Lake Wister, Oklahoma, USA
Also known as: Wister Lake, Wister Reservoir
Lake Wister, in southeastern Oklahoma’s Kiamichi Country, is a reservoir created by damming the Poteau River — the only river that flows north in Oklahoma — and the Fourche Maline Creek. The lake was authorized in 1938 by the Flood Control Act of 1938 for flood control and conservation. Operational in 1949, the 7,333-acre lake is located in the San Bois Mountains, an area inhabited for thousands…
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Welcome to the ultimate guide to Lake Wister! Article topics include:
- All About Lake Wister
- Where to Stay
- Vacation Planning Tools
- Things to Do
- Known Fish Species
- Lake Wister Map
- Statistics / Weather / Helpful Links
- Lake Wister Gifts
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All About Lake Wister, OK
Lake Wister, in southeastern Oklahoma’s Kiamichi Country, is a reservoir created by damming the Poteau River — the only river that flows north in Oklahoma — and the Fourche Maline Creek.
The lake was authorized in 1938 by the Flood Control Act of 1938 for flood control and conservation. Operational in 1949, the 7,333-acre lake is located in the San Bois Mountains, an area inhabited for thousands of years as evidenced by numerous mounds from prehistoric Native Americans. As home to the important artifacts, Lake Wister is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Lake Wister fishing and hunting
Boasting 115 miles of shoreline, Lake Wister offers some of the best catfish and crappie fishing in Oklahoma. The Poteau River above Wister Lake is also a good area to fish during the spring runs of sand or white bass. Other fish to look for include largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, spotted bass, and sunfish.
Hunting is allowed at the Wister Wildlife Management Area, where you can expect to find white-tailed deer, turkey, waterfowl, rabbit, squirrel, bobcat, coyote, raccoon, beaver, skunk, opossum, fox, quail, and dove. Nongame species that are protected include bald and golden eagles, river otter, and black bears. The Wister Wildlife Management Area offers camping, cabins, RV sites, showers, picnic areas, group picnic shelters, and a lighted boat ramp.
Things to do at Lake Wister
Lake Wister State Park, the gateway to Ouachita National Forest, offers hiking, camping, paddling, bicycling, picnicking, fishing, hunting, boating, water skiing, miniature golf, and volleyball. Other facilities in the state park include lighted boat ramps, playgrounds, a nature center, and a swimming beach. The fall foliage in this part of Oklahoma is famous and attracts visitors and organized groups every year to the Lake Wister area.
If you just want to relax at Lake Wister, there is plenty to do, including hunting, fishing, camping, picnicking, swimming, boating, water skiing, jet skiing, bird watching, and nature photography. Vacation rentals are available at Lake Wister for weekend, weekly, or monthly rates, as well as real estate for the more permanently-minded visitor.
For off-the-lake activities, visit Poteau to see the Kerr Legacy & Historical Center. The former home to U.S. Senator Robert S. Kerr, the mansion contains many personal items and office furnishings of the late Senator.
Visit Heavener Runestone Park, near the city of Heavener, to see the runstone believed to be a land claim made by a Viking explorer prior to 1000 A.D.
Just past Wister State Park is the Ouachita National Forest, which covers almost two million acres in Arkansas and Oklahoma.
Incredible mountain views and pristine rivers and lakes make the Ouachita National Forest a beautiful outdoor destination. Travel the Winding Star National Scenic Byway to get a good glimpse at Ouachita and what the national forest has to offer. There is an extensive trail system that accommodates hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding, and off-road vehicles. Other areas in the national forest you might want to visit include Red Slough Wildlife Area, the Womble Trail, and the Ouachita National Recreation Trail.
Wister Reservoir and the surrounding area could keep anyone busy for weeks — exploring the wildlife areas, playing in the lake, and just relaxing to a beautiful sunset. Head to Lake Wister in southeastern Oklahoma for an Oklahoma most people don’t even know exists.
Things to Do at Lake Wister
These are some activities in the Lake Wister, OK area visitors can enjoy:
- Vacation Rentals
- Jet Skiing
- Water Skiing
- Cabin Rentals
- Horseback Riding
- Wildlife Viewing
- State Park
- National Forest
- Miniature Golf
What Kind of Fish Are in Lake Wister?
Lake Wister has been known to have the following fish species:
- Black Bass
- Largemouth Bass
- Smallmouth Bass
- Spotted Bass
- White Bass
Find Places to Stay at Lake Wister
If you’re considering a Lake Wister 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.
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More Sites to Book a Lake Wister Vacation
Our interactive Lake Wister lodging map above is an easy tool for comparing VRBO rental homes and nearby hotels with Booking.com, but there could be times when you need to expand your search for different types of accommodations. Here are some other lake lodging partners we recommend:
Lake Wister Statistics & Helpful Links
Lake Type: Artificial Reservoir, Dammed
Water Level Control: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
Surface Area: 7,333 acres
Shoreline Length: 115 miles
Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 478 feet
Minimum Elevation (Min Pond): 450 feet
Maximum Elevation (Max Pond): 503 feet
Average Depth: 8 feet
Maximum Depth: 44 feet
Water Volume: 61,423 acre-feet
Completion Year: 1949
Drainage Area: 993 sq. miles
Trophic State: Eutrophic
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