Skip to main content

Fish Lake Dam

Fish Lake Dam
Fish Lake Dam

Location:  Pelican Rapids, Minnesota
Client:  Pelican Group of Lakes Improvement District


Fish Lake Dam sets water levels for Pelican Lake, Fish Lake, and Bass Lake, a chain of lakes on the Pelican River. The original Fish Lake Dam was built in 1932 and has had a long and storied history. In 1937, the dam came under the control of the State Conservation Commission. The State of Minnesota made some repairs in 1967. In 2003, the center island washed out, and a temporary patch was put in place until a more permanent solution could be completed. In 2013, some minor repairs were made, but exposed rebar and sheet pile remained. The Pelican Group of Lakes Improvement District (PGOLID) sought a permanent solution for the aging and dilapidating dam that improved fish and wildlife habitat, improved safety, and maintained current upstream lake levels.  

The Project

Working with Houston Engineering, Inc. (HEI), the PGOLID concluded that the best permanent solution that accomplished the project goals would be to install a rock ramp and natural boulder arch rapids. HEI surveyed and designed the proposed project. 

HEI worked closely with Minnesota DNR on the project design. The project began construction in 2017 and was completed in 2018. 

Client Benefits

  • Improved fish migration along the Pelican River.
  • Aesthetically more natural-looking rapids.
  • Potential spawning habitat created.
  • Improved safety.
  • Maintains current lake levels and hydraulics.

More Projects