Fishing and Hunting
Northeast Oklahoma has long been noted for its outstanding fishing, and at Fort Gibson sportsmen will find black bass, white bass, crappie and several varieties of catfish and panfish. It also offers an opportunity to snag paddlefish.
When “game fever” is in the air, hunters will find such species as white-tailed deer, mourning dove, duck, geese, rabbit and squirrel. Nearly 21,800 acres of project land is licensed to the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation, of which 17,300 acres are managed for public hunting and 4,500 acres are used for a waterfowl refuge. Hunting and fishing are regulated by state and federal laws, and state hunting and fishing licenses are required.
Camping and Picnicking
The Corps manages six gated class A campgrounds, two primitive camping areas, and three day use areas with picnic sites. An additional eight park areas are offered by the Corps with limited maintenance and services. Camping in undesignated areas is prohibited. Park attendants oversee fee collection during the peak season, April 1 – September 30. Campgrounds remain open October 1 – March 31; however, campers must pay by self deposit.
A variety of recreation opportunities are offered by nine commercial concessions, as well as, two parks managed by the State of Oklahoma.
Boating enthusiasts have long enjoyed the water of Fort Gibson Lake. Facilities for storage of boats, both power and sail, are available at concession areas on the lake and on adjacent private property. Boating on the lake is in accordance with Oklahoma boating laws and regulations.
Motorcyclists love to travel the twists and turns along scenic Highway 80 on the east side of the lake. Depending on the season you can view beautiful fall foliage, early morning mist over the lake, blossoms of dogwoods and redbuds, flocks of pelicans or a solitary bald eagle.
Visitors interested in checking out the nearby communities can experience the wonderful food and simple lifestyle of the Amish, the rich heritage and traditions of the Cherokee Nation, as well as, military history and a vast number of antique shops.
The Corps offers one designated swim beach at Taylor Ferry. Both state parks offer a designated beach, as does Long Bay Marina. None of the beaches are staffed with life guards. A life jacket loaner board is available at Taylor Ferry Beach. Keep a close eye on children and poor swimmers. Don’t overestimate your swimming abilities as water distances are deceptive.
Both state parks offer nature trails, and an added feature at Sequoyah State Park includes riding stables and equestrian trails. Contact the Sequoyah Riding Stables for more information, 918-772-3906.
The Corps of Engineers offers a hiking trail from the Overlook to the Dam Site campground. This trail has relatively steep terrain and is classified as a moderate hiking trail. The Overlook gate is open from 8:00 a.m. to dusk during the summer months and 8:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. during the winter months.
When hiking, remember to drink plenty of fluids and always let someone know when you will return.