Tuesday, January 31st, 2023
Tuesday, January 31st, 2023

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Green Lake, Chisago County

Chisago’s Green is a ‘little gem’ for ’eyes, panfish, much more

By Glen Schmitt
Staff Writer

There are quite a few lakes in the Chisago City area with fine reputations for kicking out panfish and largemouth bass. North and South Lindstrom lakes, North and South Center lakes, and Chisago Lake fit that bill.

Then there’s Green Lake, the largest lake in the immediate area at over 1,800 acres. While it, too, holds plenty of panfish and bass, Green also has a healthy walleye population that’s kind of left untapped by most anglers.

The entire Green Lake system consists of three basins. The southern tier is shallow and heavily vegetated, the main basin features the most structure, and the north basin – Little Green Lake – is more noted for producing northern pike and crappies.

Catching walleyes from Green usually involves working the main basin – its flats and weed edges primarily. Those weeds hold plenty of walleyes, but weed-related walleyes aren’t the most attractive for many anglers.

“The guys who know where to go, along the weeds, catch walleyes,” said Nate Painovich, DNR Fisheries specialist in Hinckley. “The fish are certainly there to harvest, but a lot of people aren’t comfortable fishing weeds for walleyes.”

That simply means that walleyes don’t receive a lot of fishing pressure. There’s a 17-inch minimum harvest slot on Green, and the lake seems to hold good numbers of them.

The DNR conducted a survey of Green in 2019, and gill nets averaged almost four walleyes per lift. The mean length was 17 inches, and most of the walleyes measured were over 17 inches in length.

“It’s a good year-round walleye lake – kind of a little gem that doesn’t get hammered real hard,” said Jon Larsen, of Frankie’s Live Bait and Marine in Chisago City. “Most of the fish you catch are 15 to 21 inches, with an occasional bigger walleye from time to time.”

Crappie and bluegill numbers are abundant throughout the lake. These aren’t slab-sized panfish by any means, but they bite readily during the entire year.

In the 2019 survey, the average length of crappies was just over 7 inches, and bluegills averaged 6 inches in length. Bluegills over 7 inches are rare from Green, but you’ll come across the occasional crappie over 10 inches long.

“It has a ton of panfish; there just isn’t much for size,” Painovich said. “If you’re willing to keep some smaller fish, there’s no problem catching them.”

The lake’s northern pike seem to benefit from its population of shorter bluegills and crappies. Perch numbers are low, so small crappies and ‘gills are likely the primary forage base for pike, according to Painovich.

Green does host a quality pike population. While there are quite a few small fish, it does give up fish over 30 inches in length. It’s by no means a population that’s carried by stunted or hammer-handle variety northern pike.

Northern pike averaged 23 inches and about 3 pounds in the 2019 survey. Gill nets averaged just five fish per lift, and pike up to 35 inches were sampled. 

“If you target pike, you’ll catch a ton of them,” Larsen said. “But fish over 30 inches are certainly not out of the question.”

As stated earlier, many lakes in this area provide excellent largemouth bass fishing opportunities. Green isn’t the best of the bunch, but it’s worth the effort.

Electrofishing work by the DNR in 2019 produced 85 bass per hour. Most of them were between 12 to 14 inches in length, but bass up to 20 inches were part of the mix.

“We see a few 5-pounders from Green, but the majority of bass you catch will be under 15 inches long,” Larsen said. “For bass, it’s not like a Chisago (Lake), but you’ll have no problem catching numbers.”

Green Lake

Nearest town…….Chisago City

Surface area……………1,810 acres 

Maximum depth………….32 feet

Shore length……………….17 miles

Water clarity……………………5 feet

AIS present……………..Eurasian watermilfoil

Fish species present:

Walleye, black crappie, bluegill, northern pike, largemouth bass, pumpkinseed, hybrid sunfish, bullhead, yellow perch, common carp, bowfin (dogfish). 

For information:

DNR area fisheries office (320) 384-7721, the DNR website http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/lakefind or Frankie’s Live Bait and Marine (651) 257-6334.

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