Broken Bow Lake, Oklahoma, USA

Also known as:  Broken Bow Reservoir

Welcome to the ultimate guide to Broken Bow Lake — things to do, where to stay, fun facts, history, stats and more. Let’s dive in!

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Looking for Broken Bow Lake cabins or other accommodations? Save time and use this interactive map to find, compare and book at the best rates. Or explore our comprehensive list of favorite travel partners.

All About Broken Bow Lake

Broken Bow Lake is nestled in the Ouachita Mountains of McCurtain County in southeastern Oklahoma. Covering more than 14,200 acres with 180 miles of shoreline, 22-mile long Broken Bow Lake is considered one of the most beautiful lakes in the southern United States. The area is referred to as Oklahoma’s “Little Smokies” due to the densely forested mountainous terrain.

The Broken Bow Lake area is rich in Native American history. The area, now McCurtain County, became part of the Choctaw Indian Nation in 1820 after a treaty was signed by the Federal Government and the Choctaw tribe. McCurtain County was named after a prominent Choctaw Indian family whose father and three sons served as chief of the Choctaw Indian Nation. Additionally, the Ouachita Mountains got their name from the Choctaw’s word for hunting trips, “Owa-chita.”

Broken Bow Lake was authorized by the Flood Control Acts of 1958 and 1967. Construction of the Broken Bow Dam on the Mountain Fork River commenced in 1961, and the project went into full operation in 1969. Broken Bow Reservoir provides for hydropower generation, flood control, water supply, and public recreation. Old Hochatown, settled by the Choctaw Indians in the 1830’s, was flooded by impoundment of the river’s waters. The lake and nearby town of Broken Bow, center of Oklahoma’s timber production, were named after Broken Bow, Nebraska, former hometown of a pioneer lumber family.

Today, Broken Bow Lake offers visitors unlimited recreational opportunities, including boating, water skiing, fishing, camping, wildlife viewing, hiking, biking, horseback riding, picnicking, canoeing and kayaking. Anglers are challenged by deep lake waters, with an average depth of 62 feet and a maximum depth near 185 feet. The best fishing locations for largemouth bass and spotted bass are rocky points, timber, creek channels, and brush fish attractors. Other fish species include black crappie, channel catfish, flathead catfish, smallmouth bass, and redear sunfish. The Mountain Fork River below the dam offers year-round fishing for rainbow trout and brown trout.

Broken Bow Lake is surrounded by Beavers Bend State Park, Hochatown State Park, and the Ouachita National Forest. Hochatown State Park wraps around the western shore of Broken Bow Lake. Accommodation offerings range from Lakeview Lodge, to RV campsites (Stevens Gap, Carson Creek and Cedar Creek areas), to primitive campsites. Recreation amenities include a swimming beach, lighted boat ramps, fish cleaning station, backpacking and hiking trails, group shelters and picnic sites, playgrounds, and an 18 hole golf course with pro shop.

Beavers Bend State Park is located on a cypress-lined bend of the Mountain Fork River below Broken Bow Dam. Lodging choices include cabins (some with river views) and two group camps. Beavers Bend provides numerous recreational amenities: boat ramps, biking trails, tennis and volleyball, trout fishing, nature center activities, river float trips, miniature golf, paddleboats, bumper boats, canoeing, horseback riding, hayrides, and train rides. The park hosts the Owa-Chito Festival of the Forest in June, the Beavers Bend Folk Festival in November, eagle watches from November through February, and fly fishing clinics November to April.

Beavers Bend State Park is also a popular birding destination. April and May are peak birding months, when most of the resident and migrating species are present. Approximately 130 bird species have been identified, including about 25 species of warblers. The Tulsa Audubon Society has conducted Christmas Bird Counts since 1960. The winter list of about 60 species includes Black Vulture, Bald Eagle, Hermit Thrush, Brown Thrasher, Winter Wren, and Pine Warbler. Rarely included are the Red-cockaded Woodpecker, Brown-headed Nuthatch, Rock Wren, Red Crossbill, and Evening Grosbeak.

The Broken Bow Public Hunting Area encompasses 5,420 acres. The forested terrain provides habitat for deer, wild turkey, and squirrel. No hunting is permitted in the 14,087-acre McCurtain County Wilderness Area.

Broken Bow Lake beckons outdoor enthusiasts to the scenic Ouachita Mountains of southeastern Oklahoma. Set your GPS today to this recreation mecca.

Things to Do at Broken Bow Lake

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Boating
  • Swimming
  • Beach
  • Canoeing
  • Kayaking
  • Water Skiing
  • Golf
  • Tennis
  • Camping
  • Picnicking
  • Cabin Rentals
  • Hiking
  • Biking
  • Horseback Riding
  • Hunting
  • Wildlife Viewing
  • Birding
  • State Park
  • National Forest
  • Playground
  • Miniature Golf

Fish Species Found at Broken Bow Lake

  • Bass
  • Black Bass
  • Black Crappie
  • Brown Trout
  • Catfish
  • Channel Catfish
  • Crappie
  • Flathead Catfish
  • Largemouth Bass
  • Rainbow Trout
  • Redear Sunfish (Shellcracker)
  • Smallmouth Bass
  • Spotted Bass
  • Sunfish
  • Trout

Find Places to Stay at Broken Bow Lake

If you’re considering a Broken Bow Lake lake house rental or hotel, we’ve made it super easy to find the best rates and compare vacation accommodations at a glance. Save time using this interactive map below.

Recommended Sites to Book a Broken Bow Lake Vacation

If you want to take a deeper dive to find waterfront lake cabins, cottages, condos, hotels or resorts, check out our favorite Broken Bow Lake lodging partners.

  • VRBO – Use VRBO to find the perfect lake rental home, condo, cabin, cottage or other vacation property.
  • – One of the world’s leading digital travel companies, connects travelers to everything from cozy B&Bs to luxury resorts.
  • Expedia – Expedia is a popular online travel agency with more than 140,000 lodging properties worldwide.
  • – With more than 325,000 hotels in 19,000-plus locations, is an industry leader in online accommodations.
  • TripAdvisor – Read traveler reviews and compare prices on hotels, vacation rentals and more at TripAdvisor.
  • Trivago – Trivago helps travelers compare deals for hotels and other accommodations from a variety of booking sites.
  • KAYAK – KAYAK scours hundreds of other travel websites at once to find the best deals on hotels and other travel-related services.
  • RVshare –RVshare connects travelers interested in renting a motorhome with owners who have RVs to rent.
  • CampSpot – Campspot offers premier RV resorts, family campgrounds, cabins and glamping options across North America.

Note: These are affiliate links so we may earn a small commission if you book through them. While there is no extra cost to you, it helps provide resources to keep our site running (thank you)! You can read our full disclosure policy here.

Broken Bow Lake Statistics & Helpful Links


Lake Type: Artificial Reservoir, Dammed

Water Level Control: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

Surface Area: 14,220 acres

Shoreline Length: 180 miles

Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 600 feet

Minimum Elevation (Min Pond): 559 feet

Maximum Elevation (Max Pond): 628 feet

Average Depth: 62 feet

Maximum Depth: 185 feet

Water Volume: 954,100 acre-feet

Completion Year: 1969

Drainage Area: 754 sq. miles

Trophic State: Mesotrophic

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