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Wyoming Lakes & Reservoirs - Boysen Reservoir
Information provided by Wyoming Parks and Cultural Resources

History of Boysen Reservoir

Asmus Boysen, the man for whom Boysen Reservoir, Boysen peak, and Boysen State Park were named was born in Copenhagen, Denmark around 1868. As a youngster, he worked his passage to America where he settled in Illinois. In 1889 he married Anna Leet; they had nine children of which four survived: a son Allen and three daughters Helena, Marie and Darlene. They later moved to Iowa. While on a mining exploration trip to Wyoming around the turn of the century Boysen and his party visited the Wind River Canyon. Boysen visioned a dam that could furnish electrical power to the surrounding mines. The water could be used for irrigation. On July 1, 1899 he secured a grazing lease for 78,000 acres from the Shoshone and Arapaho Indians. On March 3, 1905 he exchanged his lease to clear title of 640 acres at the mouth of the Wind River Canyon where he built his dam in 1908. It was estimated it would cost $160,000 to build. It ended up costing $2,000,000. It was unique in that the 710 K W power plant operated until 1925 when the floods filled up the turbines with silt and when the reservoir threatened to flood the railroad, part of the dam was removed. The rest of the dam was removed in 1948. Part of the original dam can be seen on the cliff wall adjacent to the tunnels at the north end of the Lower Wind River Canyon.

Travel Directions & Park Overview

Where is Boysen State Park? It is located near the center of the state 100 miles west of Casper. Access to park facilities are both on highway US 20 on the east side of the reservoir and US 26 for the south and west side of the reservoir. The park is located at the south end of the wind river Canyon and covers 40,000 acres. Most of the facilities are around the lake but two campgrounds are below the dam along the Wind River. The majority of the park is surrounded by sagebrush covered hills. The elevation is about 4,800 feet. The area is relatively dry. The 19,000 acre reservoir offers excellent recreation opportunities. Boysen reservoir holds the state record for walleye at 17 lbs. 6 3/4 oz. It offers excellent ice fishing in the winter. Many type of water foul and wildlife may be viewed in the area. Groceries, bait, fuel for boats, campgrounds with some hookups, and fishing licenses are available at the marina at the north end of the reservoir. Access to park facilities are on both Highway 20 on the east side of the reservoir and on Highway 26 on the south.

Accommodations & Camping

Boysen State Park has eleven campgrounds of which nine of them are around the lake. The other two are in the canyon below the dam along the river. There are over two hundred sites with tables and grills. Most of the sites are pull through and will accommodate large R.V's and trailers. The two campgrounds along the river have the most shade trees and level campsites.

Annual & Current Events

Memorial Day Weekend.  Desert Storm and Viet Nam Reunion.  For information call Jeff Martin at 307/332-9146.

Fishing Has No Boundaries Fishing Tournament.  June 12th and 13th.   This tournament is geared towards the handicapped.  For information call Shirley Allmaras at 307/864-9376.

10th Annual Governor's Cup Walleye Tournament.  June 26th and 27th   For information call Eric Whitaker at 307/857-6924.

Fireworks Display.  July 4th, this event is offered by the Shoshoni Fire Department.  Call 307-876-2418 for Details.

Shoshoni Chamber of Commerce Fishing Derby.  July 16th, 17th and 18th.  For information call the Shoshoni Chamber of Commerce at (307) 876-2418.

Some Important Park Rules

  1. Motorized vehicles shall be operated only on roads, trails or areas designated for such use.
  2. All visitors must abide by posted speed limits.
  3. Only persons possessing a valid motor vehicle operator's license may operate a vehicle.
  4. Camping is permitted for a maximum of 14 consecutive days at one park.
  5. Quiet shall be maintained in all areas used for camping between the hours of 10 p.m. And 6 a.m.
  6. All trash shall be deposited in containers designated for that purpose; however, we would appreciate that you pack out your own trash.
  7. Fires are permitted only in fireplaces or grills as provided and must be completely extinguished before leaving.
  8. Fishing and boating are permitted subject to regulations prescribed by the Wyoming Game & Fish Department.
  9. All pets must be kept on a leash.
  10. Hunting is allowed only during official seasons. Fireworks are prohibited.

Be a good neighbor. Be considerate of your fellow camper. Leave your campsite cleaner than you found it.

Things To Do

Throw in Your Fishing Line Boysen Reservoir contains a diverse fishery. Anglers will discover walleye, sauger, perch, crappie, ling, rainbow, cutthroat and brown trout as the major sports species. Other game fish present are largemouth bass, bluegill, stonecat, black bullhead, mountain whitefish, lake trout, brook trout and splake. Non-game species include carp, fathead minnow, plains killifish, golden and sand shiners; flathead, lake and creek chubs; white, longnose and northern redhorse suckers; and the river carpsucker. recently Boysen holds the state record on three types of fish; the walleye at 17.42 lbs, the black crappie at 2.34 lbs and the carp sucker at 6.15 lbs. The walleye is also a world record through the ice.

Along with fishing, swimming, skiing on the lake, one could take a white water rafting trip through the Wing River Canyon. Tour the dinosaur museum in Thermopolis or any of the other several museums in the area, visit the Wind River Indian Reservation, Study the geological formation throughout the canyon or view the wildlife and look for elusive big horn sheep in the canyon.

Facts, Figures and Important Phone Numbers

Main Number (307)876-2796
Fax Number (307)876-9305
Closest Town Shoshoni
Hookups N/A
# of Camping Sites 202
Trailer Dump Station Yes
# of Sandy Beaches 4
# of Group Picnic Shelters 2
# of Covered Shelters 16
# of Picnic Areas 11
Playgrounds 6
# of Restrooms 28
Public Telephone Yes(2)
Boat Ramp/Dock Yes
Visitor Center, museum, and gift shops N/A
Marina Boysen Marina(307)876-2772

Other Facts


  • Structural height: 216 ft.
  • Crest length: 1,100 ft.
  • Type: rolled earth, rock-fill
  • Volume of material: 1,700,000 cu. Yds.
  • Spillway capacity: 20,000 cu. Ft./sec.
  • Power plant: 15,000 K W


  • Water: 19,560 acres
  • Shoreline: 76 miles
  • Length: 20 miles
  • Widest point: 5.5 miles
  • Land: 15,145 acres

Books of Interest


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