GPS 92.9038 W 45.0058 N
You are on the Outer Loop, going East you will access the North shore of Sunfish Lake. Going West you will follow along the North boundary of the Park past the Tapestry neighborhood access point. To the South you will go past Sign 11 at the intersection to the access trail to the South shore of Sunfish Lake, and then reach Sign 12 at the Parking lot.
Stop #10 Water Critters Galore
The northern part of Sunfish Lake that is contained in the park is shallower than the southern end, is actually considered wetland, and in years past has gone dry. Many different types of animals depend on wetlands for food, shelter and nesting sites. If you are quiet, you may be lucky to see a Great Egret standing in the shallows searching for fish to eat. This large white bird has a long neck, long and pointed yellow beak, and long black legs, all excellent adaptations for wading and fishing in the water. Sometimes a great blue heron may be lurking along the water’s edge but be disguised by the lakeshore vegetation. A very large bird, the great blue heron has a wing span of 5-6 feet making them a wonderful sight to observe flying. Both of these large birds migrate south during the winter months and return in the spring. Those turtles you might see sitting on a log are using the warmth of the sun to regulate their body temperature. And if you happen to see a muskrat in the fall, it is probably storing food to eat over the winter as they do not hibernate. Stop in the nature center to learn more about the animals of the park. For information on the fish that live in the lake, check out a fish survey that was completed by the Friends of Sunfish Lake Park, at
Other Sunfish Lake Information
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 https://sminc-lake-elmo.org/natural-science-projects/ , scroll down the page, and you can download the survey report. Since that survey, it has been reported that carp (goldfish or koi) have been introduced – the survey should be re-done this year. If you are interested in participating, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.