Lake Shafer, Indiana, USA

Welcome to the ultimate guide for history, statistics, local fun facts and the best things to do at Lake Shafer.

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Lake Shafer visitor and community guide

Lake Locations: USA - Midwest - Indiana - West -

Lake Shafer is the summer destination of many Indiana families. Located just outside of Monticello, Indiana, Lake Shafer is one of two man-made lakes on the Tippecanoe River. Due to the constant flow of water from the river, the residence time of Lake Shafer is only 3 days. Lake Shafer is ten miles long and covers 1291 acres, and because of its location is a natural trap for sediment. Starting in 2004, there have been efforts to dredge the lake, removing sandbars and increasing the lake’s depth. Lake Shafer’s 50 miles of shoreline offer numerous recreational opportunities.

Lake Shafer was created by the building of the Norway Hydroelectric Dam one mile north of Monticello. The dam, made of earth fill and concrete, was completed in June of 1923. Lake Shafer has been completely drained four times for dam repairs since 1923. The dam is owned and operated by Northern Indiana Public Service Company (NIPSCO), and provides electrical power and recreation for the area. With its four generators, the Norway Dam is capable of producing up to 7,200 kw of electricity per hour. A second dam, Oakdale Hydroelectric Dam, was built just south of Monticello creating Lake Freeman. Up until World War II, these two dams provided enough energy to support Monticello and surrounding areas. Because both dams are run-of-the-river dams, the lakes maintain an almost constant water level. This has enabled both lakes to become centers for tourism. There are over 100 camps, resorts and tourist hotspots surrounding these lakes.

Lake Shafer is the more visited of the twin lakes due to the presence of the Indiana Beach Amusement Park and Camp Resort, which is the largest amusement park in the state of Indiana. Indiana Beach Amusement Park offers over 30 rides including 6 roller coasters. They also have an exciting water park and miniature golf course. After a busy day at the park you can relax at Sandy Beach and enjoy the amazing view. Spending the weekend at Lake Shaffer is made easy with a variety of rental cottages and homes. There are several marinas offering boat and jet ski rentals. Water skiing is also a popular summer activity. Lake Shafer is full with boat traffic every weekend throughout the summer. The summer population more than doubles the year-round population of Lake Shafer, and tourism contributes an estimated 70 million dollars.

Anglers come to Lake Shafer to compete in fishing tournaments and to take advantage of its diverse and plentiful fish population. Lake Shafer provides four public boat ramps along with several marinas. Lake Shafer hosts the annual American Bass Anglers Fishing Tournament as well as several other tournaments. With its abundant Common Carp, Channel Catfish, Largemouth Bass, Smallmouth Bass, White Bass, Hybrid Striped Bass, White Crappie, and Bluegill, fishing on Lake Shafer is always a recipe for excitement. Whether you’re taking the kids for a family vacation or looking for a great place to fish, Lake Shafer is your destination.

Custom Lake Shafer house decor

Read our full review of these personalized lake house signs.

Things to do at Lake Shafer

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Fishing Tournaments
  • Boating
  • Swimming
  • Beach
  • Jet Skiing
  • Water Skiing
  • Golf
  • Camping
  • Amusement Park
  • Miniature Golf

Fish species found at Lake Shafer

  • Bass
  • Black Bass
  • Bluegill
  • Carp
  • Catfish
  • Channel Catfish
  • Crappie
  • Largemouth Bass
  • Smallmouth Bass
  • Striped Bass
  • Sunfish
  • White Bass
  • White Crappie

Best hotels and vacation rentals at Lake Shafer

The Lake Shafer map shown above is a simple and stress-free way to search for trip accommodations. But if you want to take a deeper dive to find the ideal waterfront home, cabin, condo, hotel or resort, visit our favorite lodging partners by clicking the buttons below.

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Lake Shafer photo gallery

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Lake Shafer statistics & helpful links


Lake Type: Artificial Reservoir, Dammed

Water Level Control: NIPSCO

Surface Area: 1,291 acres

Shoreline Length: 50 miles

Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 648 feet

Average Depth: 10 feet

Maximum Depth: 30 feet

Water Volume: 12,910 acre-feet

Completion Year: 1923

Water Residence Time: 3 days

Drainage Area: 1,732 sq. miles

Trophic State: Mesotrophic

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