Big Sandy Lake Stats
- Acres: 6124
- Max Depth: 84 feet
- Mean Depth: 16 feet
- Littoral Area (<15ft): 3085 acres
- Shore Length: 56.98 miles
- Water Color: Dark Brown
- Water Clarity: 3.8 feet (2013)
- Google Maps Location
Big Sandy Fish Species
- Northern pike
- Largemouth bass
- Smallmouth Bass
- Rock Bass
- Channel Catfish
- Bullhead (Black, Brown, Yellow)
- Black Crappie
- Lake Whitefish
- Hybrid Sunfish
- Yellow Perch
Watch us fish Big Sandy Lake in Late September
Big Sandy Boat Landings
Big Sandy has five boat landings. I checked out two of them.
We put out boat in at the landing on the far south end. It is located in the Sandy river, so it is protected from the wind and makes it an easy place to launch.
There is a nice wood dock and a concrete launch.
Across the river from the boat launch you can see Zorbaz restaurant, so if you are hungry, it a great place to eat.
The parking lot is a big gravel maze, with trees growing right in the middle of it.
It appeared that people were parking wherever they wanted since there didn’t seem to be any real designated spots.
We also went up to landing on the far northwest end of the lake.
This was a very nice landing. It was associated with a camping area. There is another landing nearby just behind this one on the sandy river exit.
Commentary About Big Sandy Lake
Big Sandy is included in the Sportsman’s Guide “Best Lakes” edition of their guide books, so you know its got to be good! This is exactly the type of lake I love fishing. The littoral area (meaning areas of 15 feet or less in depth) cover about half of the lake. I generally spend my time fishing in the 5-10 foot range, so this was perfect. The shape of the lake gives it what seems like endless bays, channels, points, humps, holes, and islands. All which are great places to hold fish. You really can’t go wrong fishing anywhere on this lake.
Here is an example of a shortcut under a bridge to get to a different part of the lake. We were here on a very windy day so I didn’t want to chance it and opted to go around the long way.
At the northern end of the lake, it opens up, but still has plenty of bottom structure to fish.
This lake has many species to fish for, but walleye and sunfish have their own special regulations, so be sure to check the current regulation books for details.
The MN DNR has been asking for input about how to handle the regulations on walleye. Here is a quote from the DNR website:
“The Big Sandy Lake walleye population is entirely sustained by natural reproduction, so regulations that focus on reproductive conditions are a critical component of fish management in this system,” said Rick Bruesewitz, Aitkin area fisheries supervisor. “Since the current regulation was implemented, the abundance of 14- to 18-inch walleye has increased substantially and reproduction has improved and stabilized. As part of the review process, it’s important for us to hear from anglers about their experience on the water.”MN DNR
Fishing Experience On Big Sandy Lake
I fished Big Sandy in late September while on a fishing trip in the Brainerd lakes area.
The day prior we fished Lake Edward, and it was very warm, in the 80’s, calm, and sunny. Overnight the temps dropped, the wind picked up, and the clouds moved in. The conditions were, 53 degrees, 20 mph winds with an overcast sky.
We started fishing right off the landing in the Sandy River. Within 10 minutes, Reggie pulled in the first northern pike. It was only 17 inches. He proceeded to catch 4 more in a matter of minutes. All were about the same size.
The hot bait was a red Rat-L-Trap. Reggie was killing them on this lure, so I switched to one myself.
We moved up to the next bay (Mollison’s bay). We continued to catch many more smaller pike, then out of nowhere this big guy swiped Reggie’s lure right at the boat! He didn’t catch it, but it got us excited. We thought it was a Musky until I reviewed the footage and saw it was indeed a northern pike.
Reggie and I both switched to our musky poles with larger lures. Apparently that was the ticket, because we immediately started catching bigger fish.
I lost as many fish as I caught on my large lures. Its a little harder to get a good hook set when using such large tackle. We didn’t catch any trophy fish, but we did get several in the 24-25 inch range.
Here is a map of all the spots we stopped to fish. It took all day to cover this much lake. I was having engine trouble and had to fight strong winds, so we were moving slowly. You could easily spend several days here exploring this lake.
Maybe we just hit it on a good day, but the bite was hot. I lost track of how many fish we caught. The interesting thing is, all we caught were northern pike. Granted we fished areas where the pike hang out, but we usually end up catching a few bass, panfish, or even sometimes a walleye while doing so. Not this time.
My Lake Rating
Overall, I really enjoyed this lake. On a scale of 1 to 5 (with 1 being don’t bother coming here, to 5 being, drop everything and come fishing here) I give this lake a 4.5. The reason it doesn’t get a 5, is because of the lack of diversity of fish that I caught. It has great scenery, good boat landings, virtually unlimited fishing spots, and low fishing pressure. The dark stained water doesn’t bother me, but I do enjoy being able to see the fish in clearer waters. On the plus side, the fish are less spooky in darker waters.
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