Clinton Lake, Kansas, USA

Lake Locations:

USA - Midwest - Kansas - Northeast -

Also known as:  Clinton Reservoir

Clinton Lake is a 7,000-acre reservoir located in northeastern Kansas, just south of Interstate 70 near Lawrence (between Topeka and Kansas City). Congress authorized the construction of Clinton Reservoir in 1962 with initial construction starting in 1971 to control flooding on the Wakarusa and Kansas Rivers. Managed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the lake was filled slowly over a three year period from 1977 to 1980 to allow the native grass to remain on most of the upper lake bed. Two thirds of the native vegetation remains as fish habitat, creating an ideal environment for fish.

Clinton State Park on the shores of Clinton Lake provides camping, hiking, mountain biking, bird watching, and cross-country skiing. The park provides utility hookups, a full-service marina, an archery range, restrooms, drinking water, and a playground. Nearly 500 campsites and 240 RV sites with water and electricity are available. Fifteen of the campsites can be reserved with the remaining sites being on a first-come basis. The State Park hosts the four-day Wakarusa Music and Camping Festival in early June.

Five campgrounds at Clinton Lake are managed by the Corps of Engineers including Rockhaven Park, Woodridge Park, and Bloomington East Park with three campgrounds (Cedar Ridge, Walnut, and Hickory). Shower buildings, playgrounds, and sanitary dumps are provided in the more developed campgrounds. Full electric hookups are available at Cedar Ridge, Walnut, and Hickory. The Walnut and Hickory campgrounds share an amphitheater where evening programs are presented on most Saturdays from May through September.

Rockhaven Park is the only campground on Clinton Lake that allows guests to camp with their horses or mules. There are no hookups and only two vault toilets for 50 campsites. The main trailhead for the South Shore or Rockhaven Trail is located in Rockhaven Park. Primitive camping is available at Woodridge Park and is free of charge and open all year. You can camp all along a 4.5 mile trail as it travels through fields and along the shoreline of Clinton Lake. Group camp facilities are at Bloomington West Group Camp and at Ash and Elm Group Camps.

Wildlife at Clinton Lake includes deer (which are open for hunting on more than 11,000 acres), quail, cottontail rabbit, squirrel, and mourning dove. The fall migration includes Canada and snow geese, mallard, teal, migrating ducks, and in recent years bald eagles. White and black crappie, white bass, striped bass, northern pike, walleye, channel cat, flathead catfish, and bull head thrive in Clinton Lake, which consists of fish habitats such as mudflats, drop-offs, river channels, rocks, and trees.

Clinton Lake Marina offers 16 boat ramps, eight courtesy docks, retail sales, equipment rental, a floating restaurant, and a launching area for windsurfers and jet skis. Bow hunting is allowed on the south side of Clinton Lake and is managed by the Corps of Engineers.

If hiking is your passion, then head to Clinton Lake where there are over 50 miles of trails. The North Shore Trail has over 21 miles of hiking and biking trails that begin in Overlook Park and end at the Coon Creek arm of the lake. The 4.5 mile George Latham Trail is located in Woodridge Park and offers overnight camping along the trail. The longest trail at 30 miles is the South Shore or Rockhaven Trail. It allows horseback riding and hiking and is accessed at both Rockhaven Park or in the Rock Creek area. Take one of the two self-guided trails at the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers Information Center to learn about the flora and fauna. The Backwoods Trail is 5/8 of a mile and the Discovery Trail is Ã,½ mile. The most recent trail at Clinton Lake is the South Lawrence Trafficway Hike/Bike Path that runs parallel to the new K-10 bypass road. The 8.5 mile path heads from Highway 59 south of Lawrence to Douglas County 438.

Local attractions include the Territorial Capitol Museum at Lane University and Constitution Hall State Historic Site. The Museum, which was first constructed as the capitol of the State of Kansas, is now operated by the Lecompton Historical Society. It contains three floors of artifacts and period furnishings. Constitution Hall was built in 1856 to house the official Kansas Territorial government. The building is the oldest wood-frame government building remaining and contains two floors of pre-Civil War exhibits.

While Clinton Lake was initially built to control flooding and provide water to the City of Lawrence, it is now considered an outdoor haven for campers, anglers, hikers, bikers and hunters.

Things to do at Clinton Lake KS

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Boating
  • Jet Skiing
  • Camping
  • Campground
  • Hiking
  • Biking
  • Cross-Country Skiing
  • Horseback Riding
  • Hunting
  • Wildlife Viewing
  • Birding
  • State Park
  • Museum
  • Playground

Fish species found at Clinton Lake KS

  • Bass
  • Black Crappie
  • Catfish
  • Crappie
  • Flathead Catfish
  • Northern Pike
  • Perch
  • Pike
  • Striped Bass
  • Walleye
  • White Bass

Clinton Lake KS Photo Gallery

Clinton Lake KS Statistics & Helpful Links

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Lake Type: Artificial Reservoir, Dammed

Water Level Control: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

Surface Area: 7,000 acres

Shoreline Length: 85 miles

Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 875 feet

Minimum Elevation (Min Pond): 0 feet

Maximum Elevation (Max Pond): 928 feet

Average Depth: 7 feet

Maximum Depth: 55 feet

Water Volume: 110,400 acre-feet

Completion Year: 1980

Water Residence Time: 9 months

Drainage Area: 367 sq. miles

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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