Huntington Mine Lake is a former open pit iron mine located northwest of Ironton that has filled with water. This mine pit lake has also been called Martin and Feigh. The maximum water depth is over 250 ft in the eastern end of the lake. The water is very clear with visibility to a depth of over 30 ft. A gravel boat launch is located on the north shore in the western portion of the lake and is accessed from County Road 127 along a recently improved gravel road. A carry-in access is located in the southeastern corner of the lake across from the Pennington Mine Lake access.
Huntington is a designated stream trout lake. Designated stream trout lakes have additional angling regulations. Be sure to consult the current Minnesota Fishing Regulations book for regulations, seasons, and possession limits before fishing designated trout waters. Huntington is within the Cuyuna Country State Recreation Area. The paved Cuyuna Lakes State Trail runs along the south side of the lake and numerous mountain bike trails traverse the surrounding overburden/tailings piles.
A survey of the fish community and aquatic habitat in Huntington Mine Lake was conducted in early July 2012. The total catch in the gill nets was an average of 19.3 fish per set which is comparable to other Cuyuna mine pit lakes where average gill net catches have ranged from 2 to 63 total fish per net in recent surveys (median of 10.5 fish per net). Six species were captured in the gill nets and about half of the total catch was bluegills. The rainbow trout catch of 3 per gill net was above average compared to other recent nettings in nearby mine pit lakes. All of the rainbow trout were about 9 to 13 inches long and appeared to be age-1 fish from yearling stockings a few months earlier in April or May 2012. The northern pike catch of 0.8 per net was lower than recently found in most other Cuyuna mines. The northern pike ranged from 23 to 32 inches long with an average weight of nearly 5 pounds. Bluegills also comprised most of the trap net catch and were approximately 6 to 8 inches long. The other species found were largemouth bass, white sucker, and yellow perch.
The dissolved oxygen and temperature profiles measured in July 2012 showed conditions suitable for trout occurred from a depth of about 20 ft down to at least 48 ft with the best temperatures and oxygen conditions for rainbow trout (52 - 66 F, greater than or equal to 5 ppm DO) occurring in about 14 vertical ft from a depth of about 21 ft through 34 ft. The water chemistry had low phosphorus and chlorophyll, but had fairly high ionic strength, alkalinity, and pH.
Rainbow trout were first stocked into Huntington Mine in 1982. Stockings in the 1980's were variable in species (mostly rainbow and brook trout with occasional brown trout), numbers and sizes, but since the mid 1990's usually about 5,000 rainbow and 3,000 brook trout yearlings have been stocked annually in the spring. Starting in 2011 the base stocking of brook trout was eliminated, but stocking of surplus brook trout has occurred since then. Future stocking plans continue the 5,000 rainbow yearlings annually with occasional brook trout stockings likely.
- Zebra Mussel
Recreational activities such as recreational boating, angling, waterfowl hunting, and diving may spread aquatic invasive species. Some aquatic invasive species can attach to boats, while others can become tangled on propellers, anchor lines, or boat trailers. Many species can survive in bilge water, ballast tanks, and motors or may hide in dirt or sand that clings to nets, buckets, anchors, and waders. Fortunately, completing simple steps can prevent the transport of aquatic invasive species.