Lake Tohopekaliga, Florida, USA

Lake Locations:

USA - South - Florida - East Central -

Also known as:  Lake Toho

Lake Tohopekaliga is world renowned for its bass fishing and loved for its natural beauty. It is located in Osceola County, Florida, at the headwaters of the Everglades and one of the Kissimmee Chain of Lakes which encompasses 100,000 acres. In some spots Lake Tohopekaliga is marshy, a haven for rare waterfowl. In deeper places the water is home to record-size bass.

Lake Tohopekaliga is an 18,810 acre lake, 42 miles in diameter. Its primary source is Shingle Creek, which starts in Orlando. Lake Tohopekaliga is linked to its smaller sister, East Lake Tohopekaliga, by the St. Cloud Canal. The canal is three miles long and travels through St. Cloud. South Port canal runs from the southern tip of Lake Tohopekaliga and links the lake to Cypress Lake.

The Seminole Native Americans named the lake “Tohopekaliga” which translates into “fort site.” In the mid-1800s Osceola County was the southernmost tip of the “settled” land. At that time the term “settled” meant more than two people per square mile. Back then everything to the south of Lake Tohopekaliga, except the settlements at Tampa Bay, was true frontier.

Lake Toho, as it is often called, still has its wild side. During a swift airboat ride over the waters you will see turtles and alligators as well as bald eagles and osprey which compete with the anglers for their daily catch. You see the area is also known around the world for its bird watching. It is home to the endangered Everglades snail kite and whooping crane.

Osceola County has numerous streams and creeks that are perfect for canoeing or kayaking. This is an up close and personal way to enjoy the scenic wetlands and the area’s stunning flora and fauna.

Makinson Island in Lake Tohopekaliga is a county park that offers nature enthusiasts a glimpse of the Florida before the land was settled. It is a 132-acre island with three and a half miles of hiking trails and many wildlife viewing opportunities. The amenities include primitive campsites and dock. The island is only accessible by boat.

It is the fishing though that gets most of the press. Some of the species you can reel in while fishing on Lake Tohopekaliga include: largemouth bass, spotted bass, crappie, sauger, walleye and catfish.

The lake has hosted the Super Bowl of bass fishing tournaments, the Bassmaster Classic. On a regular basis anglers go home with stories of catching 10 to 13 pound bass. Local fishing experts say with the aide of a guide you could catch 10 fish a day on Lake Toho. The fish are more active in the earlier parts of the year before the waters of Lake Tohopekaliga heat up in the summer sun.

Lake Tohopekaliga is in the East Central tourism region of Florida. It is just south of Kissimmee where there are a cornucopia of off-water activities. If hitting the links is on your agenda during your trip, the Kissimmee area has numerous courses with stunning views from each hole. Kissimmee also serves up night clubs, dinner theatre and museums.

The Osceola County Historical Society Pioneer Museum gives visitors a glimpse at what life was like for those who settled the area. A trip to the Kennedy Space Center will educate and excite the entire family. The hands-on exhibits at the Orlando Science Center are a fun way for the whole family to learn.

Lake Tohopekaliga is also just 30 minutes from Orlando and the Disney theme parks, Sea World and Universal Studios.

With all that there is to do around Lake Tohopekaliga vacation rentals come in all forms. Lakeside condos and cabins are in great supply for those who enjoy the creature comforts. If you like roughing it, there are campsites both primitive and RV hook-ups.

Whether it is an exciting ride over the Lake Tohopekaliga marsh in an airboat or careening down a mega-hill of a rollercoaster, Lake Toho is a thrilling destination. Where else can you look an alligator in the eye one day and hug Mickey Mouse the next?

Things to do at Lake Tohopekaliga

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Fishing Tournaments
  • Boating
  • Canoeing
  • Kayaking
  • Camping
  • Cabin Rentals
  • Hiking
  • Wildlife Viewing
  • Birding
  • Museum

Fish species found at Lake Tohopekaliga

  • Bass
  • Black Bass
  • Catfish
  • Crappie
  • Largemouth Bass
  • Perch
  • Sauger
  • Spotted Bass
  • Walleye

Lake Tohopekaliga Photo Gallery

Lake Tohopekaliga Statistics & Helpful Links

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Lake Type: Natural Freshwater Lake, Not Dammed

Water Level Control: South Florida Water Management District

Surface Area: 18,810 acres

Shoreline Length: 42 miles

Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 52 feet

Minimum Elevation (Min Pond): 0 feet

Maximum Elevation (Max Pond): 55 feet

Average Depth: 7 feet

Maximum Depth: 15 feet

Water Volume: 144,948 acre-feet

Drainage Area: 396 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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