Bois de Sioux River

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Bois de Sioux River
Bois de Sioux.jpg
The Bois de Sioux River below the dam of Lake Traverse. Roberts County, South Dakota is at left, and Traverse County, Minnesota is at right.
The Red River drainage basin, with the Bois de Sioux River highlighted
Basin features
Main source Dam at the foot of Lake Traverse, South Dakota
45°51′42″N 96°34′23″W / 45.8616667°N 96.5730556°W / 45.8616667; -96.5730556 (Bois de Sioux River origin)
River mouth Confluence with the Otter Tail River to form the Red River
951 ft (290 m)
46°15′52″N 96°35′55″W / 46.2644444°N 96.5986111°W / 46.2644444; -96.5986111 (Bois de Sioux River mouth)Coordinates: 46°15′52″N 96°35′55″W / 46.2644444°N 96.5986111°W / 46.2644444; -96.5986111 (Bois de Sioux River mouth)
Progression Bois de Sioux River → Red River → Lake Winnipeg → Nelson River → Hudson Bay → Atlantic Ocean
Physical characteristics
Length 41 mi (66 km)
GNIS ID 640348

The Bois de Sioux River drains Lake Traverse, the southernmost body of water in the Hudson Bay watershed of North America. It is a tributary of the Red River of the North and defines part of the western border of the U.S. state of Minnesota, and the eastern borders of North Dakota and South Dakota. It is about 41 miles (66 km) in length.[1][2]

Bois de Sioux is a name derived from French meaning "Woods of the Sioux".[3]


The river flows northward from a Corps of Engineers dam at the north end of Lake Traverse and shortly enters Mud Lake. Downstream of Mud Lake it is a small stream, and its flow has been channelized and straightened in some places so that the watercourse diverges slightly from the historic state boundary. It passes the town of White Rock before joining the Otter Tail River to form the Red River of the North at Wahpeton, North Dakota, and Breckenridge, Minnesota.


The two largest tributaries of the Bois de Sioux are the Mustinka River, which flows into Lake Traverse, and the Rabbit River south of Breckenridge; both of these enter from Minnesota.

The Bois de Sioux River below the dam of Mud Lake, in Traverse County, Minnesota. This section of the river has been re-routed to flow in a straight line slightly east of the Minnesota-South Dakota border.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ U.S. Geological Survey. National Hydrography Dataset high-resolution flowline data. The National Map Archived 2012-04-05 at WebCite, accessed June 8, 2011
  2. ^ U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: Bois de Sioux River
  3. ^ Upham, Warren (1920). Minnesota Geographic Names: Their Origin and Historic Significance. Minnesota Historical Society. p. 554. 
  • Waters, Thomas F. (1977). The Streams and Rivers of Minnesota. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. ISBN 0-8166-0960-8.