Bob Shetler Picnic Area

Johnston, Iowa


Bob Shetler Picnic Area is a day-use facility located in the tailwater area below Saylorville Dam, and is a popular destination for shoreline fishermen.

The 26,000-acre Saylorville Lake Project stretches over 50 miles up the Des Moines River Valley. The lake provides a wide variety of recreational activities, including boating, swimming, fishing, hiking and hunting.


Visitors come to Saylorville Lake for its great boating, sailing, water skiing, windsurfing and swimming opportunities. Anglers fish for walleye, wiper, largemouth bass, catfish, crappie and northern pike.

The paved Neal Smith Trail winds 24 miles from Des Moines to Big Creek State Park and connects the campgrounds on the east side of the lake. It is designated as a National Recreation Trail and is used for biking, hiking, jogging, walking and in-line skating.


The day-use area offers two large group picnic areas with water and electric hookups. Amenities include flush toilets, a volleyball court, playground and hiking trails.

Natural Features

Large shade trees dot the open grassy land around the picnic area, which offers pleasant views of the Des Moines River.

Wildlife is abundant throughout the project. White-tailed deer, turkeys, pheasants, waterfowl, and other small game animals roam the lands around the lake.


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