Fisheries Lake Survey

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Name: Red (Upper Red)

Nearest Town: Waskish
Primary County: Beltrami
Survey Date: 07/01/2013
Inventory Number: 04003501

Public Access Information

Ownership Type Description
DNR Concrete
DNR Concrete

Fishing Regulations:

Special and/or Experimental Fishing Regulations exist on this lake. Please refer to our online Minnesota Fishing Regulations.

Fish Health:

Disease:Viral Hemorrhagic Septicemia (VHS)Date Tested:6/26/2009Result:Negative
Source: MNDNR

Lake Characteristics

Lake Area (acres): 48000
Littoral Area (acres): 47681.2
Maximum Depth (ft): 15
Water Clarity (ft): N/A

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 2013 Survey Year


Gear Used

Number of fish per net

Average Fish Weight (lbs)

Normal Range (lbs)


Normal Range

Black Crappie Gill net 0.80 0.1 - 0.7 0.93 0.2 - 0.5
Burbot Gill net 0.05 0.0 - 0.2 0.32 1.1 - 2.1
Freshwater Drum Gill net 1.85 0.8 - 11.9 1.65 0.4 - 0.8
Goldeye Gill net 0.20 N/A 0.84 N/A
Lake Sturgeon Gill net 0.05 N/A ND N/A
Lake Whitefish Gill net 0.05 0.0 - 0.2 2.00 0.3 - 4.4
Northern Pike Gill net 0.85 0.9 - 4.3 3.56 2.4 - 4.3
Quillback Gill net 0.05 N/A 0.65 N/A
Redhorse Gill net 0.40 N/A 2.02 N/A
Rock Bass Gill net 0.05 0.1 - 1.1 0.70 0.3 - 0.6
Walleye Gill net 48.60 3.3 - 14.8 0.82 0.9 - 1.5
White Sucker Gill net 0.35 0.8 - 2.4 1.37 1.6 - 2.1
Yellow Perch Gill net 11.55 9.9 - 57.1 0.23 0.2 - 0.3
Normal Ranges represent typical catches for lakes with similar physical and chemical characteristics.

Length of Selected Species (Trapnet, Gillnet) Sampled for the 2013 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 1 0 13 2 0 0 0 0 16
burbot 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 1
freshwater drum 2 0 2 3 30 0 0 0 37
goldeye 0 1 0 2 1 0 0 0 4
lake sturgeon 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1
lake whitefish 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 1
northern pike 0 0 1 1 4 7 2 2 17
quillback 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 1
redhorse 0 0 0 4 3 1 0 0 8
rock bass 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 1
walleye 0 21 268 439 239 4 1 0 972
white sucker 0 0 0 5 2 0 0 0 7
yellow perch 8 161 62 0 0 0 0 0 231

For the record, the largest Tiger Trout taken in Minnesota weighed 2 lbs., 9.12 oz. and was caught:

    Where: Mill Creek, Olmsted County
    When: 8/7/99
    Statistics: 20" length, 9 5/8" girth

Fish Stocking Activity

Fish Stocked by Species for the Last Ten Years

Year Species Size Number Pounds
2014 lake sturgeon fingerlings 10,000 133.3
2013 Lake Sturgeon fingerlings 10,950 214.0
2012 Lake Sturgeon fingerlings 13,500 375.0

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

County, DOWID
Species Meal Advice Contaminants
Unrestricted 1 meal/week 1 meal/month Do not eat
Beltrami Co., 04003501
Crappie   All sizes     Mercury
Lake Whitefish All sizes        
Northern Pike   All sizes     Mercury
Walleye     All sizes   Mercury
White Sucker All sizes        
Yellow Perch   All sizes     Mercury

General Population

County, DOWID
Species Meal Advice Contaminants
Unrestricted 1 meal/week 1 meal/month Do not eat
Beltrami Co., 04003501
Crappie   All sizes     Mercury
Lake Whitefish All sizes        
Northern Pike All sizes        
Walleye   All sizes     Mercury
White Sucker All sizes        
Yellow Perch 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.

PCBS - Polychlorinated biphenyls
PFOS - Perfluorooctane sulfanate

Status of the Fishery (as of 07/01/2013)

Upper Red Lake is a 120,000 acre lake, 60% (72,000 acres) of which is under the jurisdiction of the Red Lake Band of Chippewa Indians (Red Lake Band). The remaining 40% (48,000 acres) falls under the jurisdiction of the State of Minnesota. The collapse of the Red Lakes walleye population in the mid 1990's has been well documented. Similarly, the cooperative recovery effort that included a total closure on walleye harvest, a short-term walleye fry stocking program, intensified population monitoring, and increased law enforcement efforts has been widely publicized. In 2006, the Red Lakes were re-opened to walleye fishing under a conservative set of harvest regulations. Walleye harvest allocations, as outlined in the harvest management plan, are based on the proportion of surface water acreage within each jurisdiction. Specific fishing methods and regulations for managing harvest within the allocations are determined individually within each jurisdiction. In state waters of Upper Red Lake, a two-fish possession limit in combination with a 17-26 inch protected slot length limit (PSL; only one fish over 26 inches allowed in possession) was initially implemented for walleye. Over several years, regulations have been incrementally relaxed. In 2013, the fishing regulation included: a 4-fish bag limit, and a 17-26 inch PSL from the Fishing Opener until June 14th, followed by a slot adjustment (20-26 inch PSL) from mid-June through the end of the fishing season in February. Fishing regulations for the 2014 open-water season will remain the same. Fishing regulations for the 2014-2015 winter will be either 17-26 inch PSL for December and 20-26 inch PSL from January 01 through the end of the fishing season OR 17-26 inch PSL all winter, depending on summer harvest estimates. Winter regulations will be posted on the DNR website in November. In addition to special walleye regulations, a special harvest regulation for northern pike has been in place since the 2006 fishing opener. The regulation from 2006 through 2010 was a 26-40 inch PSL (only one fish over 40 inches allowed in possession) and beginning with the 2011 fishing season opener, this slot limit was widened to a 26-44 inch protected slot (only one fish over 44 inches allowed in possession) to increase protection for large pike.

Present Fish Population Status The 2013 walleye gill net catch-per-effort (CPE) was 48.6 per gill net. After restoration efforts, walleye density initially peaked in 2003, slowly declined over the next few years and peaked to record levels in 2012. Current walleye biomass is still near record-high, largely due to the incredibly strong 2009 and 2011 year classes. Walleye from 11 different age classes between ages 1 to 14 were sampled with the oldest fish representing the 1999 year class. Approximately two-thirds of the catch consisted of age 2 and age 4 fish from the aforementioned strong year classes. Sixty-four percent of the 2013 gill net catch was between 12 and 17 inches and 35% was between 14 and 17 inches. This size distribution suggests that fishing and the ability to find "keeper" walleyes should be good for the foreseeable future.

Northern pike density in Upper Red Lake is low, which is actually a desirable condition for lakes that are being managed for trophy pike. This low density population produces individuals that reach large sizes (> 40 inches) and recent ice-out trap net assessment have captured northern pike approaching 46 inches in length with good numbers of fish over 40 inches in length.

Yellow perch CPE in 2013 was 11.6 fish/net and included good numbers of keeper-sized fish. Yellow perch population abundance has nearly returned to pre-walleye collapse levels after going through a period of low abundance during the 2000s. Growth rates of yellow perch in Upper Red Lake are good and 27% of the yellow perch catch was greater than 9 inches in length. This has resulted in increased angling success with some anglers putting together catches of nice-sized fish.

A few small year classes of black crappie have been documented in recent assessments and creel surveys and most of these fish are 10 to 11 inches. Although these fish represent the first recruitment beyond age 0 since the "crappie boom" in the late 1990s, they appear to be of modest strength and don't likely signal the next crappie boom. However, it is possible that anglers may pick up a few more "bonus" crappies while fishing walleyes than they have over the past few years.

For more information on this lake, contact:

Area Fisheries Supervisor
2114 Bemidji Ave
Bemidji, MN 56601
Phone: (218) 308-2339
Internet: Bemidji Fisheries

Lake maps can be obtained from:

Minnesota Bookstore
660 Olive Street
St. Paul, MN 55155
(651) 297-3000 or (800) 657-3757
No depth map available.

For general DNR Information, contact:

DNR Information Center
500 Lafayette Road
St. Paul, MN 55155-4040
TDD: (651) 296-6157 or (888) MINNDNR

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