Lake Oahe’s nickname is “The Big Water” because it is so impressive, even in a state rich with rivers and lakes. The 230-mile waterway lies between the state capital cities of the two Dakotas, Pierre and Bismarck. It is so wide, wild and winding that boaters have become lost on its tributaries. But never fear; there are 100 or more bait shops, guide services, campgrounds, boat rentals, bars and restaurants — most, oddly, on the east side of the river — to point you in the right direction. The waters of Oahe are renowned for walleye — plus white bass, Northern pike and perch. Wildlife officials have also released Chinook salmon because the lake, with depths of 200 feet, stays cold enough for them to survive. The Oahe valley is also a wildlife paradise, rich with waterfowl, pheasant, sharp-tailed grouse and deer.
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