Camp Lake is a small (79 acres), but relatively deep (34 feet maximum), natural environment lake. The lake has a history of winterkills, the most recent reported in the winters of 1979, 1985 and 1986. Sporadic oxygen testing has occurred over the past 20 years revealing that oxygen was present in sufficient levels during the winters of 1988, 1992, 1993 and 2001. No other reports of winterkills have been reported since 1986. Prior to 2009 the lake had low priority for management because of its small size, lack of a developed access, and history of winter kill. An initial survey was done in 1958 with a resurvey in 1980.
In between those years a feedlot located on the north end of Camp Lake contributed greatly to its demise. The bass-panfish fishery present in 1958 was gone. Winterkill had eliminated all but black bullheads and fathead minnows. Water clarity was poor, algal blooms occurred and black bullheads were abundant. Since the feedlot was remediated (circa 1996) Camp Lake has seen improvement in water quality and fisheries. This was the first full lake survey since 1980.
Fish catches were generally low except for bluegill, largemouth bass and black bullhead.
The origin of fish in Camp Lake is not known. The only stocking which has occurred since 1985 was 1,060 walleye fingerlings, by the lake association in 2006. Four small walleyes between 11-14 inches were taken with gill nets (1.0/lift). Yellow perch were not captured.
Only one northern pike was captured, 27.5 inches and 8.0 pounds. Since Camp Lake is isolated and spawning habitat seems poor, northern pike will likely remain at a low level.
Bluegill were abundant although the catch was within the range of expected values for similar lakes. The average length of bluegill was 6.6 inches. Bluegill grew at a rate similar to statewide averages. A four year old bluegill was 6.5 inches.
Largemouth bass were captured at a rate which was twice that of Sherburne County lakes. However, bass were small, less than 12 inches. Growth of largemouth was below the statewide average. Largemouth did not reach 12 inches in length until age seven.
Black bullheads were also abundant, three times the average for similar lakes. Most bullheads were nine inches long.
Other species captured were black crappie (one in a gill net), pumpkinseed and hybrid sunfish.
The aquatic plant community of Camp Lake was diverse and vegetation grew to a depth of 15 feet. Eight species of submerged aquatic plants were observed. Coontail, northern milfoil, and sago pondweed were common; but all other aquatic plant species were rare. The following species were widespread throughout the lake: Naiad, Fries pondweed, narrowleaf, flatstem, and Illinois pondweed. Curly leaf pondweed was not abundant when surveyed on June 4th, 2009 and was limited to one small area in the northeast corner of the south basin.