Fisheries Lake Survey

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Name: Big Cormorant

Nearest Town: Audubon
Primary County: Becker
Survey Date: 08/04/2008
Inventory Number: 03057600

Public Access Information

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


Lake Characteristics

Lake Area (acres): 3657.06
Littoral Area (acres): 812
Maximum Depth (ft): 75
Water Clarity (ft): 23

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


Did you know? Each year, DNR fisheries personnel stock game fish fry and fingerlings in lakes lacking habitat for natural reproduction.

Fish Sampled for the 2008 Survey Year

Species

Gear Used

Number of fish per net

Average Fish Weight (lbs)

Normal Range (lbs)

Caught

Normal Range

Black Crappie Trap net 1.67 0.3 - 1.7 0.45 0.3 - 0.6
Gill net 0.87 0.2 - 1.1 0.55 0.2 - 0.5
Bluegill Trap net 10.93 3.7 - 42.9 0.15 0.1 - 0.2
Gill net 13.47 N/A 0.29 N/A
Brown Bullhead Trap net 0.13 0.3 - 1.7 1.10 0.7 - 1.1
Gill net 0.53 0.3 - 1.6 1.37 0.7 - 1.2
Common Carp Trap net 0.07 0.2 - 1.0 7.28 3.5 - 7.4
Gill net 0.13 0.1 - 0.5 8.59 3.1 - 7.1
Green Sunfish Gill net 0.07 0.1 - 0.5 0.11 N/A
Hybrid Sunfish Trap net 2.33 N/A 0.16 N/A
Gill net 0.67 N/A 0.31 N/A
Largemouth Bass Trap net 0.13 0.4 - 1.4 2.01 0.3 - 0.7
Gill net 0.13 0.3 - 1.2 1.54 0.6 - 1.0
Northern Pike Trap net 0.53 N/A 1.74 N/A
Gill net 9.47 3.0 - 7.9 1.73 1.7 - 2.8
Pumpkinseed Trap net 0.20 1.6 - 6.9 0.25 0.1 - 0.3
Gill net 2.47 N/A 0.27 N/A
Rock Bass Trap net 9.40 0.7 - 3.3 0.26 0.2 - 0.5
Gill net 63.53 1.0 - 6.6 0.48 0.3 - 0.5
Smallmouth Bass Trap net 1.80 0.1 - 0.6 0.50 0.1 - 0.6
Gill net 6.13 0.2 - 0.9 1.08 0.9 - 1.8
Walleye Trap net 0.87 0.3 - 0.9 1.29 1.0 - 2.2
Gill net 30.13 4.0 - 9.6 0.95 1.1 - 1.9
White Sucker Trap net 0.33 0.2 - 0.8 2.92 1.4 - 2.7
Gill net 2.47 1.0 - 3.5 2.16 1.5 - 2.3
Yellow Bullhead Trap net 1.33 0.9 - 4.8 1.34 0.7 - 1.0
Gill net 3.73 0.6 - 6.4 1.08 0.6 - 0.9
Yellow Perch Trap net 0.33 0.7 - 3.7 0.16 0.1 - 0.2
Gill net 7.80 7.1 - 33.9 0.15 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 2008 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 6 3 29 0 0 0 0 0 38
bluegill 159 193 9 0 0 0 0 0 366
brown bullhead 0 0 0 10 0 0 0 0 10
common carp 0 0 0 0 0 1 2 0 3
green sunfish 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1
hybrid sunfish 23 22 0 0 0 0 0 0 45
largemouth bass 0 0 0 2 2 0 0 0 4
northern pike 0 0 0 8 79 49 13 1 150
pumpkinseed 12 28 0 0 0 0 0 0 40
rock bass 138 665 273 0 0 0 0 0 1094
smallmouth bass 10 30 23 42 14 0 0 0 119
walleye 0 32 143 161 94 27 1 0 465
white sucker 0 1 1 2 35 3 0 0 42
yellow bullhead 1 2 20 51 2 0 0 0 76
yellow perch 35 85 2 0 0 0 0 0 122


For the record, the largest Shovelnose Sturgeon taken in Minnesota weighed 5 lbs., 9 oz. and was caught:

    Where: Mississippi River near Red Wing, Goodhue County
    When: 6/4/07
    Statistics: 36" length, 11 7/8" 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 08/04/2008)

Big Cormorant is regarded as an excellent natural prairie walleye lake. At 3,421 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 reached its historical high in 2008 at 9.5 pike per gill net. The lake's historic average is 3.5 pike per set. 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 substantially 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 2008 walleye catch rate was higher than the lake's historical average at 30.1 walleyes per experimental gill net. Sampled walleyes averaged approximately 14 inches in length and 1.2 pounds in weight in 2008. Cormorant Lake is an excellent natural walleye lake with two strong year classes poised to enter the current fishery. The 2005 and 2006 year classes both made up significant portions of the walleye sample in 2008.

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 indicated that year classes from the years 2000 and 2004 were weak and those from 2001, 2002, 2003, 2005, and 2007 were relatively strong. Age class frequencies from mid-summer test netting in 2008 appear to show similar findings. This means that fall electrofishing data can probably be used as a reliable indicator of year class strengths in Big Cormorant. While fish from the 2007 and 2008 year classes were too small to be completely vulnerable to sampling gear in summer, fall electrofishing yielded catch rates of 38 and 32 young walleyes per hour, respectively. Fall electrofishing catch rates over 30 young-of-the-year walleyes per hour are considered relatively strong and this bodes well for near future walleye angling in Big Cormorant.

Smallmouth bass are another target species present in good numbers. Smallmouth bass and bluegill catches were higher in 2008 than those reported in any of the nine previous surveys since 1954. 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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