Located within the Elm Creek Watershed, 366-acre Rice Lake is the largest of Maple Grove’s seven lakes and one of the largest in all of Hennepin County. The lake’s maximum depth is 11.5’ with 9.53 miles of shoreline. Part of the lake (west of I-94 where Elm Creek enters the lake) is governed by Three Rivers Park District, which maintains a wildlife sanctuary where many birds and small game can be seen, including a man-made eagles nest.
The lake’s surrounding park features shoreline fishing, peaceful walking and hiking trails, and a picnic pavilion with grills. There are several unique viewing sites for birders, particularly by the dam where dozens of egrets nest in the trees overnight. Viewing is possible from the city trail on the SW side of the dam. Birders may also spot eagles, hawks, loons (typically in spring), cormorants, coot, seagulls, and sandpipers, among others. Wildlife in the area includes deer, fox, woodchuck, rabbit, beaver, and muskrat.
Rice Lake’s provides public shoreline fishing with ample opportunities to make a good catch. Both Bluegills and Black Crappies are found in above average numbers, and the northern pike population is often high. The lake also contains yellow perch and largemouth bass. Fisherman might get lucky and snag an orange spotted sunfish or bowfin (dogfish). For more information, head to the Minnesota DNR Fishing Report.
Most of Rice Lake is looked after by the Rice Lake Area Association (RLAA), a non-profit organization whose mission is to improve and maintain the quality of water and the habitat on Rice Lake and surrounding areas. This includes channel dredging and the removal of invasive species.
Home to nine pristine lakes, and within easy reach of dozens more, Minneapolis Northwest is a perfect spot for those who enjoy (or want to try) kayaking, canoeing, and paddleboarding. Appreciate the benefits of our smaller lakes on the outskirts of the metro area with less crowds and boat traffic,...