Fisheries Lake Survey

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Name: Big Pine

Nearest Town: Cutler
Primary County: Aitkin
Survey Date: 08/29/2011
Inventory Number: 01015700
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Public Access Information

Ownership Type Description
DNR Concrete


Lake Characteristics

Lake Area (acres): 635.08
Littoral Area (acres): 259
Maximum Depth (ft): 78
Water Clarity (ft): 14.3 (12-16.5)

Dominant Bottom Substrate: N/A
Abundance of Aquatic Plants: N/A
Maximum Depth of Plant Growth (ft): N/A


Did you know? Spawning habitat improvements can enhance naturally reproducing populations of fish species such as walleye and northern pike.

Fish Sampled for the 2011 Survey Year

Species

Gear Used

Number of fish per net

Average Fish Weight (lbs)

Normal Range (lbs)

Caught

Normal Range

Black Crappie Trap net 1.75 0.5 - 2.2 0.12 0.3 - 0.5
Gill net 1.58 0.3 - 1.7 0.19 0.2 - 0.5
Bluegill Trap net 8.67 7.7 - 43.4 0.13 0.1 - 0.2
Gill net 1.00 N/A 0.13 N/A
Bowfin (dogfish) Trap net 0.17 0.3 - 1.0 5.64 2.6 - 4.9
Green Sunfish Trap net 0.08 0.6 - 2.0 0.21 0.1 - 0.2
Gill net 0.08 0.3 - 0.9 0.05 N/A
Hybrid Sunfish Trap net 8.50 N/A 0.19 N/A
Gill net 2.08 N/A 0.14 N/A
Largemouth Bass Trap net 1.17 0.4 - 1.5 0.27 0.2 - 0.7
Gill net 4.00 0.5 - 1.7 0.86 0.5 - 1.2
Northern Pike Trap net 0.17 N/A 4.46 N/A
Gill net 3.00 2.2 - 8.7 3.16 1.5 - 3.2
Pumpkinseed Gill net 0.08 N/A 0.07 N/A
Rock Bass Trap net 2.33 0.8 - 3.7 0.37 0.2 - 0.4
Gill net 4.83 0.7 - 4.4 0.39 0.2 - 0.4
Walleye Trap net 0.67 0.2 - 0.7 3.67 0.7 - 2.8
Gill net 3.75 1.0 - 5.0 2.21 1.2 - 3.0
White Sucker Gill net 0.08 0.5 - 2.0 2.82 1.6 - 2.6
Yellow Bullhead Trap net 0.33 1.0 - 5.3 0.68 0.5 - 0.9
Gill net 0.75 1.0 - 6.0 0.85 0.4 - 0.7
Yellow Perch Trap net 0.67 0.4 - 2.3 0.12 0.1 - 0.2
Gill net 1.42 1.5 - 13.8 0.14 0.1 - 0.2
Normal Ranges represent typical catches for lakes with similar physical and chemical characteristics.


Length of Selected Species (Trapnet, Gillnet) Sampled for the 2011 Survey Year

Species Number of fish caught in each category (inches)
0-5 6-8 9-11 12-14 15-19 20-24 25-29 30+ Total
black crappie 31 3 5 1 0 0 0 0 40
bluegill 77 39 0 0 0 0 0 0 116
bowfin (dogfish) 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 0 2
green sunfish 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 2
hybrid sunfish 72 55 0 0 0 0 0 0 127
largemouth bass 10 13 19 19 1 0 0 0 62
northern pike 0 0 0 0 5 19 10 4 38
pumpkinseed 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1
rock bass 8 63 15 0 0 0 0 0 86
walleye 0 0 2 0 36 13 2 0 53
white sucker 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 1
yellow bullhead 0 2 8 3 0 0 0 0 13
yellow perch 7 17 1 0 0 0 0 0 25


For the record, the largest Walleye taken in Minnesota weighed 17 lbs., 8 oz. and was caught:

    Where: Seagull River at Saganaga Lake, Cook County
    When: 5/13/79
    Statistics: 35.8" length, 21.3" girth

Fish Stocking Activity

Fish Stocked by Species for the Last Ten Years

Year Species Size Number Pounds
2013 Walleye2 fingerlings 12,085 512.0
2012 Walleye2 fingerlings 11,909 517.8
2011 Walleye2 fingerlings 8,202 518.0
2010 Walleye 39,380 35.8
2008 Walleye 19,692 12.0
2007 Walleye fingerlings 5,700 275.0
2006 Walleye1 fingerlings 3,432 260.0
2005 Walleye fingerlings 315 45.0
  Walleye yearlings 860 215.0
2004 Walleye fingerlings 4,406 239.0

Stocking Notes
1 - indicates fish purchased and stocked by private citizens and sporting groups.
2 - indicates fish purchased by the DNR for stocking.

Stocking Fish Sizes
Fry - Newly hatched fish that are ready to be stocked usually called "swim-ups". Walleye fry are 1/3 of an inch or around 8 mm.
Fingerling - Fingerlings are one to six months old and can range from a size of one to twelve inches depending on the species. Walleye fingerlings range from three to eight inches each fall.
Yearling - Yearling fish are at least one year old. A one-year-old fish can range from three to twenty inches depending on the species. Walleye yearlings average from six to twelve inches.
Adult - Adult fish are fish that have reached maturity. Depending on the species, maturity can be reached at two years of age. Walleye reach maturity between the ages of four and six years.

Fish Consumption Guidelines

These fish consumption guidelines help people make choices about which fish to eat and how often. Following the guidelin es enables people to reduce their exposure to contaminants while still enjoying the many benefits from fish.

Pregnant Women, Women who may become pregnant and Children under age 15

LAKE NAME
County, DOWID
Species Meal Advice Contaminants
Unrestricted 1 meal/week 1 meal/month Do not eat
BIG PINE
Aitkin Co., 01015700
Bluegill Sunfish All sizes        
Crappie   All sizes     Mercury
Sunfish   All sizes     Mercury

General Population

LAKE NAME
County, DOWID
Species Meal Advice Contaminants
Unrestricted 1 meal/week 1 meal/month Do not eat
BIG PINE
Aitkin Co., 01015700
Bluegill Sunfish All sizes        
Crappie All sizes        
Sunfish All sizes        

DOWID - MN DNR, Division of Waters' lake ID number.

Contaminants listed were measured at levels that trigger advice to limit consumption.

Listing of consumption guidelines do not imply the fish are legal to keep, MN DNR fishing regulations should be consulted.

Dioxin
Mercury
PCBS - Polychlorinated biphenyls
PFOS - Perfluorooctane sulfanate


Status of the Fishery (as of 08/29/2011)

Big Pine Lake is a moderately clear water lake located in southwestern Aitkin County and is part of the Mille Lacs watershed. There is a state owned public access located on the south side of the lake. Big Pine Lake has a variety of habitats available to the angler from open, wind swept gravel and rock to areas of heavy vegetation. Shorelines vary from areas with gentle slopes and shallow depths to areas with sharp drop-offs and deep water. Mid-water areas consist primarily of deep water, but there are several gravel bars with steep sides that rise to within a few feet of the surface.

Gamefish species available to anglers include walleye, northern pike, black crappie, bluegill and both largemouth and smallmouth bass. With the possible exception of the smallmouth bass, all of these species are native to the lake. Walleye have been stocked with varying success in Big Pine Lake since the early 1900's. Due to poor returns from stocked fry in the late 1990's and early 2000's, fingerling stocking resumed and were stocked annually from 2004-2007. Big Pine Lake then became part of a statewide research project to evaluate to effectiveness of stocking walleye frylings, which are an intermediate size between fry and fingerlings, and were stocked in 2008 and 2010. Test nets in 2011 suggest fryling stocking at Big Pine Lake appeared largely unsuccessful; although a final conclusion will follow the 2013 population assessment and completion of the research study. Though there are some favorable spawning areas and minimal natural reproduction does occur, historically the better year classes have been those supplemented by fingerling stocking. Annual fingerling stocking resumed again in 2011. The 2004 and 2007 year classes are driving the walleye fishery, both of which were fingerling stocked years. Overall the gill net catch rate increased by 1 fish to 3.8/net from 2007 and the size structure was desirable with an average length 18.5 inches with fish sampled to nearly 29 inches. Walleye fingerling survival will continue to be evaluated in upcoming surveys. Yellow perch abundance appears relatively steady within the last 5 surveys (1991 to 2011) with catch rates ranging from 1 to 3 yellow perch per gill net.

Gillnet catch rates for northern pike has varied little in survey history and at 3/net in 2011 was near the long term average, which is normal for this lake type. The size structure remains favorable and consistent with previous surveys with 41% of pike being longer than 24 inches with individuals up to 33 inches present. The best way to maximize the benefits of this quality pike fishery is for anglers to recycle these fish. That way, more than one individual can experience the catching of a quality pike.

Largemouth bass catches have been stable around 2/gill net for the last decade or more but in 2011 have increased to 4/gill net. In recent years, an increase in bass has been common in many lakes throughout the state. The size structure was average with average length about 11 inches and individuals observed up to about16 inches. Smallmouth bass are known to be present in small numbers in Big Pine Lake, however few have been observed in traditional sampling gear.

The bluegill population has been decreasing in recent years as indicated by both trap net and gill net assessments. Along with this decrease, there has been a steady increase in the numbers of hybrid sunfish, which have a slight edge in size on the bluegills. The average bluegill sampled was 5.4 inches long and the largest bluegill caught was 8.2 inches. Although spawning habitat and escape cover is not limited, bluegills appear to be increasing the frequency with which they spawn with other species, which might partly explain the decrease in abundance. The decline appears to be independent to the walleye stocking regime since the decline continued during the period of fry stocking when walleye survival (and potential predation) was very low. If bluegill densities continue to decline, we may see an improvement in growth rates. Nice sized black crappies are present in the fishery, but their abundance is very low.

Due to its proximity to Mille Lacs, invasive species are of great concern. Anglers are encouraged to take extra precautions to help stop the spread aquatic invasive species.


For more information on this lake, contact:

Area Fisheries Supervisor
PO Box 138
1200 Minnesota Ave S
Aitkin, MN 56431
Phone: (218) 927-7503
Internet: Aitkin Fisheries
E-Mail: Aitkin.Fisheries@state.mn.us

Lake maps can be obtained from:

Minnesota Bookstore
660 Olive Street
St. Paul, MN 55155
(651) 297-3000 or (800) 657-3757
To order, use C0018 for the map-id.


For general DNR Information, contact:

DNR Information Center
500 Lafayette Road
St. Paul, MN 55155-4040
TDD: (651) 296-6157 or (888) MINNDNR
Internet: www.dnr.state.mn.us
E-Mail: info.dnr@state.mn.us

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