French Lake

Making Connections

  • Portage North, 25 rods, to Seahorse
  • Portage South, 27 rods, to Gillis
  • Portage South 13 rods to Fern
  • Portage Southwest, 33 rods, to Powell
  • Portage West, 132 rods, to Peter


  • Fisher F-12, Little Sag, Tuscarora, Temperance Lakes
  • McKenzie 7, Tuscarora


  • DNR Lake No. 160755
  • Lake Map No. C0250
  • Lake Table No. 8B
  • MDH Fish Consumption Advisory - N/A
  • MPCA Water Quality - N/A
French Lake
Scale 1:21420
Full image approximately 2 miles square


French is a relatively small, deep, three-cornered lake to the north and west of Gillis, 6¾ miles SSW of Gunflint Trail's End and 42½ miles ENE of Ely. Its three corners offer up portages to no fewer than five other lakes. From the east end a 27 rod portage drops south into Gillis. From the northwestern end, one portage heads west 132 rods to Peter; another 25 rods north to Seahorse. In the southwest, a 33 rod trail leads west up to Powell, while another gives access to Fern, 13 rods to the south.

Excepting the southwestern end, the forests surrounding French have grown up since the big 1864 fire that scorched much of the area. The west end burned, or perhaps re-burned, in 1875, though remnant stands from 1801 still survive in the area.


There are two campsites on French, one in the southwest end between the two portages to Powell and Fern. The other sits on the opposite, northeastern shore.

Planning Considerations

French is very much a crossroads lake, connecting as it does Gillis, and that large lake's connections east to Round and south to the Frost River, with the mouth of the Chub River to the north, and the Peter, Powell, West Fern, Virgin chains west into Gabimichigami and Little Saganaga.


French Lake supports Yellow Perch (Perca flavescens) and White Sucker (Catostomus commersoni), as well as Lake Trout (Salvelinus namaycush) and Burbot (Lota lota), though only the Burbot are at normal levels. Lake Trout populations have traditionally been low; reproduction appears limited.

Notes and Comments

Pourquoi "French"? Je ne sais pas....

Line of Spruce Trees

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Last updated on 11 April, 2004