Artichoke Lake is shallow, medium-sized lake located 15 miles east of Ortonville, Minnesota. Its watershed is primarily composed of agricultural and wetland land cover types and has a watershed ratio of approximately 10:1. It is located in the Pomme de Terre River watershed. There is minimal development surrounding the immediate area around the lake; however, agricultural land extends near to the water for the majority of the shoreline. The surrounding agricultural landscape is one of the primary contributors to high Phosphorus levels in Artichoke Lake.
In the early 20th century, the lake was described as having abundant emergent and submersed vegetation; however, current conditions do not support these communities and the lake now has very little to no aquatic plant growth. This has led to a decline in the level of waterfowl usage, changing the lake from a destination to merely a rest stop for these birds.
The fish community of the lake can be highly variable, with the different species subject to boom and bust cycles. In general, it is dominated by bottom-feeding omnivores such as Black Bullhead, Common Carp, and Fathead Minnows, but does support high-levels off angling activity for Walleye and Black Crappie, with extensive stocking of Walleye. Northern Pike and Yellow Perch are also present, yet decreasing in abundance.
Artichoke lake was selected as a Sentinel Lake to represent the shallow prairie lakes in western and southern Minnesota with high Phosphorus levels.