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French Lake

Rice County - Minnesota
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French Lake in Rice County, Minnesota is a beautiful and serene lake located in the southeastern part of the state. It is a popular destination for fishing, swimming, and boating. The lake is surrounded by lush forests and rolling hills, making it a great spot for outdoor recreation.

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.

Each week we're giving away a $25 Kiwk Trip gift card to one lucky angler. All you need to do is upload a pic of your catch for a chance to win! Click here to see last week's winner.

Frequently Asked Questions About French Lake, MN

How big is French Lake?
French Lake is approximately 876 sq acres (3.5 sq km) in size with 5 miles (7.7 km) of shoreline.

How deep is French Lake?
French Lake is approximately 56 feet (17.1 m) at its deepest point.

What kind of fish can you catch in French Lake?
Although thery may be others but anglers can expect to find a variety of fish including Bigmouth Buffalo, Black Bullhead, Black Crappie, Bluegill, Bowfin, Carp, Largemouth Bass, Muskie, Northern Pike, Pumpkinseed, Walleye, White Bass, White Crappie, Yellow Bullhead and Yellow Perch 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?
Are you craving a weekend escape from the hustle and bustle of city life? Or maybe you're an avid angler in search of the perfect fishing spot? Look no further! French Lake and its surrounding area offer an abundance of options to suit your needs. If you're in need of accommodation, check out our area map which highlights some of the best places to stay. And if you're looking for even more options, head on over to our Travel section. But why settle for a traditional hotel or resort when you can take your adventure to the next level by renting a RV? The open road awaits you!
More Lodging Options

What are the best fishing times for French Lake?
Today for French Lake, fishing looks to be moderately active with peak fishing times around 1-2 pm and 4-7 pm. (view forecast graph)

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?
We have an topograpical map for online viewing near the top of this page. Lake-Link Pro users can download an print a topograpical map of French Lake (.pdf format) along with 2,700 more lake maps. For more information on all the benefits of Lake-Link Pro click here.

Are there boat launches on French Lake?
We know of 1 public boat launch on French Lake. Please observe any specific lake regulations posted by the boat launch and please help keep the launch area free of litter.

Are there places to eat and drink near French Lake?
Yes, you can find numerous options in the area. Click the button below to see what's nearby.

Explore the French Lake area in a RV
Are you looking for an adventurous vacation option that won't break the bank? Look no further than renting an RV! Contrary to popular belief, the process is much simpler than you might imagine. With just a few easy steps, you'll soon be experiencing the ultimate freedom and convenience of exploring the open road in your very own recreational vehicle. And the best part? RV travel can save you up to 60% compared to other types of vacations! With the money you'll save, you'll be able to travel even more and create unforgettable memories along the way. So why wait? Start planning your next adventure today with an RV rental. Learn more about renting a RV.

2020 Forest River Salem FSX
2020 Forest River Salem FSX
17 ftSleeps 5
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2023 Thor Windsport
2023 Thor Windsport
32 ftSleeps 6
WOW Unique! 2021 Grand Design Imagine 3100RD
WOW Unique! 2021 Grand Design Imagine 3100RD
36 ftSleeps 6
Prior lake, MN
"Stealing from Life" **Fully stocked**
20 ftSleeps 4
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What aquatic invasive species are found in French Lake?
There are some aquatic invasive species found in French Lake including Eurasian watermilfoil.

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?
Looking forward to your next adventure at French Lake? Don't forget to plan ahead! Weather can be unpredictable, but we've got you covered. On average, air temperatures during this time of year range from a high around 73°F (23°C) to a low around 54°F (12°C). Of course, these are just historical averages, so be prepared for anything Mother Nature throws your way. For the most up-to-date weather information, be sure to check out our Weather Bar located at the top of this page.

Are there any state parks near French Lake?
Enjoy more of the outdoors with a visit to an area state park. There are 3 state parks in the vacinity of French Lake.

For more Minnesota State Park information see our State Park Guide.

More Nearby Lakes To Explore
There's more lake's to explore around French Lake...
Dudley Lake 1.8 mi 128 60 ft
Mazaska Lake 2.3 mi 673 50 ft
Roberds Lake 2.5 mi 632 43 ft
Hunt Lake 2.7 mi 176 27 ft
Shields Lake 3.2 mi 940 42 ft
Cedar Lake 3.6 mi 902 42 ft
Rice Lake 4.6 mi 331 6.7 ft
Caron Lake 4.6 mi 319 4 ft
Wells Lake 4.6 mi 677 4 ft
Fox Lake 5.0 mi 312 47 ft
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