Lake Manitou, Indiana, USA

Lake Locations:

USA - Midwest - Indiana - North -

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Lake Manitou is an oasis in the small bustling city of Rochester, Indiana. Surrounded by a park and nature preserves, the spring-fed lake covers 775 acres and provides recreation and relaxation for visitors and residents in the North Central part of the state. This charming lake, located 60 miles west of Fort Wayne, provides activities such as fishing, boating, jet skiing, water skiing, swimming, and picnicking. Visitors can also get in some golfing at the nearby golf courses or take a leisurely stroll on the various walking trails. The surrounding parks provide unique wildlife viewing and bird watching opportunities you wouldn’t expect inside the city limits.

With a rich history and beautiful scenery, Lake Manitou has been a destination for relaxation and fun for over one hundred years. With the construction of a dam in 1827, the lake started out as a source of energy. Under the terms of a treaty with the Potawatomi Native Americans of the area, the U.S. government constructed a grist mill to grind corn. The dam provided water power for the mill. The area around the lake was one of the first white settlements in what would eventually become the county seat for Fulton County. The first village was called Tiptonville in honor of General John Tipton. After the Potawatomi tribes were removed to Kansas in 1838, the village, mill and dam fell into disrepair.

The name “Manitou” derives from the Potawatomi word for both “good spirit” and “evil spirit.” The Potawatomi tribes fished and hunted in this area for 150 years. They believed that the waters of Lake Manitou harbored a monster fish or serpent with supernatural powers. Legend reports that the Serpent of the Manitou devoured all the fish after arriving from Lake Michigan, and drove away wild game by shooting out serpentine tentacles to drag the animals into the water. Native American prayers banished the serpent, and out of gratitude they named the lake after the Great Spirit.

Hotels and resorts were built along the shoreline of Lake Manitou during revitilization in the early 1900s. Thousands of people came each year to enjoy entertainment under the stars that the resorts and hotels brought to their dance halls which included nationally known big bands. Until 1937, an amusement park operated for 15 years and included a toboggan water slide, pier and diving platform. People also came for lake cruises, to sunbathe at the beaches and to swim and fish Lake Manitou.

Today Lake Manitou provides a respite for city dwellers and visitors. It is a very popular fishing destination, both in the summer and the winter, harboring good populations of many popular game fish. Species include largemouth bass, black crappie, bluegill, yellow perch, gizzard shad, golden shiner, spotted gar, and warmouth as well as large northern pike. Boat ramps on either side of the lake provide lake access, along with a handicapped accessible fishing pier near the dam. With no speed limit restrictions, the lake is also an attractive destination for speedboaters, jet-skiers, and water skiers. The lake features a ski course, which is located near the south end of the lake.

Lake Manitou has had some water quality issues however. In recent years, the lake has waged a battle against hydrilla plants that grew rampant in the lake. Hydrilla is an Asian plant commonly used to decorate aquariums, but often chokes off other plant life if left unchecked in a lake. To combat the problem, the lake was treated with chemicals. Public access to the lake was limited and boat restrictions were also put in place. In 2009, state officials stated that it appeared that the invasive plant had been eliminated from Lake Manitou, and some boating restrictions were lifted. The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) reminds boaters to self-inspect their watercraft, motor and trailer for signs of plants when removing them from the water. The lake will remain closely monitored to ensure that the hydrilla plants do not re-emerge.

Lake Manitou’s parks and nature preserves continue to flourish and provide a sanctuary for visitors. Wrapping around the northwestern edge of Lake Manitou, Lakeside Park provides a public boat ramp, pavilion, fishing piers picnic areas and a well maintained butterfly garden. Two nature preserves lie on either side of the lake for wildlife viewing and bird watching. The 162-acre, Bob Kern Nature Preserve is located on the east side of Lake Manito, and 130-acre, Judy Burton Nature Preserve is on the west side of the lake. Both preserves provide bird watching opportunities of rare birds that nest in the marsh including marsh wren, sedge wren and Virginia rail. On the southeastern side of Lake Manitou, 643 acres have been set aside for the Manitou Islands Wetlands which visitors can tour by canoe to see bird habitats and plant life in the marsh and wooded islands.

An established community of homes along the shores provides vacation rentals with lake views and private docks at Lake Manitou. For those looking to relocate to the area, some lake front property is available as well as resale of existing homes. The Lake Manitou Association is an active homeowners association for homeowners and can provide information to those interested in lake living.

With a quaint town on its shores along with nature preserves, parks and lake activities of all kinds, Lake Manitou is a wonderful place to visit in the Northern Tourism Region of Indiana.

Things to do at Lake Manitou

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Boating
  • Swimming
  • Beach
  • Canoeing
  • Jet Skiing
  • Water Skiing
  • Golf
  • Picnicking
  • Hiking
  • Tobogganing
  • Wildlife Viewing
  • Birding
  • Amusement Park

Fish species found at Lake Manitou

  • Bass
  • Black Bass
  • Black Crappie
  • Bluegill
  • Carp
  • Crappie
  • Gar
  • Gizzard Shad
  • Largemouth Bass
  • Northern Pike
  • Perch
  • Pike
  • Shad
  • Spotted Gar
  • Sunfish
  • Warmouth
  • Yellow Perch

Lake Manitou Photo Gallery

Lake Manitou Statistics & Helpful Links

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Lake Type: Natural Freshwater Lake, Dammed

Water Level Control: Lake Manitou Association

Surface Area: 775 acres

Shoreline Length: 8 miles

Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 781 feet

Average Depth: 11 feet

Maximum Depth: 19 feet

Completion Year: 1827

Drainage Area: 4 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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