Comfort Lake is located 11 miles north and five miles east of Isabella in the US Superior National Forest. The lake is 42 acres with a maximum depth of seven feet. The water has low clarity (3.5 feet) and is a brown bog stain color. Comfort Lake is a very soft water lake of moderate fertility typical of northeast Minnesota. Muck, decaying organic matter, and sand were the most common bottom substrates followed by boulder and gravel with a very limited amount of rubble and ledge rock present. Aquatic vegetation grows to a depth of 5.5 feet with floating bur-reed, wild rice and white waterlily the most common species. Comfort Creek exits the lake on the north end and enters the Island River a short distance away. The lake is completely surrounded by US Forest Service land and nearly the entire shoreline and immediate area around the lake was burned in the Pagami Creek Fire of 2011.
Comfort Lake is less than a mile south of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness and is used by fishermen, hunters, trappers, wild rice harvesters, and canoers. Public access is an 80 yard trail with carry down steps from the parking area off of USFS Rd 913C to the southwest end of the lake. It can also be accessed from the Island River by portaging or paddling up the outlet, (Comfort Creek). While the public access is accessible by most highway legal vehicles it is best suited to higher clearance vehicles such as pickup truck or SUVs. Comfort Creek crosses USFS Rd. 913C upstream of Comfort Lake and USFS Rd. 356 upstream of Section 29 Lake, both locations are locally known as good spots to harvest suckers in the spring when they are running. The lake and surrounding area gets a fair amount of hunting pressure, mainly for ducks, geese, and grouse in the fall. It is also a good place to potentially spot a moose. The lake borders the Island River making canoe trips a possible option. The dark water and abundance of boulders make outboard use a bit difficult. Although the area was burned by the Pagami Creek fire in 2011, it is still very scenic and a popular place for recreationists interested in multiple outdoor experiences.
The 2015 survey was performed to gather background biological information to develop a management strategy for Comfort Lake. No stocking has been done on the lake and all populations are maintained through natural reproduction.
The catch rates for Walleyes were slightly below average compared to similar lakes in the Finland Area with an average weight of 1.3 pounds. The largest fish sampled was 25.4 inches long and weighed 5.7 pounds. Walleye growth is faster than average by Finland Area standards.
Northern Pike catch rate would be considered slightly low compared to other similar lakes in the area. However, average weight of 3.1 pounds is above average. The largest fish sampled was 29.7 inches and weighed 6.6 pounds. Natural reproduction appears consistent as six year classes were sampled. Growth is somewhat slow by area standards.
Black Crappie were sampled for the first time in Comfort Lake in 2015. The catch rate was average but the average weight of 0.75 pounds was above average. The largest fish sampled was 13.6 inches long and weighed 1.2 pounds. Seven year classes were sampled with age-7 representing 35% of the catch. Growth is slightly slow by Finland Area standards. Anglers should try to show some restraint in harvest of large crappies, as fish over a pound are likely also over 10 years old and reproduction in this area is usually sporadic.
Yellow Perch catch rate is above average for similar lakes but the average weight of 0.1 pounds is below average. The growth of perch is slow compared to other area lakes. The largest fish sampled was 7.9 inches long.
White Sucker catch rate was average for the Finland Area with the average weight of 2.2 pounds. Other species sampled included Pumpkinseed, Golden Shiner, Iowa Darter, and Black Nose Shiner.