Lake Oahe is the fourth largest reservoir in the country and provides ample room for the 2 million annual visitors who access the lake from over 50 recreation areas. Water-based recreation ranges from power sports like pleasure boating, skiing, and tubing while isolated bays and shorelines provide quiet, protected areas for paddleboards and kayaks.
Campgrounds, boat ramps, and day use areas are spread around the lake and range from primitive to modern. Recreational areas managed by the Corps of Engineers include Beaver Creek, Cattail Bay, and Hazelton Campgrounds and Boat Ramps, Kimball Bottoms Off Road Vehicle Area, and parts of the Oahe Downstream. The remainder of the areas are managed by tribal, state, and other local agencies.
This oasis in the prairie with locally diverse habitats attracts an abundance of wildlife for sightseers and bird watchers. Bald eagles frequent all areas of the lake and congregate below the dam overwinter, and the lake provides many rare bird sightings for the Dakotas. The lake shore, sandbars and islands provide nesting and chick rearing habitat for the endangered least tern and threatened piping plover. These little birds have a precarious life trying to survive through water level changes, storms, predators, and human disturbance. Visitors are requested to avoid recreating in areas with nesting birds.
Additional information about nearby activities, camping, day use, and reservations are available here.