Cedar Lake, Indiana, USA

Lake Locations:

USA - Midwest - Indiana - North -

Also known as:  Lake of The Red Cedars

Historic Cedar Lake in the North Region of Indiana has figured prominently in Chicago-area resort history. The 794-acre natural lake was the result of a large block of glacial ice that was left when the glacier receded thousands of years ago. Located a few miles east of the Indiana-Illinois state line, the lake was originally called Lake of The Red Cedars for the large number of trees lining its shores. Now, the lake is a favored residential lake for commuters from Gary and Chicago who enjoy lake living, boating and fishing. The shoreline is heavily developed with increasingly upscale housing; the Cedar Lake community is populated by nearly 10,000 residents. The local yacht club is a center of community activity as is the Cedar Lake Country Club.

Fishing, boating and golf form the center of activity around Cedar Lake. The large shallow lake is favored for sailing, pontooning, jet skis, water skiing and power boating. There is little public access to the lake other than a boat launch on the north shore. However, thousands of children have fond memories of Cedar Lake after attendance at a church-sponsored camp on the west shore. Here they enjoy swimming, canoeing, kayaking, picnicking, volleyball, tennis, team sports, campfires and religious instruction. The camp also sponsors adult religious retreats and offers a small public campground with RV services. Other visitors can take advantage of the many vacation rentals long the lakefront.

A marina on the northwest shore of Cedar Lake rents pontoons, jet skis and other watercraft besides selling ice, convenience foods and fishing necessities. The yacht club teaches sailing and holds regular regattas on the lake. Fishing is popular here, with some large crappies being the main attraction. Other sport fish include largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, bluegills and an occasional white perch, illegally planted.

The main water outlet of Cedar Lake is Cedar Creek, leading from the east side of the lake to Lake Delacarlia, a man-made lake a few miles downstream. A city park on the east side of the lake offers a small beach, playground, picnic tables and recreation courts. Less than a mile east of the lake, Lemon Lake County Park is open to the public. Lemon Lake offers fishing, hiking, cross-country skiing, picnic facilities with grills, restrooms, sledding hill, baseball and softball diamonds, tennis courts, soccer field, volleyball courts, dog park and paddleboat rental in season. The park also has a championship disk golf course where the World’s Professional Disk Golf Tournament will be held in July of 2010.

Only 20 miles south of Gary, Indiana and 40 miles from Chicago, Cedar Lake became a favored hunting and fishing destination early in the development of Chicago as a business hub. By 1834, lodges were being built along the shore to accommodate European hunters who shared game trails with the local Pottawatomie. By 1850, the Native American population had been forced farther west, and the lake was becoming a more frequent destination for hunting and fishing. It wasn’t until a railroad was built through the area that hundreds of visitors arrived each week to stay at the many resort hotels, enjoy steamship cruises along the lake, and swim, fish and enjoy the beaches. At one time there were over 50 resort hotels on the lake. The Monan Railroad built a park along the lake next to the rail line and brought trainloads to visit the lake from Chicago and other upstate areas. At one time, the Monon Railroad brought out thousands of employees from the Marshall field store in Chicago for picnics and family outings. Several ballrooms and pavilions dotted the lakefront, such as the Midway Gardens and the Lassen Pavilion, bringing in nationally-known bands to entertain area residents and visitors. Regular visitors began to build small cottages for summer use.

During the winter the ice industry employed both local residents and itinerant workers, bringing them from Chicago by train, to cut large blocks of ice from the lake. The ice was sent to the meat packing houses like the Armour Meat Company in Chicago. During WWII, workers came from the south to work in the Gary steel mills and often converted the tiny summer cottages to year-round homes. Later, these small cottages were often torn down and larger homes rebuilt on the site. The resort business faded away to be replaced by a lakefront community of year-round and part-time residents. The Lake of The Red Cedars Museum, located in one of the old resort hotels, has many pictures and artifacts detailing life at the lake in the previous 150 years.

Cedar Lake was finally incorporated as a town in 1967 and is still experiencing growth. Several new condo and townhouse developments have been built. The area is still in high demand as vacation property for those from the Chicago area, and real estate has continued to hold its value. Many of the part-time residents lease their homes as vacation rentals. Most include either a boat or directions to the nearest boat rental for the convenience of visitors. Hotel accommodations are available in the immediate area, although not on the lake front. And the countryside around Cedar Lake offers several bed-and-breakfasts not far away. Finding rental housing on or near Cedar Lake isn’t difficult and makes an ideal get-away from Chicago, Gary, Indianapolis or South Bend. So, come and enjoy the sunsets at Cedar Lake. You’ll soon be shopping for a condo overlooking the lake.

Things to do at Cedar Lake IN

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Boating
  • Sailing
  • Swimming
  • Beach
  • Canoeing
  • Kayaking
  • Jet Skiing
  • Water Skiing
  • Golf
  • Tennis
  • Camping
  • Campground
  • Picnicking
  • Hiking
  • Cross-Country Skiing
  • Hunting
  • City Park
  • Museum
  • Playground
  • Shopping

Fish species found at Cedar Lake IN

  • Bass
  • Black Bass
  • Bluegill
  • Crappie
  • Largemouth Bass
  • Perch
  • Smallmouth Bass
  • White Perch

Cedar Lake IN Photo Gallery

    Cedar Lake IN Statistics & Helpful Links

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    Lake Type: Natural Freshwater Lake, Not Dammed

    Surface Area: 794 acres

    Shoreline Length: 6 miles

    Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 593 feet

    Average Depth: 9 feet

    Maximum Depth: 16 feet

    Trophic State: Eutrophic

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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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