Lake Otis, Florida, USA

Lake Locations:

USA - South - Florida - West Central -

There’s something special about Lake Otis. Florida’s West Central Region is wealthy in lakes. Winter Haven in Polk County sits in the middle of a huge number of small lakes; the city is built around several of them. Lake Otis is one such lake. The small 143-acre lake is home to a great many Winter Haven citizens who are sure they have the best of both worlds. Where else can you wake to watch herons and gulls fish for their breakfast while you drink your morning coffee, then walk the short walk to the Post Office or the bank to attend to the day’s business? Lake Otis is that kind of lake – a living part of the city and of the daily lives of its residents.

Many people are aware that Winter Haven possesses a chain of lakes. In actuality, there are two separate chains partially within the city. However, there are an even larger number of lakes that are not connected to any chain. Lake Otis is one of those lakes. Because Lake Otis is connected only to 27-acre Lake Link via an under-road channel and to Little Lake Otis directly to the south, the lake has remained private and often unvisited. While the chains of connected lakes have seen visitors floating through using the channels and small locks, the only form of access to Lake Otis has been an informal canoe launch from a private road between the two lakes. That is about to change, however, because the city has acquired an access lot on the west shore of Little Lake Otis and is planning a boat launch ramp. (November, 2010 update: The new public access is open, complete with boat launch and dock in a landscaped, park-like setting. The project was a joint effort of the city of Winter Haven, lakes management, and property owners.)

Lake Otis is an all-sports lake with upscale housing encompassing the lakefront. Several gated communities exist along the shore. Fishing for largemouth bass, bluegill and black crappie is popular on both Otis and Link Lakes. Residents enjoy water skiing, tubing, pontooning, canoeing and kayaking. Most lakefront property owners have their own docks and boats at the ready so they can indulge in a little lake-time whenever the mood strikes.

The City of Winter Haven is known for excellent schools and recreational venues. Within walking distance of Lake Otis one can find schools, coffee shops, restaurants, grocery stores, hair salons and a variety of specialty services. Close by is the Chain of Lakes Complex with fitness facilities, lessons in martial arts and music lessons. The Complex is part of the Winter Haven Recreational and Cultural Center about a mile to the northwest. This larger Center holds two lighted youth baseball/softball fields, an indoor gymnasium, lighted outdoor basketball courts, a 25-meter pool, physical conditioning facilities with both free weights and machines, a meeting room, kitchen facility, a game room and a conference room. Nearby park facilities host special events in the gazebo overlooking a nearby lake. A new library has recently been built and a complete Senior Center provides meals and activities geared to older citizens. Just east of the city, the municipal golf course is easily accessed by all. Winter Haven is well-supplied with dining establishments and specialty restaurants. There are often festivals and arts activities in progress to whet the interest of every family member. And there is enough nightlife available that something is sure to suit the fancy of both residents and their guests, from the casual to more elegant to young adult.

West Central Florida is filled with activities and attractions to keep the most restless soul occupied. A variety of ocean beaches can be visited within a hundred miles of Lake Otis, from Clearwater on the Gulf to Cocoa Beach and Cape Canaveral on the Atlantic. In between are such nature venues as the Green Swamp – Florida’s picturesque natural water source with cypress swamps,wildlife and fishing. Disney World is less than 50 miles away. Tampa is the same distance in the opposite direction. Here, deep sea charter fishing can be easily arranged. Historic Bok Sanctuary is less than 15 miles away, where the 57 bronze bells in the majestic carillon tower ring out over the 157-acre gardens every half hour. And at Polk City, Fantasy of Flight displays restored vintage airplanes from every era. A special treat for the flight fan is the simulated flights where they can pilot historic planes and engage in bygone battles via video.

There are many reasons to visit Lake Otis. Perhaps you want to fish or water ski or just relax on the deck and watch those herons spear their morning meal. Maybe it’s the idea of being able to walk to nearby services or become part of an established neighborhood of friendly neighbors who barbecue together on weekend afternoons. Or to be centrally located where you can partake of all Florida has to offer. Whatever your reasons, you can likely find vacation rentals in the immediate area, some with lake frontage or lake views. Private residences are often available by the week or month. Commercial lodgings are plentiful in the Winter Haven area and there are still a few ‘fishing camp’ resorts left on nearby rivers. Real Estate is usually available in the area, if not on Lake Otis, then on other lakes in the vicinity. There’s no time like the present to check out Lake Otis and Winter Haven. Come see what central Florida is all about.

Things to do at Lake Otis

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Boating
  • Swimming
  • Beach
  • Canoeing
  • Kayaking
  • Water Skiing
  • Tubing
  • Golf
  • Camping
  • Wildlife Viewing

Fish species found at Lake Otis

  • Bass
  • Black Bass
  • Black Crappie
  • Bluegill
  • Crappie
  • Largemouth Bass
  • Sunfish

Lake Otis Photo Gallery

    Lake Otis Statistics & Helpful Links

    divider

    Lake Type: Natural Freshwater Lake, Not Dammed

    Surface Area: 143 acres

    Shoreline Length: 3 miles

    Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 127 feet

    Average Depth: 12 feet

    Maximum Depth: 35 feet

    Water Volume: 1,916 acre-feet

    Trophic State: Eutrophic

    At LakeLubbers.com, we strive to keep our information as accurate and up-to-date as possible, but if you’ve found something in this article that needs updating, we’d certainly love to hear from you!
    Please let us know about it on our Content Correction form.

    Spread the word! Share our Lake Otis article with your fellow Lake Lubbers!

    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.


    Lakes for Vacation and Recreation

    Except as noted, Copyright © LakeLubbers LLC. All Rights Reserved.

    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.


    Lakes for Vacation and Recreation

    Except as noted, Copyright © LakeLubbers LLC. All Rights Reserved.

    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."


    Lakes for Vacation and Recreation

    Except as noted, Copyright © LakeLubbers LLC. All Rights Reserved.

    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.


    Lakes for Vacation and Recreation

    Except as noted, Copyright © LakeLubbers LLC. All Rights Reserved.

    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.


    Lakes for Vacation and Recreation

    Except as noted, Copyright © LakeLubbers LLC. All Rights Reserved.

    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.


    Lakes for Vacation and Recreation

    Except as noted, Copyright © LakeLubbers LLC. All Rights Reserved.

    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.


    Lakes for Vacation and Recreation

    Except as noted, Copyright © LakeLubbers LLC. All Rights Reserved.

    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


    Lakes for Vacation and Recreation

    Except as noted, Copyright © LakeLubbers LLC. All Rights Reserved.

    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.


    Lakes for Vacation and Recreation

    Except as noted, Copyright © LakeLubbers LLC. All Rights Reserved.

    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.


    Lakes for Vacation and Recreation

    Except as noted, Copyright © LakeLubbers LLC. All Rights Reserved.

    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.


    Lakes for Vacation and Recreation

    Except as noted, Copyright © LakeLubbers LLC. All Rights Reserved.

    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.


    Lakes for Vacation and Recreation

    Except as noted, Copyright © LakeLubbers LLC. All Rights Reserved.

    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.


    Lakes for Vacation and Recreation

    Except as noted, Copyright © LakeLubbers LLC. All Rights Reserved.

    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.


    Lakes for Vacation and Recreation

    Except as noted, Copyright © LakeLubbers LLC. All Rights Reserved.

    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.


    Lakes for Vacation and Recreation

    Except as noted, Copyright © LakeLubbers LLC. All Rights Reserved.