City of Prior Lake, MN
City of Prior Lake, MN

The Lakes of Prior Lake

aerial of prior lake
View of Prior Lake in the Fall

There are 15 lakes within the City of Prior Lake. Our namesake, Prior Lake, is by far the largest at over 1,340 acres (combining Upper Prior Lake and Lower Prior Lake) and is ranked as one of the top 10 most popular recreational lakes in Minnesota. Spring Lake is also a popular recreational lake and is the second largest at about 590 acres. Our lakes are part of who we are – all year long, residents and visitors alike can enjoy the abundant recreational opportunities our lakes provide including fishing, swimming, boating, wildlife viewing, and more.

LAKE LOCATIONS AND INFORMATION
Prior Lake (Upper) Prior Lake (Lower) Spring Lake
Arctic Lake Haas Lake Markley Lake
Blind Lake Howard Lake Mystic Lake
Campbell Lake Jeffers Pond Pike Lake
Crystal Lake Little Prior Lake Rice Lake


BOATING AND LAKE USE RULES

In addition to standard statewide boating rules, Prior Lake and Spring Lake have additional local boating rules. These local rules include:
  • Slow no-wake within 150 feet of the shore
  • No towing through a marked slow no-wake zone
  • 40 mph speed limit, snrise to half hour after sunset, weekends and holidays (Memorial Day to Labor Day only)
  • 20 mph speed limit, half hour after sunset to sunrise (year round)

All other lakes within the City are subject to the statewide boating rules. The Scott County Sheriff’s Office is responsible for boating rules enforcement. For more information on boating and lake use rules, visit the City’s Water Surface Use Management (WSUM) page.


PUBLIC FISHING DOCKS

The City of Prior Lake maintains six public fishing docks that offer fishing opportunities to anglers of all ages and abilities. Click here for a Prior Lake Public Fishing Sites Map. Grab a pole and try your luck at the following locations:


Little Prior Lake, near the entrance to Lakefront Park, Jeffers Fish Pondand Crystal Lake at Hickory Shores Park are all part of the Minnesota DNR's Fishing in the Neighorhood Program.


PLEASE DON'T FEED THE WATERFOWL

Most people enjoy seeing Canada Geese and ducks. These birds often wear out their welcome, however, when they become too numerous and foul yards, beaches, and docks. The City of Prior Lake maintains two public beaches: Sand Point Beach at Sand Point Beach Park and Watzl's Point Beach at Lakefront Park. Geese and ducks are often present at the beaches and have at times become a nuisance, especially when people feed them. Feeding can keep the birds on and around the beach during the summer and fall. Beach closures due to water pollution (E. coli) are more likely when geese and/or ducks are present. Please don’t feed the waterfowl. Visit the City's public beaches page for more information about our beaches and water quality testing.


INVASIVE SPECIES

Aquatic invasive species such as Carp, zebra mussels, and Eurasian watermilfoil now inhabit many lakes and rivers in Minnesota, including some of our local lakes. These species create problems for native aquatic animals and plants and for people who enjoy using our lakes for recreation.

Invasive Aquatic Animals

The DNR discovered zebra mussels in Prior Lake in 2009. Zebra mussels pose serious ecological and economic threats to Minnesota Lakes. Heavy infestations can kill native mussels, may impact fish populations, can interfere with recreation, and can increase costs for industry, including power and water supply facilities. Visit The DNR's aquatic invasive species web page to learn what you can do to prevent further infestation.

Common Carp are present in many of our lakes, including Spring Lake, Prior Lake, Jeffers Pond, and Pike Lake. Carp are one of the most damaging aquatic invasive species due to the severe impacts they have on lakes and wetlands. Their feeding habits disrupt aquatic plants, stir up bottom sediments (making the water muddy), and cause an overall decline in water quality by releasing phosphorus that feeds algae blooms.

The Prior Lake-Spring Lake Watershed District (PLSLWD)is a local government agency involved with Carp Management. The PLSLWD is actively working to target and remove carp from our lakes through their integrated Pest Management Plan for Common Carp.

Invasive Aquatic Plants

Eurasian Watermilfoil is present in Prior Lake, Pike Lake, and Jeffers Pond. Curly-leaf Pondweed has also been found in local lakes including Prior Lake and Spring Lake. Both of these invasive plants were accidentally introduced into our lakes. For more information about what you should do to prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species, visit the DNR's invasive species web page.


SHORELINE ALTERATIONS, BEACHES, PRIVATE DOCKS

Many projects that occur near lakes, including adding sand to beaches, protecting the shoreline with rock riprap, and grading near the water, may be subject to Minnesota DNR rules. Answers to common questions can be found on the DNR website:

The City of Prior Lake adopted a Personal Dock Policy in 2008. The Policy helps guide residents in the placement of single docks on individual riparian lots on Prior Lake and Spring Lake.


ICE SAFETY

The City of Prior Lake cannot provide ice condition reports. If you are unfamiliar with the area, local bait shops can be a great source of information for ice conditions and areas to avoid. In general, there should be a minimum of four inches of good ice for foot travel, six inches for snowmobiles and ATVs, and 12+ inches for vehicles. If you’d like more information, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources maintains an ice safety page on their website.