We love our lakes in Minnesota. Heck, we are the land of 10,000 lakes don't ya know? Recently I dug into some fun facts, like did you know that the deepest lake in Minnesota isn't even a real lake and was once used by NASA? Yeah, crazy!
It's not an easy task to find Minnesota's smallest lake. That's because we have so many! There are over 117,000 waterbodies in Minnesota according to the DNR database. That includes ponds, creeks, streams, and lakes.
What's the difference between a lake and a pond?
Today, I learned what a limnologist is. It's a Lake scientist. Who knew? Anyway, they define a lake as a body of water that is large enough to have a wave-swept shore. This information is according to the Minnesota Sea Grant at the University of Minnesota Duluth.
In order to have a wave-swept shore, a brisk wind of about 30 knots (34.5 mph) would need to blow across enough surface water to raise waves of about 4 inches in height and displace fine sediment. Assuming that a waterbody is more-or-less round, this would correspond to a waterbody of about 10 acres in area.
So there we have it. 10 acres or more is a lake, and less than that is a pond. Can we all agree on that?
Not counting lakes under 10 acres, Minnesota has 14,380 lakes.
That's a big number! Way over the 10,000 on our license plate!
Minnesota's smallest lake, over 10 acres is Echo Lake in Cass County.
The lake is about 1200 feet long, and about 600 feet wide. It's roughly 18 acres, and judging by satellite images it's got a lot of weeds in that little lake. It's so small and unnoticed that the Minnesota Lake Finder from the DNR doesn't even list it. That's kinda sad.
Minnesota's Smallest lake under 10 acres is Spring Hole Lake and it's basically a secret.
St. Louis County has a pretty tiny lake in Markham. It's called Spring Hole Lake. This one is actually on the DNR lake finder list. It's 2.13 acres big. It gets as deep as 16 feet, and you can actually catch fish in it! Spring hole lake has brook trout, northern pike, and white sucker.
Spring Hole Lake is remote. In fact, the only way to get in may be in a canoe or kayak from a nearby road.
I scoured the internet and found someone who actually has been to Spring Hole Lake. Chad Guttormson walked in and took a video. Pretty cool. I've reached out to Chad to get more insight on what it was like. Here's the video from his Facebook.