Large rivers throughout the world have been modified by using dike structures to divert water flows to deepwater habitats to maintain navigation channels. These modifications have been implicated in the decline in habitat diversity and native fishes. However, dike structures have been modified in the Missouri River USA to increase habitat diversity to aid in the recovery of native fishes. We compared species occupancy and fish community composition at natural sandbars and at notched and un-notched rock dikes along the lower Missouri River to determine if notching dikes increases species diversity or occupancy of native fishes. Fish were collected using gill nets, trammel nets, otter trawls, and mini fyke nets throughout the lower 1212 river km of the Missouri River USA from 2003 to 2006. Few differences in species richness and diversity were evident among engineered dike structures and natural sandbars. Notching a dike structure had no effect on proportional abundance of fluvial dependents, fluvial specialists, and macrohabitat generalists. Occupancy at notched dikes increased for two species but did not differ for 17 other species (81%). Our results suggest that dike structures may provide suitable habitats for fluvial species compared with channel sand bars, but dike notching did not increase abundance or occupancy of most Missouri River fishes. Published in 2011 by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.