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Pelican Lake lies adjacent to the small town of Orr in St. Louis County, Minnesota. Pelican Lake has 54 miles of shoreline and is peppered with 53 islands. [There are more than 10 Pelican Lakes in Minnesota; this one is the largest.]
Pelican Lake's shoreline is extensively developed with homes, cottages, and resorts.
Pelican Lake is a relatively shallow lake: maximum depth is 38 feet, and 5,789 of its 10,945 acres of water surface are less than 15 feet in depth. The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources ranks its water quality as good.
Abundant aquatic vegetation supports sport fishing. Bass, panfish, northern pike, and yellow perch are the primary sport-fish. Black crappie, bluegill, and bullhead are among the most common. Special regulations protect northern pike, largemouth and smallmouth bass.
Boating conditions and facilities are excellent. Superior National Forest, Voyageurs National Park, and the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness are all within easy reach.
Birdwatching is also popular; look for eagles, grosbeaks, hawks, hummingbirds, jays, loons, osprey, and woodpeckers. Pelican Lake is named for its pelican-like shape, but is also frequented by statuesque Great White American Pelicans that like the place well enough to return each summer. For decades it's been a stop on their flyway between Canada and the Gulf of Mexico.
Pelican Lake lodging runs mostly to cottages and cabins, according to the Resort Association, which promotes Pelican lake as "the perfect marriage between lake recreation and environmental conservation". Area resorts specialize in family reunions, and several provide first class accommodations.
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