Fishing and Hunting
The lake is murky due to suspended colloidal clay particles in the water. However, Heyburn is known for good catfish angling. Flatheads of 15 to 30 pounds are not uncommon; the channel catfish grow to good size as well. Some who fish the lake regularly claim Heyburn is a trotliner's paradise. Also in the lake, especially in the headwaters and the arms of the Tiger, Polecat, and Brown's Creeks, are largemouth bass, crappie, and sunfish.
During hunting seasons, project lands and waters provide excellent opportunities for both waterfowl and upland game hunting. The area is also considered good for hunting white-tailed deer and feral hog. In addition to the lands managed by the Corps of Engineers, the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation has a license to manage 5,315 acres of land and water for fish and wildlife purposes.
Camping and Picnicking
Four public-use areas along the lake's shoreline offer boat launching ramps, picnic grounds, campsites, swimming beaches, and facilities.
Heyburn Park Recreational opportunities available include boat launching, picnicking, camping (30-amp and 50-amp), swimming beach, playground, fishing, and sunbathing. Two group shelters are available for reservations. Drinking water, showers, restrooms, and dump stations are among services provided.
Sheppard Point Recreational opportunities available include boat launching, picnicking, equestrian riding trails, camping (30-amp and non-electric), swimming beach, playground, and hiking trails. Two group shelters are available for reservations. Drinking water, showers, restrooms, and dump stations are among services provided.
Sunset Bay Recreational opportunities available include boat launching, picnicking, swimming, non-electric camping. Drinking water and pit toilets are among services provided.
Rocky Point Recreational opportunities available include equestrian trail riding, fishing, and primitive camping. Campers in this area are asked to check-in with Sheppard Point gate attendants. No services provided in this area.
Boating on the lake is in accordance with Oklahoma boating laws and Tulsa District, Corps of Engineers' regulations. Operate your boat in a controlled, safe manner at all times. Boaters are advised to be cautious of underwater hazards and quickly changing depths.
Heyburn Lake lies in the Sandstone Hills of the Osage Section, central lowlands, in a picturesque setting of grassland and gently sloping, wooded hills. Postoak, blackjack, and other species of oak thrive in the perimeter lands, with a sprinkling of hickory, ash, elm, and cottonwood trees. In the spring, flowering wild plum and redbud trees add color to the soft green landscape.
Heyburn Lake offers two designated swim beaches located at Heyburn and Sheppard campgrounds. These beaches are monitored for water quality throughout the recreation season. Both beaches are 'No Pets, No Cans in Water, and No Glass Containers' areas. Heyburn Park beach is also an alcohol-free beach.
Multi-purpose trails are available at Heyburn Lake and are located at Sheppard Point Campground. These trails are good for hiking, biking, and equestrian riding. Maps and other information on the trails can be obtained from Sheppard Point gate house or by contacting the Heyburn Lake Project Office.