Skiatook Lake Information

Skiatook Lake sits in northeastern Oklahoma in Osage County. The southern tip of Skiatook Lake is 13 miles northwest of Tulsa, Oklahoma. Skiatook Lake covers 10,500 acres with 160 miles of shoreline and an average depth of 32 feet. Hominy Creek, a tributary of Bird Creek, feeds Skiatook Lake. 

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) owns and operates Skiatook Lake, which also provides flood protection on Bird Creek below the mouth of Hominy Creek. Steep bluffs surrounded by rolling hills of blackjack oak and post oak interspersed with tallgrass prairie encompass Skiatook Lake. It is known as one of the most beautiful lakes in Oklahoma. 

Skiatook Lake has many twists and turns, forming hundreds of coves and inlets. The main body of water is on the southern end of the lake. Skiatook Lake has three islands in the southern pool and a few other smaller ones in its northern arms. This lake lies in an extremely rural area with one tiny community on the waterfront. 

About 1,800 acres of land around Skiatook Lake have been set aside for public use. These areas provide roads, parking spaces, boat ramps, nature trails, picnicking and camping sites, along with sanitary facilities. Lake Skiatook is included in the Oklahoma Fishing Trail and the Osage County Fishing Trail. The State of Oklahoma designed these trails to promote the best of Oklahoma fishing.  

Skiatook Lake History

The Flood Control Act of 1962 authorized Skiatook Lake and four more projects in the Bird Creek Basin Plan to meet the comprehensive water resources needs of the area. The entire project provides flood control, water quality and supply, recreation, and fish and wildlife management. The name Skiatook is traced back to Cherokee or Osage origin. 

Skiatook is interpreted as meaning “Big Indian Me” or something that is big in Cherokee. Documentation also reports that William C. Rogers, a member of the Cherokee Nation, submitted the name Skiatooka after an Osage Indian who lived nearby. The Osage Nation begins six miles northwest of Skiatook Lake, and the Cherokee Nation covers a large part of northeastern Oklahoma. Osage County is the namesake of the Osage Nation and is contiguous with the Osage Nation Reservation. 

Archaeologists have identified two Paleo-Indian sites, prior to 6000 B.C., 63 Archaic sites, 6000 B.C. to A.D. 1, 53 Woodland sites, A.D. 1 to 1000, and 62 Plains Village sites, A.D. 1000 to 1500, within Osage County. Andrew Jackson’s Indian Removal Act of 1832 paved the way for the government to forcibly remove the Indian Nations of the southeastern U.S. Another Act in 1834 designated Oklahoma as Indian Territory. 

From A.D. 1500, Plains Indian Nations roamed the open ranges of Oklahoma. Native peoples, from ancient to modern, have inhabited Osage County continuously. Oklahoma boasts a well-recognized place in Wild Wild West history. From the Indian wars to post Oklahoma statehood, Oklahoma provided the setting for many violent struggles. Thirty oil boomtowns sprang up in Osage County between 1906 and 1928, which hosted workers, bootleggers, prostitutes, and violent crimes. 

The Osage Nation had drilled plenty of oil wells on their reservation, and it was becoming wealthy. By the 1920s, a succession of Osage Indian murders, many unsolved, found Osage County in the national news. It began with Anna Brown’s murder; she was Osage. Anna Brown’s badly decomposed body with a bullet hole in the back of her head was found in a ravine in Osage Hills, Oklahoma, in May 1921.

Lizzy Q, Anna’s mother, died suspiciously two months later. Her cousin Harry Roan was found shot to death in 1923, and Anna’s sister and brother-in-law’s home was bombed, and they died. Those who were not shot or bombed with no injuries carried the cause of death as "indigestion," "peculiar wasting illness[es]," or "causes unknown." The estimate is that eventually, 24 Osage Indians and others were murdered. They became known as the Osage murders. 

In 1923, the Osage Nation earned $30 million in revenue. Each allottee of the tribe received a share of the revenue called a headright, which was hereditary and passed on to the deceased’s heirs, who were not required to be Osage. William H. Hale, an Osage county cattleman, was called “King of the Osage Hills”. William was a dangerous bully and bribed, intimidated, lied, and stole his way to wealth and power. 

William’s subservient, weak-willed nephew had married Anna’s sister. William was greedy and wanted the Osage oil. Eventually Federal Bureau Agents came to investigate. They went undercover as businessmen to gain William’s trust because it was well-known William had threatened and bribed locals to keep their mouths shut. If everyone in Anna’s family was dead, their headrights would go to William’s nephew, whom William could control. 

After a long period of undercover work, the nephew spilled the beans. His uncle had ordered the murders Anna Brown and her family. In January 1929, William, a hired killer, and a crooked lawyer were convicted of those murders. Today, farming, ranching, oil and gas production are the principal uses of the land in the Bird Creek Basin in Osage County.

Skiatook Lake Fishing 

Game species include hybrid striped, largemouth, and smallmouth bass, bluegill, buffalo, carp, channel catfish, black and white crappie, drum, sunfish, and walleye. Skiatook Lake bass fishing is some of the best in the U.S. Sport fishing is popular, and Skiatook Lake hosts several annual fishing tournaments, and many others throughout the year. 

When the USACE built Skiatook Lake, it cleared little of the land now underneath it. This natural cover provides the perfect natural habitat for largemouth bass, one of the most desirable fish in Skiatook Lake. The native blackjack oak trees created some of the most impenetrable cover where fish live in Skiatook Lake undisturbed. 

No farmland tributaries with wastes and chemicals drain into Skiatook Lake, and the water is crystal blue year round. Anglers are consistently rewarded for their efforts from Skiatook Lake’s main deeper body to the uplake flats. The USACE offers eight boat ramps scattered around the lake, and two full-service marinas operate on the lake. 

Skiatook Lake fishing guides are experienced, know where the fish are, and can take you out for an outstanding fishing adventure. There are not too many operating exclusively on Skiatook Lake and work the other lakes in the Bird Creek Basin. Some guides focus on one species and others will take you to catch whatever you prefer. 

Find experienced local guides on our Skiatook Lake Fishing Guides page. 

Boating Skiatook Lake

The main body of water on the southern part of Lake Skiatook is calm, clear, 32-feet deep, and wide open enough for all watersports like skiing and wave running, plus exploring the three islands there. There are plenty of boat ramps, eight offered by the USACE and two full-service marinas.

Boaters can explore the Skiatook Lake’s many inlets and coves in the uplake flats area to find swimming holes and secluded spots to relax in. Four of the USACE parks have nice beaches with designated swim areas. Except for Tall Chief Cove and Twin Points, which open every April 1st, all the other parks are open year round. 

One marina rents all kinds of boats and personal watercraft, but Skiatook Lake is so close to Tulsa, you can rent boats there and trailer them to Skiatook Lake. The shores are pretty rocky around most of the lake. Boaters will find limestone rock in the southern pool, and sandstone lining the shores of the rest of the lake.  

Find or sell a boat on our Skiatook Lake Boats for Sale page. 

Skiatook Lake Marinas

Cross Timbers Marina is on the southern shores of Skiatook Lake near Tall Chief Cove. It rents boats, but even has a houseboat for rent. This marina offers rental cabins, a full-service marina, boat slips, boat maintenance and repair services, and a restaurant. The address is 12301 CrossTimbers Drive, Sperry, Oklahoma. 

Crystal Bay Marina is also located on the southern pool of Skiatook Lake but on its northeastern side. This marina features cabin and cottage rentals, boat slips, a full-service marina, a store, a 12,000 square foot meeting area, and much more. It is located at 14774 Crystal Bay Dr, Skiatook, Oklahoma.

Plan your trip to the lake by finding a marina on our Skiatook Lake Marinas page. 

Skiatook Lake Homes for Sale

Skiatook Lake real estate is a top ten market for lake homes and land in Oklahoma. The average list price is $339,000. Usually, there are around 60 lake homes for sale on or near Skiatook Lake and 90 lot listings. The nearest metro area is Tulsa, Oklahoma, and the Tulsa International Airport is about 30 miles away, depending on what part of the lake you are at. 

There is a restaurant at Cross Timbers Marina, a few places to buy snacks and drinks at Skiatook Lake, and no nightlife on Lake Skiatook. Tulsa offers many businesses that support its community with city conveniences and nightlife. From Tulsa, Skiatook Lake is like what a suburb would be to Oklahoma City. 

The town of Skiatook, four miles east from Skiatook Lake, and the town of Hominy, five miles west from Skiatook Lake, serve the Skiatook Lake area with public education. Skiatook Lake offers a peaceful, secluded lifestyle with quick access to Tulsa, which has a small town atmosphere.  

To find your dream lake home, explore our Skiatook Lake Homes for Sale page. 

Skiatook Lake Cabin Rentals and Vacation Homes

Both marinas on Skiatook Lake offer cabin and cottage rentals, and private owners offer a few vacation home rentals. Skiatook Lake is beautiful with clear blue water, and these cabins and cottages offer beautiful views with cozy accommodations. The USACE owns and operates this lake and gives over 1,800 acres to public use, a couple of which are accessible from the marinas. 

There are few vacation home rentals at any given time, so it is necessary to look for what you want and need in a vacation home and book early. There are plenty of cabin and cottage rentals in the two marinas, and several private owners renting tiny homes, cabins, and cottages of various sizes at Skiatook Lake. 

Find the perfect vacation home on our Skiatook Lake Cabins page. 

Skiatook Lake Camping

Three of the eight parks operated by the US Army Corps of Engineers at Lake Skiatook have tent camping and offer campsites, picnic areas, drinking water, restrooms, charcoal grills, and boat ramps, plus most of them are pet friendly. Some offer group campsites. During hunting seasons, campers should be aware of hunters. 

The parks with campgrounds for primitive and electric/water hookups include Bull Creek Peninsula, Tall Chief Cove, and Twin Points Recreation Area. Other parks on Skiatook Lake include Blackdog Park, Osage Park, Quapaw Park, Hominy Landing, and Skiatook Point Recreation Area. 

Holders of Golden Age Passports, Golden Access Passports, Senior Pass, or Access Pass receive 50% discounts on camping fees at Corps-managed areas. Some of the campgrounds have fees and some are free. 

Any location within 150 feet of a public use road is available for primitive camping in the Skiatook Lake area. Primitive camping is also allowed within 100 yards of the confluence of Sand Creek and Hominy Creek, on the west side of the confluence only. 

There is one park, Twin Point, for RVs. It offers 50 amp hookups, and 15/20/30 amp sites for tents. You need to make reservations. Twin Point is located on the northern shores of the uplake flats. There are no other Skiatook Lake RV parks right on the water.

Check out our list of campgrounds and RV parks for your family adventure on our Skiatook Lake Camping page. 

Trails at Skiatook Lake 

The Healing Rock Trail is for beginners at 0.25-mile long. It is located in the Skiatook Recreation area near the dam on the southeastern shores of Skiatook Lake. The Osage Park Recreation Area has another beginning level short trail on the northeastern shores of the southern main body of water. A challenging nature trail system extends from the spillway to the Cross Timbers Marina on the southern shores of Skiatook Lake.

Skiatook Lake Hunting 

The Skiatook Wildlife Management Area (WMA) covers 5,085 acres and permits hunting. Skiatook WMA is located on the southwestern shores of Skiatook Lake. During the various hunting seasons, about 8,000 acres of USACE land surrounding Skiatook Lake are open for hunting. The USACE public hunting areas at Skiatook Lake are:

  • Quapaw Park
  • Skiatook Point
  • Osage Park
  • Gouin Point
  • Bull Creek Peninsula
  • Hominy Landing
  • Twin Points
  • Black Dog Park
  • Tall Chief Cove
  • Osage Nation

Game Species of Interest: 

  • Deer: White-tailed deer are present in fair numbers but are highly sought after.
  • Dove: Dove are usually found in fair number during the annual migration and around manipulated fields.
  • Quail: Bobwhites are present in low numbers.
  • Rabbit: Cottontails are present in low numbers.
  • Squirrel: Fox squirrel are present in fair numbers.
  • Waterfowl: Ducks may be present in low numbers.  
  • Turkey: Rio Grande wild turkeys are present in low numbers.
  • Furbearers: Coyote, bobcat, raccoon, and beaver are available. 

Generally, all USACE hunting areas are open for public hunting of all legal species with the use of any legal weapon for that open season except in areas designated for restricted hunting. Hunting is prohibited in developed recreational areas, lands around dams and other structures. 

Camping is available in the USACE parks near the hunting grounds. Also, any location within 150 feet of a public use road is available for primitive camping in the area. Primitive camping is also allowed within 100 yards of the confluence of Sand Creek and Hominy Creek, on the west side of the confluence only. 

The Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation (ODWC) regulates hunting in Oklahoma, and the Tulsa District of the USACE regulates hunting under ODWC’s laws at Skiatook Lake. Hunters must buy their licenses from ODWC. The ODWC offers numerous versions of hunting and hunting/fishing combo licenses for youths, seniors, residents, and non-residents. 

For Skiatook Lake hunting regulations and all Oklahoma hunting regulations and information, please visit this ODWC website:

Skiatook Lake Things to Do  

Even though Skiatook Lake is so beautiful, there are many outdoor activities at the lake, and is secluded and rural, there are a few places to visit at the lake and in the surrounding countryside. You won’t find Skiatook Lake restaurants. You have to go to Tulsa for a nightlife experience, and 99% of the restaurants near Skiatook Lake are in Hominy, and Skiatook, Oklahoma. 

The Overlook Building is a bi-level structure located in an area west of the dam. The upper level houses a comfort station. An outdoor terrace with benches graces the lower level. From the porch and patio, the visitor has an exceptional view of the gate tower. When the observer scans the east shoreline, there is a pleasant view of water and oak trees. Parts of Tall Chief Cove are visible to the south. The Overlook area provides a great place to stop, relax, and enjoy the outdoors.

The Osage Casino Hotel a few miles west of Skiatook is located at 5591 West Rogers Boulevard/OK 20, Skiatook, Oklahoma. It features a three-story hotel and a large convenience store and fueling station with 300 state-of-the-art slot machines. It is about two to three miles east of Skiatook Lake’s eastern shores. 

The Drummond House in Hominy, Oklahoma, about five miles west of Skiatook Lake, is a beautiful Victorian masterpiece with its original furnishings that belonged to Frederick and Addie Drummond. Oklahoma Historic Society adopted the Drummond House in 1980, and it is a museum dedicated to interpreting oil boom years between 1915 and 1920. It is open Wednesday through Sunday during the day and located at 305 North Price Avenue, Hominy, Oklahoma.

The MKT Train Depot is open from 12 p.m. to 2 p.m. the first Saturday and Sunday of each month and displays an ever-increasing number of working miniature train sets and it is free. Discover railroad history, as the MKT was a famous rail line that opened up the southwest. It has been several decades since MKT trains ran along the route that is now called the Katy Trail. It is located at 801 E 1st St, Hominy, Oklahoma. 

The Osage Nation Visitors Center in Pawhuska, Oklahoma, about 35 miles north of Skiatook Lake, is on the southwest corner of the four-way stop as you enter Pawhuska from the east. It is open from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday thru Friday, and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday. The Mission of the Osage Nation Visitors Center is to promote Osage culture, Osage Nation services, and Osage-owned artists & businesses. 

The Osage Nation Visitors Center demonstrates the history of the Osage tribe from an Osage perspective, using technology and literature to provide an enhanced experience. It is located on the southwest corner of the four-way stop as you enter Pawhuska from the east.

At the Old West Buffalo Company in Pawhuska, you will learn the epic tale of the American buffalo in the comfort of a rustic, elegant event space. You can join other guests in its hay wagon as you go in search of any remaining buffalo. Browse the Trading Post for special mementos and healthy grass-fed bison meat. Stroll down the boardwalk past the Apothecary, the Saloon, and the Bank, then try a buffalo burger, but there is so much more. It is located at 29521 US 60, Pawhuska, Oklahoma. 

Plan your trip with our What To Do At Skiatook Lake page.

Skiatook Lake Weather & Climate

Skiatook Lake sees an average of 42 inches of rain, with eight inches of snow, and 230 days of sunshine per year. The winter low in January is 24 degrees, with a summer high in July of 92 degrees. May, September, and October are the most comfortable months, and July and August are the least comfortable for this region.

Keep an eye on the skies with our Skiatook Lake Weather Forecast page. 

Skiatook Lake Zip Codes

Osage County: 74001, 74002, 74003, 74022, 74035, 74051, 74054, 74056, 74060, 74063, 74070, 74073, 74084, 74126, 74127, 74604, 74633, 74637, 74650, 74652. 

Skiatook Lake Flora and Fauna

Wildlife watchers can catch sights and signs of armadillos, American black bears, beavers, wild boars, bobcats, coyotes, white-tailed deer, red foxes, black-tailed jackrabbits, cottontail rabbits, raccoons, and squirrels. Birders can watch for eastern bluebirds, northern cardinals, eagles, prairie chickens, dove, scissor-tailed flycatchers, common nighthawks, red-tailed hawks, Rio Grande wild turkeys, quail, red-headed woodpeckers, and so many more. 

Most of Osage County lies in the Osage Plains physiographic region and is characterized by open and rolling prairie. The extreme east-northeastern area of the county is in the Eastern Lowlands region. Eastern Osage County has the Osage Hills.

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Skiatook Lake Current Weather Alerts

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Skiatook Lake Weather Forecast



Hi: 62

Wednesday Night


Lo: 37



Hi: 67

Thursday Night


Lo: 38


Mostly Sunny

Hi: 72

Friday Night

Mostly Clear

Lo: 49



Hi: 76

Saturday Night

Rain Showers Likely

Lo: 51

Skiatook Lake Water Level (last 30 days)

Water Level on 4/3: 42.37 (-671.63)

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