Lake Information (Courtesy of MN DNR)



Pelican Lake, at 8,253 acres, is one of the largest and most popular lakes in the Brainerd area. The lake is heavily developed with 22.9 homes/cabins per shoreline mile in 2009. Two resorts remain on the lake along with a youth camp. There are four public accesses and a public swimming beach that provide recreational opportunities. The maximum depth is 104' and about 47% of the lake is 15 feet deep or less. Shallow water substrates consist primarily of sand, although areas of gravel, rubble, marl, and silt are also common. The aquatic plant community is quite diverse with 37 species present and is critical to maintaining healthy fish populations. Emergent plants such as bulrush are important for shoreline protection, maintaining water quality, and provide essential spawning habitat for bass and panfish species. Submerged plants provide food and cover needed by fish and other aquatic species.


The 2009 walleye catch showed a significant decline and dropped to near the lake's first quartile value for the first time since 1971. Young fish remain abundant in fall electrofishing samples however. Fish from years of both fry and fingerling stockings were fairly common in the catch. Average size was 15.8 inches and 1.55 pounds up slightly from their 2006 values. Eleven year classes were sampled with the 2005 and 2006 classes being most abundant in the catch.

Northern pike abundance (8.07/GN) rose into the "high" category for the first time in 2009. Pike showed a statistically significant increase in abundance over the 2006 catch of 3.93/GN. Fish aged 2-4 comprised 84% of the catch. Size averaged 21 inches and 2.16 pounds compared to 23 inches and 2.99 pounds in 2006. Pike at least 24 inches long comprised 13% of the catch, while 3% were at least 30 inches long.

Largemouth bass were sampled by electrofishing in spring of 2009. The catch rate was 99/hour compared to 122/hr in 2003. Bass averaged 11.2 inches long in both samples. Of bass at least 8.0 inches long, 38% were at least 12 inches long, 13% were at least 15 inches long and 2% were at least 18 inches long. The bluegill catch was similar to that of 2003. Growth was "average" and 15% were at least 7.0 inches long. The crappie catch was also in the "average" category in both gill and trap nets. For the combined sample, 86% were at least 8.0 inches long and 5% exceeded 12.0 inches.

The yellow perch catch (4.53/GN) dropped below the first quartile value for the lake class for the first time in at least ten nettings and exhibited a statistically significant decrease over the 2006 catch of 8.67/GN. Perch had slow growth through about age six. The tullibee catch (0.80/GN) remained in the "average" category for the lake class. Tullibee growth was "fast" in 2009.


Little Pelican is a 283 acre lake located at Breezy Point in Crow Wing County. There is a public access located on the southeast side of the lake. Development is moderate, with about sixteen homes/cabins per shoreline mile. The lake has a maximum depth of 34 feet and about 73% of the surface area is less than 15 feet deep. Little Pelican has moderately hard water and the phosphorus fertility is in the "low" range. Water clarity was 18 feet in 1998, considered good for this area. Soils in water less than four feet deep are primarily sand, with gravel, rubble sized rock (3-10") and muck also present.


The aquatic plant community is fairly diverse and plants grew to a depth of 18 feet in 1998. Healthy aquatic plant communities are important. Emergent species such as bulrush and cattail help regulate nutrient levels and often provide quality spawning habitat for northern pike, bass and panfish species. Submergent plant species provide food sources and cover for a wide variety of aquatic species.


Test netting was conducted in 1998. Catches were "average" for most species when compared to similar type lakes. Previous nettings were done in 1968, 1980 and 1986. Northern pike is the primary gamefish present. The catch rate in 1998 was lower than in previous nettings but was "average" when compared to similar type lakes. Most pike were from the 1994-'96 year classes and growth was good. Pike size averaged 20 inches and 1.8 lbs.. Two walleyes were caught, both 21 inches long. In spite of this low catch, it was in the "average" category for both Little Pelican and for similar type lakes. Largemouth bass were also taken in "average" numbers. Three age classes were sampled and growth was good. Bluegill was the most abundant panfish sampled. The '98 catch was lower than in past nettings but was "average" for similar type lakes. Bluegills caught in trapnets ranged from 3.6-7.8 inches long and about 15% were at least 7.0 inches long. The 1992 year class was the strongest of the five sampled and growth was good. Black crappie were also caught in "average" numbers when compared to past nettings and to similar type lakes and had growth that bordered on slow. The strongest year classes sampled were from 1994 and 1996. Yellow perch is an important food source for the lake's gamefish. The '98 catch was 4.3/gill net, typical for the lake and for similar type lakes. A number of age classes were sampled and growth was good. Other species sampled in '98 included bowfin (dogfish), yellow bullhead, brown bullhead, black bullhead, pumpkinseed, rock bass and hybrid sunfish.


More Information

This information can be found at: http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/lakefind/ or more specifically:

DNR Lake Info Page for Pelican Lake
DNR Lake Info Page for Little Pelican Lake

For Additional Information
Area Fisheries Supervisor:
(218) 828-2550

General DNR Information:
DNR Information Center
500 Lafayette Road
St. Paul, MN 55155-4040
(651) 296-6157 or (888) MINNDNR
TDD: (651) 296-5484 or (800) 657-3929
E-Mail: info@dnr.state.mn.us