Lake Shaokotan is a medium-sized, shallow lake located near Minnesota’s border with South Dakota, west of Marshall, Minnesota. It is a historically highly eutrophic lake, in part due to the high level of agricultural activity occurring in the watershed. Because of this, the lake has been the subject of a large number of water quality studies and watershed restoration projects to study and reduce the levels of Phosphorus in the lake. There is a county park and wildlife management area on the southern shoreline, while the remaining near-shore area is a mix of residential and agricultural land.
Due to high nutrient levels, there were very few aquatic plants present in the lake before water quality management actions were taken. With the improvement of the water quality, aquatic plants have returned to the lake.
The abundance of Black Bullhead used to be a prominent draw for recreational angling on the lake; however, recently, perhaps due to the increased water quality and other factors, this species has been in decline. There is a healthy Walleye fishery through stocking.
Lake Shaokotan was selected as a Sentinel Lake because it has high Phosphorus levels and has been the subject of significant management action to increase the lake’s quality.