Lake Francis Case
Lake Francis Case is the large, gently winding reservoir behind Fort Randall Dam on the Missouri River in south-central South Dakota. The lake has an area of 102,000 acres and a maximum depth of 140 feet. Lake Francis Case covers just over 100 miles and has a shoreline of 540 miles.
The rolling prairie terrain surrounding along Lake Francis Case is a peaceful paradise for outdoors enthusiasts, while the reservoir itself is home to all kinds of water recreation. Species of fish in the reservoir include walleye, northern pike, sauger, sunfish, yellow perch, common carp, black bullhead, channel catfish and smallmouth bass.
Lake Francis Case cuts through grassy prairie and grain fields that provide habitat for pheasant, sharp-tailed grouse, prairie chickens, turkeys and geese. Hunters also pursue big game animals such as white-tailed deer, mule deer and antelope.
Two national wildlife refuges, Lake Andes and Karl E. Mundt, are set aside to protect the waterfowl and wildlife. At the Lake Andes National Wildlife Refuge, visitors may encounter any number of species indigenous to the area, from beaver to white-tailed deer. During the spring and fall migrations, bird watchers enjoy a great diversity of birds including a large number of bald and golden eagles.
Fort Randall Dam
The Fort Randall Dam is the earth embankment dam forming Lake Francis Case in south-central South Dakota. This reservoir travels over 100 miles.
The dam was authorized by the Flood Control Act of 1944 and plays a key role in the development of water resources in the Missouri River basin. The Corps of Engineers began construction of Fort Randall Dam in 1946. President Dwight D. Eisenhower threw the switch that started the first power generating unit in 1954. The entire project was completed in 1956.
The Fort Randall Dam area is home to one of America's largest wintering concentrations of bald and golden eagles. The Karl E. Mundt National Wildlife Refuge, just below Fort Randall Dam, is where visitors often spot bald eagles sitting high atop cottonwood trees lining the shore. Winter is prime eagle-watching time.
Old Fort Randall, a military fort built in 1856, once stood in the shadow of Fort Randall Dam. Today, visitors can walk the parade grounds and imagine what life was like at this lonely frontier post. Tours of Fort Randall Dam and the Powerhouse are available during the summer.