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Pelican Lake at 11,546 acres, 54 miles of shoreline and over 50 islands to explore, is ideal for fishing and observing wildlife. 


The lake is known as one of Minnesota’s premiere fishing lakes with an abundant supply of bluegills, large and smallmouth bass, walleye, crappie, northern pike and perch.  You may also watch osprey, eagles, loons and of course pelicans. 


Along the wooded shoreline and secluded coves, you may catch a glimpse of deer, bear, beaver, otter, wolves and possibly even a moose.


Big Island Scientific and Natural Area (SNA) 

At Big Island SNA you can see what nature can accomplish given enough time to invest. The island, located within Pelican Lake, has escaped significant disturbance by fire or humans for over 150 years.


It hosts a variety of old-growth communities, including hardwood-conifer forest and aspen-birch forest, both of which are seldom known to attain old-growth status. Individual trees display splendid forms: imagine gnarled, 190 year-old paper birch with broad trunks and a thick mass of scrolling bark very different from their more familiar, younger counterparts seen elsewhere in the state. 


In many ways, the forest composition is similar to what one might expect on the shore of Lake Michigan. Basswood, bur oak, and old-growth white spruce make up a large portion of the canopy. Balsam fir thrives in recent blow-downs, and a band of lowland conifer swamp with black spruce, tamarack, and white cedar extends across the island’s mid-section.


Uplands feature dry, rocky outcrops and areas of mesic (moderately moist) soil carpeted in ferns, bishop's cap, sarsaparilla, buttercup, sweet cicely, and violets. Standing dead trees (snags) and downed logs in various stages of decay enhance habitat for wildlife.


Pelican Lake is One of Minnesota's Premier Fishing Lakes.

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