Birch Lake is a 1,267-acre lake located near Hackensack, MN. There is a city-owned public access on the east shore in the city of Hackensack. The lake has 15 miles of shoreline and a maximum depth of 45 feet. The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (MNDNR) has classified Minnesota lakes into 43 different classes based on physical, chemical, and other characteristics. Birch Lake is in Lake Class 25; lakes in the class are generally deep, clear, hard water lakes with irregularly shaped shorelines. Other nearby Class 25 lakes are Big Boy, Hand, Inguadona, and Blackwater. The Birch Lake Association has worked with lakeshore property owners to preserve and restore native aquatic and riparian shoreline vegetation that protects fish and wildlife habitat and water quality on this heavily developed lake.
The best angling opportunities on Birch Lake are for Northern Pike, Walleye, Black Crappie, and Largemouth Bass. During the 2013 sampling, northern pike were abundant compared to other Lake Class 25 lakes and averaged 18 inches in length with fish over 30 inches present. Walleye were moderately abundant, averaged 19 inches, and ranged from 9 to 29 inches. Walleye fingerlings have been stocked every other year and have been providing a measureable contribution to the natural reproduction that is occurring. Black Crappie are within Lake Class 25 averages but on the lower end of long-range management goals. Black Crappie averaged 8 inches long and lengths ranged from 5 to 12 inches. Largemouth bass averaged 11 inches in length with fish up to 19 inches sampled. Bluegills numbers have declined in the past 4 surveys but are still within the averages for similar lakes. Sizes of Bluegill are small with an average length of 6 inches and the largest Bluegill captured being 8.5 inches. Yellow perch abundance is at a historic low. Other species sampled in 2013 were Black Bullhead, Bowfin (dogfish), Brown Bullhead, Pumpkinseed, Rock Bass, White Sucker, and Yellow Bullhead.
People can have significant impacts on lakes and the fish populations they support. Harvest, lakeshore development, removal of shoreline vegetation, and introductions of invasive species can all adversely affect fish populations. Currently the only aquatic invasive species (AIS) that has been identified in Birch Lake is purple loosestrife. AIS are moved from infested to non-infested waters by anglers, boaters, and lake shore owners and can adversely impact lakes and fish populations. To avoid spreading AIS, lake users are required to remove all aquatic plants or animals from their watercraft and drain all water from their boat before leaving the access. If you suspect an infestation of an invasive species in this lake, save a specimen and report it to a local natural resource office. Additional information on all of these topics can be found on the DNR website (www.dnr.state.mn.us) or by contacting the Walker Area Fisheries office