Pelican Lake-Otter Tail County, Minnesota, USA

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Pelican Lake-Otter Tail County visitor and community guide

Lake Locations: USA - Midwest - Minnesota - Central -

Pelican Lake is a 3,925-acre lake located in northwestern Otter Tail County approximately 7 miles north of Pelican Rapids, Minnesota. Pelican Lake is connected to Little Pelican Lake and Lake Lizzie by the Pelican River. The Pelican River can be navigated by boat upstream to Little Pelican Lake, but a dam at the outlet prevents traveling downstream to Lake Lizzie. Like most of the recreational lakes in Otter Tail County, Pelican Lake is well known for its sport fishing, especially trophy size muskellunge.

Most of the shoreline of Pelican Lake has been developed with private homes, cottages, and vacation rentals, but there are two public water access points, one on the east shore and one on the southwest shore, for launching a boat onto Pelican Lake. The southern portion of the lake is referred to as Bass Lake and Fish Lake. Fish Lake is the deeper section of the lake with an average depth of 27 feet and a maximum depth of 69 feet. Some of the best fishing is in Fish Lake. Fish in Pelican Lake include muskellunge, walleye, Northern pike, largemouth bass, rock bass, crappie, and bluegill. Walleye range in length from 8 to 25 inches, Northern pike from 10 to 30 inches, and muskies up to 46 inches have been pulled from the lake. The Department of Natural Resources stocks the lake with muskies making it one of the most prolific muskie fishing lakes in Minnesota. Anglers are encouraged to practice selective harvest and release the bigger fish back into the water. Selective harvest ensures that the lake has enough spawning age fish to provide anglers with more opportunities to catch large fish in the future.

Most fish are safe to eat, but any fish (store-bought or sport-caught) could contain contaminants such as mercury that can harm your health. When eating fish from Pelican Lake, anglers should follow the Minnesota Department of Health Safe Eating Guidelines (see the link at the bottom of the page).

Those wishing to camp on Pelican Lake will find several camping areas nearby the lake. If you’re looking for a spot on the water, Lake Lizzie has several lakeside campgrounds. Otter Tail County has 1,048 lakes which offer an unlimited opportunities for camping, boating, fishing and most outdoor activities. West of Star Lake is Maplewood State Park, with over 9,250 acres of woods, eight major lakes and several ponds. This state-protected habitat is great for hiking, bird watching, biking, horseback riding, snowmobiling, swimming, and fishing. Facilities in the park include a campground with electrical hookups, a swimming beach, boat ramps, numerous picnic spots, and hike-in camping areas. It is also a great place to relax and enjoy nature.

For some non-water adventure, south of Pelican Lake is the town of Pelican Rapids, a favorite summer and winter vacation destination spot. Golf courses, seasonal festivals, and all sorts of vacation rentals and shopping opportunities await visitors. The Pine to Prairie Birding Trail, a 200 mile trail with 45 sites to stop and watch over 275 species birds, runs through Pelican Rapids.

Located in the northwestern section of Minnesota’s Central tourism region, Pelican Lake is a great place to swim, fish, boat, and simply relax. With over 1,000 crystal clear lakes to choose from, tourist-friendly communities, annual events and festivals and bird watching at its finest, Otter Tail County offers a great mix of things to see and do.

Custom Pelican Lake-Otter Tail County house decor

Read our full review of these personalized lake house signs.

Things to do at Pelican Lake-Otter Tail County

  • Fishing
  • Boating
  • Swimming
  • Beach
  • Golf
  • Camping
  • Campground
  • Picnicking
  • Hiking
  • Biking
  • Snowmobiling
  • Horseback Riding
  • Wildlife Viewing
  • Birding
  • State Park
  • Shopping

Fish species found at Pelican Lake-Otter Tail County

  • Bass
  • Black Bass
  • Bluegill
  • Crappie
  • Largemouth Bass
  • Muskellunge
  • Northern Pike
  • Perch
  • Pike
  • Sunfish
  • Walleye

Best hotels and vacation rentals at Pelican Lake-Otter Tail County

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Pelican Lake-Otter Tail County photo gallery

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Pelican Lake-Otter Tail County statistics & helpful links


Lake Type: Natural Freshwater Lake, Dammed

Water Level Control: Minnesota Department of Natural Resources

Surface Area: 3,925 acres

Shoreline Length: 17 miles

Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 1,312 feet

Average Depth: 24 feet

Maximum Depth: 55 feet

Water Volume: 90,109 acre-feet

Water Residence Time: 8.6 years

Drainage Area: 44 sq. miles

Trophic State: Mesotrophic

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