Rice County - Minnesota
Today's Fishing Forecast
Fishing looks to be moderately active with peak fishing times around 1-2 PM and 4-7 PM. SEE MORE
The lake is approximately 876 acres and has a max depth of 56 feet in size. The lake is fed by several small streams and is part of the Cannon River watershed. French Lake is known for its excellent fishing opportunities, with anglers frequently catching walleye, northern pike, bass, crappie, and sunfish. The lake also has a public access point, providing easy access for boaters and anglers.
In addition to fishing, popular activities on French Lake include boating, swimming, water skiing, and kayaking. The lake is also a popular spot for birdwatching, with bald eagles, ospreys, and loons frequently seen in the area.
There are several parks and campgrounds in the surrounding area, providing ample opportunities for outdoor recreation. The lake is located near the towns of Faribault and Northfield, which offer a range of amenities and attractions for visitors.
Overall, French Lake is a great destination for outdoor enthusiasts looking to enjoy the natural beauty and recreational opportunities of Minnesota.
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Frequently Asked Questions About French Lake, MN
- How big is French Lake?
- How deep is French Lake?
- What kind of fish can you catch in French Lake?
- Are there places to stay in the French Lake area?
- What are the best fishing times for French Lake?
- Are there topographical lake maps available French Lake?
- Are there boat launches on French Lake?
- Are there places to eat and drink near French Lake?
- What is the average air temp for French Lake?
- Are there any state parks near French Lake?
How big is French Lake?
How deep is French Lake?
What kind of fish can you catch in French Lake?
Other fish species in the lake include Emerald Shiner, Freshwater Drum, Golden Shiner, Green Sunfish, Johnny Darter, Spottail Shiner and White Sucker.
Are there places to stay in the French Lake area?
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What are the best fishing times for French Lake?
For more best fishing times and fishing forecast vist our French Lake Fishing Forecasts section. Lake-Link Pro users can acess fishing forecasts for up to 10 days in advance and dial into species specific data.
Are there topographical lake maps available French Lake?
Are there boat launches on French Lake?
Are there places to eat and drink near French Lake?
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What aquatic invasive species are found in French Lake?
Join us in the fight to prevent the spread of invasive species These sneaky creatures can hitch a ride on boats, clinging onto propellers, anchor lines, and trailers. They can even survive in hidden places like bilge water and ballast tanks, or disguise themselves in dirt and sand that sticks to nets, buckets, anchors, and waders. But don't worry, we have the power to stop them in their tracks with just a few simple steps. So let's do our part and protect our waters from these unwanted invaders.
History & Status of the Fishery
French Lake (816.0 acres; class 24) is located in Rice County near the Town of Faribault. Residential development has disturbed and altered the majority of French Lake's shoreline. In areas with residential development, lawns are typically maintained to the water's edge and shorelines being altered with rock riprap or sand blankets, thereby disrupting the natural riparian buffer. A DNR owned access is located on the southeast corner of the lake, but can be difficult to use when water levels are low due to the shallowness of the area. The sport fish community consists of black crappie and bluegill, which are the primary management species, and walleye, muskellunge, and largemouth bass, which are the secondary management species. Walleye and muskellunge populations are maintained through stocking. Walleye fingerlings are stocked at a rate of 1 lb/littoral acre in 2 out of 3 years (2003, 2004, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2010, and 2012). Muskellunge are stocked annually at a rate of 600 fingerlings per year. A population assessment was conducted on 8-6-2012 to monitor the sport fish populations in French Lake using 8 gill nets and 12 trap nets.
A dissolved oxygen profile was taken on 8-6-2012 and ranged from 6.2 ppm at the surface to 0.6 ppm at 25.0 ft deep. Thermal stratification of the water column occurred between 16.0 and 18.0 ft of depth as indicated by a drop in temperature.
French Lake has historically produced quality black crappies. Since 1984, black crappie catch rates have varied from 6.7/trap net in 1987 to 38.6/trap net in 1998. The 2012 catch rate (30.9/trap net) fell within this range and was high when compared to similar lakes. Black crappies were also sampled very effectively with gill nets, and were captured at a rate of 55.1/gill net, which is also very high when compared to similar lakes. Seven year classes of black crappie were present in the French Lake sample (2005-2011). Age-2 (2010 year class) black crappies were the most abundant, accounting for 46% of black crappies sampled. Age-4 (2008 year class) black crappies were the second most abundant, accounting for 21% of black crappies sampled. The oldest black crappies sampled were age-7 (2005 year class). Black crappie size structure was good as lengths ranged from 4.2 to 12.7 inches and averaged 8.2 inches for trap netted crappies. Gill nets captured smaller black crappies as they ranged in length from 4.3 to 11.3 inches and averaged 6.9 inches. Data from the survey indicated good growth of black crappies in French lake as lengths averaged 5.0 inches at age-1, 6.8 inches at age-2, 8.4 inches at age-3, 9.5 inches at age-4, 10.4 inches at age-5, 11.4 inches at age-6, and 11.8 inches at age-7.
The bluegill population has been variable in French Lake ranging from 2.6/trap net in 1979 to 75.0/trap net in 2003. The 2012 catch rate was 30.8/trap net, which is slightly above average when compared to similar lakes. Although bluegill catch rates have decreased since 2003 (75/trap net) and 2007 (45.4/trap net), the size structure of trap netted bluegills appears to have increased. In 2007, bluegills ranged from 2.9 to 7.9 inches in length and averaged 4.9 inches, and in 2012, bluegills ranged from 0.7 to 8.3 inches in length and averaged 5.9 inches. Six year classes of bluegills were sampled (2006-2011) with age-5 bluegills being the most abundant (38% of the sample). Growth of bluegills in French Lake appears to be good, as bluegills averaged 3.7 inches at age-1, 4.8 inches at age-2, 5.6 inches at age-3, 6.7 inches at age-4, 7.4 inches at age-5, and 8.1 inches at age-6.
The walleye catch rate slightly decreased from the 2007 survey, dropping from 4.9/gill net in 2007 to 3.3/gill net in 2012, but still was within the long term range of catch rates (0.6 and 6.0/gill net in 1979 and 1984, respectively). The 2012 catch rate of 3.3 walleye per gill net is good when compared to similar lakes. Three year classes of walleye were present and corresponded to 3 stocking events in 2006, 2009, and 2010. Although sample size was small, walleye size structure was good, with lengths ranging from 12.3 to 22.5 inches and averaging 15.7 inches in gill nets. Walleye grow fast in French Lake as they averaged 13.2 inches at age-2 and 15.8 inches at age-3.
Largemouth bass and muskellunge are secondary management species on French Lake; however their populations were not assessed because they are not effectively captured by the gears used in this survey. The muskellunge population will be assessed during early spring of 2013. Two muskellunge were sampled during this survey and they had lengths of 39.4 and 44.3 inches. One largemouth bass was sampled measuring 6.6 inches.
The 2012 yellow perch catch rate (23.0/gill net) decreased from the 2007 catch rate (30.6/gill net) but still was good when compared to similar lakes. Five year classes (2004, 2007-2010) were sampled, with age-3 fish representing 60% of yellow perch. Yellow perch exhibited small size structure, with no fish exceeding 10.0 inches. They ranged in length from 3.9 to 9.9 inches and averaged 7.4 inches.
Northern pike have historically been scarce in French Lake and the trend continued in 2012 with a catch rate of 0.4/gill net, which is low when compared to similar lakes. Trap netted and gill netted northern pike ranged from 21.7 to 34.7 inches in length.
Freshwater drum continued to be abundant in French Lake with the 2012 trap net catch rate (5.6/trap net). The 2012 catch rate is similar to the 2007 catch rate and is consistent with historical catch rates of freshwater drum in French Lake. Freshwater drum were relatively large, ranging in length from 17.1 to 23.4 inches and averaging 20.3 inches.
Common carp, pumpkinseed, white crappie, golden shiner, white bass, and white sucker were also present in the 8-6-2012 assessment, but occurred in low numbers.
Anglers can help maintain or improve the quality of fishing by practicing selective harvest. Selective harvest allows for the harvest of smaller fish for table fare, but encourages release of medium- to large-sized fish. Releasing these fish can help maintain balance in the fish community and provide anglers the opportunity to catch more and larger fish in the future.
Shoreline areas on the land and into the shallow water provide essential habitat for fish and wildlife that live in or near Minnesota's lakes. Overdeveloped shorelines cannot support the fish, wildlife, and clean water that are associated with natural undeveloped lakes. Shoreline habitat consists of aquatic plants, woody plants, and natural lake bottom soils.
Plants in the water and at the water's edge provide habitat, prevent erosion, and absorb excess nutrients. Shrubs, trees, and woody debris such as fallen trees or limbs provide good habitat both above and below the water and should be left in place. By leaving a buffer strip of natural vegetation along the shoreline, property owners can reduce erosion, help maintain water quality, and provide habitat and travel corridors for wildlife.
What is the average air temp for French Lake?
Are there any state parks near French Lake?
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