Fisheries Lake Survey

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Name: Big Stone

Nearest Town: Ortonville
Primary County: Big Stone
Survey Date: 09/03/2013
Inventory Number: 06015200
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Public Access Information

Ownership Type Description
City Concrete Foot of the Lake ramp
City Concrete Ortonville Penninsula ramp
DNR Concrete Heinz ramp
DNR Concrete Meadowbrook ramp
DNR Concrete Big Stone State Park ramp
Township Concrete Mallard Point ramp
DNR Concrete Bonanza ramp
Township Gravel Yankeetown gravel access
DNR Concrete Hornstiens ramp
Bordering State Concrete SDGFP Hiawatha Beach ramp
Bordering State Concrete SDGFP Harford Beach State Park ramp
Bordering State Concrete SDGFP Kasuskes ramp
Bordering State Concrete SDGFP Rearing Ponds ramp
Bordering State Concrete SDGFP Big Stone City ramp

Lake Characteristics

Lake Area (acres): 6152.27
Littoral Area (acres): 4795.29
Maximum Depth (ft): 16
Water Clarity (ft): 4.1 (1.5-8)

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

Did you know? Minnesota has 11,482 lakes 10 acres or larger, of which 5,483 are fishing lakes. Excluding Lake Superior, the state has 3.8 million acres of fishing water. Minnesota's portion of Lake Superior is 1.4 million acres.

Fish Sampled for the 2013 Survey Year


Gear Used

Number of fish per net

Average Fish Weight (lbs)

Normal Range (lbs)


Normal Range

Black Bullhead Gill net 6.67 0.79
Black Crappie Gill net 0.33 0.29
Bluegill Gill net 0.33 0.55
Brown Bullhead Gill net 6.00 0.99
Channel Catfish Gill net 0.17 4.53
Freshwater Drum Gill net 13.33 0.99
Golden Redhorse Gill net 0.17 2.37
Northern Pike Gill net 0.67 7.67
Shorthead Redhorse Gill net 0.67 1.71
Walleye Gill net 10.67 1.90
White Bass Gill net 11.67 1.17
White Sucker Gill net 5.00 2.61
Yellow Bullhead Gill net 1.00 1.17
Yellow Perch Gill net 136.33 0.40
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 bullhead 0 12 14 14 0 0 0 0 40
black crappie 1 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 2
bluegill 0 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 2
brown bullhead 0 0 12 24 0 0 0 0 36
channel catfish 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 1
freshwater drum 6 2 16 43 13 0 0 0 80
golden redhorse 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 1
northern pike 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 3 4
shorthead redhorse 0 0 0 1 3 0 0 0 4
walleye 0 0 5 18 24 17 0 0 64
white bass 1 0 2 56 11 0 0 0 70
white sucker 0 0 0 0 29 1 0 0 30
yellow bullhead 0 0 2 4 0 0 0 0 6
yellow perch 13 370 417 0 0 0 0 0 818

For the record, the largest Longnose Sucker taken in Minnesota weighed 3 lbs., 10.6 oz. and was caught:

    Where: Brule River, Cook County
    When: 5/19/05
    Statistics: 21" length, 10.25" girth

Fish Stocking Activity

Fish Stocked by Species for the Last Ten Years

Year Species Size Number Pounds
2014 lake sturgeon fingerlings 6,500 76.8
2012 Walleye fry 6,021,775 58.9
2009 Walleye fry 6,051,303 60.9
2008 Walleye fry 6,000,000 60.0
2006 Walleye fry 6,000,000 48.0
2005 Walleye fry 3,321,652 31.4

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
Big Stone Co., 06015200
Bluegill Sunfish   All sizes     Mercury
Buffalo All sizes        
Bullhead All sizes        
Carp   All sizes     Mercury
Freshwater Drum All sizes        
Northern Pike   All sizes     Mercury
Walleye   shorter than 18" 18" or longer   Mercury
White Bass     All sizes   Mercury
White Sucker   All sizes     Mercury
Yellow Perch   All sizes     Mercury

General Population

County, DOWID
Species Meal Advice Contaminants
Unrestricted 1 meal/week 1 meal/month Do not eat
Big Stone Co., 06015200
Bluegill Sunfish All sizes        
Buffalo All sizes        
Bullhead All sizes        
Carp All sizes        
Freshwater Drum All sizes        
Northern Pike All sizes        
Walleye   All sizes     Mercury
White Bass   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 09/03/2013)

Big Stone Lake is located in western Minnesota adjacent to Ortonville. It is a narrow lake that measures 27 miles long and up to one mile wide. Big Stone has a surface area of 12,610 acres and a maximum depth of 16 feet. It is a highly productive lake and a popular recreational destination in west-central Minnesota. Big Stone is a Minnesota-South Dakota border water and is subject to border water fishing regulations. The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources and South Dakota Department of Game, Fish, and Parks cooperatively manage the fishery.

Big Stone Lake provides a high quality walleye fishery. Walleye from a wide range of sizes were present during 2013, with fish from 12-22 inches most abundant. The walleye population has been maintained by natural reproduction and supplemental fry stocking. Walleye fry are normally stocked during even years, but the schedule is adjusted as needed based on walleye abundance, their condition, and available forage. Overall, natural reproduction has been more successful at producing high numbers of young-of-year walleye.

The yellow perch population has been consistently high for several years and perch fishing has been outstanding. During 2013, 5-10 inch perch were abundant. Perch reproduction appeared to be very good again in 2013 and should help sustain a good population of perch for the next couple of years.

A moderate bluegill population has developed during recent years and anglers occasionally report good catches of large bluegills from localized areas. Black crappie abundance also appears to be on an upswing, although few were sampled in test nets. Commercial fishermen seining for carp and bigmouth buffalo reported several hundred black crappie in seine pulls made near Mallard Point. Ice anglers reported some good localized catches of crappie in the same general area.

Fishing for white bass and freshwater drum has been good in recent years. White bass and drum are well suited to the lake's habitat and they frequently experience good natural reproduction. Both species have a delicate white flesh and provide excellent table fair. Their flavor can be further improved by trimming the reddish "mud line" meat from the fillets when cleaning. Anglers are encouraged to harvest and consume them. Excellent recipes for preparing drum can be located on the internet by searching "drum recipes".

For more information on this lake, contact:

Area Fisheries Supervisor
811 Pine St
Ortonville, MN 56278
Phone: (320) 839-2656
Internet: Ortonville Fisheries

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 B0037 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

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    Toll-free: (800) 652-9093