East Okoboji Lake, Iowa, USA

Also known as:  East Lake Okoboji

Welcome to the ultimate guide for history, statistics, local fun facts and the best things to do at East Okoboji Lake.

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East Okoboji Lake visitor and community guide

Lake Locations: USA - Midwest - Iowa - Northwest -

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.

Custom East Okoboji Lake house decor

Read our full review of these personalized lake house signs.

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

Best hotels and vacation rentals at East Okoboji Lake

The East Okoboji Lake map shown above is a simple and stress-free way to search for trip accommodations. But if you want to take a deeper dive to find the ideal waterfront home, cabin, condo, hotel or resort, visit our favorite lodging partners by clicking the buttons below.

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East Okoboji Lake photo gallery

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East Okoboji Lake statistics & helpful links


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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