Ice-out Winterkill Assessments


Ice-out assessments are used to assess the extent of winterkill in lakes that experienced low dissolved oxygen levels during the previous winter. These lakes are identified by conducting dissolved oxygen tests throughout the winter and observing dead fish after ice-out. Often times, the public notices evidence of winterkill before we do and we encourage anyone to report large numbers of dead fish to our office by phone (320-234-2550) or email.

Typically, the assessments consist of 5 trap nets set overnight. Captured fish are identified, counted, and released. Length and weight measurements are not taken. Dead fish observed while on the lake, live fish caught in the trap nets, and dissolved oxygen (DO) readings during the winter are all summarized and used to assess the extent of winterkill at the lake. These assessments are not made available through Lakefinder but will be posted here soon after they are completed.

Note: Walleye ponds are not usually sampled since they are often stocked regardless of whether or not winterkill occurred.

 

Otter Lake (McLeod Co)

Low DO readings were recorded throughout Otter Lake on 1/29/14. The lake was opened to liberalized fishing from 2/12/14 to 2/23/14. Immediately following ice-out, some dead fish were observed and gulls, pelicans, and cormorants were present and feeding on dead fish throughout the lake. Trap nets were set on 4/15/14 and a count of dead fish along the shoreline revealed hundreds of common carp and a few channel catfish and bullheads. No dead walleyes or other gamefish were observed at that time. On 4/16/14, the trap nets caught a total of 5 walleyes, 13 northern pike, 24 common carp, 100+ yellow perch, 100+ bigmouth buffalo, 100+ white suckers, and 1,000+ black bullheads. Overall, Otter Lake likely experienced a light winterkill.

 

Hook Lake (McLeod Co)

Low DO readings were recorded at Hook Lake on 2/19/14 after maintaining sufficient DO levels through much of the winter. Immediately following ice-out, dead fish were reported and confirmed throughout the lake. Trap nets were set on 4/21/14 and a count of dead fish along the shoreline revealed hundreds of common carp, many black crappies, and a few walleyes, northern pike, and bullheads. On 4/22/14, the trap nets caught a total of 2 yellow perch, 2 golden shiners, 13 northern pike, and 100+ black bullheads. Overall, Hook Lake likely experienced a moderate winterkill.

 

Winsted Lake (McLeod Co)

Low DO readings were recorded at Winsted Lake on 3/20/14. The lake is aerated but mechanical issues prevented the operation of the aerator through much of the winter. No reports of dead fish were collected after ice-out. Trap nets were set on 4/21/14 and a count of dead fish along the shoreline revealed just 4 channel catfish. No dead walleyes or other gamefish were observed at that time. On 4/22/14, the trap nets caught a total of 1 bowfin, 1 yellow perch, 1 channel catfish, 3 bluegills, 21 northern pike, 32 largemouth bass, 36 white suckers, 44 black crappies, 57 bigmouth buffalo, 100+ common carp, and 100+ black bullheads. Overall, Winsted Lake likely did not experience a winterkill.

 

Long Lake (Meeker Co, near Dassel)

Low DO readings were recorded at Long Lake on 3/20/14. No reports of dead fish were collected after ice-out. Trap nets were set on 4/22/14 and no dead fish were observed along the shoreline. On 4/23/14, the trap nets caught a total of 1 common carp, 1 northern pike, 1 black crappie, 1 largemouth bass, 2 pumpkinseeds, 10 bluegills, 16 yellow bullheads, 22 golden shiners, and 26 yellow perch. Overall, Long Lake likely did not experience a winterkill.

 

Spring Lake (Meeker Co)

Low DO readings were recorded at Spring Lake on 3/20/14. No reports of dead fish were collected after ice-out. Trap nets were set on 4/22/14 and no dead fish were observed along the shoreline. On 4/23/14, the trap nets caught a total of 1 largemouth bass, 10 northern pike, 12 golden shiners, 12 yellow bullheads, 13 pumpkinseeds, 24 yellow perch, 50 black crappies, and 100+ bluegills. Overall, Spring Lake likely did not experience a winterkill.

 

Arville Lake (Meeker Co)

Low DO readings were recorded at Arville Lake on 1/9/14. The lake was opened to liberalized fishing from 2/12/2014 to 2/23/2014. Following ice-out, trap nets were set on 4/23/14 and a count of dead fish along the shoreline revealed hundreds of common carp and bluegills and some walleye, largemouth bass, black crappie, channel catfish, and black bullhead. On 4/24/14, the trap nets caught a total of 1 walleye, 2 golden shiners, 7 northern pike, 11 yellow perch, 11 black crappies, 21 white suckers, and 1,000+ black bullheads. Overall, Arville Lake likely experienced a moderate winterkill.

 

Star Lake (Meeker Co)

Low DO readings were recorded at Star Lake on 1/29/14, 2/3/14, 2/14/14, and 3/21/14. The lake is aerated but the delayed operation made opening a large hole in the thick ice difficult. Dead fish were reported following ice-out. Trap nets were set on 4/23/14 and a count of dead fish along the shoreline revealed hundreds of bluegills and some walleyes, black crappies, common carp, largemouth bass, and black bullheads. On 4/24/14, the trap nets caught a total of 1 common carp, 1 white sucker, 3 yellow perch, and 8 northern pike. Overall, Star Lake likely experienced a moderate winterkill.

 

High Island Lake (Sibley Co)

Low DO readings were recorded at High Island Lake on 1/21/14, 2/3/14, and 2/11/14. The lake was opened to liberalized fishing from 2/12/14 to 2/23/14. Dead fish were reported following ice-out. Trap nets were set on 4/28/14 and a count of dead fish along the shoreline revealed hundreds of common carp and white suckers, some walleye and black crappies, and a few black bullheads. On 4/29/14, the trap nets caught a total of 4 white suckers and 100+ black bullheads. Overall, High Island Lake likely experienced a moderate winterkill.

 

Clear Lake (Brown Co)

Low DO readings were recorded at Clear Lake on 1/24/14, 2/18/14, and 3/21/14. The lake is aerated and open water was maintained throughout the winter. No dead fish were reported following ice-out. Trap nets were set on 4/28/14 and no dead fish were observed along the shoreline. On 4/29/14, the trap nets caught a total of 1 walleye, 1 yellow perch, 2 white suckers, 17 black bullheads, 34 bluegills, and 100+ common carp. Overall, Clear Lake likely did not experience a winterkill.

 

Hoff Lake (Meeker Co)

Low DO readings were recorded at Hoff Lake on 1/21/14 and 1/29/14. The lake was opened to liberalized fishing from 2/12/14 to 2/23/14. Dead fish were reported following ice-out. Trap nets were set on 4/30/14 and a count of dead fish along the shoreline revealed dozens of dead common carp. No dead game fish were seen. On 5/1/14, the trap nets caught a total of 1 white sucker, 2 northern pike, 2 bluegills, 3 bowfin, 3 yellow perch, 3 common carp, and 5 black crappies. Overall, Hoff Lake likely experienced a moderate winterkill.

 

Thompson Lake (Meeker Co)

Low DO readings were recorded at Thompson Lake on 1/8/14. Although the lake has an aerator installed, it was not turned on due to it's inability to prevent winterkill in previous years. Due to the inevitability of winterkill, Thompson Lake will now be managed as a walleye rearing pond and aeration will be discontinued. Dead fish were reported following ice-out. Trap nets were set on 5/1/14 and a count of dead fish along the shoreline revealed few dead fish overall. On 5/2/14, the trap nets caught a total of 28 black bullheads. Overall, Thompson Lake likely experienced a moderate to severe winterkill.

 

Silver Lake (Sibley Co)

Low DO readings were recorded at Silver Lake on 1/8/14. Trap nets were set on 5/12/14 and no dead fish were observed along the shoreline. On 5/13/14, the trap nets caught a total of 1 central mudminnow, 27 fathead minnows, and 33 black bullheads. Overall, Silver Lake likely experienced a moderate winterkill.

 

Big Wolf Lake (Meeker Co)

Low DO readings were recorded at Big Wolf Lake on 1/29/14, 2/3/14, and 2/10/14. The lake was opened to liberalized fishing from 2/12/14 to 2/23/14. Dead fish were reported following ice-out. Trap nets were set on 5/20/14 and a count of dead fish along the shoreline revealed dozens of dead common carp and a few northern pike, bluegills, and yellow perch. On 5/21/14, the trap nets caught a total of 1 common carp, 6 northern pike, and 53 black bullheads. Overall, Big Wolf Lake likely experienced a moderate winterkill.

 

Cedar Lake (McLeod Co)

Low DO readings were recorded at Cedar Lake on 2/3/14 and 2/14/14. Dead fish were reported following ice-out. Trap nets were set on 5/21/14 and a count of dead fish along the shoreline revealed dozens of dead common carp and bluegills, and a few black bullheads. No dead game fish were seen. On 5/22/14, the trap nets caught a total of 1 white sucker, 1 largemouth bass, 1 bowfin, 2 golden shiners, 5 common carp, 10 brown bullheads, 19 black crappies, and 19 black bullheads. Overall, Cedar Lake likely experienced a light to moderate winterkill.

 

 

Updated May 29, 2014