Wilson Lake (Kansas)

reservoir in Kansas, United States of America

Wilson Lake is a reservoir in the U.S. state of Kansas. It is on the border of Russell County and Lincoln County.[5] It was built and managed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for flood control. It is also used for wildlife management and recreation. Several parks are along its shoreline, including Wilson State Park.[6]

Wilson Lake
Wilson Dam
LocationRussell and Lincoln counties in Kansas
Coordinates38°56′25″N 98°33′24″W / 38.94028°N 98.55667°W / 38.94028; -98.55667
Primary inflowsSaline River
Primary outflowsSaline River
Catchment area1,917 sq mi (4,970 km2)
Basin countriesUnited States
Managing agencyU.S. Army Corps of Engineers
BuiltApril 1961 (1961-04)
First floodedDecember 29, 1964 (1964-12-29)
Max. length24 miles (39 km)
Surface area9,045 acres (36.60 km2)
Max. depth65 ft (20 m)[1]
Water volumeFull: 242,528 acre⋅ft (299,154,000 m3)[2]
Current (Nov. 2015): 156,100 acre⋅ft (192,500,000 m3)[3]
Shore length1100 mi (160 km)
Surface elevationFull: 1,516 ft (462 m)[2]
Current (May. 2019): 1,523 ft (464 m)[3]
SettlementsLucas, Sylvan Grove, Wilson
1 Shore length is not a well-defined measure.



The Corps of Engineers planned, designed, and built Wilson Dam. They completed it in 1964 for $20 million.[6][7]



Wilson Lake is at 38°56′25″N 98°33′24″W / 38.94028°N 98.55667°W / 38.94028; -98.55667 (38.9401464, -98.5567638) at an elevation of 1,516 feet (462 m).[4] It is in north-central Kansas in the Smoky Hills region of the Great Plains.[5] Most of Wilson Lake is in Russell County. A small part of its southeastern part goes into Lincoln County.[8][9]

The reservoir is impounded at its northeastern end by Wilson Dam. The dam is at 38°58′00″N 98°29′41″W / 38.96667°N 98.49472°W / 38.96667; -98.49472 (38.9666777, -98.4947876) at an elevation of 1,588 feet (484 m).[10] The Saline River is the reservoir's main inflow of water from the west. It is also the reservoir's main outflow to the east.[5] Smaller tributaries include Elm Creek, which flows from the south into the western part of the reservoir, and Hell Creek, which feeds the reservoir's southeastern arm.[8][9]

Kansas Highway 232 goes north-south along the reservoir's eastern shore. It also goes across the top of Wilson Dam. Shoreline Road, a paved county road, goes east-west parallel to the southern shore. It crosses the reservoir's southeastern part.[8]



The surface area, surface elevation, and water volume of the reservoir changed based on inflow and local climate.[3] When the reservoir is full, it has a surface area of 33,882 acres (137.12 km2), a surface elevation of 1,588 feet (484 m), and a volume of 1,666,995 acre⋅ft (2.056208×109 m3).[2]



Wilson Dam is a dam that has a floor made of rock and soil. It is 130 feet (40 m) tall and 5,600 feet (1,700 m) long.[11][12]


  1. "Wilson Reservoir Fishing Information". Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism. Retrieved 2015-11-09.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 "Annual Report of Reservoir Regulation Activities - Summary for Calendar Year 2013" (PDF). U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. March 2014. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2015-09-10. Retrieved 2015-11-10.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 "USGS 06868100 Wilson Lake near Wilson, KS". U.S. Geological Survey. Retrieved 2015-11-09.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Geographic Names Information System (GNIS) details for Wilson Lake; United States Geological Survey (USGS); October 13, 1978.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 "2003-2004 Official Transportation Map" (PDF). Kansas Department of Transportation. Retrieved 2015-09-23.
  6. 6.0 6.1 "Learn About the Lake". U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Retrieved 2015-09-23.
  7. "Wilson Lake - The Clearest Lake in Kansas" (PDF). U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2017-11-01. Retrieved 2015-09-23.
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 "General Highway Map - Russell County, Kansas". Kansas Department of Transportation. October 2010. Retrieved 2015-09-23.
  9. 9.0 9.1 "General Highway Map - Lincoln County, Kansas". Kansas Department of Transportation. May 2011. Retrieved 2015-09-23.
  10. "Wilson Dam". Geographic Names Information System. United States Geological Survey. Retrieved 2015-09-23.
  11. "Wilson Lake Reallocation Study". Kansas Water Office. Archived from the original on 2015-07-18. Retrieved 2015-09-23.
  12. "Bathymetric and Sediment Survey of Wilson Lake Reservoir, Russell County, Kansas" (PDF). Kansas Biological Survey. May 2009. Retrieved 2015-09-23.

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