Lake of the sunset glow

Sunset over a dock on northern Minnesota's Lake Vermilion

Lake Vermilion's boulder-strewn, rocky shorelines bordering forests of pine, aspen and birch give a truly northwoods character to this Canadian Shield lake.

Vermilion gets its name from the French translation of the Ojibwe word Onamuni, which means lake of the sunset glow.

Shallow bays with aquatic vegetation supplement rocky shorelines, allowing the lake to support a diverse fish community of walleye, muskellunge, northern pike, smallmouth bass, bluegills, crappies and largemouth bass.

Located in St. Louis County with Tower and the Bois Forte community on the east and Cook on the west, Vermilion spans 39,271 acres, making it seventh among Minnesota's 10 largest lakes. It stretches 37 miles end-to-end, has a maximum depth of 76 feet and boasts 365 islands and 341 miles of shoreline – numbers that translate to lots of structure and lots of lake to explore.

Anglers tend to spread out around numerous bays and islands, leaving plenty of elbow room for fishing, and plenty of fish to catch. Walleye naturally reproduce in the lake. Like in other northern lakes, yellow perch, lake whitefish, white sucker and tullibee (cisco) are common.

Portions of Vermilion's north shore and some islands are part of the Superior National Forest. On the north shore is an entry point to the one-million-acre Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness.

Back to top