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Saylorville lake, Johnston

(3.8/5 based on 25+ reviews on the web)
Saylorville Lake is a reservoir on the Des Moines River in Iowa. It is located 11mi upstream from the city of Des Moines, and 214mi from the mouth of the Des Moines River at the Mississippi River. It was constructed as part of a flood control system for the Des Moines River as well as to aid in controlling flood crests on the Mississippi, of which the Des Moines is a tributary.At its normal level of 836ft above sea level, Saylorville Lake covers an area of 5950acre or 9.3sqmi and reaches some 17mi upstream. At full flood stage the lake can reach 16700acre or 26.1sqmi and reach 54mi long. At this point any further flow into the lake is channelled over an emergency spillway to the west of the main dam structure. The record high stage for the reservoir was 892.03ft above sea level set on July 11, 1993 during the Great Flood of 1993.Construction of the Saylorville Dam was authorized by Congress in 1958. Excavation began at the site in July 1965, becoming fully operational in September 1977. The dam itself is 6750ft long, 105ft tall, and 44ft wide at the top.The lake is utilized for many recreational activities in the central Iowa area as well, as there is a large state park infrastructure surrounding the area of the lake, notably Jester Park and Big Creek State Park. Boating and swimming are very popular here, as are camping, deer and game bird hunting, fishing, hiking, biking and disc golf. Coast Guard Auxiliary Flotilla 4 provides boating safety education and free vessel safety checks to boaters in the area. Fish species that can be found in the lake include crappie, bluegill, green sunfish, largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, brown trout, northern pike, common carp, white bass, walleye, yellow bass, american eel, flathead catfish, channel catfish, bullheads, and hybrid striped bass
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Reviews
TripAdvisor
  • If you live in and around the Des Moines metro area and feel your only lake is Saylorville you are missing out. Saylorville is a long skinny shallow lake. That means you can't boat too close to the si...  more »
  • Saylorville Lake is great for tubing on weekdays but is busy on the weekend. What is less busy but has some of the best sites is the Neal Smith Trail that begins in Des Moines and goes north along Say...  more »
  • I love to ride my bike on the trail that runs along this big lake. There are lots of big boats on the lake. I stop at the bar/cafe that floats on a barge in the marina area. The lake is managed by US ...  more »