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Tenkiller Lake, photo by Steve Webber


Fees & Facilities:
Game Warden (County):
(918) 431-2562(Cherokee)
(918) 431-2552(Cherokee)
(918) 431-2550(Sequoyah)
(918) 431-2544(Sequoyah)

Impounded in 1952, Tenkiller is the only controlled impoundment on the Illinois River and can experience prolonged drastic lake level fluctuations.  Situated in the Ozark highlands, Tenkiller is a deep, clear lake dominated by a shoreline with rocky bluffs and outcroppings.  There are numerous public access areas, including two state parks, and Tenkiller is very popular for all types of recreation.  Due to its depth, the lake provides cool water for the popular year-round trout fishery in the tailwaters.

Lake Tenkiller (Google Map) is located 10 miles south of Tahlequah on US 82 and S Indian Rd.

Lake Details

Shoreline Length: 170.00 mi.
Volume: 654100.00 ac. ft.
Max. Depth: 132.70 ft.
Surface Area: 12900.00 ac.


Cherokee, Sequoyah Counties

U.S. Corps of Engineers and Oklahoma State Parks manages campgrounds with full RV hookups, boat ramps and designated swimming areas.

Largemouth and smallmouth bass are subject to a 13-16" no harvest slot limit. Crappie must be a minimum of 10-inches and have a daily limit of 15.

Public-use areas provide easy access to the shoreline. Private resorts in the Burnt Cabin, Caney Creek and Tenkiller State Park areas operate fishing dock concessions.

Daily/Size Limits:

(Downstream from Horseshoe Bend boat ramp to dam)

All crappie: 15 combined per day/10-inch minimum.


(Downstream from Horseshoe Bend boat ramp to dam)

Prohibited methods: gigs and spears downstream of Horseshoe Bend boat ramp. Speargunning is legal when used with scuba, except taking flathead catfish from June 15 through July 15 is prohibited.

Tenkiller Report

Jun 9. Elevation is Normal (stable), water temperature 76°F and clear. (USACE Lake Level)

Bass, Largemouth, Bass, Spotted Good on crankbaits, plastic baits, spinnerbaits, topwater lures around brush structure, coves, creek channels, shorelines.

Bass, White Good on Alabama rigs, small lures around coves, creek channels.

Catfish, Blue, Catfish, Channel, Catfish, Flathead Good on chicken liver, cut bait, shad around flats, main lake, river channel.

Comments: Black bass and white bass activity is best in the early morning or late evening. White bass can be found in schools, feeding early in the morning. Catfish anglers are having success using jugs, noodles, and from the banks.

Report submitted by Cody Youngblood (Game Warden Cherokee County)