Lake Overholser, Oklahoma, USA

Lake Locations:

USA - Southwest - Oklahoma - Frontier Country -

Constructed in 1919, Lake Overholser is the oldest and smallest of three reservoirs that serve Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Connected to nearby Lake Hefner by a canal, this 1,500 acre lake was built to support a still operating water treatment plant. Named after the city’s 16th mayor, Ed Overholser, Lake Overholser has several boat ramps, docks, a covered fishing pier, handicap facilities, picnic areas and more.

Fishing is one of Lake Overholser’s primary attractions, and there is a covered fishing pier on the southwest side of the lake. The lake is rather shallow with an average depth of 6 feet and only 13 feet at its deepest point, but the fish don’t seem to mind. The lake is home to a large population of black bass, sand bass, striped bass, hybrid striped bass, sunfish, catfish, crappie, walleye, and saugeye.

Boat ramps are located on the east, south and southwest sides of Lake Overholser. Sailing, motor boats and jet skis are all allowed, but “primary contact” is not. Oklahoma City requires additional fishing and boating permits on Lake Overholser along with a state permit.

A paved road around the lake offers easy access to seven miles of shoreline. Lake Overholser differs from neighboring Lake Hefner in having an extensive cattail marsh at its north end which extends north across US 66 for about half a mile. The marsh attracts thousands of birds in late summer and fall. Lake Overholser lies within Oklahoma’s Frontier County tourism region, centrally located at the crossroads of I-35, I-40 and I-44, which makes it easily accessible from any direction.

The Overholser Dam on the southeast corner of the lake was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2007. The dam is open to pedestrians and offers a beautiful view of the lake.

For picnickers, the southeast side of Lake Overholser is the place to go. There is a covered picnic pavilion available with advanced reservations. Picnic tables and grills can also be found in this area. For sports enthusiast, there are soccer fields and tennis courts. A multi-use trail is located on the east side of the lake.

Lake Overholser is located just southwest of Lake Hefner, a major recreational destination in Oklahoma City known for its excellent sailing, picnic facilities, and fishing. The lake hosts weekend sailboat races and is also known for its incredible jogging and biking trails which circle the entire lake. On the southwest side of Lake Hefner is the Lake Hefner Golf Course which features a north and a south course. If you’re thinking of paying a visit to Lake Hefner, be sure to check out the East Wharf Lighthouse, probably the most well known feature on the lake.

The Stinchcomb Wildlife Refuge lies north of Lake Overholser and follows the North Canadian River past Morgan Road into the city of Yukon. This untouched area stretches north for almost 1,000 acres and it has changed little in the last 200 years. Hundreds of birds, small mammals and deer make their homes in the refuge. The best way to enjoy the refuge is by foot, mountain bike, kayak or canoe. Several trails suitable for hiking meander through the refuge linking four small lakes to the river. There are also several geocaches hidden in the refuge for those seeking a different kind of outdoor entertainment.

East of Lake Overholser, a seven mile portion of the North Canadian River flowing through Oklahoma City was renamed the Oklahoma River in 2004.This portion has several locks that have created a series of small lakes in which rowing, kayaking, and canoeing regattas take place. 13 miles of multiuse, asphalt trails line the north and south banks of the river. Cruises take passengers the entire length of the river, one way or round trip.

If fishing Lake Overholser isn’t your pleasure, nearby Oklahoma City, the state capital, has a number of museums, theaters, a zoo, a water park, a baseball park, and several golf courses. There is also shopping, fine dining and plenty of entertainment. You can even take a water taxi along the Bricktown Canal. The boats can be boarded to go in either direction every 10 to 15 minutes. The water taxi works like a regular taxi and will stop at any of the shops or restaurants on the canal. The most popular stop is the front door of Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World, one of the world’s largest suppliers of hunting and fishing gear.

For anyone seeking an outdoor adventure, or perhaps just a rendezvous with nature, vacation rentals in and around Oklahoma City will allow you some quality time with Lake Overholser and its nearby attractions.

Things to do at Lake Overholser

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Boating
  • Sailing
  • Canoeing
  • Kayaking
  • Jet Skiing
  • Golf
  • Tennis
  • Picnicking
  • Hiking
  • Biking
  • Hunting
  • Wildlife Viewing
  • Birding
  • Museum
  • Shopping

Fish species found at Lake Overholser

  • Bass
  • Black Bass
  • Catfish
  • Crappie
  • Perch
  • Saugeye Perch
  • Striped Bass
  • Sunfish
  • Walleye

Lake Overholser Photo Gallery

Lake Overholser Statistics & Helpful Links

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Lake Type: Artificial Reservoir, Dammed

Water Level Control: City of Oklahoma City

Surface Area: 1,567 acres

Shoreline Length: 7 miles

Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 1,242 feet

Average Depth: 6 feet

Maximum Depth: 13 feet

Water Volume: 13,913 acre-feet

Completion Year: 1919

Water Residence Time: 7 months

Drainage Area: 13,215 sq. miles

Trophic State: Hypereutrophic

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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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