There are 450 lakes in the Brainerd Lakes Area and Cragun's is located right in the heart of some of Minnesota's most legendary waters, including the famous Gull Lake Chain, Mille Lacs and Leech Lake. Our professional fishing guides, including nationally-renowned Royal Karels, can take you there and provide the expert assistance to come back with fish and great memories. Select a lake and click for more information.
Cragun's is located on famous Gull Lake which is a 9,418 acre lake just six miles north of Brainerd. It is part of the Gull Lake Reservoir chain of lakes. The lake has a maximum depth of 80 feet and about 30% of the lake is shallower than 15 feet. Water clarity is excellent. Gull is an extremely popular lake for both angling and other water-based recreational activities.
The most recent population assessment found northern pike present in good numbers. Size ranged from 17.5-39.8 inches and over 50% of pike sampled were at least 24 inches in length. Walleyes as large as 29.2 inches were sampled and 27% of the catch were at least 20 inches in length. Fry stocked the past three years, along with natural reproduction has created an excellent outlook for walleye fishing in the future.
Largemouth bass catches ranged from 5.3-17.6 inches, with numerous age classes present. Black crappie numbers remain high and bluegill numbers moderate.
Mille Lacs Lake
Just a short distance from Cragun's is Mille Lacs Lake, Minnesota's second-largest lake which spans 132,000 surface acres or slightly more than 200 square miles. Maximum depths barely exceed 40 feet, while much of the main lake falls into the 20 to 38 foot depth ranges. While the north half of Mille Lacs contains most of the lake's mud flats, the southern portion of the lake offers more gravel and rock bars. All sides of the lake offer some shallow reef-top fishing. Deep-water angling takes place on the southern deep gravel and rocks as well as on dozens of mud flats in the north half of the lake. Shoreline break fishing on varied bottom types occurs all around the lake. The weed line is at 9 to 10 feet.
Mille Lacs Lake offers the angler acres of multi-species action in a genuine "big lake" setting. Walleye, Northern Pike, Muskie, Jumbo Perch, Smallmouth Bass and Tullibee share the limelight at this popular fishing lake--on open water and on ice.
Located north of Cragun's is Leech Lake, the third largest lake entirely within the boundaries of Minnesota and has approximately 112,000 surface acres. The lake is geographically located in three glacial zones and has an irregular shape with many large and small bays. The deepest area of the lake is located in Walker Bay where depths reach around 150 feet deep. Approximately 80% of the lake is less than 35 feet deep. Similar to other large lakes in Minnesota, the fish community is dominated by species in the perch and pike families. Walleye, northern pike, and muskellunge are the primary predator species. Leech Lake renowned among anglers for its excellent walleye, northern pike, and muskellunge fishing.
Just northeast from Cragun's is Whitefish Lake, a 7,370 acre lake that is part of the 14,000 acre whitefish reservoir chain in northern Crow Wing County. The lake is heavily developed and is a very popular recreational lake with very heavy boat traffic on many summer days. The majority of the lake has a sand bottom and water clarity is good down to 10 feet. The lake is 138 ft. at its deepest.
In the 2000 lake survey the northern pike were found in high numbers, with sizes ranging from 13.1 to 36.1 inches and over 20% at 24.0 inches or greater. Walleye sizes ranged from 9.6 to 28.7 inches, with an average size of 16.5 inches. Walleyes age five and less comprised 85% of the catch. Largemouth bass were present in high numbers and sizes ranged from 4.4 to 17.4 inches. Bluegills were found in very high numbers, but size was small, with 98.3% of the catch less than 7.0 inches. Black crappie numbers were good with sizes ranging from 3.9 to 9.8 inches and growth rate was average.
North Long Lake
Located just east of Cragun's is North Long lake which is 6,000 acres in size and has a maximum depth of 97 ft. It is one of the larger and more popular recreational lakes in the Brainerd Area. The lake is comprised of three distinct basins, each having its own characteristics. In many ways, the three basins can be considered to be separate lakes. This variety of habitat accounts for a widely diverse fish population.
In 1999, northern pike, bluegill and largemouth bass were netted in high numbers compared to similar lake types. Walleyes were found in average numbers, had good growth and five year classes were sampled. Walleye stocking has taken place annually since 1986. Largemouth bass continue to be present in high numbers and are a popular angling attraction. Also, the lake sustains substantial winter and summer fishing aimed at black crappies, bluegills and walleyes.
Located northeast from Cragun's is Pelican, at 8,253 acres, it is one of the largest lakes in the Brainerd area. The lake has a maximum depth of 104 feet and about 47% of the lake is less than 15 feet deep. Pelican is classified as a hard water lake with good water clarity. It is one of the most popular recreational lakes in the area.
Walleyes, largemouth bass, crappies, sunfish and northern pike are popular sportfish in Pelican Lake. In 1998, largemouth bass had "high" abundance when compared to similar type lakes. Most bass sampled were fairly young and had good growth. Northern pike numbers were similar to those from past nettings. Pike averaged 21 inches and 2.3 lbs. in '98. Growth was good. Walleye size averaged 17 inches and 1.6 lbs. Bluegills were caught in "average" numbers when compared to similar type lakes. About 10% of bluegills measured were at least 7.0 inches long. Black crappie numbers were also in the "average" category.
Located a few miles northeast from Cragun's is Lake Hubert which is 1,294 acres. A public access is located on the west side of the lake. Maximum depth is 83 feet and 36% of the lake is 15 feet deep or less. The aquatic plant community is relatively diverse with 22 species observed. Emergent plants such as bulrush provide essential spawning habitat for bass and panfish species.
Walleye average size was 18.9" and 2.3 lbs. The northern pike growth was average and size averaged 21.3" and 2.3 lbs. Smallmouth bass continued to be caught at above average numbers compared to similar lakes. Average length and weight were 15.2" and 2.0 lbs. About 76% of the smallmouth measured were 12" or larger. Largemouth bass were caught in average numbers. Average length was 8.5" for all largemouth bass and 7% were 12" or larger. Black crappie were abundant and growth was fast through age 1 and average thereafter. Nearly 33% of all crappies sampled were 8" or larger. Bluegill were present in average numbers in 2001.
Located southeast from Cragun's, Hardy is a 95-acre lake with a maximum depth of 26 feet. About 46% of the lake is less than 15 feet deep.
Northern pike were caught in "high" numbers in 1993, compared to similar type lakes. Average size was 2.2 lbs. Largemouth bass were caught in "average" numbers. Bluegills were taken in "high" numbers and tended to be small and slow growing. Black crappies were caught at a rate which bordered on "low." Hybrid sunfish were also present in the lake.
Nokay is a 660-acre lake located several miles east of Brainerd, in Crow Wing County. There is a public access located on the west shore of the lake. The lake is 42 feet deep and about 33% of the surface area is less than 15 feet deep.
Plant species like bulrush also enhance the quality of spawning habitat for bass and panfish species. Species like wild rice can enhance spawning habitat for northern pike. Submerged and floating leafed species provide cover and food sources for a wide variety of aquatic species.
The northern pike in Nokay Lake are classed in the "average" category. Size averaged 22 inches and 3.0 lbs. in '97. Walleyes have been stocked every third year, beginning in 1986. Catch rates have generally been in the "average" category. Size has consistently averaged about 18 inches and 2 lbs. since 1991. The largemouth bass catch was in the "average" category in '97. Several year classes were sampled and young bass appeared to have satisfactory growth. The bluegill catch was "average" and similar to 1991 results. About 7% of the bluegills measured were at least 7.0 inches long in '97. The black crappie catch was in the "average" category.
Located northeast from Cragun's, Round Lake is 1,644 acres. A public access is located on the south side of the lake. It has a maximum depth of 51 feet and 38% of the lake is less than 15 feet deep. Emergent plants such as bullrush and wild rice are important for shoreline protection, maintaining water quality, and provide essential spawning habitat for northern pike, bass, and panfish species. Submerged plants provide food and cover needed by fish and other aquatic species.
Walleyes have been stocked on a nearly annual basis since 1976. Walleye abundance in 3 nettings from 1986-1996 was above average. Average length and weight was 14.7" and 1.3 lbs. The northern pike catch was average when compared to similar lakes. The average length increased from 24" to 25", with average weight at 3.8 lbs. Largemouth bass were sampled in average numbers when compared to similar lakes. Average weight was 0.6 lbs and 27% of all largemouth bass measured were 12" or larger. The bluegill catch was above average for similar lakes and was comparable to typical catches on Round Lake. Growth was average and 8% of bluegills measured in trap nets were 7" or larger. Black crappie abundance was average in 2001. Average weight was 0.6 lbs and 94% of the fish sampled were 8" or larger.
Lower Mission Lake
Located nine miles north of Merrifield and northeast from Cragun's is Lower Mission a 698 acre lake. It is connected to 817 acre Upper Mission via a navigable channel. Maximum depth is 27 feet with 65% of the lake less than 15 feet deep. Water clarity was fair when compared to other lakes in the area. There is a diverse and very abundant aquatic plant community. Bulrush and wild rice beds are very common. A public access exists along the west shore or via the channel from Upper Mission which has a public access on the north side. The lake is primarily managed as a northern pike, largemouth bass and panfish lake, with walleye management as a secondary species. Walleye have been stocked quite frequently in the 1990's and pre-1974. Sizes in 1999 ranged from 13.6 to 25.3 inches with an average size of 21.0 inches. The northern pike catch is considered normal for this lake. Sizes range from 13.1 to 28.9 inches with average size about 19.8 inches and weighing 1.9 lbs. Black crappie were present in low to moderate numbers, with sizes ranging from 3.4 to 12.8 inches and with 28% being 9 inches or larger. Bluegill were represented in normal numbers with sizes ranging from 3.0 to 9.2 inches with 10.4% being 7.0 inches or larger. Largemouth bass were present in very good numbers with sizes ranging from 6.8 to 18.3 inches with 24% 12.0 inches or larger.
Edward is a 2,032 acre lake located just north of Merrifield and northeast of Cragun's. There is a public access located on the west side of the lake. Maximum depth is 75 feet and about 51% of the surface area is less than 15 feet deep. Soils in water less than four feet deep are basically sandy.
The aquatic plant community has species like bulrush, which enhance the quality of spawning habitat for bass and panfish species. Wild rice can help provide spawning substrate for northern pike.
The northern pike catch was in the "high" category when compared to similar type lakes. Size averaged 19 inches and 1.8 lbs. Walleyes have been stocked regularly since the mid 1940's. Annual fry stocking has been done since 1976. By '97, walleye abundance had returned to the "average" category. The largemouth bass catch bordered on "low" in '97, but several age classes were sampled, but bass are often poorly sampled in stationary nets used in summer netting. The bluegill catch has always been in the "average" category, with about 8% of the bluegills were 7.0 inches or more in length.