Friends of Bass Lake
History of Hennepin County Rev. Edward D. Neill, 1881
"Bass Lake, half a mile west of Lake Calhoun, has an area of about eighty acres, and shores similar to those of Cedar Lake. … The waters of Bass Lake flow south-easterly, through a small creek into Calhoun."
The document above establishes the elevation of Bass Lake in 1888 as 880 ft. The Bass Lake train depot was 888 ft. The elevation of Bass Lake in the summer of 2015 was 871 ft. Consequently, the historical water level was probably 9 ft. higher than it is today. The depth samplings taken in the summer of 2015 record lake depth of 6.5 ft. (probably deeper in places since the measuring probe was only 6.5 ft. long and the bottom not found).
We can therefore conclude that the historical depth of Bass Lake was at least 15 ft. It would probably have been a great bass fishing lake! The current DNR designation would classify the historical Bass Lake as an 'environmental lake'.
Below are pictures of Ryan and Sarah Skinner on the water by the weir 2003. The water is controlled by the lower board in the structure.
To the Right is the open water in front of the weir structure today. The water runs under the structure, not over the back board of the structure as designed. Consequently the water level in the lake has dropped by 12-14 inches. The lower right picture shows the distance the water has fallen. After years of lower water level and aggressive hybrid cattail growth, not much remains of the open water beauty and migratory bird habitat at the weir.
The elevation of the water today is 871 ft. To restore water height to the earlier level means an elevation of about 872.
Below is a document establishing water level of 872 ft. This changed in about 2010 when the weir was undercut and the lake drained by 12-14 inches.
The DNR warned in 1992 the last time dredging occurred that allowing the lake level to fall to the 871 elevation for any length of time would cause what you see in the picture; vegetation encroachment and loss of wildlife habitat.
Refer to the 'Our Posiiton' tab / 'Flood Control' to see our recommendations.
The Document below was written in 1945 or 37 years after the County ditch was dug to partially drain the lake. It's for a permit to restore Bass Lake to a 1923 historical level of 874 ft. That's 3 feet higher than it is today! Like so many other efforts to restore the lake this one failed.
The document below is the official dismissal of the 1945 restoration effort. The reason given; the property owners who dug the ditch to drain the lake owned the public waters of Bass Lake.