Lake DeSmet Operating Department

Diversion Dam
Diversion Dam

For information on camping at Lake DeSmet, please contact the Mikesell-Potts Recreation Area at 307-684-2262.


Water is available from Johnson County for industrial (including construction), agriculture, municipal and other uses.  Please contact the Lake DeSmet Operating Department at or call 307-620-1924 for further information.

Department Information

The Lake DeSmet Operating Department was created by the Johnson County Commissioners through Resolution #467 on January 8, 2013.  The "Operating Department" is responsible for the operation and management of the Lake DeSmet Reservoir.Johnson County is responsible for 68.27% of the annual operation and maintenance costs associated with the Lake DeSmet Reservoir.  The State of Wyoming is responsible for the remaining 31.73%.  The Lake DeSmet Operating Department, the State of Wyoming, and the Wyoming Game and Fish work cooperatively to develop sustainable operation and maintenance plans while preserving the recreational value of Lake DeSmet.


Megan Fraley - Operations Manager
Office Annex A - Suite C26 N. DeSmet Ave.
Buffalo, WY 82834
(307) 425-6539 (office)
(307) 620-1924 (cell)

Harvey Crowe - Operations Consultant

Applications & Forms

Regulations & Resolutions

The revised Lake DeSmet Reservoir & Shoreline Protection Regulations were approved on April 6, 2022 by the Johnson County Commissioners.

Diversion Dam
Diversion Dam

Outlet House
Outlet House
Debris Removal
Debris Removal

Water Levels

Interesting Facts

  • The Maximum Depth of Lake DeSmet is 120 feet.
  • The Intake Tunnel is 8.5 feet in diameter and 8316 feet long.
  • The Earliest Priority for storage of water in Lake DeSmet dates back to 1906.
  • The Lake DeSmet Reservoir capacity is 234,987 acre feet.

Click below to see a schematic diagram of water rights pertaining to Lake DeSmet.

Schematic Diagram