West Lake Okoboji Area Insights

"The Bridge"

"The Bridge" has been referred to by the Wharf Bridge, the Kentucky Fried Chicken Bridge, the bridge connecting East and West, among other names. In the good old days, this was actually a draw bridge converted to the current permanent structure. In the 90's when the 3 lane was installed, there was talk about removing the bridge and making some drastic changes. All in all, the base of the bridge remained, and the upper structure was improved. I remember as a kid jumping off the bridge, and fishing on and under the bridge. In fact, an unforgettable memory I have is when I was fishing with my cousin and I casted out trying to reach the opposite corner of the bridge with my lure. In mid air, a pigeon flew and the timing was so great that my line wrapped around the pigeon, and the pigeon went into the water. I reeled it up and had caught a pigeon. My cousin then decided to hold this pigeon inside the front of his coat. We went to show people at Okoboji Boats what we had caught. When we got there, he opened his jacket, and the pigeon had pooped all over his white shirt.

"Turn-Over" Thermocline

Referred to locally as the lake turning over the thermocline is a feature of lakes with deep water. The water on the top of the lake changes temperature much more variably during the year. On West Lake, it can reach as much as 75 degrees in July while the water below, greater than 35 or 40 feet deep is relatively stable around 45 degrees. In the fall and early winter, the top strata of the lake will cool to below 45 degrees, and then because it becomes denser, it will "sink" below the lower strata, thus, displacing it and making the lake "turn-over". In the deepest part of West Lake (near the 136ft mark), no light is availble, and hence little life is known whether fish or plant. Typically questions are raised as to why the surface water gets dirty for a short period of time in the fall, this this is the standard answer.

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Aaron Jones

Cell: 712.320.9442

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