Sign 11

Trail to South Shore of Sunfish Lake

GPS 92.9032 W 45.0034 N

This point is on the Inner Loop and provides access to the South shore of Sunfish Lake via the trail to the East, along which you will pass a section of pine that was planted in the 1970’s. Or from this point, go South to Sign 12, a short way to the Parking lot, or go North to Sign 10 in the northern section of the Park.

Amazing Oaks

You will most likely find red, white, and bur oak trees on the ridges and upper slopes of Sunfish Lake Park. Oak acorns (the seed of the oak) produce food for a variety of animals including squirrels, chipmunks, birds, mice, and deer. A number of oak trees hang on to some of their dry leaves throughout the winter and lose them in the spring when the new buds emerge. Oak trees provide habitat for an amazing number of animals and are the host tree for the larval stage of a large number of butterflies. Bur oaks are large oaks native to North America and are known to grow in savannas and prairies. Oaks have long tap roots that help to hold them upright on a windy prairie, and protect them during drought. Bur oaks have a thick, rugged bark that resists prairie fires and their acorns have fuzzy cups. Bur oaks have leaves with a narrower base and deep lobes, and a wider, more rounded tip with shallower lobes. Red oaks are also native to North America but unlike the bur oak, their leaves have pointed lobes and they produce smaller acorns. Although oak wilt can affect all Minnesota species of oaks, red oaks are particularly susceptible to oak wilt, a fungus disease that will eventually kill the tree.

About Sunfish Lake : Sunfish Lake was probably created when the land was scraped by the most recent glacier, which melted out about 15,000 years ago. It collects water from approximately a square mile of surrounding agricultural and residential property, and part of the Park. The lake has an extent of about 50 acres but the surface area is quite variable depending on the precipitation of the preceding couple of years. In June 2018 we measured the deepest point as 16 feet, but the water level was quite a bit higher in early Summer 2021 – maybe 3-4 feet more, and has since receded significantly. These changes are especially noticeable at the northwest arm of the lake, which has gently sloping banks, so a small increase in water level results in a large change in surface area. The shoreline of the more southerly section tends to be more steeply banked. Our fish survey of June 2018 found only sunfish (up to 7.5 inches long) visit , scroll down the page, and you can download the survey report. Since that survey, there has been a winter kill and only a few small sunfish were found in the Summer of2023. It has been reported that carp (goldfish or koi) have been introduced. There is ongoing work on the water quality of Sunfish Lake, details will be made available on the same website page when the work is at a reportable stage.

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