Fisheries Lake Survey

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Name: Red (Upper Red)

Nearest Town: Waskish
Primary County: Beltrami
Survey Date: 07/01/2014
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.

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? The state operates 17 hatcheries: 5 for trout and salmon and 12 for coolwater species.

Fish Sampled for the 2014 Survey Year


Gear Used

Number of fish per net

Average Fish Weight (lbs)

Normal Range (lbs)


Normal Range

Black Crappie Gill net 1.15 0.1 - 0.7 1.03 0.2 - 0.5
Freshwater Drum Gill net 1.35 0.8 - 11.9 1.89 0.4 - 0.8
Goldeye Gill net 0.10 N/A 1.21 N/A
Lake Whitefish Gill net 0.05 0.0 - 0.2 2.08 0.3 - 4.4
Northern Pike Gill net 1.25 0.9 - 4.3 3.48 2.4 - 4.3
Redhorse Gill net 0.15 N/A 2.31 N/A
Walleye Gill net 61.65 3.3 - 14.8 1.09 0.9 - 1.5
White Sucker Gill net 0.70 0.8 - 2.4 1.35 1.6 - 2.1
Yellow Perch Gill net 15.90 9.9 - 57.1 0.30 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 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 crappie 0 0 16 7 0 0 0 0 23
freshwater drum 0 0 1 3 23 0 0 0 27
goldeye 0 0 0 1 1 0 0 0 2
lake whitefish 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 1
northern pike 0 0 0 1 10 7 2 5 25
redhorse 0 0 0 0 3 0 0 0 3
walleye 0 21 76 598 526 12 0 0 1233
white sucker 0 4 1 3 6 0 0 0 14
yellow perch 24 153 141 0 0 0 0 0 318

For the record, the largest Yellow Perch taken in Minnesota weighed 3 lbs., 4 oz. and was caught:

    Where: Lake Plantaganette, Hubbard County
    When: 1945

Fish Stocking Activity

Fish Stocked by Species for the Last Ten Years

Year Species Size Number Pounds
2015 Lake Sturgeon fingerlings 11,187 348.0
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

No fish consumption guidelines are available for this lake. For more information, see the "Fish Consumption Advice" pages at the Minnesota Department of Health.

Status of the Fishery (as of 07/01/2014)

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 the next several years, regulations were incrementally relaxed. Then, following exceptional walleye harvest due to a burgeoning population and favorable conditions, regulations were tightened during winter 2014-2015. Fishing regulations for the 2015 open-water season will be a continuation of the tightened regulations implemented at the end of January: a two-fish bag limit with a 17-26 inch PSL. These regulations are necessary to comply with the Harvest Plan for Red Lakes walleye between the State of Minnesota and the Red Lake Nation. Fishing regulations for the 2015-2016 winter season are expected to be slightly less restrictive and will be announced this fall through various media and posted to the DNR website.

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 2014 walleye gill net catch-per-effort (CPE) was a record-high 61.7 per gill net. Record-high walleye CPE is largely due to the incredibly strong 2009 and 2011 year classes. Approximately two-thirds of the catch consisted of age-3 fish from the 2011 year class which averaged 14.1 inches. This should mean that anglers will have no problem catching keeper-sized fish this summer as these fish will start the year averaging around 14 inches and grow an inch or two over the course of the summer. Although Upper Red Lake has one of the highest walleye catch rates in the state, it is not known for producing large fish. However, fish in the low twenties are fairly common and provide a nice surprise when they cooperate.

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 15.9 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 44% 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 8 to 12 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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