Fish Hook Lake is located just north of Park Rapids in Hubbard County. Fish Hook has a surface area of 1,642 acres and a maximum depth of 76 feet. There are county-owned public accesses located on the southwest shore of the lake and on the Fish Hook River south of the lake in Heartland Park. Fish Hook is a popular lake and receives a fair amount of fishing and recreational activity year around. The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has classified Minnesota's lakes into 43 different types based on physical, chemical, and other characteristics. Fish Hook is in lake class 27 and these lakes are generally deep with hard water and have a regularly shaped shoreline. Other class 27 lakes in the Park Rapids area include Upper Bottle, Garfield, and George.
Fish Hook is an excellent fishing lake and is known as one of the best "multi-species" lakes around, providing good fishing opportunities for walleye, northern pike, largemouth bass, and panfish. Fish Hook has good water quality, bottom substrate, and aquatic vegetation that provides excellent habitat for a variety of gamefish species. Important emergent aquatic vegetation such as hardstem bulrush is found along the southwest and north shores. Good beds of submerged aquatic vegetation such as claspingleaf and whitestem pond weed ("cabbage"), coontail and northern milfoil are common and found out to 20 foot depths.
Walleye abundance was above the current management goal and at the upper end of the range for similar type lakes. Anglers will find good numbers of walleye in the 16-20 inch size range as well as larger fish up to 30 inches. Fish Hook Lake is known as one of the better lakes in this area for the opportunity of catching a trophy walleye (30 inch plus). Fish Hook is currently stocked with walleye fingerlings during odd numbered years. Yellow perch, an important forage species for walleye, were sampled in low numbers. Yellow perch abundance in past surveys has fluctuated from low to moderate levels. Yellow perch generally are small in size with few perch of an acceptable size for angling. Tullibee (cisco) are present in low numbers, and provide an additional forage species for walleye and northern pike.
Northern pike abundance was very high, above the range for similar type lakes. Northern pike abundance in past surveys has fluctuated from moderate to high numbers. Sampled northern pike had an average length and weight of 21 inches and 2.1 pounds, with fish measured up to 34 inches.
Present and past surveys have shown Fish Hook Lake to have an excellent population of largemouth bass and panfish. Largemouth bass in the 14-16 inch size range are common as well as bass up to 20 inches. Smallmouth bass are present in low numbers. Anglers will find good numbers of bluegill in the 6-8 inch size range. The black crappie population in Fish Hook fluctuates from low to moderate numbers. Anglers will find black crappie in the 10-12 inch size range. Fish Hook has an abundant rock bass population.
Other species sampled in low to moderate numbers included white sucker, yellow bullhead, brown bullhead, black bullhead, shorthead redhorse, and greater redhorse.
Anglers and other recreational boaters should be aware that curly leaf pondweed, an aquatic invasive species (AIS), is present in Fish Hook Lake. To avoid spreading AIS, lake users are required to remove all aquatic plants from their watercraft and drain all water from their boat before leaving the access.