Links to pages for the six main stem dam and lake projects on the Missouri River.
Cherry Creek, Bear Creek, and Chatfield dams are located near Denver, Colo. The dams are managed and maintained by the Omaha District.
Lake data includes links to boat ramp elevations, lake levels, water temperatures, etc. and information about portage around the main stem dams.
Downstream Campground Trout Pond
The trout pond near the Downstream Campground at Garrison Dam. The Trout Pond was renovated last year.
West Tailrace Road Garrison Project
The Garrison Dam West Tailrace Road, at Garrison Dam near Riverdale, N.D., which provides access to the Garrison Power Plant wing walls and west side of the tailrace area, is now open for public use. The area was closed for a road reconstruction project and to repair damages incurred during the flooding in 2011.
Ice Fishing: Popular winter activity at Lake Sakakawea
A Northern Pike caught in March 2013 while ice fishing on Lake Sakakawea/Garrison Dam Project on the Northeast side of the lake in Steinke Bay, which is near Sportsmen's Centennial Park access and Steinke WMA access. Ice Fishing is a popular outdoor winter activity for may North Dakotans.
Garrison Dam near Riverdale, N.D. Lake Sakakawea, formed by the Garrison Dam is the third largest reservoir in the United States.
Garrison Dam Powerplant
Power plant tours at the Garrison Dam in Riverdale are offered to the public via walk-in and upon scheduled request. Due to increased security, visitors for powerhouse tours should arrive at least 15 minutes prior to the tour and visitors over 18 years old must show a government issued photo ID.
For more information, call (701) 654-7411.
Location: Near Garrison, N.D., River Mile 1,389.9
Lake Sakakawea and Garrison Dam are located 75 miles north of Bismarck, North Dakota amongst the rolling prairie and badlands of Western North Dakota. Lake Sakakawea is the third largest man-made lake in the United States. The lake is 178 miles long, has over 1,500 miles of shoreline, and deepest part is about 175 ft.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers oversees management of the public lands and waters of Lake Sakakawea which provide a variety of benefits to the public which include: recreation, fish and wildlife, flood damage reduction, hydropower production, irrigation, municipal and industrial water intakes, water quality, and navigation.
The Corps has several partners (Federal, Tribal, State, County, and City) who operate campgrounds, parks, and marinas on Lake Sakakawea.
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Garrison Dam was built in a region which served as a major transportation route. When the first fur traders arrived in the region in the 1700s, they found three Tribes of Indians settled there. The Hidatsa, Mandan, and the Arikara were farmers whose earth lodge villages served as major trading centers with the more nomadic tribes of the plains as well as travelers coming up the river.
In 1804, the Hidatsa villages on the Knife River hosted the expedition led by Captain Meriwether Lewis and Lieutenant William Clark, who had been commissioned by President Thomas Jefferson to explore the Louisiana Purchase from St. Louis to the Pacific. While at the villages, the enlisted a Canadian trapper named Toussaint Charboneau to serve as an interpreter and guide. Charboneau's wife, Sacajawea (Sakakawea - a Hidatsa word meaning Bird Woman) was a Shoshoni whose knowledge of the unknown land and people proved invaluable to Lewis and Clark and an important addition to the expedition. In honor of her courage, Lake Sakakawea was named for her.
The Lewis and Clark expedition opened the doorway to the West. Traders continued up the Missouri in increasing numbers setting up a number of small fur trading posts along the river. Federal soldiers became the next occupants of the territory as Fort Clark, Fort Abraham Lincoln, Fort Stevenson and Fort Buford were erected along the Missouri to protect steamboat traffic and settlers.
By the 1880s, the region opened to settlers. Many were farmers immigrating from northern Europe and Russia. In the Little Missouri River area, raising cattle became the primary industry. Future President Theodore Roosevelt tried his hand in the cattle business at his Elkhorn Ranch. Agriculture remained the mainstay of the economy in the 20th Century until the completion of Garrison Dam brought the recreation industry to Sakakawea County.
Fishing is the primary recreational activity at Lake Sakakawea. There are several boat ramps located around Lake Sakakawea and most are in recreation areas and some in wildlife management areas. Shoreline Access Areas are located around the lake and offer an additional means of getting to the water’s edge.
For information Corps-operated recreation at Lake Sakakawea visit Recreation.gov.
The Garrison Dam National Fish Hatchery and Visitor Center is Located below the downstream of Garrison Dam. The hatchery visitor center is complete with five 400 gallon aquariums that will give you the pleasure of viewing the fishes of North Dakota in their environment.
The Audubon National Wildlife Refuge Complex provides several exhibits that feature wetlands, native prairie, and the abundant wildlife that can be observed on the refuge.
Public lands offer a great place for sportsmen to hunt pheasants, grouse, partridge, turkey, waterfowl and deer. There are a number of different wildlife management areas around the lake. In addition there are other areas that trapping/snaring may be allowed.
Lake Sakakawea fishing regulations are established and enforced by the State of North Dakota and the Fort Berthold Indian Tribes Game & Fish Department. The big lake offers a wide-range of sport fishing including pike, walleye and Chinook salmon.
There are many Ice Fishing Access Areas located around Lake Sakakawea. Most are boat ramps but there are other areas that provide a legal means for the general public to access the water during the winter.
The Corps of Engineers has certain project restrictions for areas it directly operates (buildings, recreation, and day use areas) for hunting, trapping and snaring.
- From Bismarck: North Dakota, take Highway 83 north and turn left on Highway 200 west toward Riverdale.
- From Minot: North Dakota, take Highway 83 south and turn right onto Highway 48. At intersection, turn right onto Highway 200 west toward Riverdale.
Garrison Dam Project Office and Information Center Hours:
Monday thru Friday 7:30am to 4 pm.
- U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
- 201 1st ST, PO Box 527
- Riverdale, North Dakota 58565
Phone: (701) 654-7411
Hours of operation:
9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Sunday - Saturday
Beginning Labor Day
8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
- Due to increased security, visitors for powerhouse tours should arrive 15 minutes prior to the tour and visitors over 18 years old must show a government issued photo ID.
Walk-in tours are available from June 4 through August 1:
- Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 2 p.m. Central Daylight Time.
Scheduled Tours: Call (701) 654-7411.
Missouri River region daily river bulletin - main stem reservoirs, selected tributary reservoirs and selected river gage readings
Midnight water temperature readings for the main stem reservoirs for about the last 30 days
The Missouri Basin River Forecast Center is part of a network of 13 River Forecast Centers across the U.S. River Forecast Centers collect, process and provide forecasts and information about water resources for major river basins across the country.
Boat ramp elevation readings for Fort Peck, Garrison, Oahe and Fort Randall Projects.
TItle 36, Parks, Forests, & Public Property, Chapter 3; Code of Federal Regs. - Rules and regulations for public use including hunting and recreation activities on USACE water resource development projects.
The Dam Safety Program seeks to ensure that USACE owned and operated dams do not present unacceptable risks to people, property, or the environment, with the emphasis on people.
Missouri River Recovery Program
Website offering information about Corps lakes nationwide.
Recreation.gov includes information on Federal government managed & Federal government affiliated (subordinate, subsidiary or member) sites. Content focuses on nature-based, historic & cultural activities commonly available on federally managed lands.
Water levels on Lake Audubon will start being lowered by the Bureau of Reclamation beginning the week of September 28 as part of annual fall drawdown operations. [Read More]
During September, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will conduct vegetation management activities on sandbars in the Missouri River between Garrison Dam and the Hazelton Boat Ramp on Lake Oahe (river miles 1381 to 1278). The Bismarck-Mandan river reach (river miles 1325 to 1310), the Wilton/Steckel boat ramp at river mile 1343.6, and river miles 1364 and 1363 north of Washburn, N.D. will not be sprayed. This work is being done to keep the sandbars free of vegetation and usable by the endangered interior least tern and threatened piping plover for nesting. [Read More]
With the upcoming holiday, rangers at U.S. Army Corps of Engineers recreation areas across the Missouri Basin want to remind the public about a few rules and policies to help prevent fires, drowning, protect public safety and make for overall enjoyable recreation experiences during the holiday weekend and in the future. [Read More]
The warmer temperatures are bringing more visitors to recreation areas across the Omaha District. Park Rangers from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers are reminding visitors to have life jackets for everyone and please wear them.
On average, 9 out of 10 people who drowned at a USACE lake or river project didn’t wear a life jacket. Life jackets save lives by keeping you afloat and providing time for rescue. [Read More]
The road to the East Tailrace Recreation Area downstream of the Garrison Dam in Riverdale, N.D. will be closed on April 27 and April 28 between the hours of 7 a.m. and 7 p.m.
This closure is required to allow sedimentation removal from the downstream boat ramp. The road to the East Tailrace will be closed during this time. Shore fishing at the East Tailrace will not be permitted. Shore fishing will remain available at the West Tailrace. Signs will be in place to direct the public.
Access to the East Tailrace will reopen once the work is completed. [Read More]