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Cass Lake
Location Beltrami / Cass counties, Minnesota, USA
Coordinates 47°25′05″N 94°32′21″W / 47.4181°N 94.5392°W / 47.4181; -94.5392Coordinates: 47°25′05″N 94°32′21″W / 47.4181°N 94.5392°W / 47.4181; -94.5392
Primary inflows Mississippi
Primary outflows Mississippi
Basin countries United States
Surface area 25 sq mi (65 km²)
Islands Star Island, Potato Islands, Cedar Island

Cass Lake is a glacially-formed lake, approximately 25 sq mi (65 km²) in north central Minnesota in the United States. It is approximately 10 mi (16 km) long and 7 mi (11 km) wide, located in Cass and Beltrami counties, within the Chippewa National Forest and the Leech Lake Indian Reservation, approximately 13 mi (21 km) east of Bemidji. In the Ojibwe language, it is called Gaa-miskwaawaakokaag (where there are many red cedar).

The lake is both fed (from the west) and drained (to the east) by the Mississippi River. In 1820 an expedition led by General Lewis Cass, after whom Cass Lake is named, erroneously identified the lake as the source of the Mississippi. In 1832 Henry Schoolcraft, who had been on the 1820 expedition, identified the actual source of the river as being in nearby Lake Itasca.

Cass Lake, shown in the watershed of the upper Mississippi River

The lake is popular destination for recreational fishing, boating, and swimming. There are numerous campgrounds and resorts located on its shores. The town of Cass Lake sits near the southwestern side of the lake. A 2.5 mi (4 km) long and 1 mi (1.6 km) wide narrow channel connects the lake on its south end to Pike Bay (4 mi/6.4 km wide), nearly forming a separate lake.

On the small isthmus between Cass Lake and neighboring Buck Lake lies Camp Chippewa, a boys camp founded in 1935. Another camp, UniStar, lies in the middle of Cass Lake on a portion of Star Island. The island was noted in Ripley's Believe it or Not! for having its own lake, Lake Windigo, "a lake within an island within a lake". [1]

The lake, nearly 16,000 acres (65 km²) in size and more than 100 feet (30 m) deep in spots, also hosts islands including the two Potato Islands and Cedar Island. Cedar Island boasts an expansive area of gently increasing water depth. The western Potato Island is privately owned and has a small house with no utilities. Crystal-clear water allows for visibility of nearly 10 feet (3 m).

Fishing abounds, and the lake is known for walleye, muskie and perch. It is further one of the only lake-within-a-lakes in the northern hemisphere, though the strip of land forming the north portage is wearing periously thin.

See also

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