Dallas Lake, Indiana, USA

Lake Locations:

USA - Midwest - Indiana - North -

Also known as:  Third Lake

Dallas Lake in Indiana’s Northern Region is the perfect Mid-western lake. Located in a chain of five lakes sometimes called the Indian Lakes Chain, Dallas Lake has been a favored summer fishing and boating spot for over 150 years. This northern area of Indiana resembles its neighbor Michigan to the north with extensive wetlands and many small lakes. Many small streams connect lakes large and small throughout LaGrange County and flow westward to form the St Joseph River basin. The five lakes are connected by the Little Elkhart River near the headwaters of that same stream. The chain begins just a mile or so west of the town of Wolcottville. This area was originally the home of the Pottawatomie who were removed to the west by the United States Government in the late 1830s. Settlers immediately moved in to farm and engage in commerce. Wolcottville was platted in 1837 after George Wolcott built a sawmill and a grist mill upstream along the same creek. History doesn’t record why this 283-acre lake is named Dallas Lake.

The Indian Lakes Chain is comprised of Westler, Witmer, Dallas, Hackenberg and Messick Lakes. A small un-named side tributary connects Hackenburg Lake to a second set of lakes including Oliver, Martin, and Olin Lakes a couple of miles away. When water leaves Messick Lake, the last in the chain, it eventually travels via the Little Elkhart River to a third chain of connected lakes – the West Lakes Chain. Eventually, the river joins the St Joseph River which drains into Lake Michigan. This is Indiana Lake Country at its finest, and most shorelines are lined with well-supplied summer cottages and year-round homes. Extensive wetlands surround many of the lakes and streams. Although the water levels in the Indian Lakes Chain are set by law, there is no dam directly affecting the lake levels. Instead, dams and water control structures on several streams, ditches and tributaries are opened and closed as flood control measures require.

Dallas Lake is one of two all-sports lakes in the chain. All types of watercraft are encouraged; jet skiing, water skiing and tubing are enjoyed on Dallas and Witmer Lakes. Pontooning and sailing are also popular activities here. Dallas Lake has no public boat launch, but can be accessed by boat from other lakes in the chain with access ramps. A 96-acre public park on the south shore of the lake contains a swimming area with lifeguards and a lovely wetland nature trail very popular with local visitors. A private campground on the west arm of the lake also allows non-property owners to enjoy the lake. The other three lakes in the chain are considered fishing lakes and boat speeds are limited. All five quiet water bodies are enjoyable for canoeing and kayaking. Water quality in the lake is good, and the Five Lakes Conservation Association works with State agencies to upgrade shoreline conditions and educate property owners on the best practices to maintain that condition. Evidence of their success can be seen in the resurgence of cisco fish, a species highly sensitive to water quality.

Fishing has long been an extremely popular activity at Dallas Lake. The Indiana Department of Natural Resources stocks fingerlings most years. Sport fishermen come here seeking largemouth bass, bluegill, black crappie, the occasional northern pike and the still unusual cisco. Winter brings ice fishermen who continue the pursuit until the spring thaw. Little Elkhart River is designated a trout stream, and fly fishermen often try their luck in the small tributaries entering the chain. A variety of wildlife visits the lake regularly, including many water birds and several kinds of ducks. Deer frequent undeveloped portions of the shoreline; rabbits and raccoons are a common sight. Only four miles from the town of Wolcottville, Dallas Lake has that ‘lake community’ feel, with neighborhood barbecues, lake association events and the occasional fishing derby. Most essential services can be found in Wolcottville, with a full range of amenities in picturesque LaGrange less than 15 miles to the north. LaGrange is the county seat of Amish country, and the trip west on US 20 out of town toward Shipshewana may be slow due to buggy traffic. The route between LaGrange and Elkhart is loaded with Amish businesses and attractions, including several picturesque bed-and-breakfasts and restaurants serving generous portions of old-fashioned Amish specialties.

A visitor to Dallas Lake will want to take time to enjoy both the tidy Amish farmsteads, always with a clothesline filled with family laundry, and stop in local shops where Amish woodworking products and crafts are offered for sale. Both the town of Topeka and Emma are heavily settled by Amish farmers, the first of which arrived here in the 1840s. Please drive carefully: their black buggies are hard to see and they are slow-moving.

If the visitor wishes to enjoy other outdoor activities around Dallas Lake, there are two golf courses within ten miles. And just five miles south of Wolcottville, the Gene Stratton Porter Historic Area has preserved the home and gardens of the famous author and naturalist. Her books and photographic works memorialized the native plants, birds and wildlife of the Limberlost Swamp, only a few miles south of Dallas Lake. A few miles further south, the Pigeon River Fish and Wildlife Preserve offers canoeing, fishing, camping and nature viewing along a water trail containing three old hydroelectric reservoirs. A tamarack bog offers a rare type of wetland experience; both sand hill cranes and ospreys are known to nest here.

Vacation rentals are located on Dallas Lake. Most are private family homes or cottages, usually with lake frontage. Bed-and-breakfasts and campsites are located within a short distance. Real estate is often available along the shoreline of the Indian Lakes chain. Only 40 miles from Fort Wayne and 60 miles from South Bend, Dallas Lake is an easy trip for a week-end or a summer vacation. So, bring the kids, the boat and the fishing tackle. You’ll have a ball at Dallas Lake.

Things to do at Dallas Lake

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Boating
  • Sailing
  • Swimming
  • Canoeing
  • Kayaking
  • Jet Skiing
  • Water Skiing
  • Tubing
  • Golf
  • Camping
  • Campground
  • Hiking
  • Wildlife Viewing
  • Birding

Fish species found at Dallas Lake

  • Bass
  • Black Bass
  • Black Crappie
  • Bluegill
  • Cisco
  • Crappie
  • Largemouth Bass
  • Northern Pike
  • Pike
  • Sunfish
  • Trout

Dallas Lake Photo Gallery

    Dallas Lake Statistics & Helpful Links

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    Lake Type: Natural Freshwater Lake, Not Dammed

    Surface Area: 283 acres

    Shoreline Length: 5 miles

    Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 897 feet

    Average Depth: 35 feet

    Maximum Depth: 96 feet

    Water Residence Time: 150 days

    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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