Sunday, February 5th, 2023
Sunday, February 5th, 2023

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Bald Eagle Lake, Ramsey County

Bald Eagle’s ’eyes, muskies have lake’s anglers flying high

By Glen Schmitt
Staff Writer

You could make the argument that Ramsey County’s Bald Eagle is one of the more popular lakes in the Twin Cities metro area. Recreational use and angling pressure are high on this 1,049-acre system, but despite heavy usage, it just seems to keep producing quality fish on a year-round basis.

Bald Eagle long has been known as an excellent walleye and muskie lake. The DNR manages it intensely for these two fish species, but its bass, pike, and panfish populations are in pretty good shape as well.

“It does see a lot of pressure, but we keep a pretty good eye on it,” said TJ DeBates, east metro DNR Fisheries supervisor. “Bald Eagle continues to be one of the better multi-species lakes in the east metro.”

According to DeBates, the management goal for walleyes in Bald Eagle falls between four to six walleyes per net lift during surveys. Earlier this year, survey nets hit that sweet spot, averaging just over four walleyes per set.

The walleyes sampled averaged 17 inches in length, and there seemed to be two really established year-classes that should maintain excellent walleye-catching opportunities now and in the future.

The 2016 year-class showed strong in numbers and fish between 18 and 22 inches long. Another class coming behind that of 2016 – 13- to 15-inch walleyes – also looks good. The lake’s walleye population is fueled by annual fingerling stocking and a robust forage base consisting of perch and a variety of minnows.

“Anything above four walleyes per net is considered good for this area, and we saw that this year,” DeBates said. “Bald Eagle is a really solid walleye fishery. It gets busy in the summer, but the fall and winter (walleye) fishing is usually pretty good.”

So is its muskie fishing. Bald Eagle is stocked with just over 1,000 muskie fingerlings every other year, and if there happens to be some bigger, “leftover” muskies from other stocking work, they often are placed in Bald Eagle as well.

The current regimen seems to be working, and fish over 50 inches are caught. Bald Eagle is a highly regarded muskie lake among anglers from well outside the metro area.

“It’s a very popular muskie lake, especially in the fall, and most muskie guys know about it,” DeBates said. “These are broad-shouldered, healthy muskies that eat well in Bald Eagle.”

The lake’s northern pike also have plenty to eat, and some come with broad shoulders as well. Pike numbers are trending in the right direction, from an all-time high mark of 14 per gill net in 2020 to an average of six per net in 2022, which included plenty of quality-size fish.

The pike sampled earlier this year averaged just over 24 inches in length, and fish up to 34 inches were part of the mix. Northern pike longer than 34 inches have shown up in past surveys, too.

Bald Eagle’s largemouth bass population is pretty typical for the area. The lake features excellent bass habitat and carries enough quality fish to make it a favorite stop for tournaments and local bass clubs.

“It’s always been a good pike lake – really good for the metro area,” DeBates said. “I’d probably call it a sneaker bass lake, but a solid resource, with numbers (of bass) in the 2- to 4-pound range.”

The panfish in Bald Eagle are more of the eating-size variety, with the occasional bluegill over 8 inches and some crappies longer than 10 inches in length.

DeBates says it’s a good panfish option in the area, highlighted by some pretty solid crappie fishing during the winter months. The bluegills tend to provide anglers some action throughout the entire year.

Bald Eagle Lake

Nearest town………..White Bear Lake

Surface area……………1,049 acres

Maximum depth………….36 feet

Shore length…………………9 miles

Water clarity……………………5 feet

AIS present……….Zebra mussel

Fish species present:

Walleye, muskie, largemouth bass, northern pike, black crappie, bluegill, pumpkinseed, yellow perch, hybrid sunfish, green sunfish, bullhead, white sucker, bowfin (dogfish). 

For information:

DNR area fisheries office (651) 259-5761, the DNR website or Blue Ribbon Bait (651) 777-2421.

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