Perry Lake, Kansas, USA

Lake Locations:

USA - Midwest - Kansas - Northeast -

Also known as:  Perry Lake Reservoir

Tucked neatly into the northeast region of Kansas about 40 miles west of Kansas City, Perry Lake Reservoir provides tons of fun for those lucky enough to find it. The reservoir was built by the US Army Corps of Engineers primarily as a flood control project but has been carefully developed to provide all sorts of outdoor recreation for visitors to the area. Camping areas, boat ramps, marinas, wildlife refuges, restaurants and beaches offer every kind of leisure activity. The reservoir protects the downstream communities of Perry, Lawrence, Bonner Springs, and Kansas City from damaging flooding from the Delaware River and its tributaries.

Constructed in 1969, Perry Lake Reservoir covers much of the former Delaware Indian Reservation. The irregularly-shaped reservoir offers over 11,000 acres of water surface at ‘multi-purpose pool’ levels but can expand to over 25,000 acres in the event of flooding. The wetlands created hold a wealth of wildlife and waterfowl, offering wildlife viewing year round and hunting in selected areas during season. At regular levels, the lake supports all types of water sports and boating. There are no restrictions on boats on most of the lake, so visitors enjoy power boating, water skiing, jet skiing, tubing, wake boarding, pontooning and sailing. A yacht club provides slips for its members, teaches sailing, sponsors regattas, and holds regular activities for the membership. Three marina concessions rent all types of boats and have rental slips, gas docks, restaurants, boating and bait stores, and make repairs. The many coves and inlets offer great paddling venues with plenty of wildlife to watch for. Perry Lake has something for every interest and receives many visitors throughout the year.

Fishing is big sport at Perry Lake. The lake is known for being a productive sauger fishery and provides breeding stock for other Kansas lakes. Good-sized channel catfish are the norm, particularly in the notoriously-productive ‘hog trough’ fishing hole. Bait stations make fishing from shore attractive for young children; white crappie, flathead catfish, walleye and white bass are plentiful. A water fluctuation fish management plan is used to assure optimal breeding grounds for the various species. In winter, ice fishing is popular, particularly around the Rock Creek Park area. Two swimming beaches are provided, while picnic areas and playgrounds round out the day’s visit. Overnight campers will find a number of campsites in the various areas around the reservoir. Perry Lake State Park offers camping with all amenities, showers, electricity and beautiful shaded campsites.

Perry Lake also offers four more camping areas, mostly with fewer amenities. These are of particular interest to the many who come to hike the excellent trail system or engage in bicycling or horseback riding. An equestrian campground and trail are extremely popular. An ATV area is set aside for those who enjoy the sport. Interpretive trails offer information of the wildlife, birds, trees and grasses in the area. One area along the eastern shore is the best spot to view bald eagles; sometimes a breeding pair raises their young in full view of the hiking trail. Several organized trail systems meander along the shoreline, including the nearly 30-mile Perry Lake Hiking Trail, one of the first National Recreation Trails in Kansas. The Old Military Trail section along the lake is somewhat demanding, but fans say it is likely the most scenic section. An old USACE (US Army Corps of Engineers) campground permits limited camping in this area by prior permission only.

The USACE owns over 21,600 acres of public land around the reservoir managed for wildlife. Deer, turkey, quail, pheasant, squirrel, rabbit, geese and ducks may be found on these federal public hunting lands. Most of the actual management work is accomplished by leasing lands to local farmers for agricultural purposes with lease stipulations to maximize wildlife habitat. Over 1000 acres of marshland have been developed in 14 different spots along the shoreline to benefit wildlife. The Perry Lake Marshland Refuge Areas are located further north along the Delaware River. These areas are a bird-watcher’s paradise. Shorebirds, waterfowl, and many other migratory birds stop here to rest, nest, and mate. Some species stay here year-round.

All of these attractions make Perry Lake an ideal destination for a family vacation. Those not interested in camping can find other forms of lodgings in nearby towns, including small motels, guest cottages and bed-and-breakfasts. At the Village of Perry, canoeists can access northeast Kansas’ only public canoeing stream, the Kansas River. The area is particularly rich in Plains farm history; the Old Jefferson Town Historical Museum site just east of Perry Lake near Oskaloosa holds 10 acres of buildings moved there from around the county including a blacksmith shop, jail, general store, chapel, school house, Victorian home, and the John Steuart Curry boyhood home and museum. Also housed at Old Jefferson Town are the genealogical research building, a bandstand, and a native grass prairie. Of particular interest is the sculpted representation of the Samuel Peppard Wind Wagon endeavor. This local blacksmith and wagon-maker built a true ‘prairie schooner’ complete with mast and sail to take him to the Colorado gold fields. He and his partners actually made it to within 100 miles of Denver before their wagon was broken apart by a whirlwind.

Another Kansas historical venue to the west of Perry Lake is the Meriden Antique Engine and Threshing Association’s location near Meriden. The Association puts on several antique tractor and threshing equipment events during the year, drawing fans of old steam-powered farm equipment from all over the Midwest. On site is Cottonwood Station, a reproduction of an early-day Kansas town. The town is only open during Association event weekends, but private tours can be arranged. Located this close to Kansas City and Topeka, Perry Lake is idea for a day or weekend visit. Because the lakeshore is all owned by the USACE, there is no real estate available along the lakefront. Property along the many creeks in the area is sometime available, however. If a northeastern Kansas vacation is in your future, you couldn’t ask for a more perfect spot than Perry Lake. We hope you’ll visit soon!

Things to do at Perry Lake

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Ice Fishing
  • Boating
  • Sailing
  • Swimming
  • Beach
  • Canoeing
  • Kayaking
  • Jet Skiing
  • Water Skiing
  • Wakeboarding
  • Tubing
  • Camping
  • Campground
  • Picnicking
  • Hiking
  • Biking
  • Horseback Riding
  • Hunting
  • Wildlife Viewing
  • Birding
  • State Park
  • Museum
  • Playground
  • Antiquing

Fish species found at Perry Lake

  • Bass
  • Catfish
  • Channel Catfish
  • Crappie
  • Flathead Catfish
  • Perch
  • Sauger
  • Walleye
  • White Bass
  • White Crappie

Perry Lake Photo Gallery

Perry Lake Statistics & Helpful Links

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Lake Type: Not Known

Water Level Control: US Army Corps of Engineers

Surface Area: 11,150 acres

Shoreline Length: 160 miles

Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 892 feet

Average Depth: 35 feet

Maximum Depth: 55 feet

Water Volume: 209,513 acre-feet

Completion Year: 1969

Drainage Area: 1,117 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".

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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