Tuttle Creek Lake, Kansas, USA

Lake Locations:

USA - Midwest - Kansas - Northeast -

Also known as:  Tuttle Creek Reservoir

When construction of Tuttle Creek Dam began in 1952, the premise was that Tuttle Creek Lake would be a “dry dam” passing water on through to the river below the dam, except in flood situations. No water conservation or any other uses were envisioned. A prolonged drought in 1952 and 1953, combined with the need for more flow on the Kansas River, and a desire for recreational development, prompted Congress to remove the “dry dam” restriction in 1957. Today, Tuttle Creek Lake is a 12,500-acre flood control and recreational lake making it the second largest lake in Kansas.

Nestled in the scenic Flint Hills, Tuttle Creek Lake boasts 100 miles of shoreline for fishing, boating, camping, picnicking, and a variety of outdoor sports. Eleven parks – six managed by the Army Corps of Engineers, four by the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks, and one by Pottawatomie County – offer a wide range of facilities such as camping, utility hookups, beaches, flush toilets, boat ramps, volleyball courts, horse shoe pits, and picnic shelters. Also available for lake visitors is a full service marina, nature trails, hiking, equestrian, and off road vehicle trails, and a shooting range. Over 16,000 acres of land surrounding the lake have been improved to benefit wildlife, and provide excellent hunting and wildlife viewing opportunities.

Whether you prefer power, paddle or sail, Tuttle Creek Lake is a boater’s paradise. The size of the lake (14 miles long) combined with the prevailing winds make Tuttle Creek Lake one of the best sailing lakes in Kansas. Power boaters will enjoy the main body of the lake on calm days for water skiing, tubing, and pleasure boating. On windy days, many of the coves and the face of Tuttle Creek Dam offer protection from rough water. Canoeists and kayakers will find River Pond below the dam a perfect place for paddling. The state park offers canoe, kayak, and paddleboat rentals. Boaters should be aware that there are hazardous boating areas in the lake. Submerged objects are common in Tuttle Creek Cove, and between this cove and the dam. Lake levels fluctuate almost daily, so stumps sticking out of the water on one visit may be underwater on the next.

Swimming is allowed in almost all areas of Tuttle Creek Lake. Dangerous areas or high boat traffic areas are indicated buy warning buoys. There are two designated swimming beaches at Tuttle Creek Cove Park and River Pond State Park. Each area has a large sand beach and buoyed swimming area. A mile-long natural sand beach along the east side of the lake is best accessed by boat or on foot. Visitors will enjoy the gently sloping shoreline and lots of room for sandcastles and sunbathing.

Anglers will appreciate the variety of sport fish in Tuttle Creek Lake. Largemouth bass, saugeye, crappie, white bass, walleye, trout, blue catfish, channel catfish, flathead catfish, green sunfish, and bluegill can be caught from the open water or shore. Several fishing docks are located around the lake. Fishing tournaments take place at various times throughout the year. Fish caught in the majority of Kansas lakes and streams are safe to eat, but refer to the safe consumption link at the bottom of this page for more information.

The scenic wilderness around Tuttle Creek Lake offers miles of hiking, bicycling, off-road vehicle trails. The Randolph Equestrian Trail offers 13 miles of scenic beauty for horseback riding. It is also open to hikers. All trails around the lake offer excellent views of wildlife and the beautiful Flint hills. Bald eagles, and great blue herons are always a treat for bird watchers and photographers. The River Pond Area offers a quarter mile easy access self-guided nature trail with ten stops. An observation deck offers a spectacular view and the chance to see many species of wildlife. This trail is perfect for a family outing. Hunters will find the woods full of white-tailed deer, turkey, quail, pheasants and other game animals. There are special handicapped hunting areas that allow the use of vehicles.

For non-campers visiting Tuttle Creek Lake, the nearby town of Manhattan (the Little Apple) offers rustic and modern vacation rentals of all kinds. Manhattan is home to Fort Riley Amy Base, and Kansas State University and the KSU Wildcat football team. “Wildcat Weekend” home games draw thousands of fans. The downtown area is an interesting place to sightsee, shop, and grab a bite to eat. Just a short drive from Manhattan is the Konza Prairie, a 8,600-acre Nature Conservancy Preserve that features beautiful landscapes and a hiking trail open to the public. Manhattan is also the starting point of a gorgeous scenic byway which stretches for 47.2 miles across the Flint Hills. An hour east sits the state capital of Topeka, and two hours east will land you in Kansas City, the largest city in Missouri and home to the Kansas City Chiefs.

Whether your passion is fishing, hunting, boating or simply camping near the water, Tuttle Creek Lake and the surrounding picturesque Flint Hills has much to offer the outdoor enthusiast.

Things to do at Tuttle Creek Lake

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Fishing Tournaments
  • Boating
  • Sailing
  • Swimming
  • Beach
  • Canoeing
  • Kayaking
  • Water Skiing
  • Tubing
  • Camping
  • Picnicking
  • Hiking
  • Biking
  • Horseback Riding
  • Hunting
  • Wildlife Viewing
  • Birding
  • State Park

Fish species found at Tuttle Creek Lake

  • Bass
  • Black Bass
  • Blue Catfish
  • Bluegill
  • Catfish
  • Channel Catfish
  • Crappie
  • Flathead Catfish
  • Largemouth Bass
  • Perch
  • Saugeye Perch
  • Sunfish
  • Trout
  • Walleye
  • White Bass

Tuttle Creek Lake Photo Gallery

    Tuttle Creek Lake Statistics & Helpful Links

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    Lake Type: Artificial Reservoir, Dammed

    Water Level Control: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

    Surface Area: 12,500 acres

    Shoreline Length: 100 miles

    Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 1,075 feet

    Minimum Elevation (Min Pond): 1,061 feet

    Maximum Elevation (Max Pond): 1,138 feet

    Average Depth: 25 feet

    Maximum Depth: 50 feet

    Water Volume: 253,265 acre-feet

    Completion Year: 1963

    Water Residence Time: 0.4 years

    Drainage Area: 9,628 sq. miles

    Trophic State: Eutrophic

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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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