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 Lake Information

The Lake
Fed by the Illinois River, designated a scenic river in the 1970's, Tenkiller Lake is a sparkling jewel located in the Cookson Hills area of eastern Oklahoma, approx. 7 miles north of Gore. TenkillerLake is one of the prettiest lakes in Oklahoma, and draws visitors from all over, to enjoy the crystal clear waters and abundant recreation. Covering 12,650 acres, and with 130 miles of scenic shoreline, magnificent bluffs and deep coves, it is one of the finest sailing lakes that will test a sailors abilities. The lake has ten marinas and fourteen parks which are managed by the State of Oklahoma or the Corps of Engineers. All levels of campsite facilities are available, from primitive to full hook-up. There are 24 boat launching ramps around the lake. Rental boats of all kinds are available at most marinas. Available recreational activities include swimming, skiing, sailing, fishing, power boating, camping, hiking just to name a few. Another popular activity on the lake is SCUBA diving. With its clear waters, steep bluffs, and depths up to 165 ft., Tenkiller has become a very popular destination for divers.

Tenkiller Ferry Dam
Completed in 1953, it's the second highest dam in Oklahoma, at 97ft. Built for flood control and hydroelectric power generation, the dam consist of a rolled, impervious and semipervious earthfill about 3,000 feet long with a maximum height of 197 feet above the streambed. Oklahoma State Highway 100 extends across the top of the dam and spillway.

Spillway and Outlet Works
The concrete, gravity spillway, has a total width of 590 feet. Spillway capacity is 290,400 cfs at maximum pool (elevation 672.2) with flow controlled by ten 50 X 25' tainter gates. A flood control outlet consists of a 19-foot conduit. Capacity of the conduit is 23,300 cfs at the top of the flood control pool. Flow through the conduit is controlled by two 9 X 19' tractor-type service gates . A 19' diameter penstock is provided through the narrow ridge comprising the right abutment to the powerhouse. Operational channel capacity below the dam is 10,800 cfs.

The new Auxiliary Spillway (Now under construction) 7/13/02 UPDATE HERE
Since the completion of Tenkiller Ferry Dam in 1953, there has not been any major construction on the dam. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, performed a safety study of hundreds of dams in the United States that posed a danger to life or property in the event of a failure. It was determined that the existing structure was sound, but inadequate for a "Probable Maximum Flood". The existing spillway and outlet works would be able to pass only 290,400 CFS at maximum flood pool elevation. That is only 85% of the projected need which could be generated by a probable maximum flood. The new auxiliary spillway will increase the discharge capability of Tenkiller Dam to a total of 541,400 CFS. The auxiliary spillway will have 5 new tainter gates 35' tall X 50' wide. The bottom of the new gates will sit at an elevation of 632.0, normal lake elevation. The new spillway will be built in two phases.

  1. Phase one involves relocations of water, power and telephone lines. Timber will be cleared from the hilltop. A section of rock and earth will be blasted away and removed to an elevation well below normal pool. The new spillway and discharge apron will be built in the excavated area. There will be a batch plant erected on site to supply the concrete to build the new structure. The construction period for phase one will last for as long as four years. The highway will only be closed for brief periods for blasting and other construction related activities. Those closings should only last a few minutes and should not inconvenience the public on a regular basis. Note: All blasting has been completed for phase one. Blasting will resume sometime during phase two.
  2. Phase two involves the paving of the new roadway across the new bridge deck, removal of the earth and rock plug left between in front of the new spillway and construction of the approach channel to the new spillway. After the new roadway is paved traffic will simply be redirected, one day you'll drive on the old road and the next day on the new. During the construction of the approach channel some draw down of the lake may be necessary.  

Notes: During the construction period the area below the dam will be restricted to all visitors and restricted to all hunting and firearms activities. The purpose of this restriction is for the safety of visitors and the workers in the construction area.
For more information you may call the Tenkiller Lake Office (Corps of Engineers) at: (918) 487-5252

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