the ability to make the most of the available lake surface area. Winds come in from the south or north and this gives boats the ability to go up and down the length of the lake. The heights of the waves are also minimized.
The water is clean and clear, making it safe for swimmers.
- Camping and Picnicking
There are several lake camp areas that visitors can choose from. The most popular is Tall Chief Cove. Camp sites at Twin Points and Tall Chief Cove have water and electricity. So does Crystal Bay Marina which is located at a point overlooking the lake. Bull Creek Peninsula has camp sites that are more primitive. So does Armadillo Island. Stony Ridge Campground, located near the dam on Highway 20 can accommodate RV campers.
There are hiking trails located in the Wildlife Management areas of Skiatook Lake.
The shoreline surrounding Skiatook Lake is controlled by the US Army Corp of Engineers. It is the habitat of different types of wildlife like squirrels, rabbits, deer, some coyotes, quail, ducks and other native bird species. There are approximately 8,000 acres of land open to all hunters (in accordance with state and federal hunting regulations) at different times throughout the year.
Skiatook Lake is well known for providing one of the best bass fishing experiences in the country. Bass fishermen are always rewarded for their efforts whether they fish in the lake’s main body or in the uplake flats. The water is clean and clear all throughout the year because there are no farmland tributaries, wastes or chemicals. Additionally, the releases of water by means of the dam maintain water quality downstream and improves certain types of fishing. Skiatook Lake is always in perfect ecological balance.
Very little of the land was cleared when Lake Skiatook was formed. Many of the trees were left standing in most coves. This provided good habitat for the fish as well as privacy for bass fishermen.
The lake hosts several fishing tournaments throughout the year.
Skiatook Lake is becoming a hot spot for smallmouth bass. Tournament records have shown bass fishermen catching smallmouth bass weighing up to five pounds. Other sport fish include the largemouth 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 paradise for the fish as well as the outdoorsman – especially for the bass fisherman. It is perfect for people who want to commune with nature. So, if you would like to unwind for a few days or longer, come and visit Skiatook Lake in Oklahoma.
Source by Grace F. M.