Fat Lake

Making Connections

  • Portage Northeast, 60 rods, to Eugene


  • Fisher F-16, Loon, Lac La Croix, Nina Moose Lakes
  • McKenzie 14, Loon, Wilkins Bay


  • DNR Lake No. 690481
  • Lake Map No. C0899
  • Lake Table No. 2B
  • MDH Fish Consumption Advisory - N/A
  • MPCA Water Quality
Fat Lake
Scale 1:21420
Full image approximately 2 miles square


Fat is a small, relatively deep lake at the head of Fat Creek in the Lac La Croix drainage basin, 11¾ miles ENE of Crane Lake and 32½ miles NNW of Ely. Roughly triangular in shape at about ½ mile to a side, Fat covers 102 acres, with the bottom dropping steeply to a maximum depth of 50'. The lake bottom composition is largely boulders, rubble, and sand, with abundant aquatic plant growth to a depth of 4½', and an impressive measured water clarity of 17'.

In the northwest corner of the lake is the head of Fat Creek, which wanders westward through a broad, boggy area, before dropping steeply into Slim, some 80' below Fat. Out of the northeast corner, a 60 rod portage makes a steady, 38' descent into Eugene. The forests which ring Fat Lake are relatively young, the area having burned off as recently as 1894. This region of the BWCA escaped damage in the 4th of July windstorms of 1999, which caused such extensive tree loss to the south and east.


Fat Lake supports one established campsite, on the point in the middle of the eastern shore.

Planning Considerations

Fat is a spur off the Snow Bay/Pocket Creek route, the arc of which drops south and east out of Snow Bay on Lac La Croix through a string of lakes (North/South, Steep, Eugene, Little Beartrack, Beartrack, and Thumb) before turning northeast at Finger to Pocket, returning to Lac La Croix at the mouth of Pocket Creek. It also has access north, through Eugene, to the Gun/Takucmich loop, a cluster of interconnected lakes on the south shore of Lac La Croix. Eugene has the only developed portage connection into Fat.


Fat supports a fairly large population of slow growing, wild Lake Trout (Salvelinus namaycush), as well as their White Sucker (Catostomus commersoni) forage. The average size of the trout has been holding fairly steady at about 16" over the past 30 years of DNR lake surveys. Lake trout were tested for mercury in 1996. Consult the MN Department of Health Fish Consumption Advisories for more details.

Notes and Comments

Fat Lake is so named for its role in a pair of opposites, in association with aptly named Slim Lake to its west.

Line of Spruce Trees

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Last updated on 11 April, 2004