Lac qui Parle, Minnesota, USA

Lake Locations:

USA - Midwest - Minnesota - Southern -

Thousands of feathered creatures gather here, nesting, breeding and chattering about things only birds would know about. For the myriad sounds the birds make, the Dakota people called the water body the “lake that speaks” and the French, when they came to the area, translated it to their language: “Lac qui Parle.” Over 100,000 geese make this glacial lake a yearly retreat flying south from Canada. Hundreds of other birds and waterfowl make the Lac qui Parle area a favorite for bird watchers. A colony of white pelicans rare to the area, and an eagle nest in a designated sanctuary are some birding highlights.

A delight to nature lovers, Lac qui Parle was formed thousands of years ago by moving glaciers that receded over the Minnesota valley leaving river deltas and wide kettle lakes. Lac qui Parle, spanning 6,400 surface acres, is a water haven nestled into the green countryside of western Minnesota, part of 31,000 acres of land and water that make up the Lac qui Parle Wildlife Management Area. Wetlands, brushlands, woodlands, native prairie, grasslands, and corn crops make the area a lush habitat for wildlife and a rich environment for nature study and observation. Minnesota’s Southern region is a place of scenic valleys and quiet streams and is part of the massive Prairie Pothole Region, the center of the Great Plains of North America. As the glaciers receded ten thousands of years ago, they left millions of “potholes” that evolved into wetlands attracting diverse wildlife. These wetlands are crucial for globally significant populations of waterfowl, and help give Lac qui Parle its reputation. Hunting and trapping is allowed on the Lac qui Parle project and common game includes geese, duck, partridge, deer, pheasants, fox, raccoons, squirrels and rabbits. Trappers have a selection of fox, raccoon, beaver, muskrat and mink.

The Lac qui Parle Project is currently under control of the US Army Corps of Engineers for flood control, water conservation, recreation and fish and wildlife management. It was originally a waterfowl conservation project governed by the State of Minnesota. The project consists of various dams and a channel: the Lac qui Parle Dam, Marsh Lake Dam, Chippewa Dam and Watson Sag Weir river channel. There are numerous boat launches and canoe portages on the lake. The Lac qui Parle State Park at the southern tip of the lake offers facilities for all kinds of recreation activities. There are picnic areas, playgrounds, campgrounds, a swimming beach, horse and hiking trails, and restrooms. Cross country skiing and snowshoeing are offered for winter merriment. Jet skis are not allowed on the lake but with so many opportunities for other boating excursions that should not be a disappointment and Lac qui Parle has a great fishery.

The lake is one of western Minnesota’s best walleye fishing locations. The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources makes annual stockings of walleye which ensures an abundant population. Channel catfish, bluegill, smallmouth bass, crappies, and northern pike are also popular with anglers who flock, like the birds, to Lac qui Parle’s serene environment.

The closest major city to Lac qui Parle is the bustling Minneapolis, and that is 120 miles away! But the Minnesota River Valley Scenic Byway, of which Lac qui Parle is part, connects you to worlds of intrigue. The byway follows the route of the weaving Minnesota River and carries you from pioneer trails and museums to farms and Native American burial sites. In the Lac qui Parle area alone, sites of interest may be the Plover Prairie Nature Conservancy Preserve, the Chippewa Prairie Reserve, the antique Norwegian granary that was donated to the United States after World War II, Fort Renville and the Lac qui Parle Mission site established in the early 19th century and one of the first points of contact between the Dakota people and Euro-Americans.

If the wild of nature calls you, you will come to Lac qui Parle. Consider vacation rentals in neighboring towns for longer stays, and if relocation is on your mind there are plentiful real estate options. While at Lac qui Parle, you can let all the business of the “real world” drift away like wood drift on the water. Contemplate the many vicissitudes of life as you watch hundreds of birds carry on the business of theirs.

Things to do at Lac qui Parle

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Boating
  • Swimming
  • Beach
  • Canoeing
  • Jet Skiing
  • Camping
  • Campground
  • Picnicking
  • Hiking
  • Cross-Country Skiing
  • Horseback Riding
  • Hunting
  • Wildlife Viewing
  • Birding
  • State Park
  • Museum
  • Playground
  • Antiquing

Fish species found at Lac qui Parle

  • Bass
  • Black Bass
  • Bluegill
  • Catfish
  • Channel Catfish
  • Crappie
  • Northern Pike
  • Perch
  • Pike
  • Smallmouth Bass
  • Sunfish
  • Walleye

Lac qui Parle Photo Gallery

    Lac qui Parle Statistics & Helpful Links

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    Lake Type: Natural Freshwater Lake, Dammed

    Water Level Control: US Army Corps of Engineers

    Surface Area: 6,400 acres

    Shoreline Length: 42 miles

    Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 935 feet

    Average Depth: 5 feet

    Maximum Depth: 14 feet

    Water Volume: 29,700 acre-feet

    Completion Year: 1950

    Water Residence Time: less than 1 year

    Drainage Area: 6,100 sq. miles

    Trophic State: Hyper-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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