McGee Creek Lake, Oklahoma, USA

Lake Locations:

USA - Southwest - Oklahoma - Arbuckle Country - Kiamichi Country -

Also known as:  McGee Creek Reservoir

McGee Creek Lake provides a rare surprise for visitors to southeastern Oklahoma. Hidden in the rugged, heavily-forested Ouachita Mountains, McGee Creek Lake provides a wealth of recreational opportunities to many who visit here each year. McGee Creek Reservoir is actually part of a complex system of water supply for Oklahoma City. In 1988, McGee Creek was dammed to form a steady supply of water to be pumped to Lake Atoka, from there to be transferred to Lake Stanley Draper for the use of citizens of Oklahoma City. Completion of the dam caused McGee Creek and Potapo Creek to back up 14 and 12 miles respectively into a continuous expanse of water. The reservoir covers a total of 3,810 acres on the border of Oklahoma’s Arbuckle Country and Kiamichi Country tourism regions.

Now under the management of the Bureau of Reclamation, McGee Creek Lake has been developed into a prime wildlife and recreational site. The lower portion of the reservoir has been cleared of stumps and obstacles to provide a safe place for power-boating, sailing and water skiing. The upper portion has remained in its natural state for the benefit of fish and bird species. Submerged brush piles have been placed in the lower cleared area to provide fish cover for breeding and fishing purposes. In keeping with the State’s vision of creating recreational and wildlife habitat acres, McGee Creek State Park encloses much of the shoreline of both the McGee Creek and Potapo Creek arms. At the north end, between the two arms lies McGee Creek Wildlife Management Area. The far north reach of the McGee Creek arm is a ‘quiet water zone’ within Bugaboo Canyon Natural Scenic Area accessible only by permit. Hiking, bicycling and equestrian trails are available within the Natural Scenic Area. An excellent spot for photographing nature and the spectacular scenery, an overlook area is accessible on the east. The Park Office there can direct visitors to the best areas for what they wish to see.

At the south end of McGee Creek Lake, another Park Office between the dam and the spillway leads visitors to areas for boat launch, fishing, camping, rest rooms, picnic shelters and a swimming beach. Another full camping and picnicking area with boat launch is located a short distance away on the Potapo arm of the reservoir near the dike. Other boat launch sites exist as well, guaranteeing the fisherman and water sport enthusiast can always find easy access to the water. The park’s 2600 acres extends to the 8900 acre Natural Scenic Area. When combined with the Wildlife Management Area, over 20,000 pristine acres is under protection around the lake. While the lower reaches of the reservoir are ideal for power boating and sailing, the upper reaches lend themselves ideally to canoeing and kayaking the better to observe and photograph the abundant wildlife.

McGee Creek Lake is considered one of Oklahoma’s top lakes for springtime trophy bass. Florida bass have been stocked yearly here. Other game fish the lake is known for include crappie, channel catfish and sunfish, making McGee Creek Lake a favored fishing destination. The 64 miles of shoreline provide some of the best habitat for game fish anywhere. Open areas at the south end of the reservoir allow for trolling. As the Wildlife Management Area is open to hunting during the season, many outdoorsmen return in the fall to attempt to bag white-tail deer, quail, rabbit, squirrel and wild turkey.

The Wildlife Management Area is excellent for bird watching, with screech owls quite abundant. Bald eagles nest here and numerous non-game bird species exist, providing birders ample opportunity to observe them in their natural habitat. Besides the usual game varieties, the WMA contains coyotes, opossum, raccoon and bobcat. The Wildlife Management Area plants about 50 acres of crops to be used as a food source for native wildlife.

There is limited privately-owned shoreline but vacation rentals can be found: McGee Creek Lake is in one of the favored vacation destinations and vacation rentals abound in the area, many with lake views. From single cabins to entire resorts,the area is well-supplied with lodgings. Real estate is also possible to locate in the area.

A good place to locate rentals is in the small town of Antlers, 18 miles east of McGee Creek Lake. Antlers advertises itself as the deer capitol of the world and has a Wildlife Heritage Center Museum with exhibits detailing the native fauna and a chance to see deer up close-a favorite with kids. The town also is supplied with that amenity demanded by the obsession of many vacationers – a golf course!

Atoka, about the same distance to the west, also holds many attractions for the visitor. Home to the Confederate Memorial Museum & Cemetery, a winery, golf facilities and Atoka Lake with its nearby Wildlife Management Area, Atoka is a great place to find lodgings with a small-town Oklahoma atmosphere. Other towns in the immediate vicinity of McGee creek Lake are Lane, Crystal, Old Ferris, Bruno and Lone Pine.

For a relaxing week – or even a month, check out the beautiful surroundings at McGee Creek Lake. To explore the entire shoreline and natural areas would take an entire summer. Start exploring it soon.

Things to do at McGee Creek Lake

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Boating
  • Sailing
  • Swimming
  • Beach
  • Canoeing
  • Kayaking
  • Water Skiing
  • Golf
  • Camping
  • Picnicking
  • Cabin Rentals
  • Hiking
  • Biking
  • Horseback Riding
  • Hunting
  • Wildlife Viewing
  • Birding
  • State Park
  • Museum

Fish species found at McGee Creek Lake

  • Bass
  • Catfish
  • Channel Catfish
  • Crappie
  • Largemouth Bass
  • Sunfish

McGee Creek Lake Photo Gallery

    McGee Creek Lake Statistics & Helpful Links

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    Lake Type: Artificial Reservoir, Dammed

    Water Level Control: U.S. Bureau of Reclamation

    Surface Area: 3,632 acres

    Shoreline Length: 85 miles

    Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 577 feet

    Minimum Elevation (Min Pond): 515 feet

    Maximum Elevation (Max Pond): 614 feet

    Average Depth: 27 feet

    Maximum Depth: 104 feet

    Water Volume: 100,146 acre-feet

    Completion Year: 1988

    Drainage Area: 178 sq. miles

    Trophic State: Mesotrophic

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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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