Gabbro Lake

Making Connections


  • Fisher F-3, Birch, White Iron, Gabbro; F-4, One, Two, Three, Four, Bald Eagle, Insula Lakes
  • McKenzie 18, Lake One


  • DNR Lake No. 380701
  • Lake Map No. B0119
  • Lake Table No. 6B
  • MDH Fish Consumption Advisory - N/A
  • MPCA Water Quality - N/A
Gabbro Lake
Scale 1::42840
Full image approximately 4 miles square


Gabbro is a large lake in the Kawishiwi River watershed, 12½ miles WNW of Forest Center, and 11 miles ESE of Ely. Its nearly 900 acres are punctuated by numberous points and islands. Some 2½ miles from end to end, Gabbro has a maximum depth of 50', with most of the waters deeper than 15'. At its extreme southeast end, Gabbro connects to Bald Eagle through an open channel. At its west end, in similar fashion, another channel connects Gabbro to Little Gabbro. Rare for a lake of its size, Gabbro has no portages.

The forests which ring Gabbro are of many ages, the youngest being that off the northwest end which was logged by the St. Croix Lumber Company of Winton in the first decade of this century. The other forests are unlogged, and date instead to major, stand replacing fires in the 19th Century. Those to the north date from 1894 with remnant, lakeshore stands of 1864 vintage. Those to the east grew up on an 1875 burn, while those to the south date from 1846, and the those to the west from 1864. The Gabbro area did sustain damage in the Fourth of July windstorms of 1999, with standing tree losses estimated at 10% to 33% for the area north and east of the lake as far as Turtle and Clearwater.


Gabbro supports nine established campsites, on the west side of the great southeastern arm and along the northwestern shore.

Planning Considerations

While the two lakes at either end of Gabbro offer a number of travel options, Gabbro itself is largely limited to entry at one end and departure at the other. It does, however, offer a number of good campsites and an opportunity to explore its many arms and bays.


Gabbro supports populations of Black Crappie (Pomoxis nigromaculatus), Bluegill (Lepomis macrochirus), Northern Pike (Esox lucius), Rock Bass (Ambloplites rupestris), Tullibee (Cisco) (Coregonus artedi), Walleye (Stizostedion vitreum), White Sucker (Catostomus commersoni), and Yellow Perch (Perca flavescens).

Notes and Comments

Gabbro takes its name from gabbro, a dark, massive rock with crystals large enough to be seen with the naked eye. This igneous rock formed from magma flowing up and cooling slowly below the surface. It is the intrusive equivalent of the extrusive rock basalt, which would form if the same magma cooled on the surface. Gabbro is common in the BWCA.

Line of Spruce Trees

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Last updated on 11 April, 2004