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Canton Lake Recreation

Fishing and Hunting

Nestled in the high plains of western Oklahoma, Canton Lake is Oklahoma’s leading fisherman’s paradise.  Canton Lake provides several species of fish, including largemouth bass, crappie, white bass, white bass hybrids, and channel catfish.  It also is widely known for an abundance of walleye.  Walleye was the first of the “exotic species” of fish that was successfully stocked in Oklahoma, and Canton Lake has become the primary source of walleye eggs.  They are taken by the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation for incubation in state fish hatcheries and ultimately stocked in other lakes.

Since 1968, community leaders and businesses have sponsored the Canton Lake Walleye Rodeo.  This four-day, annual event starts the Thursday following Mothers' Day and attracts fishermen from all over Oklahoma and surrounding states.

A major attraction for the hunter is the 14,862 acre public hunting area managed by the ODWC.  The area primarily offers hunting for deer, waterfowl, wild turkey, squirrel, dove, and bobwhite quail.  It is open all year.  Hunting and fishing are regulated by federal and state laws, and the same licenses are required as in other parts of Oklahoma.

Camping and Picnicking

The scenic shoreline and gently sloping land to the water’s edge invites camping, picnicking and sightseeing.  There are five developed recreation areas and one group camp around the lake.  These areas include such facilities as boat ramps, picnic tables and shelters, campgrounds with electric and non-electric hookups, comfort stations, trailer dump stations and a concession located at the south end of the Canton dam.

Boating

Whether by power boat, sailboat or personal watercraft, boating enthusiasts will be pleased with the large area of open water at Canton Lake.  The 7,910 acre lake will likely satisfy the demand of most boaters.  For boating pleasure and safety, all boaters must abide by state and federal laws and regulations.  Please operate your boat in a safe, controlled manner at all times.

Sightseeing

Canton Lake is located in a farming and ranching community where grazing cattle and growing fields of wheat are familiar sights along any access road.  Upon arrival at the lake, visitors to the overlook area are able to see the Canton dam spillway, auxiliary spillway, surrounding lake area and North Canadian River Valley downstream.  The north and east sides of the lake are characterized by dense tree cover and sandy soils.  Open areas are small; the densely wooded cover consists of cottonwood, American elm, post oak, blackjack oak, hackberry, red cedar and others.  A drive on Thunder Road through the woods between the Sandy Cove and Longdale campgrounds provides visitors an opportunity to enjoy nature's splendor and possibly wildlife.  Frequently, deer can be seen browsing in open areas at dusk and early daylight hours.  A variety of flowering shrubs, native grasses and wildflowers unfold a new panorama each season. 

Swimming

Swimming is allowed in all areas of the lake except around boat ramps, courtesy docks and in the buoyed off area in front of the gates.  The swimming beach, located at Sandy Cove by the north end of the dam, is one of the largest beaches in the Tulsa District Corps of Engineers and is recommended for swimming as it is a more controlled area where boats are prohibited.  The area is designated alcohol free.  Pets and glass containers are restricted as well. 

Trails

The 1.6-mile-long Frank Raab Nature Trail is located in Blaine Park.  This interpretive trail consists of three loops.  The short .4-mile loop is a gentle terrain with a few interpretive markers to inform the hiker.  The .8-mile loop is a longer version with interpretive markers throughout its length.  The longer 1.6-mile loop is a spur off the interpretive loop that takes the user through a variety of outdoor landscapes.  The hike on this loop is a little more challenging due to areas of small hills and some loose sand.  The Frank Raab Nature Trail is registered in the National Trails System.