Albert Lea Lake, Minnesota, USA

Lake Locations:

USA - Midwest - Minnesota - Southern -

Hikers wake up to the sun filtering through the trees and the chirping of indigo buntings and eastern bluebirds at Albert Lea Lake in southern Minnesota. A quick hop out of the tent reveals a soft mist disappearing off the lake’s sparkling surface. On the opposite side of the lake, families stroll by the water’s many walkways, out from their nearby homes and towards the downtown area of Albert Lea for a leisurely breakfast.

Albert Lea Lake is a diverse body of water which caters to many different lifestyles. This shallow, 2,685-acre lake is located in Freeborn County in Minnesota’s southern tourism region. Albert Lea Lake is a glacial lake, formed over 10,000 years ago during the last ice age.

Albert Lea Lake is part of a chain of lakes in the Shell Rock River watershed of southern Minnesota. Water flows into Albert Lea Lake from Fountain Lake via a channel that is not navigable by boat. Albert Lea Lake is the headwaters of the Shell Rock River to the south. A dam constructed in 1864 enlarged and deepened the lake.

The eastern section of Albert Lea Lake’s shoreline wraps around the Myre-Big Island State Park, a 2,000-acre park with amenities ranging from miles of rugged hiking trails for the day user to secluded camping spots for the solitary backpacker. The Big Island section of the park, which can be accessed by road over the lake, is a mini paradise of trails laden with basswood, ash, elm and red oak trees towering over the trails. Trout lily, bloodroot, hepatica and spring beauty begin flowering during Minnesota’s warmer months, much to the enjoyment of visitors.

Not far from the shores of Albert Lea Lake is the Itasca Rock Garden, a castle-like building constructed in the early 1900s by Danishman John Christensen as a personal art project. Now privately-owned but still open to the public, this intriguing garden is not often visited. The garden offers visitors rock ponds, bridges and unique plant life. Get lost in the lush vegetation and take yourself back in time while walking through stone archways and into dark grottos.

Albert Lea Lake’s average depths of 3.5 feet and maximum depths of 5.5 feet host a number of fish species. The lake has been called one of the top walleye lakes in Minnesota, attracting in anglers from all over to snag their share of the fish. Because of its shallow waters, there is a history of winterkill during extremely cold months. However, fish species recover well, and anglers’ fishing poles will find black crappie, black bullhead, yellow perch and common carp. Multiple public access points dot the shoreline of the lake, and despite its shallow depth, there are no motor restrictions on Albert Lea Lake.

For those more inclined to stick to the city after a day at Albert Lea Lake, the city is within walking distance at the water’s western shoreline. Specialty food shops line the downtown district, along with anything from upscale to casual dining. For the outdoorsy types, snowmobiling trails are scattered throughout the area, making Albert Lea a year round retreat for those looking for a place to settle. Numerous real estate opportunities abound, both near the lake and in close-knit communities.

Whether you’re hosting a barbecue on your porch during the summer, overlooking Albert Lea Lake, or taking part in the city’s family-friendly events throughout the year, you don’t want to miss the opportunities the area has to offer.

Things to do at Albert Lea Lake

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Boating
  • Camping
  • Hiking
  • Snowmobiling
  • State Park

Fish species found at Albert Lea Lake

  • Black Bullhead
  • Black Crappie
  • Carp
  • Crappie
  • Perch
  • Trout
  • Walleye
  • Yellow Perch

Albert Lea Lake Photo Gallery

    Albert Lea Lake Statistics & Helpful Links

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    Lake Type: Not Known

    Water Level Control: City of Albert Lea

    Surface Area: 2,685 acres

    Shoreline Length: 24 miles

    Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 1,212 feet

    Average Depth: 4 feet

    Maximum Depth: 6 feet

    Water Volume: 8,585 acre-feet

    Water Residence Time: .22 years

    Trophic State: Hypereutrophic

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    Trophic State | LakeLubbers

    Trophic State measures the level of algae and nutrients in a lake.

    An oligotrophic lake is very clear (blue in color) and does not support much plant or fish life. A hyper-oligotrophic lake is the clearest of all lakes, and is nearly devoid of plants and fish.

    A mesotrophic lake is slightly green and supports a moderate degree of plant and fish life. A lake's most desired trophic state is generally this mid-point - the mesotrophic state.

    A eutrophic lake is somewhat murky and supports a large amount of plant and fish life. A hypereutrophic lake is clouded with algae, plant life, and fish life. A eutrophic or hyper-eutrophic lake can be difficult to navigate by boat - and is often an unpleasant place to swim.

    The use of phosphorus-rich and nitrogen-rich fertilizer on lawns and golf courses surrounding a lake can cause it to become eutrophic or hypereutrophic.


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    Catchment or Drainage Area | LakeLubbers

    This is the surrounding area that drains into a lake, including land, rivers and their tributaries. This is also known as the lake's "catchment basin".

    Small lakes at the highest peaks of mountains have small drainage areas. The world's oceans have the largest drainage areas.


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    Lake-Area Population | LakeLubbers

    This is the estimated number of people who live in a house with a view of a lake, plus those who self-describe the lake as their home, for example: "I live at Smith Mountain Lake."


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    Water Residence Time | LakeLubbers

    This is the estimated time that it takes for an amount of water equal to the entire volume of a lake to flow out of - or evaporate from - the lake.

    Residence Time can be as short as a few days for fast-flowing small lakes, and can exceed 100 years for slow-flowing large lakes.


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    Completion Year | LakeLubbers

    This is the year that a reservoir was first filled to the reservoir's normal elevation - or the year that a natural lake was first dammed. A large reservoir can take more than a year to fill after its dam is first closed.

    The Grand Anicut in southern India is generally considered the world's oldest dam that still operates. Grand Anicut was constructed in the second century BC. It now impounds an irrigation network that includes roughly one million acres.

    You can find many of the the world's newest reservoirs on LakeLubbers. Many of the world's oldest reservoirs appear on the last page of that list.


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    Water Volume | LakeLubbers

    This is the estimated volume of water that a lake contains -- measured at the lake's normal elevation. By this measure, the world's largest freshwater lake is Siberia's Lake Baikal.

    You can find many of the the world's largest lakes (by water volume) on LakeLubbers.

    Water Volume can be measured in acre-feet, in cubic miles, or in cubic kilometers. One acre-foot is the amount of water needed to cover one acre (43,560 square feet) to a depth of one foot. One cubic mile equals 3,379,200 acre-feet. One cubic kilometer equals 810,713 acre-feet.

    1 acre-foot is equal to 325,851 US gallons. Siberia's Lake Baikal contains about 6,276,367,740,000,000 gallons of freshwater - nearly 1 million gallons for every living person on earth.

    The other - and more widely used - measure of a lake's size is the lake's surface acreage. By that measure, the world's largest freshwater lake is North America's Lake Superior.


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    Maximum Depth | LakeLubbers

    This is the estimated greatest depth of the water in a lake -- measured at the lake's normal elevation. The world's deepest lake is Siberia's Lake Baikal; that lake's maximum depth is estimated at 5,314 feet.

    You can find many of the the world's deepest lakes on LakeLubbers. If you select the last page of that list, you will find the (maximum depth of) the shallowest lakes in our database.


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    Average Depth | LakeLubbers

    This is the estimated average depth of the water in a lake -- measured at the lake's normal elevation. If the water volume and surface area of a lake are known, an estimate of the lake's average depth can be calculated:

    Water volume ÷ Surface Area = Average Depth

    Example: 1,000,000 acre-feet ÷ 20,000 acres = 50 feet average depth


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    Maximum Elevation | LakeLubbers

    This is a lake's highest water level, measured by the lake's surface distance above sea level, that can occur during flooding. A lake's highest possible maximum elevation is usually the top of the lake's dam or spillway.

    At lakes that include residential development, government regulations usually forbid the construction of homes below a lake's maximum elevation.


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    Minimum Elevation | LakeLubbers

    This is a lake's lowest water level, measured by the lake's surface distance above sea level, that can be reasonably expected to occur. Low lake levels can occur due to deliberate seasonal draw downs for irrigation or impending snow melt, reduced water inflows, drought and evaporation, residential or commercial water demands, and hydropower generation.

    Some lakes' minimum and maximum elevations are virtually the same. Lakes that generate hydropower may vary by several feet - according to power demand. Lakes whose primary purpose is to prevent flooding can seasonally vary by 100 feet or more.

    When some lakes reach their minimum elevation, their boat ramps may not be long enough to permit boat access - and boats docked on shallow parts of the lake may end up on dry ground. In those cases, kayakers and shore-based anglers may be among the few happy recreational users of the lake.


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    Normal Elevation | LakeLubbers

    This is a lake's normal water level, measured by the lake's surface distance above sea level. For a reservoir, this water level is also known as "full pond" or "full pool".

    You can find many of the world's highest-elevated lakes on LakeLubbers. Lakes with the lowest elevations (known by LakeLubbers) are shown on the final page of that list.


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    Shoreline Length | LakeLubbers

    This is the length of the exterior shoreline around a lake - measured at the lake's normal elevation. The shoreline length can be considerably shorter or longer when lake water levels are lower or higher than normal.

    A lake with many coves has a much longer shoreline than a lake of similar surface area that is nearly circular in shape.

    When known, the shoreline miles that we report in our statistics include only the lake's exterior shoreline, and exclude the shorelines of islands located within a lake's boundaries. In lakes with many islands, those islands' combined shorelines may exceed a lake's exterior shoreline.

    You can find many of the world's longest-shoreline lakes on Lakelubbers.


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    Surface Area | LakeLubbers

    This is the area (acreage, square kilometers, etc.) of the top surface area of a lake - measured at a lake's normal elevation. The surface area can be considerably smaller or larger when lake levels are lower or higher than normal. North America's Lake Superior is the world's largest freshwater lake by this measure.

    The other measure of a lake's size is the lake's water volume. By that measure, the world's largest freshwater lake is Lake Baikal in Siberia.

    You can find many of the world's largest lakes (acres) on Lakelubbers. There is no widely-accepted minimum surface area that defines a lake. What Lakelubbers describes as a lake, you might call a pond. The smallest lake that Lakelubbers currently includes is Hawaii's 2-acre Lake Waiau.


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    Water Level Control | LakeLubbers

    This is the organization that controls water releases or outflows from the lake or reservoir. In the USA, this is often the US Army Corps of Engineers, a power company, a municipal water system, an irrigation district, or a paper manufacturing company. In the case of private or gated lakes, a homeowners' association may be the lake's controlling authority.

    Many lakes cross borders, including North America's Great Lakes. The control of such lakes and their coveted freshwater may be amicably shared - or hotly disputed.

    "Water wars" continue at many lakes as growing populations and crop irrigation needs compete for the freshwater that lakes contain.


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    Lake Type | LakeLubbers

    There are 3 basic types of lakes that are currently included on LakeLubbers. 2 types may be dammed or not dammed, producing 5 classifications.

    - A Reservoir is a man-made freshwater lake that is usually created by damming rivers.

    - A Natural Freshwater Lake occurs naturally - often by glacial activity - and has a salinity of less than 30 parts per thousand. It may be dammed to produce electricity or for other reasons.

    - A Natural Saltwater Lake occurs naturally and has a salinity of more than 30 parts per thousand (ppt). It may be dammed.

    "Brackish" water may be categorized as freshwater or saltwater, depending on its salt content (salinity). Oligohaline water has less than 15 ppt of salt. Mesohaline water has 15-29 ppt. Polyhaline has 30-335 ppt.


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