Sand Lake Little Sand Lake

Sand Lake is located North of Deer River and is halfway between Cutfoot Sioux to the West and Jessie Lake to the East. Sand Lake provides visitors with everything you could hope for in a northern Minnesota fishing trip. There are protected bays, wind swept flats and everything in between. It’s about 3700 acres and offers some especially nice scenery during the fall when colors are fantastic. Sand Lake's two distinctly different sections accommodate a variety of fishing styles. There are also a variety of smaller connecting waters that are great fun for the explorer.

Sand Lake has a large main section that is primarily shallow water with lots of weed beds, shoreline points and a smattering of mid lake humps. On the North end of this section, you'll find the entrance to Little Sand Lake and on the East side you'll find your way in to Birds Eye Lake.

The southeast section known as “The Boot” is a deeper section with the main structure being the steeper shoreline drop off. This section of Sand Lake also offers some nice points and a few mid lake rock piles not to mention one of the most breathtaking views of fall color during late September and early October.

Walleye: Early season water temperatures can be slow to rise on Sand Lake and it’s not uncommon to find fish using the deeper structures at first, moving toward shore as the water warms. A typical opening day fishing trip should include some time spent on the steeper drops in 20 to 30 feet of water and some time on the shallower drop in 8 to 12 feet of water. Walleyes work the shallow drop off areas where minnows run as soon as temperatures reach the mid 50 degree range and will continue to use these shallow edges well into the summer. Weed edges, Clam beds and rocks are all good locations.

Jig & minnow combinations are good, but Northern Pike are super-abundant and aggressive. Pike spot the flashy presentations faster than Walleye and you can literally “fish through” the Walleye with realizing that they are in the area. 

More subdued, natural looking jig color, darker minnows like Rainbows and Dace and fishing your jig with a light pumping or slow swimming action will give Walleye more time to respond to your offering. Another great pattern for early season Walleye on Sand Lake is a slip bobber rigged with a small jig and a lively leech. Fish the inner edges of the weed flats, seeking out areas of cabbage weeds. 

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As the water warms in early summer, some Walleyes always stay in these weed beds, but large numbers of fish will move to the deeper edges of shoreline bars and points. These fish can be caught on any of the common Walleye fishing presentations like live bait rigs with medium length snells of 4-6 feet in length and tipped with leeches or crawlers will produce good catches of Walleye.
Crappies are present in a number of areas and are of good quality. Early season Crappies use the weed beds near deep water and remain in these areas for most of the summer. During late summer and fall Crappies will use the deep drop off edges and areas where remnants of “Crappie Cribs” placed during the 1980s continue to hold fish. There are several deeper rock bars located throughout the lake and Crappies will frequently use the deep edges of these bars as well.

Bluegills of excellent size can be found along the edges of weeds in 10 to 14 feet and occasionally shallower. A good approach is to move slowly along the weedline and cast small jigs tipped with plastic tails until you make contact. Then switch to a vertical fishing approach using a 1/16-ounce jig tipped with a small worm or cut piece of night crawler.
Perch are excellent size and can be active at times. In recent years, heavier pressure on Perch has reduced numbers but anglers can still find some pockets of quality Perch fishing. Most often, Perch are located on hard bottom areas associated with the large weed beds. At times, main lake bars and points will hold schools of fish as well.

Sand Lake is loaded with Northern Pike, generally small in size and highly active especially during cool water periods. This is an example of a lake where families should go out of their way to harvest some of these tasty, albeit small fish. As hard as it may be at the time, larger size pike should be returned to help control the huge population of smaller Pike.

Largemouth and Smallmouth Bass are present in adequate numbers to provide opportunities for anglers who like to explore the shallows and back bays. If you wake up in the mood for a leisurely tour, fish the wild rice edges in the Bowstring River channel that connects to Bowstring Lake. Largemouth, Bluegills and Pike can be found in several areas in the river. Wildlife viewing can be excellent here as well.
Sand Lake is the quintessential fishermen’s lake. The relative absence of sand beaches discourages pleasure boating, jet skis and the like. Even though the lake is developed, you’ll feel like you’ve gone into the wilderness on an old fashioned fishing trip.



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Link to MN DNR Lakefinder Sand Lake