Fisheries Lake Survey

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Name: Detroit

Nearest Town: Detroit Lakes
Primary County: Becker
Survey Date: 08/15/2011
Inventory Number: 03038100
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Public Access Information

Ownership Type Description
City Concrete North shore of Little Detroit
City Concrete North shore of Little Detroit
MnDOT Concrete MN DOT-owned access off US 10 on northeast shore. Destroyed during road construction in 2007, but reopened in 2008.
DNR Concrete Southwest shore of Big Detroit


Lake Characteristics

Lake Area (acres): 3067.11
Littoral Area (acres): 1895
Maximum Depth (ft): 89
Water Clarity (ft): 6.2 (5-8.5)

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


Did you know? The DNR Section of Fisheries has a full-time staff of 285. There are 4 regional and 28 area fisheries offices.

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 Bullhead Trap net 0.07 0.3 - 2.1 0.06 0.4 - 0.8
Gill net 0.07 0.5 - 4.1 0.55 0.6 - 1.0
Black Crappie Trap net 0.47 0.3 - 1.7 0.40 0.3 - 0.6
Gill net 1.27 0.2 - 1.1 0.44 0.2 - 0.5
Bluegill Trap net 26.60 3.7 - 42.9 0.17 0.1 - 0.2
Gill net 21.27 N/A 0.22 N/A
Brown Bullhead Trap net 0.07 0.3 - 1.7 0.62 0.7 - 1.1
Gill net 0.33 0.3 - 1.6 0.86 0.7 - 1.2
Hybrid Sunfish Trap net 2.80 N/A 0.21 N/A
Gill net 0.67 N/A 0.20 N/A
Lake Sturgeon Gill net 0.73 N/A 3.73 N/A
Largemouth Bass Trap net 0.27 0.4 - 1.4 0.84 0.3 - 0.7
Gill net 0.33 0.3 - 1.2 1.18 0.6 - 1.0
Northern Pike Trap net 0.20 N/A 3.49 N/A
Gill net 5.60 3.0 - 7.9 1.53 1.7 - 2.8
Pumpkinseed Trap net 3.93 1.6 - 6.9 0.19 0.1 - 0.3
Gill net 2.87 N/A 0.17 N/A
Rock Bass Trap net 0.13 0.7 - 3.3 0.18 0.2 - 0.5
Gill net 0.40 1.0 - 6.6 0.35 0.3 - 0.5
Walleye Trap net 0.20 0.3 - 0.9 3.35 1.0 - 2.2
Gill net 6.93 4.0 - 9.6 1.36 1.1 - 1.9
White Sucker Gill net 0.13 1.0 - 3.5 1.98 1.5 - 2.3
Yellow Bullhead Trap net 1.07 0.9 - 4.8 0.59 0.7 - 1.0
Gill net 2.07 0.6 - 6.4 0.53 0.6 - 0.9
Yellow Perch Trap net 0.20 0.7 - 3.7 0.10 0.1 - 0.2
Gill net 23.73 7.1 - 33.9 0.17 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 bullhead 1 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 2
black crappie 6 4 16 0 0 0 0 0 26
bluegill 283 425 1 0 0 0 0 0 718
brown bullhead 0 0 3 3 0 0 0 0 6
hybrid sunfish 29 23 0 0 0 0 0 0 52
lake sturgeon 0 0 1 0 0 4 3 3 11
largemouth bass 0 2 4 2 1 0 0 0 9
northern pike 0 0 3 12 41 24 5 2 87
pumpkinseed 55 47 0 0 0 0 0 0 102
rock bass 1 7 0 0 0 0 0 0 8
walleye 0 0 18 39 38 6 6 0 107
white sucker 0 0 0 1 1 0 0 0 2
yellow bullhead 2 14 27 4 0 0 0 0 47
yellow perch 85 234 35 0 0 0 0 0 359


For the record, the largest Greater Redhorse taken in Minnesota weighed 12 lbs., 11.5 oz. and was caught:

    Where: Sauk River, Stearns County
    When: 5/20/05
    Statistics: 28.5" length, 18.5" girth

Fish Stocking Activity

Fish Stocked by Species for the Last Ten Years

Year Species Size Number Pounds
2013 Lake Sturgeon fingerlings 2,000 27.0
  Muskellunge fingerlings 2,603 651.0
  Muskellunge fingerlings 579 76.0
  Walleye fingerlings 58,282 1,980.0
2012 Lake Sturgeon fingerlings 2,000 29.1
  Walleye yearlings 7,788 1,519.0
  Walleye fingerlings 2,881 270.0
2011 Lake Sturgeon fingerlings 2,000 60.4
  Muskellunge fingerlings 1,065 213.0
  Muskellunge fingerlings 2,000 357.1
  Walleye fingerlings 36,395 1,850.0
  Walleye yearlings 552 238.0
2010 Lake Sturgeon fingerlings 4,500 152.2
  Walleye yearlings 2,457 1,019.0
  Walleye fingerlings 5,248 437.0
  Walleye adults 739 482.0
2009 Lake Sturgeon fingerlings 1,302 42.0
  Muskellunge fingerlings 7 1.8
  Muskellunge* fingerlings 3,038 652.0
  Walleye fingerlings 1,934 197.0
  Walleye* fingerlings 16,326 1,232.0
  Walleye yearlings 2,146 466.0
2008 Lake Sturgeon fingerlings 8,150 205.0
  Walleye fingerlings 20,914 1,141.0
  Walleye yearlings 5,072 754.0
2007 Lake Sturgeon fingerlings 1,000 50.0
  Muskellunge* fingerlings 2,375 622.9
  Muskellunge fingerlings 625 120.9
  Walleye adults 28 53.0
  Walleye fingerlings 15,884 1,243.0
  Walleye yearlings 1,714 599.0
2006 Lake Sturgeon fingerlings 2,000 111.1
  Walleye yearlings 383 189.0
  Walleye fingerlings 28,733 1,638.0
  Walleye adults 47 68.0
2005 Lake Sturgeon fingerlings 2,556 71.0
  Lake Sturgeon yearlings 920 23.0
  Lake Sturgeon fry 22,500 0.9
  Muskellunge fingerlings 2,080 415.0
  Muskellunge fingerlings 920 235.9
  Walleye yearlings 1,679 588.0
  Walleye fingerlings 16,530 738.0
  Walleye adults 2 4.0
2004 Lake Sturgeon* fingerlings 4,292 211.5

Privately Stocked Fish
* indicates privately stocked fish. Private stocking includes fish purchased by the DNR for stocking and fish purchased and stocked by private citizens and sporting groups.

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
DETROIT
Becker Co., 03038100
Bluegill Sunfish   All sizes     Mercury
Northern Pike     All sizes   Mercury
Walleye     All sizes   Mercury
White Sucker   All sizes     Mercury

General Population

LAKE NAME
County, DOWID
Species Meal Advice Contaminants
Unrestricted 1 meal/week 1 meal/month Do not eat
DETROIT
Becker Co., 03038100
Bluegill Sunfish All sizes        
Northern Pike   All sizes     Mercury
Walleye   All sizes     Mercury
White Sucker 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 08/15/2011)

Detroit Lake has a variety of fish habitats and the fish community reflects that diversity. This fishery has included warm water species like bullheads and panfish, coolwater species like walleye, and even coldwater species like tullibee. However, warm water temperatures in the well-oxygenated layers likely stressed ciscoes (tullibee) in 2003 and 2007. Coldwater fish species require both cool temperatures and good levels of dissolved oxygen and, when both are not present together, there is often a die-off of those species. No tullibee were sampled during either the 2007 or 2011 mid summer studies. Two potential trophy species are also present in these waters.

Leech Lake strain muskellunge were first stocked in Detroit Lake in 1989. Fishing opportunities now exist in this lake for catching muskies over fifty inches long and weighing well over thirty pounds. Recent publicity and excellent fishing have made this lake a very popular destination for muskie anglers from throughout the state and region.

A century ago, Detroit Lake was known to harbor lake sturgeon weighing over 100 pounds. Historical accounts from the Detroit newspaper document angler catches of these giants in the late 1800's and early 1900's. Stream fragmentation (dam building), over fishing, and water quality degradation resulted in the loss of this long-lived and slow maturing fish species from Detroit Lake and the entire Red River watershed. Several steps have been taken to reverse this condition and restore the fishery including modifications of dams to make them passable by fish, various water quality improvements, and restrictive fishing regulations. In addition, lake sturgeon reintroductions began in Detroit Lake and a few other Red River watershed locations in 1997. Some of these sturgeon have recently been found during test netting and electrofishing in Detroit. Also, there have been two reports of anglers catching and releasing lake sturgeon during recent years. There is currently no sturgeon harvest allowed in Detroit Lake because of the length of time it takes for sturgeon to become sexually mature (approximately 15-25 years). However, the potential exists to catch fish over 100 pounds in this lake within decades.

Walleye fishing continues to be very popular in Detroit Lake. Walleye test net catches have been remarkably stable since 1970, except for a decline four years ago which has now reversed itself. Nine different year classes of walleyes were sampled, but the most abundant was the 2008 (age three) which should provide good fishing in the near future. Walleye are stocked at a rate of one pound per littoral acre (1895 lbs) annually to supplement natural reproduction. Natural reproduction occurs periodically but not frequently enough to sustain the walleye fishery in Detroit Lake.

Bluegill catches were down somewhat, but they are still relatively abundant compared to other ecologically similar lakes. Large bluegills (those over eight inches) were found in very modest numbers in 2011. Bluegills have historically been slow growing in Detroit and it is believed that most bluegills reaching seven inches or longer are soon harvested by anglers. With the recent decline in abundance, however, bluegill growth rates appear to have increased. It still takes about six years to grow an eight-inch bluegill in Detroit Lake.

Largemouth bass, black crappie, northern pike and other species continue to be important parts of the fishery in this lake. Northern pike were larger on average in 2007 than at any time in the recorded history of Detroit Lake. Four years later average pike size has reverted to a more "normal" range for this lake. The average length of pike in this young population was 18.8 inches in 2011. With continuing shoreline and watershed development, this diverse, productive, and valuable fishery will need help on several fronts to be sustained. Anglers can help to maintain balance in fish populations by voluntarily releasing a portion of medium and large fish and keeping smaller ones for eating. This is particularly true for northern pike and bluegill. Shoreline owners and other watershed dwellers can help to maintain or improve water quality and fish habitat by leaving shoreline buffer zones, by leaving stands of native aquatic vegetation intact, by taking precautions to prevent invasive species introductions, and by using wise land management practices. It is not known whether water quality can be improved enough to once again sustain a tullibee fishery in Detroit Lake.


For more information on this lake, contact:

Area Fisheries Supervisor
14583 Cty Hwy 19
Detroit Lakes, MN 56501-7121
Phone: (218) 846-8340
Internet: Detroit Lakes Fisheries
E-Mail: DetroitLakes.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 B0009 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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