East Okoboji Lake, Iowa, USA

Lake Locations:

USA - Midwest - Iowa - Northwest -

Also known as:  East Lake Okoboji

East Okoboji Lake is one of a chain of lakes known as Iowa’s Great Lakes. East Okoboji Lake received its unique name from the Dakota Indians. They called it “Okoboozhy”, which means “reeds”, because that is what the lake was surrounded by at one time. The clear blue waters of East Okoboji Lake are supplied by subterranean springs. Like the other Great Lakes in northwest Iowa, East Okoboji Lake is the result of a melted glacier from the most recent ice age about 13,000 years ago. It is the third largest of Iowa’s Great Lakes with an area of 1,843 acres and a shoreline of almost 17 miles. East Okoboji is long and narrow with a maximum depth of 22 feet and an average depth of 10 feet. Quieter than its neighboring Great Lakes, its shallower waters do not attract large numbers of water sports enthusiasts.

Retirees and second home buyers choose East Okoboji for the beauty and privacy the lake offers. But there is so much more to the town of Okoboji than just East and West Okoboji Lakes, including seven area golf courses, local theaters and museums. A popular place for locals and visitors alike is the Jackson Speedway where exciting racing can be observed every Saturday night between May and August. Family fun and entertainment can be found at Arnold’s Park, an amusement park with rides, go carts, miniature golf, live concerts as well as a beach where you can participate in a variety of water sports.

Visitors choose East Okoboji for its remote location yet easy accessibility. It can be reached from one of the many surrounding towns, three of which are Orleans, Milford and Spencer. Iowa’s Great Lakes are located 15 miles from I-90 which runs along southern Minnesota near the Iowa border. If traveling on 1-90, it is worth the detour even if East Okoboji Lake isn’t your final destination. For visitors traveling longer distances, the nearest large airport is in Minneapolis-St. Paul.

Camping enthusiasts and hikers enjoy East Okoboji Lake. The most popular hiking trail is Spine Trail as it winds through several of the Great Lakes. Its pavement has made it popular among bikers, runners and hikers as it accommodates two-way traffic. Trail facilities include restrooms, picnic areas, information displays and kiosks, and resting or viewing benches to enhance your lake experience. This trail is ideal for winter visitors who use it for snowmobiling, skiing and other winter sports.

Many anglers choose East Okoboji over other of Iowa’s Great Lakes because of its stock of bullhead and bluegill. Anglers will also find walleye, white bass, yellow perch, crappies, catfish, and muskie. Anglers should be aware of the fishing regulations and restrictions at East Okoboji Lake. There is a daily bag limit of three walleye. All walleye between 17 and 22 inches must be released back into the lake alive. A limit of one walleye per day exceeding 22 inches is acceptable. Any muskie shorter than 40 inches must be returned to the lake alive. The fishing season is closed between December 1st and May 20th. There are no motor restrictions at East Okoboji Lake, so fishing can be done from your motor boat, or you may rent a motor boat from one of three boat rentals at East Okoboji Lake.

Come explore East Okoboji and the Iowa Great Lakes area. Between the forest and lake there are miles and miles of beauty to behold. Many visitors decide to make East Okoboji their permanent or second home. After your visit you may too.

Things to do at East Okoboji Lake

  • Fishing
  • Boating
  • Swimming
  • Beach
  • Golf
  • Camping
  • Picnicking
  • Hiking
  • Snowmobiling
  • Museum
  • Amusement Park
  • Miniature Golf

Fish species found at East Okoboji Lake

  • Bass
  • Bluegill
  • Catfish
  • Crappie
  • Muskellunge
  • Perch
  • Pike
  • Sunfish
  • Walleye
  • White Bass
  • Yellow Perch

East Okoboji Lake Photo Gallery

    East Okoboji Lake Statistics & Helpful Links

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    Lake Type: Natural Freshwater Lake, Dammed

    Water Level Control: Iowa Dept.of Natural Resources & US Army Corps of Engineers

    Surface Area: 1,843 acres

    Shoreline Length: 17 miles

    Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 1,398 feet

    Average Depth: 10 feet

    Maximum Depth: 22 feet

    Water Volume: 18,430 acre-feet

    Drainage Area: 21 sq. miles

    Trophic State: #ref!

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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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