The 10 Largest Lakes In South Dakota

Lake Oahe, the largest lake in South Dakota.
Lake Oahe, the largest lake in South Dakota.

South Dakota is a state in the Midwest. The Missouri River is the longest river in South Dakota. There are several dams on this river and the reservoirs created by these dams are some of the state’s largest lakes. Many natural lakes are also found in Eastern South Dakota. Most of them have glacial origins. The largest lakes in South Dakota have been mentioned below.

1. Lake Oahe

Lake Oahe is South Dakota’s largest lake by surface area and the country’s fourth-biggest reservoir by volume. It is a reservoir behind the Oahe Dam built on the Missouri River. The reservoir extends into North Dakota and is shared by people of both states. It has an area of 1,500 square km. Its maximum depth is 205 feet. Lake Oahe is a popular tourist destination and has 51 recreation areas catering to the visitors.

2. Lake Francis Case

Lake Francis Case is South Dakota’s second biggest lake. It covers an area of 410 square km. It is also a reservoir created by the Fort Randall Dam on the Missouri River. The maximum depth of the lake is 140 feet. Located in south-central South Dakota, the lake covers parts of five counties of the state. It is named after Francis Higbee Case, a Senator of the US. 

3. Lake Sharpe

Lake Sharpe is South Dakota’s third biggest lake. It is formed by the Big Bend Dam on the Missouri River. The lake encompasses an area of 230.20 square km and its maximum depth is 78 feet. It is the country’s 54th biggest reservoir. Many species of fish, birds, and animals survive in the lake and its surrounding environs. Lake Sharpe also has several recreational areas, wildlife areas, and boat launching facilities. Two Indian Reservation areas are located along the western and eastern shores of the lake.

4. Lewis and Clark Lake

South Dakota’s fourth largest lake is also a reservoir called the Lewis and Clark Lake. It is located on the state’s border with Nebraska where it is impounded by the Gavins Point Dam on the Missouri River. The lake occupies an area of 130 square km and is 45 deep at its deepest point. The Lewis and Clark Lake is an extremely popular tourist center in the upper Midwest region. Camping, hiking, bird watching, watersports, biking, and other outdoor activities can be enjoyed by those visiting the lake. Over one million visitors visit the lake annually.

5. Lake Thompson

Located in Kingsbury County in South Dakota, Lake Thompson is South Dakota’s fifth largest lake and the largest natural lake in the country. It occupies an area of 65.70 square km and is 26 feet deep. It is located in the east-central part of the state. The lake has a recreational area. It is popular among anglers as many species of fish like sunfish, northern pike, walleye, black bullheads, etc., lives in the lake.

The 10 Largest Lakes In South Dakota

RankName of LakeArea (acres)
1Lake Oahe3,12,000
2Lake Francis Case1,02,000
3Lake Sharpe56,884
4Lewis and Clark Lake31,400
5Lake Thompson20,000
6Waubay Lake15,540
7Big Stone Lake12,610
8Lake Traverse11,200
9Bitter Lake9,900
10Belle Fourche Reservoir8,063

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