Lake Rosalie, Florida, USA

Lake Locations:

USA - South - Florida - West Central -

Snowbird paradise. That describes Lake Rosalie in southern Polk County. This area in West Central Florida is the kind of place the northern transplant dreams of when planning the Florida vacation or winter destination. Located along the string of lakes and streams that make up the Kissimmee River water system, Lake Rosalie connects indirectly but beneficially to others making up the vast former wetland that feeds the Everglades. Far enough north to avoid the humid tropical heat yet far enough south to miss most frosts, the attractive climate, abundant wildlife and plentiful waters attracted vacationers and retirees here early in the century.

Only a state park separates Lake Rosalie from Lake Kissimmee, considered a part of the ‘northern’ Everglades and a vital water resource feeding Lake Okeechobee. The Kissimmee Waterway System, although heavily channelized in the past, is being restored to is former meandering route replete with extensive wetlands. As part of the effort to restore the Everglades to their former glory, the increasing wetlands attract a variety of birds and animal to the area which is once again their native habitat. This restoration is discouraging heavy development along the watercourse and assuring the area remains free of excess development. Lake Rosalie shares its shoreline with several campgrounds and a surprisingly small number of homes. Much of the lakefront remains naturally vegetation-covered. This natural state allows everyone who comes here to feel a part of the natural order of a Florida lake. The 4530-acre lake provides a spacious feel many smaller, more developed lakes do not.

No one knows exactly how Lake Rosalie got its name. That’s the name recorded on the original 1849 US Govt survey. The area was an early logging and turpentine-harvesting area. During the third Seminole Wars Fort Gardiner was built nearby as a temporary fortification. Later the area was widely used for timber and turpentine. A town named Rosalie was once along the shore but later abandoned after the turpentine industry died out in the area. During the Civil War cattle were raised in the area for shipment to the Confederate Army or traded with Cuba for supplies. After the war, cattle were the main industry. This continues to the present day. Lake Kissimmee State Park makes Florida’s cowboy heritage comes alive with living history demonstrations of the early Florida “cow hunters” in an 1876-era cow camp.

Surrounded by the many lakes of the region, Lake Rosalie gains water from Walks-in-Water Creek leading from Lake Weohyakapka, better known as Walks-In-The-Water a short distance to the south. The creek is a favorite, though sometimes strenuous, canoe and kayak trip through protected lands. Because there is no artificial water control, water levels in the creek and both lakes rise and fall according to rainfall. This makes the creek extremely shallow at times. At the inlet to the lake, a Polk County Park provides picnic shelters, a dock, restrooms and camping with electricity, showers and drinking water. Much of the east shore is occupied by 5,930 acre Lake Kissimmee State Park. A navigable canal connects Lake Rosalie to Lake Kissimmee through the park. Between the two parks, water leaves Lake Rosalie via Rosalie Creek to Tiger Lake. A good portion of the northern shoreline is within the confines of David Allen Broussard Catfish Creek State Park. Nearly all residential development is confined to the western portion of the 10-mile shore. Several blind channels have been dug to provide water access to homes. A popular RV resort with a marina occupies a spot on the west shore as well.

All types of watersports are enjoyed on Lake Rosalie: pontooning, kayaking and canoeing. Water skiing and jet skis are permitted. Other water sports are occasionally engaged in but usually swimming is not encouraged – there are alligators in residence here. Airboat tours can be arranged. The lake is a fisherman’s favorite hotspot for bass. Several bass tournaments are held near annually. Other fish found in Lake Rosalie include longnose gar, white catfish, black crappie and chain pickerel. Boats can be rented at the marina or dock space leased for those who wish to leave their boat here.

Wildlife viewing is highly rewarding in the area with with eagles, ospreys, cranes, egrets, and alligators relatively common. Besides the wildlife seen while paddling along the shoreline, nearby parks have many trails available for hiking and nature enjoyment. Nature lovers can hike over 13 miles of trails in Lake Kissimmee State Park. Six miles of trails are open to equestrians. David Allen Broussard Catfish Creek State Park-located along the beautiful Lake Wales Ridge – is a walking access park with 6 miles of hiking trails, 7 miles of equestrian trails, a covered pavilion, fishing, and excellent wildlife viewing opportunities. Numerous rare plants such as scrub morning glory, scrub plum, pygmy fringe tree, and cutthroat grass grow here and the area is home to several protected animal species including Florida scrub-jays, bald eagles, gopher tortoises, and Florida scrub lizards. The Preserve contains some of highest and oldest hills in Central Florida, covered with large tracts of intact scrub and sand hill habitat.

Lake Rosalie is only 13 miles from the town of Lake Wales, where the visitor can access a golf course, shopping and restaurants, movies and services. Lake Wales offers an Arts Center, the Little Theater and nearby, Bok Tower Gardens with the famed carillon tower. Those desirous of a larger city can drive to Kissimmee at about 50 miles to the north, with Orlando and Disney World only 75 miles away. Tampa Bay and Melbourne are both about 100 miles from Lake Rosalie an the determined visitor could visit both coasts in an afternoon.

Finding vacation rentals in the Lake Rosalie area may be difficult if one does not make prior reservations. The area is popular with vacationers all year. Occasionally, vacation lodgings in the form of private residences can be found – some with lakefront or lake views. Campgrounds in the area often rent cabins by the week or week-end. And of course, hotel lodgings are available in Lake Wales and other cities in the area. Real estate is often available in the area, usually existing homes. A visit here can cause you to start planning a permanent move to this nature-filled paradise. Come for a visit . . and stay for a lifetime.

Things to do at Lake Rosalie

  • Fishing
  • Fishing Tournaments
  • Boating
  • Swimming
  • Canoeing
  • Kayaking
  • Jet Skiing
  • Water Skiing
  • Golf
  • Camping
  • Campground
  • Picnicking
  • Cabin Rentals
  • Hiking
  • Horseback Riding
  • Hunting
  • Wildlife Viewing
  • Birding
  • State Park
  • Shopping

Fish species found at Lake Rosalie

  • Bass
  • Black Crappie
  • Catfish
  • Chain Pickerel
  • Crappie
  • Gar
  • Longnose Gar
  • Pickerel
  • Pike
  • White Catfish

Lake Rosalie Photo Gallery

Lake Rosalie Statistics & Helpful Links

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Lake Type: Natural Freshwater Lake, Not Dammed

Surface Area: 4,530 acres

Shoreline Length: 10 miles

Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 54 feet

Average Depth: 15 feet

Maximum Depth: 61 feet

Drainage Area: 133 sq. miles

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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