Balsam Lake is a Brook Trout lake located eight miles north-northeast of Finland in the Finland State Forest. It is a scenic lake with the entire shoreline in a natural undeveloped state and maintains a naturally reproducing population of Brook Trout. The lake is 221 acres with a maximum depth of 18 feet. The water clarity is visible to 5 feet in depth in brown bog stained water. Muck and decaying organic matter are the most common bottom substrates across much of the lake and bog shoreline. Gravel, rubble, boulder, and sand are found near the upland portions of the shoreline. White-stemmed and large-leaf pondweed grow throughout the lake. The lake is fed by two inlets one is located along the southwest shore and the other along the northwest, with the outlet of Balsam Creek on the north end.
Balsam Lake is unique in the Finland Area as the Brook Trout population in the lake is a natural population without any known historical stockings. However, angling is very limited as the access to the lake is very long, difficult, and not accessible by a highway legal vehicle. An ATV can bring you within 1400 feet of the lake up to the State of Minnesota Aquatic Management Area (AMA) boundary where no motorized traffic is allowed. As available routes to Balsam Lake change over the years it is best to contact Finalnd Area Office for latest information on how to access Balsam Lake.
In 2015, a lake survey was conducted to assess the current status of the population. The 2015 Brook Trout catch rate was average compared to other Brook Trout lakes in the Finland Area. The average weight was 0.8 pounds which was above average when compared to other Finland Area Brook Trout lakes. The largest fish sampled was just shy of 14 inches long and 48% of the catch was 12 inches or longer. Brook Trout growth was average by area standards.
There are large numbers of White Sucker in Balsam Lake with smaller than average size. Minnow traps were set to inventory minnow species and sampled Brook Stickleback, Fathead Minnow, Finescale Dace, Northern Pearl Dace, and Northern Redbelly Dace. Balsam Lake is not a designated trout lake and therefore does not adhere to all applicable rules governing other designated trout lakes. Refer to the current Minnesota State Fishing Regulations for rule applicable to angling on Balsam Lake.