Description
Otter Tail Lake and Rush Lake are in Otter Tail County are in west central Minnesota, about 80 miles southeast of Fargo. These factors contribute to make them great for windsurfing:
  • They are located in the windiest region of the state
  • They are on high ground; the continental divide passes just south of Rush Lake
  • They are on the edge of the prairies; the surrounding terrain is wide open and flat
  • They are big lakes

  • Otter Tail Lake has better access for windsurfing. It has grassy public accesses near the town of Otter Tail that cover all wind directions.

    The the east end of Rush Lake of Rush Lake has a variety of sailling conditions. The water is shallow which keeps the chop small and the shoreline is covered with rushes allowing for smooth jibes behind the rush beds. On a northwest wind, a tight section of steep ramps develop just west of the point extending from the north shore where the deep part of the lake meets the shallow east end.

     
    Sites
      Otter Tail Lake: Public accesses near the town of Otter Tail at the east end of the lake covers all wind directions. From the intersection of MN 78 and Cty 1 in the town of Otter Tail:
      • East or south wind: go west on Cty 1 for 2.5 miles. The public boat launch will be on your left; watch carefully, it is easy to miss.
      • West or north wind: go south on MN 78 for 1.5 miles to a public boat launch, or continue an additional 1.5 miles to a wayside rest. The wayside rest has a better vantage point, but rig at the far south end of the lawn where access to the lake is best.

      Rush Lake: Rush Lake has three public accesses, two on the north shore and one at the western end of the lake. However, the two on the west half of the lake should be avoided as they offer no advantages over the better Otter Tail Lake accesses. To enter the east end of Rush Lake:
      • If the wind does not have a northerly component, the public access on the north shore near the east end will put you into the flat part of the lake. It is off Cty 14 four miles west of the Cty 14-Cty 67 intersection, about a half mile east of Oak Point Road. There is a sign on Cty 14 indicating Rush Lake access. Weeds in the shallow water east of the launch will bound reaches in that direction and can make this access difficult in a southwesterly wind.
      •  Rush Lake Tent and Trailer Camp (218-385-3400) on the south shore is strategically located where the shallow and deep parts of the lake meet. On a northwest wind, a reach from their grassy beach will pass through the steepest ramps and into the flat water of the shallow east end of the lake. The campground is well marked by signs on Cty 54. They may charge a boat launching fee.
     
    How to Get There

    Rush Lake is south of Highway 10 between New York Mills (NYM) and Perham. Driving time is about three hours from downtown St. Paul. The lake is bounded to the north by Cty 14, to the south by Cty 54, to the east by Cty 67 and to the west by MN 78.

    From the Twin Cities, take I94 to Clearwater, exit north to Clear Lake and then turn west on Hwy 10 (there are other routes to Hwy 10 but this one seems to be the fastest). At New York Mills, exit  south on Cty 67 and continue to either  Cty 14  (aka St. Lawrence Road) or Cty 54, which pass north and south, respectively, of the lake. Both Cty 14 and 54 end at MN 78 which passes by the lake's western shore. Alternatively, you can exit Hwy 10 at MN 78 in Perham and head south to the lake's western shore.

    Otter Tail Lake is a few miles southwest of Rush Lake. From Rush Lake, head west to Hwy 78 and then south to the town of Otter Tail  which is east shore of Otter Tail Lake.
     

    Local Brew

    The Glacial Lakes Brewery is on Main Street in downtown NYM, just north of Cty 84 (Centennial Drive). They brew hearty beers which are sold at the NYM liquor store located next to the fire station and town hall on N. Walker Avenue, also just north of Cty 84.
     Local Newspaper
     Motels

     The Great American Think-Off

    Contact Dennis Cornhill, cornhill@acm.org , for more information about sailing in these lakes.

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