My Waters

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The Cass Lake Chain

The Cass Lake chain of lakes is located in the heart of the Chippewa National Forest. There are nine lakes in the actual chain that are linked by the Mississippi River and can be accessed by boat. The lakes include: Big Wolf Lake, Lake Andrusia, Cass Lake, Pike Bay, Buck Lake, Anderson Lake, Little Rice Lake and Big Rice Lake. The total acreage is over 26,000 acres with a maximum depth of over 120 feet. This is the largest body of water in the area and it creates some muskies of tremendous size. Cass is without a doubt my favorite summer lake to fish. The fish are not pressured like other area lakes. Cabbage beds on the main lake are worth their weight in gold and will hold some of the biggest fish. It is not an easy lake to fish. The fish will gravitate towards small areas made up of rocks/cabbage and hold in numbers. The main lake of Cass has a lot of dead water. However, multiple fish utilize these small spots. This fishery depends on catch and release since it does not get stocked with muskies. Stocked fish have slow growing characteristics and take longer to reach their maximum potential in comparison to stocked fish. The chain produces huge fish every year and it will only keep getting better.

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Lake Bemidji

Bemidji Lake is a 6420-acre lake with a maximum depth of 76 feet. Over 396,000 acres of the Upper Mississippi watershed drain into Lake Bemidji. The lake is located in southern Beltrami County adjacent to the city of Bemidji. Lake Bemidji is a deep clear lake that has lush cabbage beds, sand, reeds, rocks, and mid lake bars. The lake boasts incredible forage base of ciscoes which in turn creates monster muskies. Muskies are native to Lake Bemidji. A population is now present due to steady stockings since 1982. According to the ongoing population estimate (2013) Lake Bemidji is a low density fishery with a dominate population of old adult fish. The study also suggests that Lake Bemidji has an extremely low population of muskies in comparison to other lakes with similar characteristics. My data in addition with the DNR's data suggest that there are approximately 400-500 muskies in the lake. This is roughly one fish for every 12 acres. This is a trophy fishery and can be frustrating at times. However, the rewards of this fishery can last a lifetime.

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Big Lake

Big Lake is 3533-acre lake with a maximum depth of 35 feet. The lake is located eight miles east of Bemidji in east central Beltrami County. The lake is entirely within both the Leech Lake Indian Reservation and the Chippewa National Forest. Muskies are native to Big Lake. Through stocking efforts the Minnesota Department of Resources has created an excellent fishery with a strong catch able population of muskies. The lake has a diverse composition of structure that makes it a challenging and interesting lake to fish. Big Lake has a seemingly endless amount of mid lake bars ranging in many sizes. The lake has shallow and deep cabbage beds, rocks, reeds, and sand. The lake features a good forage base consisting of perch, panfish, and ciscoes. Big Lake has a strong population of muskies with many of those fish in the mid to upper 40 inches. Catching a 50 inch fish is not uncommon. The lake does not receive a substantial amount of musky angling pressure, which is welcoming considering the growing increase in angler participation.

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Lake Plantagenet

Lake Plantagenet is a 2529-acre lake with a maximum depth of 65 feet. The lake is located 2 1/2 miles south of Bemidji in north central Hubbard County. The lake is very similar to its neighbor to the north, Lake Bemidji, in regards to composition and structure. The forage base is also similar to Lake Bemidji mainly consisting of large ciscoes and whitefish. According to the DNR muskellunge are not native to Lake Plantagenet and the Leech Lake strain of muskies was first introduced in 1982. However, a small resident population existed prior to stocking according to early fishing guides and anglers. Due to the lake being a brood stock lake the Department of Natural Resources stocks it at 1.5 fish an acre. The lake has a good population of mid to upper 40 inch fish. According to the population estimate Plantagenet has 330 adult muskies. This lake does receive more angling pressure due to the its smaller size and population of large fish.

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Little Wolf Lake

Little Wolf Lake is a 490-acre lake with a maximum depth of 24 feet. The lake is located two miles west of the city of Cass Lake in upper Cass County. The only access on the lake is owned by Little Wolf Lake Resort which keeps a lot of fishing pressure off of the lake. Muskies have been stocked in the lake since 1982, and fish over 50 inches have been caught. Little Wolf Lake was originally established as a brood lake to provide a source of Mississippi strain muskellunge eggs for the statewide production program. The lake is definitely an action lake where multiple fish can be encountered in one day. Little Wolf Lake has more fish per acre than any other lake in Minnesota. There is also a good possibility at catching a mid 40 inch fish or even larger. Due to the shallow and size of the lake it warms up quicker than the surrounding lakes making it an excellent lake to fish during the month of June.

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Elk Lake

Elk Lake has a surface area of 271 acres and a maximum depth of just over 100 feet. It is an extremely clear lake which can be frustrating to fish at times. The lake has a large forage base of ciscoes which can be found easily due to the small size of the lake. The shoreline is undeveloped which creates a wilderness feeling. This is a lake that turns on earlier than the larger lakes in June and is an excellent lake to fish when the larger lakes are hammered with heavy winds. The lake has a strong population of mid to upper 40 inch fish with the occasional larger fish. 

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Lake X

The stocked lakes are not the only lakes in the area with muskies. Some connecting waters and lake/river systems have a fishable population. These lakes have given up giants in the past and will continue to do so in the future. For obvious reasons lake names are not given.

MN DNR LakeFinder

LakeFinder contains data for more than 4,500 lakes and rivers throughout Minnesota, including lake surveys, lake depth maps, lake water quality data, lake water clarity data, lake notes, and fish consumption advice.

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