Otter Tail Lake, Minnesota, USA

Welcome to the ultimate guide to Otter Tail Lake — things to do, where to stay, fun facts, history, stats and more. Let’s dive in!

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Looking for Otter Tail Lake cabins or other accommodations? Save time and use this interactive map to find, compare and book at the best rates. Or explore our comprehensive list of favorite travel partners.

All About Otter Tail Lake

With over 13,000 acres of water and 22 miles of shoreline, Otter Tail Lake is the largest lake in Otter Tail County and is located in the Central tourism region of Minnesota. Otter Tail Lake is part of the Otter Tail River Chain of Lakes which also includes Rush, Big Pine, Little Pine, Deer, East Lost, and West Lost Lakes. Although Otter Tail Lake is a natural lake, the waters are regulated by Otter Tail Lake Dam which is a self-regulating dam. Public access can be found off county Highway 78 along the east shoreline, County Highway 72 along the west shoreline, and County Road 1 along the north shoreline. Lake levels generally do not fluctuate more than four feet.

Originally called “Lac de la Queue de la Outer” which translates Lake of the Otters Tail by early explorers, it is now believed to be called Otters Tail by the sand bar shaped like an otter’s tail where the Otter Tail River enters Otter Tail Lake. The sand bar can still be seen on the northeast end of the lake. The area surrounding the lake is rooted in history. The chain of lakes was the best method of transportation, and trading posts were set up near Otter Tail Lake. Now the majority of the shoreline of Otter Tail Lake is surrounded by residential and commercial development. Whether lake visitors want a weekend getaway or a permanent residence, they will find what they are looking for on the shores of Otter Tail Lake.

Otter Tail Lake is a popular destination for both open water and winter angling. Although known as a walleye fishing spot, yellow perch have been very abundant and of a good size. Other game fish of interest are northern pike, rock bass, and yellow bullhead catfish. When the lake freezes over for the winter, ice fishing becomes a favorite pastime.

Amor Park, located on the north shore of Otter Tail Lake, is a popular swimming and picnicking site. The county park provides a swimming beach, picnic tables, picnic shelter, restrooms, and playground equipment. What better way to spend a beautiful Minnesota summer day than relaxing on a sandy beach, taking a dip in cooling waters, and enjoying your favorite summer foods?

Otter Tail Lake visitors will enjoy a visit to Phelps Mill, located in nearby Fergus Falls. The mill was built in the late 1800s and featured a general store, cheese factory, and restaurant and blacksmith shop. Now Phelps Mill is a symbol of old rural life and was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1975. Phelps Mill is now owned by Otter Tail County and is used as a recreational site. In addition, the Otter Trail Scenic Byway guides travelers over 150 miles of driving trails with scenic beauty and wildlife viewing.

Other recreational opportunities at Otter Tail Lake include boating, jet skiing, sailing, swimming, camping, as well as a round of golf. Lakeside resorts, cabins, and vacation homes are available for rent. And for those who like to camp, there is a choice of primitive camping as well as RV camping with electrical hook up and sewer hook ups. Otter Tail Lake provides numerous dining and shopping opportunities.

Lake visitors will enjoy making Otter Tail Lake a repeated vacation spot. Start planning your trip today by booking one of the many vacation rentals that line the shoreline.

Things to Do at Otter Tail Lake

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Ice Fishing
  • Boating
  • Sailing
  • Swimming
  • Beach
  • Jet Skiing
  • Golf
  • Camping
  • Picnicking
  • Cabin Rentals
  • Hiking
  • Wildlife Viewing
  • Playground
  • Shopping

Fish Species Found at Otter Tail Lake

  • Bass
  • Bullhead Catfish
  • Catfish
  • Northern Pike
  • Perch
  • Pike
  • Sunfish
  • Walleye
  • Yellow Bullhead
  • Yellow Perch

Find Places to Stay at Otter Tail Lake

If you’re considering a Otter Tail Lake lake house rental or hotel, we’ve made it super easy to find the best rates and compare vacation accommodations at a glance. Save time using this interactive map below.

Recommended Sites to Book a Otter Tail Lake Vacation

If you want to take a deeper dive to find waterfront lake cabins, cottages, condos, hotels or resorts, check out our favorite Otter Tail Lake lodging partners.

  • VRBO – Use VRBO to find the perfect lake rental home, condo, cabin, cottage or other vacation property.
  • – One of the world’s leading digital travel companies, connects travelers to everything from cozy B&Bs to luxury resorts.
  • Expedia – Expedia is a popular online travel agency with more than 140,000 lodging properties worldwide.
  • – With more than 325,000 hotels in 19,000-plus locations, is an industry leader in online accommodations.
  • TripAdvisor – Read traveler reviews and compare prices on hotels, vacation rentals and more at TripAdvisor.
  • Trivago – Trivago helps travelers compare deals for hotels and other accommodations from a variety of booking sites.
  • KAYAK – KAYAK scours hundreds of other travel websites at once to find the best deals on hotels and other travel-related services.
  • RVshare –RVshare connects travelers interested in renting a motorhome with owners who have RVs to rent.
  • CampSpot – Campspot offers premier RV resorts, family campgrounds, cabins and glamping options across North America.

Note: These are affiliate links so we may earn a small commission if you book through them. While there is no extra cost to you, it helps provide resources to keep our site running (thank you)! You can read our full disclosure policy here.

Otter Tail Lake Statistics & Helpful Links


Lake Type: Natural Freshwater Lake, Dammed

Water Level Control: Minnesota Department of Natural Resources

Surface Area: 13,725 acres

Shoreline Length: 22 miles

Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 1,321 feet

Average Depth: 15 feet

Maximum Depth: 120 feet

Water Volume: 506,000 acre-feet

Trophic State: Mesotrophic

We strive to keep the information on LakeLubbers as accurate as possible. However, if you’ve found something in this article that needs updating, we’d certainly love to hear from you! Please fill out our Content Correction form.

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