Fisheries Lake Survey

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Name: Big Cormorant

Nearest Town: Audubon
Primary County: Becker
Survey Date: 07/28/2014
Inventory Number: 03057600

Public Access Information

Ownership Type Description
DNR Concrete NE shore off Co. Rd. 6. Within section 7.
DNR Concrete NW shore off Co. Rd. 5. Within section 11.


Lake Characteristics

Lake Area (acres): 3657.14
Littoral Area (acres): 812
Maximum Depth (ft): 75
Water Clarity (ft): 16.4 (11-23)

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 2014 Survey Year

Species

Gear Used

Number of fish per net

Average Fish Weight (lbs)

Normal Range (lbs)

Caught

Normal Range

Black Bullhead Gill net 0.25 0.5 - 4.1 1.43 0.6 - 1.0
Black Crappie Trap net 0.91 0.3 - 1.7 0.43 0.3 - 0.6
Gill net 0.17 0.2 - 1.1 0.89 0.2 - 0.5
Bluegill Trap net 11.36 3.7 - 42.9 0.15 0.1 - 0.2
Gill net 14.92 N/A 0.19 N/A
Brown Bullhead Gill net 0.08 0.3 - 1.6 1.55 0.7 - 1.2
Common Carp Trap net 0.09 0.2 - 1.0 ND 3.5 - 7.4
Hybrid Sunfish Trap net 1.27 N/A 0.24 N/A
Gill net 1.83 N/A 0.21 N/A
Largemouth Bass Trap net 0.18 0.4 - 1.4 1.73 0.3 - 0.7
Gill net 0.75 0.3 - 1.2 1.68 0.6 - 1.0
Northern Pike Trap net 0.82 N/A 2.74 N/A
Gill net 8.67 3.0 - 7.9 2.07 1.7 - 2.8
Pumpkinseed Trap net 0.55 1.6 - 6.9 0.25 0.1 - 0.3
Gill net 6.25 N/A 0.19 N/A
Rock Bass Trap net 1.55 0.7 - 3.3 0.43 0.2 - 0.5
Gill net 29.08 1.0 - 6.6 0.39 0.3 - 0.5
Smallmouth Bass Trap net 0.09 0.1 - 0.6 0.17 0.1 - 0.6
Gill net 2.92 0.2 - 0.9 1.01 0.9 - 1.8
Walleye Trap net 1.00 0.3 - 0.9 2.67 1.0 - 2.2
Gill net 15.33 4.0 - 9.6 1.45 1.1 - 1.9
White Sucker Trap net 0.18 0.2 - 0.8 3.24 1.4 - 2.7
Gill net 2.50 1.0 - 3.5 1.91 1.5 - 2.3
Yellow Bullhead Trap net 1.00 0.9 - 4.8 1.35 0.7 - 1.0
Gill net 1.08 0.6 - 6.4 1.01 0.6 - 0.9
Yellow Perch Trap net 0.18 0.7 - 3.7 0.05 0.1 - 0.2
Gill net 11.08 7.1 - 33.9 0.11 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 2014 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 0 0 1 2 0 0 0 0 3
black crappie 1 2 8 0 0 0 0 0 11
bluegill 202 97 1 0 0 0 0 0 300
brown bullhead 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 1
common carp 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
hybrid sunfish 15 21 0 0 0 0 0 0 36
largemouth bass 0 1 2 5 3 0 0 0 11
northern pike 0 1 3 4 39 47 15 2 111
pumpkinseed 38 43 0 0 0 0 0 0 81
rock bass 52 233 81 0 0 0 0 0 366
smallmouth bass 0 16 5 9 6 0 0 0 36
walleye 0 8 42 36 81 25 2 0 194
white sucker 0 2 7 4 15 4 0 0 32
yellow bullhead 0 2 7 15 0 0 0 0 24
yellow perch 65 64 3 0 0 0 0 0 132


For the record, the largest Brown Trout taken in Minnesota weighed 16 lbs., 12 oz. and was caught:

    Where: Lake Superior, St. Louis County
    When: 6/23/89
    Statistics: 31.4" length, 20.6" girth

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 CORMORANT
Becker Co., 03057600
Bluegill Sunfish   All sizes     Mercury
Carp   All sizes     Mercury
Northern Pike   shorter than 21" 21" or longer   Mercury
Walleye     All sizes   Mercury
White Sucker All sizes        

General Population

LAKE NAME
County, DOWID
Species Meal Advice Contaminants
Unrestricted 1 meal/week 1 meal/month Do not eat
BIG CORMORANT
Becker Co., 03057600
Bluegill Sunfish All sizes        
Carp 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 07/28/2014)

Big Cormorant is regarded as an excellent natural prairie Walleye lake. At 3,657 acres, it is the second largest lake in Becker County. Its relatively close proximity to the Fargo-Moorhead area results in heavy angling pressure and shoreline development.

High water levels during the late 1990's resulted not only in changes to the shoreline and low-lying homes and cabins, but also in changes to the fish community. The recently high water levels opened up additional Northern Pike spawning habitat and the lake's pike population is still responding. The catch rate of pike has been well above normal for this lake since 2002 with a combined average over five surveys of 7.8 pike per net. The high water effects on the pike population is illustrated in the fact that in seven surveys prior to 2002, the average catch rate of Northern Pike was just 1.8 per set. Increases in numbers of small pike often result in decreases in Yellow Perch, the primary forage fish for Walleye and Northern Pike in most lakes. This is what appears to be occurring in Big Cormorant since Yellow Perch catches have remained lower than normal since 2002.

Fortunately, the Walleye population does not appear to have been adversely affected by the abnormally high Northern Pike numbers. The 2014 Walleye catch rate was lower than the lake's historical average, but still well above the normal range for similar lakes. Sampled Walleyes averaged 15.4 inches in length and 1.5 pounds in weight in 2014. In addition to the periodic, mid-summer test netting, the DNR began annual, fall electrofishing for young-of-the-year Walleyes in Big Cormorant in 2000. These studies have been good predictors of year class strengths for the future fishery. Cormorant Lake is an excellent natural Walleye lake with a strong 2011 year class poised to enter the current fishery. The 2005 and 2009 year classes also continue to make up significant portions of the Walleye sample in 2014.

Smallmouth Bass are another target species present in good numbers. Smallmouth Bass and Bluegill catches were higher than the lake's historical averages in 2014 and sizes are good for both species. Smallmouth Bass over 19 inches and Bluegills over nine inches were sampled during test netting and spring electrofishing. Black Crappies and Largemouth Bass can also be found in moderate numbers.


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 B0462 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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