Bimijiwan (bi-mi-ji-wan) recreation area


Area Status: Open
A campground with evergreen trees and a camper in the distance.

Bimijiwan recreation area is nestled six miles east of Cass Lake on U.S. Highway 2 and five miles north on County Road 10.  Located on the northeast shore of Cass Lake, this campground is known for its canoe access to the Mississippi River. Constructed by the Corps of Engineers, Bimijiwan was transferred to the Forest Service in 1926.  Campground facilities include accessible toilets, a well, 14 campsites, picnic area a fishing platform and boat ramps providing access to Cass Lake and the Mississippi River.  |  Site Map | Bimijiwan Welcome

ABOUT: 
Boozhoo biindigen (hello & welcome)”  to the Bimijiwan Recreation Area!  The Ojibwe call this place Bimijiwan which translates as “Flowing Water.” Established in 1934, the recreation area is located where the Mississippi River (Misi-ziibi) flows out of Cass Lake (Gaa-miskwaawaakokaag).  Knutson Dam, the former name of the recreation area, once stood at the outlet and controlled the flow of water from Cass Lake.  When the dam was removed in 2015 and replaced with the current rock weir, the National Forest and the Noopiming Community of the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe agreed to return to the name in honor of the flowing waters that inspired the original name of this place.

People from Noopiming, which is located just downstream from Bimijiwan, and other Leech Lake band members continue to fish, camp, swim, and launch their boats from here just as they have since the Ojibwe arrived in the area hundreds of years ago. Bimijiwan is a wonderful place to be in the Spring when the walleye and sucker are running.  You can watch the fish swimming upstream as they avoid fishhooks and the hungry pelicans. 

History of the Dam:

Bimijiwan (formerly Knutson Dam) recreation area, was originally built in the early 1900’s as a logging dam by the J. Neils Logging Company.  In 1926, the Forest Service purchased the dam under Public Law 270.  The dam was rebuilt in 1928 and reconstructed in 1964.  It was the second in a series of eight dams on the Mississippi Headwaters lakes.  Ottertail Power Company owns the dam upstream that controls the water level of Lake Bemidji.  Six dams downstream are operated by the US Army Corps of Engineers (COE). 

In 2015, the Chippewa National Forest successfully implemented the Knutson Dam Improvement Project. The project removed the failing dam and reconnected the Mississippi River at the outlet of Cass Lake through construction of an innovative rock arch rapids.  The project restored spawning habitat for a variety of warm water species such as walleye and white sucker.  It enhanced aquatic organism passage to over 30 miles of river and more than 72,000 acres of lakes such as Cass Lake and Lake Winnibigoshish, which are world-class walleye fisheries.  The project also improved recreational fishing access through the addition of a modern fishing pier, reduced the potential for lakeshore erosion on Cass Lake, and reduced the safety hazard of the former logging dam.

At a Glance

Current Conditions: One gate at Bimijiwan was opened today. There is currently 1 gate open and 1 closed. The Cass Lake level today is 1301.80 and the estimated outflow is 338 CFS.
Fees: Use Fee/ $16 Night
Open Season: May 10 - September 05, 2024
Usage: Medium
Closest Towns: Cass Lake, Pennington, Blackduck
Water: Drinking Water
Restroom: Vault
Operated By: Operated by the Forest Service
Information Center: Blackduck Ranger District Phone: 218-835-4291

General Information

Directions: Go six miles east of Cass Lake on U.S. Highway 2 and five miles north on County Road 10.

Recreation Map

Map showing recreational areas. Map Information

Activities

Campground Camping

Campground is located on the northeast shore of Cass Lake, this campground is known for its canoe access to the Mississippi River. Constructed by the Corps of Engineers, then transferred to the Forest Service on 1926. Campground facilities include accessible toilets, a well, 14 campsites, picnic area, a fishing platform and boat ramps providing access to Cass Lake and the Mississippi River.

No. of Sites 14
No. of Accessible sites 14
Sleeping Shelter No

RV Camping

Campground is located on the northeast shore of Cass Lake, this campground is known for its canoe access to the Mississippi River. Constructed by the Corps of Engineers, then transferred to the Forest Service on 1926. Campground facilities include accessible toilets, a well, 14 campsites, picnic area, a fishing platform and boat ramps providing access to Cass Lake and the Mississippi River.

No. of Sites 14
Size Restrictions No
Corrals No
No. of Accessible sites 14

Lake and Pond Fishing

Campground is located on the northeast shore of Cass Lake, this campground is known for its canoe access to the Mississippi River. Constructed by the Corps of Engineers, then transferred to the Forest Service on 1926. Campground facilities include accessible toilets, a well, 14 campsites, picnic area, a fishing platform and boat ramps providing access to Cass Lake and the Mississippi River.

Fish Species Walleye, Northern, Muskie
Cleaning Station Yes
Accessible Platform No
Fishing Method Boat, Canoe, Dock
Difficulty Level: Easy

Interpretive Areas

The Mississippi River flows out of Cass Lake here at Bimijiwan and continues east across the center of the Forest. This site ties cultural and natural resources together.  Set up camp, throw a line in at the fishing pier or start your canoe journey down the river. Great wildlife viewing!

Picnicking

Boating - Motorized

Boating - Non-Motorized

Campground is located on the northeast shore of Cass Lake, this campground is known for its canoe access to the Mississippi River. Constructed by the Corps of Engineers, then transferred to the Forest Service on 1926. Campground facilities include accessible toilets, a well, 14 campsites, picnic area, a fishing platform and boat ramps providing access to Cass Lake and the Mississippi River.

Trailer Parking Yes
Launch Ramps Yes
Type of Craft Canoe
Fuel availability No

Recreation Areas

Recreation Activities

Location

 
  Latitude : 
47.450

  Longitude : 
-94.485