Copan Lake, Oklahoma, USA

Lake Locations:

USA - Southwest - Oklahoma - Green Country -

Also known as:  Lake Copan, Copan Reservoir

Named after a small town situated near its banks in Oklahoma, Copan Lake was completed in 1983. Flood control, water supply, water quality control, recreation and fish and wildlife enhancement were the five main goals of its construction. The US Army Corps of Engineers, which spearheaded the project, established the dam on Washington County’s Little Caney River, a small river great for stream fishing in the spring.

Although all 4,850 acres of Copan Lake are located entirely in Oklahoma’s Green Country, its surrounding lands cross the border into Kansas. Of the 11,000 acres of land the Corps has set aside for wildlife management, 2,360 acres are co-managed by the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks. The remaining lands are cared for cooperatively between the Corps and the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation.

The land surrounding Copan Lake is a mixture of habitats. There are croplands of wheat, soybeans, milo, corn, millet and sudan. Some of these lands are irrigated by water from wetland areas. Cattle grazing and prescribed fire, essential for the prairie plains ecosystem in this northeast part of Oklahoma, are other dominant features of Copan’s lands. The project landing is open for public hunting and supports deer, waterfowl, bobwhite quail, turkey, cottontail rabbit and squirrel.

Copan Reservoir itself is habitat to various species of fish. Largemouth bass, white crappie, channel catfish, flathead catfish, sunfish and even hybrid bass hide in artificial fish shelters and large areas of uncleared land in the water. Birdwatchers will be delighted with the variety of bird species that appear on and around Copan Lake. Migrating sparrows, warblers, and ducks, the brown thrasher, wild turkey and owl, herons, woodpeckers, and hawks are just a few of the birds you will have the pleasure of viewing. Bald eagles also come to Lake Copan for the winter looking for food. There are several recreation areas on the lake with various amenities including fishing points, picnic sites, campgrounds, boat ramps, restrooms, dump stations and more.

After a day or two of watching or hunting wildlife, you might want to venture out of the engulfing grasses and explore the towns. The Tom Mix Museum in Dewey, eight miles from Copan Lake, presents a window into the life of the famous cowboy star. Another 10 miles south will put you at the Frank Phillips Home, a mansion settled by a successful oilman entrepreneur. The home is property of the Oklahoma Historical Society and preserves in intriguing display that details the possessions and fascinating lives of the Phillips.

Fourteen miles further south, you will find the Woolaroc Museum and Wildlife Preserve, the 3,700-acre personal retreat of Frank Phillips. The land is a sanctuary for a variety of animals including bison, elk, llamas and even ostriches. The Museum has an array of exhibits including one of Native American culture, of which Phillips was fond, a notable Colt gun collection and pieces of fine art. For an evening of entertainment, look up the Bartlesville Civic Ballet or Bartlesville Symphony Orchestra for performances or fill a growling stomach with a diversity of menu choices.

There are many ways to complement your Copan Lake visit. But perhaps all you will need is an easy day on Copan’s waters surrounded by nothing but nature’s serenity and the respiting sounds of bird calls.

Things to do at Copan Lake

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Boating
  • Camping
  • Campground
  • Picnicking
  • Hunting
  • Wildlife Viewing
  • Birding
  • Museum

Fish species found at Copan Lake

  • Bass
  • Black Bass
  • Catfish
  • Channel Catfish
  • Crappie
  • Flathead Catfish
  • Largemouth Bass
  • Sunfish
  • White Crappie

Copan Lake Photo Gallery

    Copan Lake Statistics & Helpful Links

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    Lake Type: Artificial Reservoir, Dammed

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

    Surface Area: 4,850 acres

    Shoreline Length: 30 miles

    Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 710 feet

    Minimum Elevation (Min Pond): 688 feet

    Maximum Elevation (Max Pond): 732 feet

    Average Depth: 9 feet

    Water Volume: 43,400 acre-feet

    Completion Year: 1983

    Drainage Area: 505 sq. miles

    Trophic State: Eutrophic

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    Trophic State | LakeLubbers

    Trophic State measures the level of algae and nutrients in a lake.

    An oligotrophic lake is very clear (blue in color) and does not support much plant or fish life. A hyper-oligotrophic lake is the clearest of all lakes, and is nearly devoid of plants and fish.

    A mesotrophic lake is slightly green and supports a moderate degree of plant and fish life. A lake's most desired trophic state is generally this mid-point - the mesotrophic state.

    A eutrophic lake is somewhat murky and supports a large amount of plant and fish life. A hypereutrophic lake is clouded with algae, plant life, and fish life. A eutrophic or hyper-eutrophic lake can be difficult to navigate by boat - and is often an unpleasant place to swim.

    The use of phosphorus-rich and nitrogen-rich fertilizer on lawns and golf courses surrounding a lake can cause it to become eutrophic or hypereutrophic.


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    Catchment or Drainage Area | LakeLubbers

    This is the surrounding area that drains into a lake, including land, rivers and their tributaries. This is also known as the lake's "catchment basin".

    Small lakes at the highest peaks of mountains have small drainage areas. The world's oceans have the largest drainage areas.


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    Lake-Area Population | LakeLubbers

    This is the estimated number of people who live in a house with a view of a lake, plus those who self-describe the lake as their home, for example: "I live at Smith Mountain Lake."


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    Water Residence Time | LakeLubbers

    This is the estimated time that it takes for an amount of water equal to the entire volume of a lake to flow out of - or evaporate from - the lake.

    Residence Time can be as short as a few days for fast-flowing small lakes, and can exceed 100 years for slow-flowing large lakes.


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    Completion Year | LakeLubbers

    This is the year that a reservoir was first filled to the reservoir's normal elevation - or the year that a natural lake was first dammed. A large reservoir can take more than a year to fill after its dam is first closed.

    The Grand Anicut in southern India is generally considered the world's oldest dam that still operates. Grand Anicut was constructed in the second century BC. It now impounds an irrigation network that includes roughly one million acres.

    You can find many of the the world's newest reservoirs on LakeLubbers. Many of the world's oldest reservoirs appear on the last page of that list.


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    Water Volume | LakeLubbers

    This is the estimated volume of water that a lake contains -- measured at the lake's normal elevation. By this measure, the world's largest freshwater lake is Siberia's Lake Baikal.

    You can find many of the the world's largest lakes (by water volume) on LakeLubbers.

    Water Volume can be measured in acre-feet, in cubic miles, or in cubic kilometers. One acre-foot is the amount of water needed to cover one acre (43,560 square feet) to a depth of one foot. One cubic mile equals 3,379,200 acre-feet. One cubic kilometer equals 810,713 acre-feet.

    1 acre-foot is equal to 325,851 US gallons. Siberia's Lake Baikal contains about 6,276,367,740,000,000 gallons of freshwater - nearly 1 million gallons for every living person on earth.

    The other - and more widely used - measure of a lake's size is the lake's surface acreage. By that measure, the world's largest freshwater lake is North America's Lake Superior.


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    Maximum Depth | LakeLubbers

    This is the estimated greatest depth of the water in a lake -- measured at the lake's normal elevation. The world's deepest lake is Siberia's Lake Baikal; that lake's maximum depth is estimated at 5,314 feet.

    You can find many of the the world's deepest lakes on LakeLubbers. If you select the last page of that list, you will find the (maximum depth of) the shallowest lakes in our database.


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    Average Depth | LakeLubbers

    This is the estimated average depth of the water in a lake -- measured at the lake's normal elevation. If the water volume and surface area of a lake are known, an estimate of the lake's average depth can be calculated:

    Water volume ÷ Surface Area = Average Depth

    Example: 1,000,000 acre-feet ÷ 20,000 acres = 50 feet average depth


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    Maximum Elevation | LakeLubbers

    This is a lake's highest water level, measured by the lake's surface distance above sea level, that can occur during flooding. A lake's highest possible maximum elevation is usually the top of the lake's dam or spillway.

    At lakes that include residential development, government regulations usually forbid the construction of homes below a lake's maximum elevation.


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    Minimum Elevation | LakeLubbers

    This is a lake's lowest water level, measured by the lake's surface distance above sea level, that can be reasonably expected to occur. Low lake levels can occur due to deliberate seasonal draw downs for irrigation or impending snow melt, reduced water inflows, drought and evaporation, residential or commercial water demands, and hydropower generation.

    Some lakes' minimum and maximum elevations are virtually the same. Lakes that generate hydropower may vary by several feet - according to power demand. Lakes whose primary purpose is to prevent flooding can seasonally vary by 100 feet or more.

    When some lakes reach their minimum elevation, their boat ramps may not be long enough to permit boat access - and boats docked on shallow parts of the lake may end up on dry ground. In those cases, kayakers and shore-based anglers may be among the few happy recreational users of the lake.


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    Normal Elevation | LakeLubbers

    This is a lake's normal water level, measured by the lake's surface distance above sea level. For a reservoir, this water level is also known as "full pond" or "full pool".

    You can find many of the world's highest-elevated lakes on LakeLubbers. Lakes with the lowest elevations (known by LakeLubbers) are shown on the final page of that list.


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    Shoreline Length | LakeLubbers

    This is the length of the exterior shoreline around a lake - measured at the lake's normal elevation. The shoreline length can be considerably shorter or longer when lake water levels are lower or higher than normal.

    A lake with many coves has a much longer shoreline than a lake of similar surface area that is nearly circular in shape.

    When known, the shoreline miles that we report in our statistics include only the lake's exterior shoreline, and exclude the shorelines of islands located within a lake's boundaries. In lakes with many islands, those islands' combined shorelines may exceed a lake's exterior shoreline.

    You can find many of the world's longest-shoreline lakes on Lakelubbers.


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    Surface Area | LakeLubbers

    This is the area (acreage, square kilometers, etc.) of the top surface area of a lake - measured at a lake's normal elevation. The surface area can be considerably smaller or larger when lake levels are lower or higher than normal. North America's Lake Superior is the world's largest freshwater lake by this measure.

    The other measure of a lake's size is the lake's water volume. By that measure, the world's largest freshwater lake is Lake Baikal in Siberia.

    You can find many of the world's largest lakes (acres) on Lakelubbers. There is no widely-accepted minimum surface area that defines a lake. What Lakelubbers describes as a lake, you might call a pond. The smallest lake that Lakelubbers currently includes is Hawaii's 2-acre Lake Waiau.


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    Water Level Control | LakeLubbers

    This is the organization that controls water releases or outflows from the lake or reservoir. In the USA, this is often the US Army Corps of Engineers, a power company, a municipal water system, an irrigation district, or a paper manufacturing company. In the case of private or gated lakes, a homeowners' association may be the lake's controlling authority.

    Many lakes cross borders, including North America's Great Lakes. The control of such lakes and their coveted freshwater may be amicably shared - or hotly disputed.

    "Water wars" continue at many lakes as growing populations and crop irrigation needs compete for the freshwater that lakes contain.


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    Lake Type | LakeLubbers

    There are 3 basic types of lakes that are currently included on LakeLubbers. 2 types may be dammed or not dammed, producing 5 classifications.

    - A Reservoir is a man-made freshwater lake that is usually created by damming rivers.

    - A Natural Freshwater Lake occurs naturally - often by glacial activity - and has a salinity of less than 30 parts per thousand. It may be dammed to produce electricity or for other reasons.

    - A Natural Saltwater Lake occurs naturally and has a salinity of more than 30 parts per thousand (ppt). It may be dammed.

    "Brackish" water may be categorized as freshwater or saltwater, depending on its salt content (salinity). Oligohaline water has less than 15 ppt of salt. Mesohaline water has 15-29 ppt. Polyhaline has 30-335 ppt.


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