Saylorville Lake, Iowa, USA

Also known as:  Saylorville Reservoir

Saylorville Lake is a man-made reservoir located on the Des Moines River bordering the town of Polk City, about 11 miles north of Des Moines, Iowa. The reservoir was completed in 1977 by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in a flood control project for an area that had seen five major floods in the previous hundred years. Today, 5,950-acre Saylorville Lake is a popular destination for fishing, camping, hiking, – READ THE FULL ARTICLE

Welcome to the ultimate guide to Saylorville Lake! Article topics include:

Looking for Saylorville Lake cabins or other accommodations? Save time and use this interactive map to find, compare and book at the best rates. Or explore more of our favorite travel partners.

Welcome to the ultimate guide to Saylorville Lake! Article topics include:

Looking for Saylorville Lake cabins or other accommodations? Save time and use this interactive map to find, compare and book at the best rates. Or explore more of our favorite travel partners.

All About Saylorville Lake

Lake Locations: USA - Midwest - Iowa - Central -

Saylorville Lake is a man-made reservoir located on the Des Moines River bordering the town of Polk City, about 11 miles north of Des Moines, Iowa. The reservoir was completed in 1977 by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in a flood control project for an area that had seen five major floods in the previous hundred years. Today, 5,950-acre Saylorville Lake is a popular destination for fishing, camping, hiking, birdwatching, and many other recreational activities.

Anglers can enjoy year-round fishing at Saylorville Reservoir. Many come on the hunt for bass, as the reservoir is home to hybrid striped bass, largemouth bass, and white bass. The largemouth bass population has done especially well at the lake, with occasional supplemental stocking by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources. The reservoir is also home to bluegill, channel catfish, crappie, and walleye. Because the reservoir is used for flood control, the water levels can change dramatically, posing a challenge to anglers who must constantly change strategies to find the current fishing hot spots.

Boat access is plentiful at Saylorville Lake, with a total of six boat launches in various locations around the lake. There are no horsepower restrictions on the reservoir, making it ideal for a variety of water sports. Boating is not recommended north of Mile Long Bridge, however, and other spots in the reservoir are sometimes too shallow for boating. Be sure to check current lake levels before planning your trip to the lake.

With a total of twenty-four recreation areas, visitors to Saylorville have plenty of options for enjoying some fun in the sun. Pack a picnic lunch and enjoy a day of swimming at Sandpiper Recreation Area or Oak Grove Beach. Or, plan an overnight stay at one of the four Army Corps campgrounds: Acorn Valley, Bob Shetler, Cherry Glen, and Prairie Flower. All four campgrounds have restrooms, showers, and playgrounds–all the amenities you need to make a home away from home just steps from the lake shore. Jester Park, operated by the Polk County Conservation Board and located on the western shore of Saylorville Lake, is another popular destination. This 1,834 acre park has boat launches, 252 campsites, eight miles of hiking trail, and even a championship golf course.

Landlubbers can find plenty to love at Saylorville Lake, too. Enjoy a day of nature watching at the lake by starting your trip at the Saylorville Lake Visitor’s Center, where you can view educational exhibits and find maps and brochures to plan the rest of your visit. Then, hit the twenty-six mile Neal Smith Trail, a fully paved multi-purpose trail stretching from Big Creek State Park at the northern tip of the lake south to Des Moines. This trail winds along the shores of Saylorville Reservoir, providing a perfect spot for hiking, cycling, rollerblading, and enjoying the scenery of this peaceful area. Finally, finish your day with some birdwatching. Saylorville Lake often rewards visitors with a glimpse of some unique birds, such as the black-tailed gull (normally seen in China, Korea, or Japan), the Pacific loon, the black vulture, and the bald eagle. If you time your trip right, you could attend the annual Pelican Festival held each September, when as many as 10,000 pelicans can be seen stopping at the lake as they migrate south for the winter.

With so many options for recreation, it is easy to see why Saylorville Lake is so popular. Don’t pass up a chance to visit this Midwestern oasis.

Things to Do at Saylorville Lake

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Boating
  • Swimming
  • Beach
  • Golf
  • Camping
  • Campground
  • Picnicking
  • Hiking
  • Biking
  • Hunting
  • Birding
  • State Park
  • Playground

Fish Species Found at Saylorville Lake

  • Bass
  • Black Bass
  • Bluegill
  • Catfish
  • Channel Catfish
  • Crappie
  • Largemouth Bass
  • Perch
  • Striped Bass
  • Sunfish
  • Walleye
  • White Bass

All About Saylorville Lake

Best hotels and vacation rentals at Saylorville Lake

The Saylorville Lake map shown above is a simple and stress-free way to search for trip accommodations. But if you want to take a deeper dive to find the ideal waterfront home, cabin, condo, hotel or resort, visit our favorite lodging partners by clicking the buttons below.

Note: These are affiliate links so we may earn a small commission if you book through them. While there is no extra cost to you, it helps provide resources to keep our site running (thank you)! You can read our full disclosure policy here.


More Ways to Book a Saylorville Lake Vacation

While our interactive map above is perfect for comparing LAKENAME rental homes (with VRBO) and nearby hotels (with Booking.com), there might be times when you need to expand your search with a different type of accommodation. Here are some other LAKNAME lodging partners you might want to explore:

Check TripAdvisor
Explore RV Rentals
Find a Campspot
View All Resources

Note: These are affiliate links and we may earn a small commission. Read our full disclosure policy here.


More Sites to Book a Saylorville Lake Vacation

Our interactive lodging map shown above is perfect for comparing LAKENAME VRBO rental homes and nearby Booking.com hotels, there are times when you need to expand your search for different types of accommodation. Here are some other LAKNAME lodging partners you can explore:

Check TripAdvisor
Explore RV Rentals
Find a Campspot
View All Resources

Note: These are affiliate links and we may earn a small commission. Read our disclosure policy here.


More Sites to Book a Saylorville Lake Vacation

Our interactive lodging map shown above is perfect for comparing LAKENAME VRBO rental homes and nearby Booking.com hotels, there are times when you need to expand your search for different types of accommodation. Here are some other LAKNAME lodging partners you can explore:

Check TripAdvisor
Explore RV Rentals
Find a Campspot
View All Resources

Note: These are affiliate links and we may earn a small commission. Read our disclosure policy here.


Recommended Sites to Book a Saylorville Lake Vacation

If you want to take a deeper dive to find waterfront lake cabins, cottages, condos, hotels or resorts, check out our favorite Saylorville Lake lodging partners.

  • VRBO – Use VRBO to find the perfect lake rental home, condo, cabin, cottage or other vacation property.
  • Booking.com – One of the world’s leading digital travel companies, Booking.com connects travelers to everything from cozy B&Bs to luxury resorts.
  • Expedia – Expedia is a popular online travel agency with more than 140,000 lodging properties worldwide.
  • Hotels.com – With more than 325,000 hotels in 19,000-plus locations, Hotels.com is an industry leader in online accommodations.
  • TripAdvisor – Read traveler reviews and compare prices on hotels, vacation rentals and more at TripAdvisor.
  • Trivago – Trivago helps travelers compare deals for hotels and other accommodations from a variety of booking sites.
  • KAYAK – KAYAK scours hundreds of other travel websites at once to find the best deals on hotels and other travel-related services.
  • RVshare –RVshare connects travelers interested in renting a motorhome with owners who have RVs to rent.
  • CampSpot – Campspot offers premier RV resorts, family campgrounds, cabins and glamping options across North America.
ALL TRAVEL RESOURCES

Note: These are affiliate links so we may earn a small commission if you book through them. While there is no extra cost to you, it helps provide resources to keep our site running (thank you)! You can read our full disclosure policy here.

[get-post-images]

divider

Lake Type: Artificial Reservoir, Dammed

Water Level Control: US Army Corps of Engineers

Surface Area: 5,950 acres

Shoreline Length: 39 miles

Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 836 feet

Minimum Elevation (Min Pond): 0 feet

Maximum Elevation (Max Pond): 890 feet

Maximum Depth: 37 feet

Water Volume: 73,659 acre-feet

Completion Year: 1977

Drainage Area: 5,823 sq. miles

We strive to keep the information on LakeLubbers as accurate as possible. However, if you’ve found something in this article that needs updating, we’d certainly love to hear from you! Please fill out our Content Correction form.

More Saylorville Lake news from LakeLubbers.com

  • Advertise your vacation rental property or local business: DETAILS HERE
  • The Saylorville Lake forum has been discontinued: HERE’S WHY
  • New Saylorville Lake photos coming soon!
  • You’re invited to join our lake-lovin’ community on Facebook and Instagram!
  • Share this Saylorville Lake article with your fellow LakeLubbers:

Do you have a vacation rental property at Saylorville Lake? Coming in 2022, LakeLubbers will have an opportunity for you to showcase your listing and put it in front of thousands of lake lovers searching our site for homes, condos or townhomes to rent for their upcoming lake trip this season.

Please get in touch with our advertising team HERE and we’ll provide you more details on this upcoming advertising opportunity.

divider

Looking for the Saylorville Lake forum?

LakeLubbers previously offered visitors the ability to create accounts and participate in lake forums. When we overhauled the site’s content management system in 2021 we had to disable those features. We’re evaluating options and welcome your comments and feedback here.

We also encourage you to join our lake-lovin’ community on Facebook and Instagram!

Click here to advertise your Saylorville Lake vacation rental or local business.

The former Saylorville Lake forum is closed. Find out why here.

New Saylorville Lake photo gallery is coming soon.

Please share this article with your fellow lake lovers!

Spread the word! Share our Saylorville Lake article with your fellow Lake Lubbers!

Explore local Saylorville Lake vacation rentals and hotel accommodations using our interactive map. Clicking on listings below will allow you to compare nearby properties, best rates and availability for your dates.

Looking for the old Saylorville Lake forum group? Click Here

New Saylorville Lake photos coming soon!

Vacation Home Name

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Nam consequat a neque id hendrerit. Mauris ut commodo erat. Praesent at fermentum sem. Vivamus dui turpis, posuere sed auctor a, luctus semper nibh. Etiam quis neque vehicula, finibus sem sit amet, condimentum turpis….

  • 2 bedrooms
  • 2 bathrooms
  • hot tub
  • wifi