Lake Sakakawea is one of five major lakes created on the Missouri
River by the federal government in an effort to eliminate the annual
flooding of river lowlands. Lake Sakakawea is located in
west-central North Dakota about 50 miles to the North of Bismarck,
ND stretching from the Garrison Dam nearly 150 miles to the Montana
The reservoir was created with the completion of Garrison Dam in 1956, the second (and largest) of six main-stem dams on the Missouri River built and managed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for flood control, hydroelectric power, navigation and irrigation.
Lake Sakakawea covers over 365,000 surface acres and has an extended shoreline of over 1,500 miles. The width of Sakakawea ranges from one to 14 miles wide with the Van Hook Arm the widest area of the lake. The lake depth in main channel ranges from 70 to 175 feet with the deepest portion off the face of Garrison Dam. Because of its size, Lake Sakakawea offers lots of wide-open area for fishing and water sports. Sailboat and wind surfers find lots of wind energy to propel their crafts.
Fishing remains the primary activity on Lake Sakakawea. The big lake offers a wide-range of sport fishing. Cold water species include Rainbow, Cutthroat and Brown Trout and Chinook salmon, Smallmouth Bass, Walleye Sauger and Saugeye. These fish give anglers lots of action as do the giant northern pike in Sakakawea.