Big Spirit Lake

(Big) Spirit Lake is situated approximately 1 mile north of the City of Spirit Lake. At 5,684 acres, Spirit Lake is Iowa’s largest natural lake. It is approximately 6 miles north/south and 4 miles east/west. Due to its circular shape and large open body of water, its 15.25 miles of shoreline is less that that of its neighboring lakes to the south. The average depth of Spirit Lake is around 17 feet with a maximum recorded depth of 24 feet. The northern edge of Spirit Lake borders the Iowa/Minnesota State line and a majority of its 34,471 watershed acres (approximately 75 sq. miles) are located in southern Minnesota. Spirit Lake offers two state parks and 4 public accesses to this popular fishing lake. Spirit Lake claims some 40 species of fish with 13 species of sport fish sought after by many outdoor enthusiasts.

According to various Indian legends, Spirit Lake was believed to be under the guardian watch of an evil spirit. No Dakotah ever dared to cross it in their canoe and no Indian canoes were ever found in the vicinity of this lake by the early settlers. Whether there are demons who dwell in the lake or not, the waters of Big Spirit Lake are never quiet.

Spirit Lake Boaters’ Map:

Contour map: