Pine Creek Lake, Oklahoma, USA
Also known as: Pine Creek Reservoir
Pine Creek Lake, flowing north to south in the Kaimichi Region of Oklahoma, covers 3,750 acres of recreation and wildlife paradise. Authorized by the 1958 Flood Control Act, the US Army Corps of Engineers dammed the Little River to control flooding, provide for municipal water supply and enhance recreation and wildlife habitat. Completed in 1969, the reservoir has 74 miles of shoreline consisting of mostly bays and deep inlets. The resultant habitat is a fisherman’s dream. In keeping with the Corps intention to improve recreational opportunities and wildlife habitat, the entire shoreline is held as public lands.
The Pine Creek Lake Game area contains 10,280 acres but there are eight additional park areas providing easy access for the public. Four of these have campgrounds and boat ramps. Two have swimming areas. There is also a fishing pier at the old Highway 7 bridge on the upper end of the lake. Although there is no restriction on water craft, fishing is by far the most popular activity occurring at the reservoir. And the fishing is excellent. The high ratio of shoreline to water area provides excellent fish production. Favorite game fish at the reservoir include crappie, white bass, largemouth bass, channel catfish, flathead catfish, and various sunfish.
Many visitors simply enjoy the nature opportunities that are abundant around Pine Creek Lake. Here, they can combine a picnic and swimming with hiking along the two maintained trail on the west side of the lake: the River Ridge Nature Trail and the Little River Park Trail. A third hiking opportunity, the Billy Bell Trail runs almost the entire length of the east side of the lake. The old trail has been in existence since 1907 when it was laid out and marked by Billy James and his wife Bell, early settlers in the region. The trail continues south to where it joins the Tom Taylor Trail leading to the village of Wright City. In a time when all travel was by horseback or mule, these old trails were the highways through the mountainous terrain.
Some of the wildlife that may be seen along Pine Creek Lake’s shores are white-tail; deer, quail, raccoon, opossum, quail, eastern wild turkey, cottontail and swamp rabbits, coyote, beaver, river otter, bobcat, mink, bald eagle, geese and ducks and the occasional black bear. Hunting is permitted in selected areas by permit according to season.
Because the entire shoreline of Pine Creek Lake is public land, vacation rentals directly on the lake are not available. However, the area is a popular vacation, fishing and hunting area and many cabins and cottages available in the vicinity, some with views of Pine Creek Lake. The Kiamichi Mountains area is a very productive deer hunting area and lodgings are available year-round in most of the small surrounding towns and on local country roads. Less than 40 miles away, beautiful Broken Bow Lake holds Beavers Bend and Hochatown State Park close to its shores. Between the two lakes, many vacation rentals exist to chose from. The town of Broken Bow, nearby Idabel, Antlers to the west and smaller Rattan, Fort Towson, Hugo, Millerton and Valliant all also cater to hunters and lake visitors.
A well-rounded vacation, even at beautiful Pine Creek Lake requires at least some time spent exploring the surrounding area. And there are plenty of interesting and historical places to visit nearby. For nature lovers, there is the Beavers Bend Wildlife Museum, located at the entrance to Beavers Bend Resort Park, and the Forest Heritage Center, located in Beavers Bend Park. Or, Wildlife Heritage Center Museum at Antlers, the self-proclaimed deer capitol of the world. For the car buff, there is the Muscle Car Museum between Broken Bow and idabel. Six miles east of Broken Bow is the Gardner Mansion and Museum. The 1880 mansion is the former home of Jefferson Gardner, principal chief of the Choctaws, and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The museum contains a large collection of Native American artifacts and art. Still standing on the grounds near the mansion is a 2,000 plus-year-old bald cypress tree, believed to be one of the largest trees east of the Rockies. When visiting Broken Bow, make sure to visit the privately-owned Indian Memorial Museum and its huge exhibition of prehistoric pottery and arrowheads.
Twenty-five miles from Pine Creek Lake, Idabel is a museum explorer’s dream. The small town holds both the The Autry National Center of the American West. Originally established by movie hero Gene Autry and others, the museum actually has three separate museums in one. One exhibit that is very popular is a history of country music. Also at Idabel is the Museum of the Red River; an archeological museum spotlighting the Red River area and local Native American tribes.
In Millerton, between Valliant and Idabel, the Wheelock Academy showcases nearly 200 years of Choctaw commitment to education: the Reverend Alfred Wright and his wife came west with the Choctaws, and in 1839, began a boarding school for girls. In 1842 it was absorbed into the Choctaw National School System and in 1883 a new academy was constructed which opened in 1884 and operated until 1955. Listed as a National Historic landmark, the Academy is on the Choctaw/Chickasaw Heritage Corridor being developed across southeast Oklahoma. A rainy day at Pine Creek Lake can turn into a thoroughly enjoyable educational experience within a 50 mile radius.
So, get the map out, dust off the fishing gear and thumb through the collection of vacation rentals. Then come on over to one of the most unknown and under-appreciated reservoirs in the entire state of Oklahoma. Make Pine Creek Lake a part of your family vacation traditions.
Things to do at Pine Creek Lake
- Vacation Rentals
- Cabin Rentals
- Horseback Riding
- Wildlife Viewing
- State Park
Fish species found at Pine Creek Lake
- Black Bass
- Channel Catfish
- Flathead Catfish
- Largemouth Bass
- White Bass
Pine Creek Lake Photo Gallery
Pine Creek Lake Statistics & Helpful Links
Lake Type: Artificial Reservoir, Dammed
Water Level Control: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
Surface Area: 4,980 acres
Shoreline Length: 74 miles
Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 438 feet
Minimum Elevation (Min Pond): 414 feet
Maximum Elevation (Max Pond): 480 feet
Average Depth: 14 feet
Water Volume: 53,750 acre-feet
Completion Year: 1969
Drainage Area: 635 sq. miles
Trophic State: Eutrophic
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