Burns Lake is a 144-acre lake in central Itasca County within the Big Fork River watershed. Burns Lake is located approximately 3 miles northeast of Marcell, MN. The lake has a maximum depth of 100 ft and 78 littoral acres. A forest service gravel access is located on the southeast shoreline. Northern pike gill-net catch was 6.3/net, which was within the expected range for similar lakes. Abundance in past assessments has varied from 7.5 to 12.5/gill net. Size structure was moderate with a few fish exceeding 24 inches. Growth was highly variable among individual fish. The average back-calculated length for age-4 fish was 21.3 inches, which was similar to the statewide average. Bluegill trap-net catch was 65.4/net, which was higher than the expected range for similar lakes. Abundance in past assessments varied from 46.3 to 121.8/trap net. Size structure was poor with a no fish exceeding 8 inches. Growth was slightly slower than the statewide average, with fish reaching six inches by age 7. Black crappie gill-net catch was 5.5/net and trap net catch was 3.6/net. Both catch rates exceeded the expected range for similar lakes. Size structure was moderate with fish up to 11.5 inches sampled. Growth was slower than the statewide average for ages 1 to 2 and similar to the average for ages 3 to 5. Black crappie grow to nine inches by age 5. Electrofishing was used to sample largemouth bass for the first time on Burns Lake. Electrofishing catch rate was 94.4/hour, which indicates a high abundance compared to other area lakes. Size structure was good with fish up to 20 inches sampled. Growth was slower than the statewide average for ages 1 to 3 and similar to the average for ages 4 to 10. Although the growth rates were slightly slower than the statewide average, many of the largemouth bass were quite old with fish up to age 15. Angler harvest appears to be low allowing a portion of the population to grow old enough to achieve quality size. Yellow perch gill-net catch was 8.7/gill net and was within the expected range for similar lakes. Size structure was poor with few fish reaching nine inches. Other species sampled include brown bullhead, golden shiner, pumpkinseed sunfish, rock bass, white sucker and yellow bullhead. In order to maintain or improve fish and wildlife populations water quality and habitat must be protected. People often associate water quality problems with large-scale agricultural, forestry, urban development or industrial practices in the watershed. In reality, the impact of land use decisions on one lake lot may be relatively small, yet, the cumulative impact of those decisions on many lake lots can result in a significant decline in water quality and habitat. For example, removing shoreline and aquatic vegetation, fertilizing lawns, mowing to the waters edge, installing beach sand blankets, failing septic systems and uncontrolled run-off, all contribute excess nutrients and sediment, which degrade water quality and habitat. Understanding these cumulative impacts and taking steps to avoid or minimize them will help to insure our quality fisheries can be enjoyed by future generations.