Lake Waconia, Minnesota, USA

Lake Locations:

USA - Midwest - Minnesota - Minneapolis-St. Paul Metro -

Also known as:  Clearwater Lake (historic)

Lake Waconia is one of the lesser-known large lakes in the Minneapolis Metro Region. At nearly 3100 acres, the lake offers plenty of play space for water lovers. The lake often gets steady winds, making it a favorite among the sailing crowd. Lake Waconia is just far enough away from the busy city to maintain a rural atmosphere, yet close enough that all urban advantages are easily accessible. Two marinas along the southern shore make this a convenient place for urban boaters to indulge in their favorite sport every weekend. A public boat launch provides ample space for smaller trailered boats, and visiting sailors can launch from the marinas for a small fee. Lake Waconia supports all water sports including power boating, jet-skiing, water-skiing, tubing, paddling and pontooning. So popular are wind-powered sports that Lake Waconia has been at the forefront of a resurgence of sailboarding, with wakeboard regattas held here. A sailing club also holds regattas and regular sail racing for members.

There are a number of homes along the shore, but Lake Waconia is mostly surrounded by farmland. The small City of Waconia hugs the southern shoreline, and the two marinas are a vital part of the business community. Not far to the east of the city, the Lake Waconia Regional Park is under active development. Efforts are underway to expand the acreage of the park, but even in its current smaller state, the park holds a very popular sandy beach with bath house, rest rooms, picnic pavilions and volleyball court. Carver County recently acquired a historic ballroom adjacent to the park and is operating it as the Lake Waconia Event Center. A sledding hill is provided in the park, and eventual plans are to acquire nearby Coney Island offshore as an addition to the park.

Fishing is a big attraction at Lake Waconia. The lake isn’t deep, so much of it is excellent fishing for black crappie, bluegill, largemouth bass, muskellunge, northern pike, walleye and yellow perch. Walleye and muskellunge are stocked regularly. The DNR boat ramp is located on the northeast side of the lake, and the City of Waconia maintains a fishing pier at the small park in town. Local fishing guides can be hired to help new visitors find the fishing hot-spots on the wide expanse of water. Ice fishing is very popular, with one of the marinas renting ice fishing houses during the winter. The same marina offers bait and rental of boats and pontoons. Most winters see a small village of shanties on the ice, with virtual streets between them and a great sense of camaraderie mixed with rivalry among the ‘hard water’ fishermen. Ice fishing tournaments are sometimes held here.

Although there are no campgrounds directly on Lake Waconia, there are commercial campgrounds nearby, and some reports show primitive camping allowed at the Lake Waconia Wildlife Management Area on the north side of the lake. The City of Waconia has worked to develop activities to entertain both residents and visitors. An indoor water park shares space with elevated running track, training machines, exercise classes and children’s play area, serving as a community center. An ice arena and ball diamonds join playgrounds and local walking paths to provide exercise venues. Regularly-scheduled annual events bring many to the Lake Waconia area. A 4th of July fireworks display over the lake is hugely popular and attracts viewers from many miles around. A half-marathon and a triathlon are held here each summer, bringing in large numbers of runners and athletes. A lake association is active and works toward improving water quality and solving any problems that arise. They are actively working on plans with the DNR to rid Coney Island of a flock of cormorants, recent interlopers who degrade the lake environment and eat huge numbers of fish.

Originally called Clearwater Lake, Lake Waconia has a long history of pleasing guests. Only 30 miles west of the busy Twin Cities, Lake Waconia is one of the largest lakes in the area, and for many years received daily visitors during the heyday of large lakeside resorts. Beginning in 1886, a developer plotted cottage lots, a large resort hotel, dance hall, boat house, swim beach and marina on the island he named Coney Island of The West. Lake Waconia ferried visitors from the shore to nearby Coney Island with steamships. As the popularity of lakeside resorts diminished with personal vehicle travel, Coney Island began to fade, and the cottages and amusements fell to ruin. The island is now privately owned and likely will become a wildlife refuge as part of the Lake Waconia Regional Park when land acquisitions are finished. The former ballroom recently annexed into the park was the last of those popular lakeside attractions and served as nightclub and ballroom until the 1960s. A maritime historical group recently began surveying the lake bottom to search for possible shipwreck sites. Lake Waconia has reinvented itself into a more modern era, much loved and appreciated by residents.

Although there are no resorts along Lake Waconia, some of the local private owners rent their lakefront homes to vacationers. A few rental cottages exist in the City of Waconia, along with a bed-and-breakfast. Two larger chain hotels also provide lodging. Real estate is available, some with lake frontage or lake views. Waconia offers all of the services a visitor would desire, including movie theaters, many restaurants and cafes, including a very nice waterfront restaurant at one of the marinas. The City of Waconia and Lake Waconia have a forward-looking vision. That vision is to create a highly enjoyable water-based playground serving everyone’s needs. And it’s well on its way to getting there. Come to Lake Waconia and see what all the excitement is about.

Things to do at Lake Waconia

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Fishing Tournaments
  • Ice Fishing
  • Boating
  • Sailing
  • Swimming
  • Beach
  • Canoeing
  • Kayaking
  • Jet Skiing
  • Water Skiing
  • Wakeboarding
  • Tubing
  • Camping
  • Campground
  • Picnicking
  • Wildlife Viewing
  • Playground
  • Movie Theater

Fish species found at Lake Waconia

  • Bass
  • Black Bass
  • Black Crappie
  • Bluegill
  • Crappie
  • Largemouth Bass
  • Muskellunge
  • Northern Pike
  • Perch
  • Pike
  • Sunfish
  • Walleye
  • Yellow Perch

Lake Waconia Photo Gallery

Lake Waconia Statistics & Helpful Links

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Lake Type: Natural Freshwater Lake, Not Dammed

Surface Area: 3,080 acres

Shoreline Length: 10 miles

Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 966 feet

Maximum Depth: 37 feet

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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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