Woman Lake Chain, Minnesota, USA

Lake Locations:

USA - Midwest - Minnesota - Northwest -

Also known as:  Child Lake, Girl Lake, Little Woman Lake, Woman Lake, Squaw Lake

The Woman Lake Chain in northwest Minnesota includes four lakes and covers 5,502 acres. Sprawling across Cass County slightly south of the Chippewa National Forest, the chain is set against the backdrop of some of Minnesota’s most beautiful countryside. With thousands of acres of water for boating, swimming and fishing, the Woman Lake Chain is sure to become a favorite with outdoor enthusiasts as well as families looking for an “up north” getaway.

The Boy River flows through the chain and is the primary inflow. It enters the western side of Child Lake near the town of Hackensack. Covering 316 acres, Child Lake has four and a half miles of shoreline and a maximum depth of 29 feet. The river flows on into 30-acre, 14 foot deep Little Woman Lake, also known as Squaw Lake or Squaw Bay. Connecting Child Lake with Woman Lake, Little Woman Lake is by far the smallest lake in the chain, and is sometimes not mentioned separately.

Woman Lake has 4,782 acres of water, making it the largest lake in the chain and one of the larger lakes in the northern part of the state. Woman Lake has a maximum depth of 54 feet and a littoral zone of over 40 percent; the littoral zone is the portion of the lake with a depth under 15 feet. Woman Lake has an average water clarity of ten feet and along with the other lakes in the chain, it is classified as mesotrophic or moderately fertile. The Boy River flows out of Woman Lake and into 406-acre Girl Lake. With a maximum depth of 81 feet, Girl Lake, in the town of Longville, is the deepest lake in the chain. There is a dam at the outlet of Girl Lake.

Access to the Woman Lake Chain is from several public boat launches, including some maintained by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR). Two concrete boat ramps provide access to Woman Lake, and a city-owned ramp gives access to Girl Lake. Boaters can travel from Girl Lake along the Boy River and into Woman Lake. Child Lake has an earthen ramp on county land. The chain of lakes is a popular place to boat, water ski, jet ski, paddle and sail.

The lake chain is full of fish, but Woman Lake and Girl Lake are particular favorites with anglers. Yellow perch, black crappie, largemouth bass and muskie are caught in the lakes. Sunfish, rock bass and smallmouth bass are also present. The Minnesota DNR manages the walleye fishery, and catch and release efforts have resulted in increasingly healthy populations of walleye. Late September through October is the best time of year to fish on the chain.

Seasonal residences, permanent homes and vacation rentals as well as real estate for sale can be found around the lakes of the Woman Lake Chain. The chain still has undeveloped sections of shoreline. Increasing pressure from development, however, resulted in a group of concerned citizens banding together in 1976 to form the Woman Lake Association. In 1978, property owners from Girl Lake and Child Lake joined the organization, creating the Child, Girl, Woman Lake Property Owners Association. The POA has been very instrumental in studying and improving the water quality on the chain of lakes.

Child Lake is ten miles east of Hackensack, and Girl Lake is in the Town of Longville. Restaurants, shops and amenities are available all along the chain. The Town of Longville is known as the Turtle Racing Capital of the World. Every Wednesday during the summer, 300 to 400 turtles take to the street to compete in a race that crosses the town’s Main Street. Visitors to the Woman Lake Chain can (and should) take a break from playing on the water to watch the turtles race.

The Deep Portage Conservation Reserve is another great way to spend the day at Woman Lake. Just under 30 minutes from the lake, the reserve includes 6,307 acres of forests, hills, rivers, lakes and bogs. Over ten miles of trails for hiking and cross country skiing criss-cross the reserve which sits on the shore of 100 foot deep Big Deep Lake.

The Forest History Center, an hour’s drive from the Woman Lake Chain, is a re-created turn of the century logging camp. Guests can spend the day visiting the blacksmith, clerk, cook and lumberjacks and tour a 1930’s Minnesota Forest Service Patrolman’s Cabin. Trails and interactive exhibits round out the day.

Itasca State Park encompasses over 32,000 acres and over a hundred lakes, including the headwaters of the Mississippi River. Less than an hour from Woman Lake, the state park has campgrounds, hiking trails and a visitor’s center. The Mary Gibbs Mississippi Headwaters Center has exhibits about the 2,552 mile long river, and visitors can see the river start its journey to the Gulf of Mexico.

Whether it is the lure of northern Minnesota’s wilderness, quirky turtle racing or fishing, the Woman Lake Chain has something to please everyone. Add boating, swimming and playing on thousands of acres of water, and Woman Lake, Girl Lake and Child Lake are sure to delight the entire family.

Things to do at Woman Lake Chain

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Boating
  • Sailing
  • Swimming
  • Jet Skiing
  • Water Skiing
  • Camping
  • Campground
  • Cabin Rentals
  • Hiking
  • Cross-Country Skiing
  • State Park
  • National Forest

Fish species found at Woman Lake Chain

  • Bass
  • Black Bass
  • Black Crappie
  • Crappie
  • Largemouth Bass
  • Muskellunge
  • Perch
  • Pike
  • Smallmouth Bass
  • Sunfish
  • Walleye
  • Yellow Perch

Woman Lake Chain Photo Gallery

    Woman Lake Chain Statistics & Helpful Links

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    Lake Type: Natural Freshwater Lake, Dammed

    Surface Area: 5,502 acres

    Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 1,323 feet

    Minimum Elevation (Min Pond): 1,322 feet

    Maximum Elevation (Max Pond): 1,325 feet

    Maximum Depth: 81 feet

    Drainage Area: 79 sq. miles

    Trophic State: Mesotrophic

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    Trophic State | LakeLubbers

    Trophic State measures the level of algae and nutrients in a lake.

    An oligotrophic lake is very clear (blue in color) and does not support much plant or fish life. A hyper-oligotrophic lake is the clearest of all lakes, and is nearly devoid of plants and fish.

    A mesotrophic lake is slightly green and supports a moderate degree of plant and fish life. A lake's most desired trophic state is generally this mid-point - the mesotrophic state.

    A eutrophic lake is somewhat murky and supports a large amount of plant and fish life. A hypereutrophic lake is clouded with algae, plant life, and fish life. A eutrophic or hyper-eutrophic lake can be difficult to navigate by boat - and is often an unpleasant place to swim.

    The use of phosphorus-rich and nitrogen-rich fertilizer on lawns and golf courses surrounding a lake can cause it to become eutrophic or hypereutrophic.


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    Catchment or Drainage Area | LakeLubbers

    This is the surrounding area that drains into a lake, including land, rivers and their tributaries. This is also known as the lake's "catchment basin".

    Small lakes at the highest peaks of mountains have small drainage areas. The world's oceans have the largest drainage areas.


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    Lake-Area Population | LakeLubbers

    This is the estimated number of people who live in a house with a view of a lake, plus those who self-describe the lake as their home, for example: "I live at Smith Mountain Lake."


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    Water Residence Time | LakeLubbers

    This is the estimated time that it takes for an amount of water equal to the entire volume of a lake to flow out of - or evaporate from - the lake.

    Residence Time can be as short as a few days for fast-flowing small lakes, and can exceed 100 years for slow-flowing large lakes.


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    Completion Year | LakeLubbers

    This is the year that a reservoir was first filled to the reservoir's normal elevation - or the year that a natural lake was first dammed. A large reservoir can take more than a year to fill after its dam is first closed.

    The Grand Anicut in southern India is generally considered the world's oldest dam that still operates. Grand Anicut was constructed in the second century BC. It now impounds an irrigation network that includes roughly one million acres.

    You can find many of the the world's newest reservoirs on LakeLubbers. Many of the world's oldest reservoirs appear on the last page of that list.


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    Water Volume | LakeLubbers

    This is the estimated volume of water that a lake contains -- measured at the lake's normal elevation. By this measure, the world's largest freshwater lake is Siberia's Lake Baikal.

    You can find many of the the world's largest lakes (by water volume) on LakeLubbers.

    Water Volume can be measured in acre-feet, in cubic miles, or in cubic kilometers. One acre-foot is the amount of water needed to cover one acre (43,560 square feet) to a depth of one foot. One cubic mile equals 3,379,200 acre-feet. One cubic kilometer equals 810,713 acre-feet.

    1 acre-foot is equal to 325,851 US gallons. Siberia's Lake Baikal contains about 6,276,367,740,000,000 gallons of freshwater - nearly 1 million gallons for every living person on earth.

    The other - and more widely used - measure of a lake's size is the lake's surface acreage. By that measure, the world's largest freshwater lake is North America's Lake Superior.


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    Maximum Depth | LakeLubbers

    This is the estimated greatest depth of the water in a lake -- measured at the lake's normal elevation. The world's deepest lake is Siberia's Lake Baikal; that lake's maximum depth is estimated at 5,314 feet.

    You can find many of the the world's deepest lakes on LakeLubbers. If you select the last page of that list, you will find the (maximum depth of) the shallowest lakes in our database.


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    Average Depth | LakeLubbers

    This is the estimated average depth of the water in a lake -- measured at the lake's normal elevation. If the water volume and surface area of a lake are known, an estimate of the lake's average depth can be calculated:

    Water volume ÷ Surface Area = Average Depth

    Example: 1,000,000 acre-feet ÷ 20,000 acres = 50 feet average depth


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    Maximum Elevation | LakeLubbers

    This is a lake's highest water level, measured by the lake's surface distance above sea level, that can occur during flooding. A lake's highest possible maximum elevation is usually the top of the lake's dam or spillway.

    At lakes that include residential development, government regulations usually forbid the construction of homes below a lake's maximum elevation.


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    Minimum Elevation | LakeLubbers

    This is a lake's lowest water level, measured by the lake's surface distance above sea level, that can be reasonably expected to occur. Low lake levels can occur due to deliberate seasonal draw downs for irrigation or impending snow melt, reduced water inflows, drought and evaporation, residential or commercial water demands, and hydropower generation.

    Some lakes' minimum and maximum elevations are virtually the same. Lakes that generate hydropower may vary by several feet - according to power demand. Lakes whose primary purpose is to prevent flooding can seasonally vary by 100 feet or more.

    When some lakes reach their minimum elevation, their boat ramps may not be long enough to permit boat access - and boats docked on shallow parts of the lake may end up on dry ground. In those cases, kayakers and shore-based anglers may be among the few happy recreational users of the lake.


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    Normal Elevation | LakeLubbers

    This is a lake's normal water level, measured by the lake's surface distance above sea level. For a reservoir, this water level is also known as "full pond" or "full pool".

    You can find many of the world's highest-elevated lakes on LakeLubbers. Lakes with the lowest elevations (known by LakeLubbers) are shown on the final page of that list.


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    Shoreline Length | LakeLubbers

    This is the length of the exterior shoreline around a lake - measured at the lake's normal elevation. The shoreline length can be considerably shorter or longer when lake water levels are lower or higher than normal.

    A lake with many coves has a much longer shoreline than a lake of similar surface area that is nearly circular in shape.

    When known, the shoreline miles that we report in our statistics include only the lake's exterior shoreline, and exclude the shorelines of islands located within a lake's boundaries. In lakes with many islands, those islands' combined shorelines may exceed a lake's exterior shoreline.

    You can find many of the world's longest-shoreline lakes on Lakelubbers.


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    Surface Area | LakeLubbers

    This is the area (acreage, square kilometers, etc.) of the top surface area of a lake - measured at a lake's normal elevation. The surface area can be considerably smaller or larger when lake levels are lower or higher than normal. North America's Lake Superior is the world's largest freshwater lake by this measure.

    The other measure of a lake's size is the lake's water volume. By that measure, the world's largest freshwater lake is Lake Baikal in Siberia.

    You can find many of the world's largest lakes (acres) on Lakelubbers. There is no widely-accepted minimum surface area that defines a lake. What Lakelubbers describes as a lake, you might call a pond. The smallest lake that Lakelubbers currently includes is Hawaii's 2-acre Lake Waiau.


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    Water Level Control | LakeLubbers

    This is the organization that controls water releases or outflows from the lake or reservoir. In the USA, this is often the US Army Corps of Engineers, a power company, a municipal water system, an irrigation district, or a paper manufacturing company. In the case of private or gated lakes, a homeowners' association may be the lake's controlling authority.

    Many lakes cross borders, including North America's Great Lakes. The control of such lakes and their coveted freshwater may be amicably shared - or hotly disputed.

    "Water wars" continue at many lakes as growing populations and crop irrigation needs compete for the freshwater that lakes contain.


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    Lake Type | LakeLubbers

    There are 3 basic types of lakes that are currently included on LakeLubbers. 2 types may be dammed or not dammed, producing 5 classifications.

    - A Reservoir is a man-made freshwater lake that is usually created by damming rivers.

    - A Natural Freshwater Lake occurs naturally - often by glacial activity - and has a salinity of less than 30 parts per thousand. It may be dammed to produce electricity or for other reasons.

    - A Natural Saltwater Lake occurs naturally and has a salinity of more than 30 parts per thousand (ppt). It may be dammed.

    "Brackish" water may be categorized as freshwater or saltwater, depending on its salt content (salinity). Oligohaline water has less than 15 ppt of salt. Mesohaline water has 15-29 ppt. Polyhaline has 30-335 ppt.


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