Marindahl Lake, South Dakota, USA

Lake Locations:

USA - Midwest - South Dakota - Southeast Region -

Also known as:  Marindahl Reservoir

Marindahl Lake, in South Dakotas’s Southeast Region, isn’t the kind of lake you’ll find on lists of the world’s greatest lakes. Indeed, you may not be able to find it on any lists of commonly-known lakes. The lake is relatively unknown outside of the immediate area of South Dakota, keeping it uncrowded and a haven for nature lovers. Marindahl Reservoir was created when Clay Creek (a tributary of the Vermillion River) was dammed. The purpose of the reservoir is to provide wildlife habitat and recreational opportunities in the area. The small 139-acre lake boasts a tree-shaded shoreline and areas of 100-foot cliffs towering above the water. Because this is a ‘no wake’ lake, the quiet waters are ideal for canoeing and kayaking. Recently popularized by canoeists, many canoeing bloggers comment on the shimmer produced as the sun sets across the surface. Marindahl Lake provide a welcome contrast to larger, better-known recreational lakes in the area.

The area of the state that now holds Marindahl Lake saw the Lewis and Clark Expedition pass through on their exploration of the northwestern lands of the Louisiana Purchase. Once the lands of the Yankton Sioux, the area was sold by treaty to the United States government in 1852 and quickly settled by farmers. The two largest cities in the area – Yankton and Sioux Falls – were both plotted by land speculators. Nearby Vermillion maintains a museum dedicated in part to the Lewis and Clark Expedition, as does Yankton. The process of turning the thick prairie sod in order to grow wheat was difficult for the early settlers. Taming the land also degraded the streams and rivers with sediment from run-off. For many years, fishing in the southeastern corner of South Dakota took a backseat to farming. Fishing and wildlife suffered for lack of habitat. Fortunately, modern recognition of the importance of clean water and wildlife habitat caused major investment to be made in restoring the environment to health. Marindahl Lake is a part of that success story.

Because the entire shoreline of Marindahl Lake belongs to the South Dakota Department of Game, Fish and Parks, there is no development directly along the shore. A total of 634 acres of public land is available for recreation and hunting around the lake. The only boat ramp extending into the waters is the Game, Fish and Parks dock near the dam at the south end of the lake. Because of the natural state of the lakeshore, it is easy for a solo paddler to believe himself in undiscovered territory. One may occasionally see another boat, or a fisherman fishing from the shore, but often the visiting paddler has the lake himself. Gliding silently long the shoreline, one is likely to see a variety of waterfowl, small mammals, muskrat, song birds, turtles, herons, terns and an occasional eagle. Deer can occasionally be spotted drinking in the shallows. Feeding fish ripple the still surface of the lake and the occasional bass makes a resounding splash as it rises to snatch a tempting insect in mid-air.

Anglers visit Marindahl Lake to stalk the wily largemouth bass and to take their limit of bluegill, black crappie and green sunfish. Channel Catfish are beginning to reach fish-able numbers and size in the lake. Because the lake was over-populated with common carp and bullhead, the water was chemically treated a few years ago to remove them, and more sought-after fish planted. A stocking program plants fingerlings regularly based on fish population monitoring. In winter, the lake is a favorite for ice fishing.

No facilities other than toilets are provided at the boat access area. There are no camping, picnicking or playground facilities provided. During hunting season, hunters park at the provided road-ends and walk to their chosen spots. The lack of facilities and organized trails keeps the public lands around the lake secluded and seldom used except by serious sportsmen. This seclusion is much appreciated by bird-watcher and wildlife viewers.

Visitors to the lake usually avail themselves of the vacation rentals and hotel-style lodgings near Yankton or Vermillion. Occasionally, cottages may become available around the small towns of Irene, Wakonda, Volin or Gayville. Often those wishing to make a true vacation of a trip to Marindahl Lake take advantage of the campgrounds at the Lewis and Clark Recreation Area just west of Yankton. Here, they can entertain themselves along the Missouri River and Lewis and Clark Lake. All types of water sports are enjoyed here, including larger sailboats and power boating. Real estate is available in the area between Marindahl Lake and Yankton and a ranchette purchase is certainly a possibility.

For the family with children, the entertainment venues available in the Yankton area will keep them busy while the fisher folk of the family make the 20 mile trip to Marindahl Lake. An interesting side-excursion in Yankton is the Dakota Territory Museum, with its full compliment of early area settler history, Native American historical facts and information and artifacts from the Lewis and Clark Expedition. The small city has art galleries, theatres, golf courses and even wineries nearby.

So, give Marindahl Lake a try. Bring the kayak and the fishing tackle. You’ll find yourself enchanted as have so many other lucky visitors. Don’t forget the camera!

Things to do at Marindahl Lake

  • Fishing
  • Ice Fishing
  • Boating
  • Sailing
  • Canoeing
  • Kayaking
  • Golf
  • Camping
  • Campground
  • Picnicking
  • Hiking
  • Hunting
  • Wildlife Viewing
  • Birding
  • Museum
  • Playground

Fish species found at Marindahl Lake

  • Bass
  • Black Bass
  • Black Crappie
  • Bluegill
  • Carp
  • Catfish
  • Channel Catfish
  • Crappie
  • Largemouth Bass
  • Sunfish

Marindahl Lake Photo Gallery

  • PENTAX Image

Marindahl Lake Statistics & Helpful Links

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Lake Type: Artificial Reservoir, Dammed

Water Level Control: South Dakota Department of Game, Fish and Parks (GFP)

Surface Area: 139 acres

Shoreline Length: 4 miles

Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 1,312 feet

Average Depth: 13 feet

Maximum Depth: 30 feet

Water Volume: 1,747 acre-feet

Completion Year: 1952

Drainage Area: 715 sq. miles

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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".

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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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