El Dorado Lake, Kansas, USA

Lake Locations:

USA - Midwest - Kansas - South Central -

Completed in 1981, South Central Kansas’ El Dorado Lake is an 8,000-acre reservoir bordering the stunning tall grass prairies and rolling mounds of the Flint Hills. The lake boasts an average depth of 19 feet, and an impressive 50 billion gallons of potential storage volume. The project was constructed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for water supply and flood control. It also offers an impressive 97 miles of shoreline used for recreational purposes. The top of the dam stands at 1,370.5 feet above sea level.

Several recreational areas make up El Dorado Lake – Bluestem, Boulder Bluff, Overlook, Shady Creek,and Walnut River – all of them known for their phenomenal wildlife watching. Bluestem is best remembered for fantastic opportunities to view Canada geese, warblers, tree swallows and bald eagles; Boulder Bluff’s rock quarry is home to numerous collared lizards and waterfowl; Shady Creek hosts meadowlarks, common nighthawks, deer and greater prairie chickens; and Walnut River provides a habitat for chickadees, cardinals, woodpeckers, hawks, vultures and minks. Biking, boating, water skiing, jet skiing and horseback riding are other popular El Dorado diversions. Local facilities include four major campgrounds (some with electric hookups), cabins, boating ramps, marinas, picnic areas and playgrounds. Beach swimming areas, hiking and equine trails are also available, along with restrooms, shower houses, laundry facilities and a sailing club.

The hiking trails around El Dorado Lake host many of Kansas’ 800 varieties of wildflowers, particularly during May-June and August-September. At these times, hikers should keep an eye out for rose verbena, Missouri evening primrose, upright coneflower, and the purple prairie clover. A short walk to a lookout point made of limestone can be found on the left side of the basin, offering some of the best views of El Dorado Lake and its dam. Nearby, a plaque commemorates the old schoolhouse (circa 1897) that previously occupied the premises. Boulder Bluff Horse Trail wraps 12 miles around the lake’s picturesque shoreline, and is suitable for horseback riding, hiking, and biking. The ADA Trail is a 2.5-mile lark through the Walnut River area. Double Black Diamond Mountain Bike Trail is a tough 2-mile biking path that can also be tackled on foot. Teter Nature Trail is an easy 3/4-mile stroll through the scenic woodlands of the Butler County Historical Society Wilderness Area – expect to see deer, raccoon, turkey, and a variety of plant life here. The Walnut Ridge Trail is another short, 3/4-mile stretch of terrain that connects to the Linear Trail, which in turn crosses the Walnut River bridge.

Fishing and hunting are also popular at El Dorado Lake, which is overflowing with game fish like largemouth bass, walleye, channel catfish, flathead catfish, white crappie, black bullhead and drum. White bass, carp, black crappie, smallmouth bass and bluegill are also present. Rainbow trout are stocked in the Walnut River from October 15 to April 15; although sportsmen are required to obtain a special trout permit in addition to regular fishing permits. Anglers have the most fishing success along the rip-rap (stones lining the border of the lake that prevent erosion) near the dam and along the railroad. Crappie and largemouth bass are also drawn to the timber fish attractors that have been strategically placed throughout the lake. Additionally, “Old Bluestem Lake” is a favorite hiding place for flathead catfish. For hunters with proper permits, quail, prairie chicken, turkey, pheasant and deer can be pursued on the grounds to the northern side of the lake.

Just three miles southwest of El Dorado Lake lies the City of El Dorado. Founded in 1870, the municipality features 12 public parks that offer concerts, BMX bike races, picnics, skating, swimming, tennis, soccer, baseball and softball. The town’s main street is a lovely place to shop and stroll. Undoubtedly worth a stop is the Coutts Memorial Museum of Art, which holds works from legendary artists like Renoir and Remington. Nearby, the Kansas Oil Museum displays antique equipment from the 1920s through the 1950s, and also describes the town’s fascinating history in the oil industry. Families will love the Playhouse Doll Museum, a charming exhibit of dolls and collectors’ items located in the Antioch Church. During the summer, the El Dorado Broncos play at McDonald Stadium – this semi-professional team is a key competitor in the National Baseball Congress World Series. The oldest historical sites in the area date back to the late 1800s, and feature the 1958 El Dorado Tornado Memorial, the Butler County Courthouse, the Missouri Pacific Railroad Depot, and the Carnegie Library. With so many things to see and do, El Dorado Lake is the perfect place for a family vacation or summer home.

Things to do at El Dorado Lake

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Boating
  • Sailing
  • Swimming
  • Beach
  • Jet Skiing
  • Water Skiing
  • Tennis
  • Camping
  • Campground
  • Picnicking
  • Cabin Rentals
  • Hiking
  • Biking
  • Horseback Riding
  • Hunting
  • Wildlife Viewing
  • Birding
  • Museum
  • Playground
  • Antiquing

Fish species found at El Dorado Lake

  • Bass
  • Black Bass
  • Black Bullhead
  • Black Crappie
  • Bluegill
  • Carp
  • Catfish
  • Channel Catfish
  • Crappie
  • Flathead Catfish
  • Largemouth Bass
  • Perch
  • Rainbow Trout
  • Smallmouth Bass
  • Sunfish
  • Trout
  • Walleye
  • White Bass
  • White Crappie

El Dorado Lake Photo Gallery

El Dorado Lake Statistics & Helpful Links

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Lake Type: Artificial Reservoir, Dammed

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

Surface Area: 8,000 acres

Shoreline Length: 97 miles

Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 1,339 feet

Minimum Elevation (Min Pond): 0 feet

Maximum Elevation (Max Pond): 1,347 feet

Average Depth: 19 feet

Maximum Depth: 51 feet

Water Volume: 153,444 acre-feet

Completion Year: 1981

Drainage Area: 247 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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