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Fishing

Minnesota is renowed as the "Land of 10,000 Lakes", and a lot of them are within a short drive of Cascade Lodge! And where there are lakes (rivers, too), there are usually fish.

Fishing has long been a staple of our area's appeal to visitors. The earliest European settlers made their livings off the big lake, and there was a thriving commercial fishing village at the mouth of the Cascade River when Cascade Lodge was first established in 1927. While commercial fishing isn't what it used to be, sport fishing is a favorite reason for guests to visit the area.

Not all-inclusive by any means, following are some of the favorite nearby lakes and species of fish that can be found in our area:

Caribou Lake

  • 728 Acres.
  • Maximum depth of 32 ft.
  • Specializing in Walleye, Northern Pike and Smallmouth Bass. Crappie and Bluegill also caught. Caribou Lake is a favorite quick, easy, and close destination for Cascade Lodge visitors. There is a nice public landing and access to the Superior Hiking Trail. A short but steep trail takes you to a beautiful overlook!


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Pike Lake

  • 810 Acres.
  • Maximum depth of 47 ft.
  • Lake Whitefish, Northern Pike, Smallmouth Bass, Walleye, White Sucker, Yellow Perch


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Deer Yard Lake

  • 343 Acres.
  • Maximum depth of 20 ft.
  • Specializing in Walleye. A nice, newer landing and parking lot is accessible via a rather rough forest road.


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Cascade Lake

  • 415 Acres.
  • maximum depth of 19 ft.
  • Specializing in Walleye and Northern Pike. Bluegill, Crappie and Largemouth Bass also caught.


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Christine Lake

  • 415 Acres.
  • Maximum depth 19 ft.
  • Specializing in Walleye and Northern Pike. Bluegill, Crappie and Largemouth Bass also caught.


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Lake Clara

  • 410 Acres.
  • Maximum depth of 17 ft.
  • Specializing in Walleye, Northern Pike and Bluegill. Crappie and Largemouth Bass also caught.


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Crescent Lake

  • 744 Acres.
  • Maximum depth of 29 ft.
  • Specializing in Walleye, Muskie and Smallmouth Bass. Bluegill and Crappie also caught


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Devil Track Lake

  • 1,838 Acres.
  • Maximum depth of 52 ft.
  • Specializing in Walleye, Northern Pike and Smallmouth Bass. Bluegill and Crappie also caught.


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Tait Lake

  • 338 Acres.
  • Maximum depth of 16 ft.
  • Specializing in Northern Pike and Bluegill. Walleye and Crappie also caught.


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Four Mile Lake

  • 572 Acres.
  • Maximum depth of 21 ft.
  • Specializing in Walleye, Northern Pike and Crappie.


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White Pine Lake

  • 342 Acres.
  • Maximum depth of 12 ft.
  • Specializing in Northern Pike and Bluegill. Walleye, Crappie and Smallmouth Bass also caught.


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Two Island Lake

  • 731 Acres.
  • Maximum depth of 29 ft.
  • Specializing in Walleye, Bluegill and Smallmouth Bass. Northern Pike, Crappie and Largemouth Bass also caught.


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Ball Club Lake

  • 196 Acres.
  • Maximum depth of 27 ft.
  • Specializing in Northern Pike and Bluegill. Walleye, Crappie and Smallmouth Bass also caught. Located within the Pat Bayle State Forest.


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Elbow Lake

  • 437 Acres.
  • Maximum depth of 11 ft.
  • Specializing in Northern Pike and Bluegill. Walleye, Crappie and Largemouth Bass also caught. Located within the Pat Bayle State Forest.


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Northern Light Lake

  • 453 Acres.
  • Maximum depth of 7.5 ft.
  • Specializing in Bluegill, Northern Pike, Smallmouth Bass, Walleye. Accessed via a landing on the Brule River, about 1 mile upstream from the lake, or overland via 1/2-mile trail..


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Sawbill Lake

  • 765 Acres.
  • Maximum depth 45 ft.
  • Fish species include Bluegill, Northern Pike, Rock Bass, Smallmouth Bass, Walleye, White Sucker, and Yellow Perch.


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Gunflint Lake

  • 4009 Acres.
  • Maximum depth 200 ft.
  • Large border lake with fish species including Burbot, Cisco, Lake Trout, Longnose Sucker, Northern Pike, Rainbow Smelt, Rock Bass, Sculpin, Smallmouth Bass, Walleye, White Sucker, and Yellow Perch.


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Saganaga Lake

  • 17,593 Acres.
  • Maximum depth 280 ft.
  • Large border lake with fish species including Burbot, Cisco, Lake Trout, Longnose Sucker, Northern Pike, Rainbow Smelt, Rock Bass, Sculpin, Smallmouth Bass, Walleye, White Sucker, and Yellow Perch.


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Many state record fish have been caught in nearby lakes and rivers. Some popular area fish species include:

Walleye

  • State record: 17 lbs., 8 oz, Seagull River (Cook County) 1979.

Also known as "Walleye Pike" or (especially in Canada) "Pickerel". The walleye is the most sought-after fish in Minnesota. Its thick, white fillets, handsome shape and coloring, and elusive nature make it the ultimate prize among anglers. Each year, anglers in Minnesota keep roughly 3.5 million walleyes totaling 4 million pounds. The average walleye caught and kept is about 14 inches long and weighs slightly more than 1 pound. The walleye is named for its pearlescent eye, which is caused by a reflective layer of pigment, called the tapetum lucidum, that helps it see and feed at night or in murky water.


Northern Pike

  • State record: 45 lbs., 12 oz., Basswood Lake (Lake County) 1929.

This voracious predator is one of the easiest fish to catch because it so willingly bites lures or bait. What's more, northerns produce chunky white fillets that many anglers say taste as good as Walleyes. Most Northerns caught by fishing run 2 to 3 pounds, though trophies over 20 pounds are caught each year. A close cousin to the Muskellunge, the Northern Pike lives in nearly all of Minnesota's lakes and streams.


Muskellunge

  • State record: 54 lbs., 0 oz., Lake Winnibigoshish (Itasca County) 1957.

The Muskellunge (Muskie) is one of the largest and most elusive fish that swims in Minnesota. A muskie will eat fish and sometimes ducklings and even small muskrats. It waits in weed beds and then lunges forward, clamping its large, tooth-lined jaws onto the prey. The Muskie then gulps down the stunned or dead victim head first.


Lake Trout

  • State record: 43 lbs., 8 oz., Lake Superior near Hovland (Cook County) 1955.

Lake Trout in Minnesota live primarily in Lake Superior and many of the deep, cold lakes of St. Louis, Lake, and Cook counties. They only do well in lakes where the water temperature does not exceed 18° C (65° F). They spend most of their time in the deep water where there is plenty of oxygen and no vegetation. In Lake Superior, Lake Trout reach 114.3cm (45 in) or more and can weigh over 18.2 kg (40 lbs). They are usually smaller in inland lakes, and even in Lake Superior you are most likely to catch lakers in the range of 450-650 mm (18-26 in) and about 1.4-2 kg (3-4.5 lbs). Lake trout commonly reach the ages of 12-16, but they can live for 25 years.


Brook Trout

  • State record: 6 lbs., 5.6oz., Pigeon River (Cook County) 2000.

Brook Trout are native to headwaters and small streams of northeastern Minnesota. Their preferred habitat includes headwater spring ponds and small spring-fed streams that have cool, clear waters with sand and gravel bottoms and moderate amounts of vegetation. They also congregate behind beaver dams. How big a Brook Trout gets is dependent on what stream it comes from. The common size that many anglers catch from heavily fished streams or lakes is 150 to 250 mm (6 to 10 in), but in areas of little fishing, they can get as large as 400 mm (15 in). Those that live along the shores of Lake Superior reach 600 mm (24 in). In Minnesota streams, Brook Ttrout commonly live for 3-4 years. A few make it to the age of 5 or 6 years.


Rainbow Trout

  • State record: 16 lbs., 6 oz., Devil Track River (Cook County) 1980.

The Rainbow Trout or Steelhead is an introduced exotic species. It is native to the West Coast and some of the streams west of the Rocky Mountains. Rainbow Trout have been introduced into many of Minnesota's streams and lakes, especially in the northern half of the state. A migratory strain that normally lives in the Pacific Ocean was introduced long ago into Lake Superior and it has become naturalized. We call it the Steelhead. Steelheads begin and end their lives in streams and live in Lake Superior during their major growth period. A different hatchery strain was introduced more recently. Non-migratory rainbows typically live in fast-running clean streams with gravel bottoms and in deep, cool, soft water lakes. In Lake Superior, Steelhead used to exceed 750 mm (30 in) and 6.8 kg (15 lbs), but now most angler catch ones 600-700 cm (24-28 in) and 1.4-3.6 kg (3-8 lbs). Inland rainbows are considerably smaller fish, 375 mm (15 in) long and 2.5 kg (5.5lbs) are lunkers. Most rainbows live for 3-4 years.


Smallmouth Bass

  • State record: 8 lbs., 0 oz., West Battle Lake (Otter Tail County) 1948.

Smallmouth Bass now occur in all of the major drainages of Minnesota, but they were introduced to the Red and Rainy river systems. This means that one of the most popular sportfish in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area is actually an exotic species. Smallmouth Bass prefer clear, strong-flowing streams and rivers and medium-sized clear lakes with gravel or boulder shores. In both lakes and streams smallmouth often are found near boulders or rock out-cropping. They prefer somewhat cooler waters than the Largemouth Bass, but still are considered a warm-water species. In general smallmouth do not grow as fast or get as big as largemouth bass. Still, this species often reaches 300 mm (12 in) or more, in many Minnesota lakes and streams. Very rarely it reaches 500 mm (20 in). Many anglers catch smallmouth that weigh 0.9-1.8 kg (2-4 lbs) in Minnesota. Smallmouth frequently reach 7-10 years old, and on rare occasions may reach the age of 15 years.


Coho Salmon

  • State record: 10 lbs., 6 oz., Lake Superior near Baptism River (Lake County) 1970.

The Coho Salmon is an introduced exotic species. In Minnesota, coho inhabit Lake Superior and some of its tributaries. In Minnesota waters of Lake Superior, coho are usually found in the upper portions of the water out to about 10 miles from the shore. Naturally reproduced coho begin and end their lives in streams of the North Shore and spend the years in between in the "big lake." Coho have been introduced into several inland lakes but generally have not done well there. In Lake Superior, Coho Salmon can get to about 650 mm (26 in) and over 2.3 kg (5 lbs). A coho caught by a summer angler is more likely to be 400-550 mm (16-22 in) and 0.9-1.4 kg (2-3 lbs). Most coho live for just 3 years.

For information about charter fishing on Lake Superior, see: Charter Fishing