Silver Lake, Iowa, USA

Lake Locations:

USA - Midwest - Iowa - Northwest -

Silver Lake, a natural glacial lake spanning 1,041 acres, is located in northwestern Iowa bordering the town of Lake Park. It is one of the chain of lakes known as Iowa’s Great Lakes. This multiple-lake area is a favorite vacation destination, offering numerous outdoor recreational activities. Although it is not the largest of Iowa’s Great Lakes, Silver Lake offers a scenic location for fishing, boating, camping, and nature watching.

Although anglers often overlook Silver Lake in favor of the larger lakes nearby, Silver Lake offers excellent fishing for walleye. Other fish found in the lake include northern pike, crappie, yellow perch, and bullhead. Ice fishing is popular in the winter months, making Silver Lake ideal for anglers year-round. There is plentiful boat access, with a total of three hard surface boat ramps, and the two adjacent parks offer space for fishing from shore or from docks. Because there are no motor restrictions on the lake, Silver Lake is also a prime spot for recreational boating, and boats ranging from canoes to sailboats to powerboats can all be spotted enjoying the lake’s waters.

Two parks on the shores of Silver Lake offer multiple options for picnicking and playing. Silver Lake City Park, on the east shore of the lake, has plenty of picnic tables, a playground, baseball and football fields, and courts for tennis, basketball, and sand volleyball. The park’s swimming pool is a perfect place to cool off when the weather is hot. The park even has an historic attraction: Knox Cabin, originally built in 1869 on the north shore of Silver Lake and the first home to be built in what is now Lake Park. The cabin is furnished with items that would have been used in the late 1800s. Trappers Bay State Park, on the north side of Silver Lake, is also an ideal spot for a picnic lunch, with covered and uncovered picnic tables available and scenic views of the lake.

Camping is conveniently available just steps from the lake’s shore. Silver Lake City Campground, on the eastern side of the lake, boasts room for both RVs and tents, electrical hook-ups, an RV dump station, and modern showers and restrooms. Campers here can take advantage of the amenities available at the nearby city park, including a playground, picnic areas, and a swimming pool. More basic accommodations are available at the South Shore Campground at the southern end of Silver Lake. This campground has a tent area, RV hook-ups, a picnic area, and primitive restrooms.

Nature lovers will find plenty to do on the shores of Silver Lake. Several wildlife management areas border the lake, including Silver Lake Wildlife Management Area, Cory Marsh State Game Management Area, and Dugout Creek Wildlife Management Area. Hunting is available in many areas, and the terrain ranges from wetlands and marshlands to forests. A unique feature of the area is Silver Lake Fen State Preserve. (Fens are wetlands fed from groundwater rich in calcium and magnesium.) Located on the southwestern shores of the lake, this unusual area was formed by glacial activity and groundwater sources that created a thick layer of peat. This preserve is home to some of Iowa’s rarest plants, including four species of orchids, as well as several types of birds and butterflies. When the weather turns cold, locals head outside to enjoy the miles of snowmobile trail connecting Lake Park to nearby towns.

If you are planning a visit to Iowa’s Great Lakes, don’t overlook Silver Lake. This little lake and its adjoining community give visitors plenty of options for enjoying nature in a small-town setting.

Things to do at Silver Lake IA

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Ice Fishing
  • Boating
  • Sailing
  • Swimming
  • Swimming Pool
  • Canoeing
  • Tennis
  • Camping
  • Campground
  • Picnicking
  • Cabin Rentals
  • Hiking
  • Snowmobiling
  • Hunting
  • Wildlife Viewing
  • Birding
  • State Park
  • City Park
  • Playground

Fish species found at Silver Lake IA

  • Crappie
  • Northern Pike
  • Perch
  • Pike
  • Walleye
  • Yellow Perch

Silver Lake IA Photo Gallery

Silver Lake IA Statistics & Helpful Links

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Lake Type: Natural Freshwater Lake, Dammed

Water Level Control: Iowa Dept. of Natural Resources

Surface Area: 1,041 acres

Shoreline Length: 10 miles

Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 1,460 feet

Average Depth: 6 feet

Maximum Depth: 11 feet

Drainage Area: 24 sq. miles

Trophic State: Hypereutrophic

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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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