Lake Statistics

Bay Lake is a premier recreational lake located in Bay Lake Township in Crow Wing County, Minnesota. Bay Lake is located about 8 miles northwest of Garrison and Lake Mille Lacs and about 18 miles northeast of Brainerd, MN and is considered part of the Brainerd Lakes Recreational Area. Other nearby towns include Deerwood, Crosby and Aitkin. You can get to Bay Lake in about two hours from the Twin Cities.

Bay Lake has 2,330 acres, with 24.1 miles of shoreline, a maximum depth of 74 feet and a mean depth of 21 feet.

Bay Lake has three islands and many, many beautiful bays, which is the reason Native Americans called Bay Lake “Sissabagamah” – the lake of many bays.

You can learn more about Bay Lake statistics at the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Lakefinder site.

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Find out more about the area

Public fishing and boat access

Bay Lake is populated with a variety of game fish including the abundant northern pike and more limited, the largemouth bass, sunfish, crappie and walleye.

The 2024 fishing season starts May 11 (all species except Bass) and May 27 for Bass. Fishing licenses are effective from March 1 to the last day of February of the following year. Be sure to refer to the Minnesota DNR for current information on fishing seasons and regulations.

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Public Water Access

Anglers are welcome to enjoy a fishing adventure at Bay Lake. All boats must launch from the Bay Lake public landing on the northeast side of the lake.

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Walleye stocking

To help boost the population of walleye in Bay Lake, the DNR stocks one million newborn walleye, known as “fry”, to the lake each year. The DNR has stocked Bay Lake annually for over 10 years, typically in mid-May.

A walleye fry is half-inch in length compared to the 4- to 6-inch fingerling. Stocking with fry has shown to be more effective than fingerlings in improving the walleye population due to the large population of northern pike in the lake. Fry are transported in water jugs and released at different spots around the lake.   

BLIA is working with the Minnesota DNR for a permit to stock walleye fingerlings in 2025 in addition to fry. 

Eliminating lead sinkers and jigs

Loons swallow pea-sized pebbles on the bottom of lakes to aid in digestion. It’s easy for them to confuse a lead sinker with a small pebble or a fishing jig for a minnow. When a loon ingests a lead sinker or jig, dangerous amounts of lead enter the bird’s system, slowly poisoning it.

Please help us protect our loon population by learning about the dangers of lead tackle and supporting lead-free tackle retailers.

Get the Lead Out

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There are many Bay Lake maps that might be helpful to you to find and navigate Bay Lake. Click the links for the map that interests you.

Ice In/Ice Out

It’s always exciting after a long Minnesota winter to see the ice go out on Bay Lake. We even have an annual contest where Bay Lakers can guess the exact day and time of ice out!

To participate in the annual Ice Out Contest and see winners for the past years and our Bay Lake verified ice out dates, go to

Ice In

The definition of lake ice in can vary from lake to lake. For the citizen observers reporting data, ice in occurs when the entire lake is frozen over for the first time and the ice cover remains through winter. Observers do not report ice thickness.

Nov. 8

Earliest ice in

Nov. 24

Median ice in

Dec. 21

Latest ice in

Ice Out

March 13

Earliest ice out

April 19

Median ice out

May 11

Latest ice out

The definition of lake ice out can vary from lake to lake. For the citizen observers reporting data, ice out occurs when the lake is completely free of ice. Or, it may be when it is possible to navigate from point A to point B. Ice out may also be when a lake is 90 percent free of ice. Observers use consistent criteria from year to year when reporting lake ice out dates.

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