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Saylorville lake, Johnston

3.9
#18 of 25 in Nature in Iowa
Water Body Nature / Park
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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33 reviews
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  • Beautiful campgrounds easy to park RVs spacious clean . fishing boating swimming within driving distance numerous campsites .we are back every year and love it  more »
  • If you like to be around lake recreation, the Saylorville area is a great place to enjoy the great outdoors. Boating, fishing, swimming, hiking & bicycle riding can all be enjoyed around this lake are...  more »
  • Cherry glen was a great spot to camp. Clean restrooms and showers. Quick drive to swimming area. Hiking trials and bike paths are in good shape.  more »

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