Lake Irene, Minnesota, USA

Lake Locations:

USA - Midwest - Minnesota - Central -

Lake Irene is a great place to plant vacation roots in Minnesota’s Central region. This 640-acre lake is in an area with dozens of lakes large and small left over from the last glacial period. Lake Irene has an abundance of private cottages and year-round homes fronting sandy beaches, without the commercialization of many nearby lakes. With larger Lake Miltona less than a mile away, Lake Irene residents can take part in all of the activities of bigger lakes and still maintain that small, private lake feel. Little publicized, the Lake Irene Preservation Association monitors water quality regularly.

Although Lake Irene is large enough to enjoy water sports such as water skiing, sailing, tubing and kite boarding, it is still quiet enough on most days to allow for canoeing, kayaking, sailing, and pontooning. Two public boat ramps along the north shore are maintained by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources for public access: no other public parks exist at Lake Irene. Most visiting boats carry fishermen to try their luck fishing for largemouth bass, bluegill, crappie and walleye. The walleye are stocked nearly every year. The lake also holds yellow perch, northern pike, black crappie, pumpkinseed and hybrid sunfish. The lake’s clean waters also allow a population of tullabee to thrive here. The tullabee or cisco can only survive in clean waters and testify to the health of the watershed. Winter sees plenty of ice fishermen braving the frigid Minnesota temperatures.

Lake Irene’s 639 acres hold no commercial development except for a well-known restaurant near the western shore. The little town of Miltona is only a mile or so to the east. There are no massive shoreline developments to break the neighborly bonds that property owners have developed over the years. Most waterfront lots are well-spaced and maintain the natural ‘up-North’ ambiance so valued by residents. Quiet residential country roads and lanes are ideal for walking and bicycling while enjoying nature.

An unusual geology consisting of a deep layer of glacial sediment creates ridges and rolling hills, separating the many lakes except for natural channels providing for outflow to other lakes. Parts of the shoreline consist of marsh, bogs or fens, serving to filter and regulate the water while providing habitat for birds, waterfowl and spawning fish. Some of the lakes in the area have water control structures which control water levels on the entire system. Many of the drainage channels are poorly defined and not navigable; some of the water exchange occurs by seepage through the porous soils and marsh lands. Water flows out from Lake Irene to Lake Miltona, Lake Ida, Lake Louise, Lake Darling, Lake Le Homme Dieu and Lake Carlos. Lakes Le Homme Dieu, Carlos and Darling are formally considered a part of the Alexandria Chain of Lakes and home to many resorts, campgrounds, marinas and guest accommodations.

Fifteen miles to the south, the small City of Alexandria serves as official host to the many visitors arriving at area lakes. Geared to vacationing outdoor fans, Alexandria has a Visitor’s Center with maps and accommodations information. The huge 28-foot statue of Big Ole, built for the 1964-65 World’s Fair, proudly proclaims the area’s Scandinavian heritage. These days, Big Ole mostly forms the backdrop for family vacation pictures and is a ‘must-see’ stop when in the area. Big Ole carries forward the Viking tradition begun by the discovery of the Kensington Runestone on a nearby farm in 1898. The Runestone Museum in Alexandria holds the much disputed antiquity and offers exhibits and literature describing both the stone itself and the contradictory archeological evidence for its authenticity. Because of the runestone and the area population’s Scandinavian ancestry, Minnesota has held the Viking as sports mascot and cultural icon for over 100 years.

Visitors to area lakes have their choice of lodgings. Private vacation rentals, guest cottages, fishing camps, resorts, bed & breakfasts, hotels and motels offer attractive amenities and deals. Visitors who enjoy hiking and nature walks will find a number of trails in the Alexandria area. The 55-mile Central Lakes Trail runs through Alexandria and allows for hiking, cycling and rollerblading on the paved former railroad bed. The trail is well-known for being a fine spot to see and identify Minnesota’s birds, wildlife and wildflowers. Primarily a non-motorized trail, Central Lakes Trail permits snowmobiles in winter and is a favorite for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. Other trails in the area are also commonly used for winter hiking, while marked and groomed snowmobile trails are found throughout the area.

Real estate is available for sale at Lake Irene, both existing homes and builder-ready lots. Care has been taken to assure that Lake Irene will never be overbuilt. Lot sizes remain generous and views unbroken. Many motels and small campgrounds can be found in the area, mostly nearer the Alexandria Chain of Lakes. Lake Carlos State Park offers camping, hiking trails and plenty of fishing. Visiting Lake Irene is easy, and falling in love with the laid-back, quiet atmosphere even easier. There’s a spot waiting just for you.

Things to do at Lake Irene

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Boating
  • Sailing
  • Swimming
  • Beach
  • Canoeing
  • Kayaking
  • Water Skiing
  • Tubing
  • Camping
  • Campground
  • Hiking
  • Biking
  • Cross-Country Skiing
  • Snowmobiling
  • Snowshoeing
  • Wildlife Viewing
  • Birding
  • State Park
  • Museum

Fish species found at Lake Irene

  • Bass
  • Black Bass
  • Black Crappie
  • Bluegill
  • Cisco
  • Crappie
  • Largemouth Bass
  • Northern Pike
  • Perch
  • Pike
  • Pumpkinseed
  • Sunfish
  • Walleye
  • Yellow Perch

Lake Irene Photo Gallery

Lake Irene Statistics & Helpful Links

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Lake Type: Natural Freshwater Lake, Not Dammed

Surface Area: 639 acres

Shoreline Length: 4 miles

Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 1,382 feet

Maximum Depth: 44 feet

Trophic State: Mesotrophic

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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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